In 100 years, BMW thinks motorcycles will look like this self-balancing concept

With the reveal of its Motorrad Vision Next 100 concept motorcycle, BMW has rounded out its centenary celebration with design studies from each of its brands.

The BMW Vision Next 100 model wants to make you a better driver, the Rolls-Royce 103EX wants to make you a more comfortable passenger, the Mini Vision Next 100 concept wants to facilitate effortless urban mobility, and now Motorrad’s Vision Next 100 creation wants to help you escape.

“Motorcycling is about escaping from the everyday: The moment you straddle your bike, you are absolutely free,” said Edgar Heinrich, head of design for BMW Motorrad. How does the Vision Next 100 concept motorcycle let you escape? Without the need for a helmet or protective gear, the futuristic two-wheeler lets riders fully experience the elements.

Part of the bike’s design includes classic BMW cues like the black frame triangle (pioneered by the 1923 BMW R32), white lines, and boxer engine shape. Because this bike is powered by a “zero emissions solution,” there is no actual engine, just the appearance of one. What that solution is, exactly, is a mystery, but the housing actually extends outwards when the bike is in motion, aiding aerodynamics.

One of the Vision Next 100’s most noticeable features is its Flexframe, which looks like a single piece that connects the front and rear wheels. Because of its malleable nature, it actually helps the bike steer without joints. Just turn the handlebars and the frame turns with it. It’s Gumby’s perfect motorcycle.

As a whole, the bike concept has a naked appearance but its design elements function like a full-faring moto. The large metal reflector above the front wheel has a built-in daytime running light and also helps deflect wind. The seat, upper frame cover, and wings are made of carbon.

The styling is obviously impressive, but more incredible is the technology. The variable tread on the tires helps dampen the bike, the safety systems will automatically balance the bike if the rider is losing control (even if the bike is tipping over while stationary), there’s a “Digital Companion” working in the background to alert riders of upcoming hazards or to take over in emergency situations, and a digital visor shows telemetry, navigation, and other data across the rider’s field of vision by tracking his or her eye movements. There’s almost too much technology to list.

The Motorrad Vision 100 Next concept was unveiled alongside intelligent riding gear. The suit warms or cools the rider based on weather conditions, the neck section inflates to provide extra support for the upper vertebrae, and built-in sensors will alert the rider when banking angles become critical. It may look like a fashion statement without the need for bulky protective padding, but it’s as much an engineering feat as the bike itself.

“The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 unites the best of both worlds – digital and analogue – for the ultimate emotional experience,” said Heinrich.

BMW has envisioned every element of how riders will engage with their machines decades from now. I won’t say it’s an ideal situation for those who crave control and traditional mechanics, but it’s undeniably innovative.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Mobile

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.
Cars

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.
Cars

The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.