Skip to main content

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Miles Branman
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Miles Branman doesn't need sustenance; he needs cars. While the gearhead gene wasn't strong in his own family, Miles…
Mercedes-Benz G580 vs Rivian R2: Is the much cheaper Rivian actually better?
2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 from three quarter view.

Mercedes-Benz has finally taken the wraps off of the new "Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology." Yeah, it's a mouthful, but it's basically a new electric G-Wagon. It looks a lot like the G-Wagon you know and love, but with an electric powertrain and a battery. It's not the only electric SUV out there, however, and there are some great ones -- like the Rivian R2.

Both the Mercedes G580 and the Rivian R2 have a lot going for them, but they also approach the electric SUV slightly differently. Is one better than the other? I put the two head-to-head to find out.
Design
The approach that the two vehicles take to design is quite different -- and you might like one better than the other.

Read more
Mercedes-Benz G580 vs GMC Hummer EV: rugged EVs face off
2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 from three quarter view.

There's finally an electric G-Wagon. Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new vehicle, officially called the Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology, after months of rumors and camouflaged sightings. But it's not the only rugged electric vehicle out there. In fact, there are quite a few EVs that could be considered rugged -- like the Rivian R1S, the Rivian R2, and, of course, the Hummer EV.

But how do the Mercedes-Benz G580 and GMC Hummer EV compare? Is one a better rugged electric vehicle than the other? Here's a look at the two vehicles, head to head.
Design
If you love the look of recent-generation G-Wagons, you'll love the look of the new G580. To be sure, it isn't exactly the same as other recent models, but it's certainly close, with a squared-off design and sharp corners. It keeps the metallic ladder frame panels and the flat roofline, and it's available in a variety of colors.

Read more
The Kia EV3 could be the cheap electric SUV we’ve been waiting for
White Kia EV3

The Kia EV9 was already one of the cheapest ways to get an electric SUV, but now the company is taking things to the next level. After teasing the Kia EV3 last year, the car is now official.

The EV3 is built to be a slightly smaller, cheaper version of the EV9 -- following the path of the Rivian R2, which arrived after the Rivian R1S. It's certainly not as technologically advanced as the EV9, but it still looks unmistakably like a modern Kia, and is clearly a sibling of the larger SUV. On the outside, the vehicle has the same split taillights and very similar Tiger Face front. But it is quite a bit smaller. The vehicle will be available in nine finishes -- however only "Aventurine Green" and "Terracotta" are being announced right now.

Read more