For better or for worse, the future is here. Before long, we’re all going to sound like our older relatives that like to reminisce on the days of old, except our reminiscence will be about how fuel injection and combustion ruled the streets in the days where motorcycle riders had to balance on the bikes for themselves.
With a fist full of scary and an equally heaping fist full of exciting, concepts that you thought would be nothing more than an interesting aspect of your favorite science fiction movies are actually coming to life and to be frank it’s actually a little bit weird to actually be experiencing it. It’s only a matter of time before we’re all floating around in self-driving hover cars and talking about how we miss the feeling of the open road.
So why are we bringing all of this up? It just so turns out that automaker, BMW has recently released a motorcycle design that won’t even require the rider to balance… or really even pay attention to the road at all. It kind of takes the “riding” out of “motorcycle riding” and we’re not really sure if that’s something that we’d ever be able to completely wrap our minds around.
According to BMW, it’s a bike that has self-balancing systems to keep it upright both when standing (a boon for novice riders, on par with training wheels for bicycles) and in motion (beneficial for experienced riders who want erudite handling at high speed). Several systems—one BMW calls a “Digital Companion,” which offers riding advice and adjustment ideas to optimize the experience, and one called “The Visor,” which is a pair of glasses that span the entire field of vision and are controlled by eye movements—correlate to return active feedback about road conditions to the rider while adjusting the ride of the bike continuously depending on the rider’s driving style. –Bloomberg.com
From what we understand, the bike won’t only balance itself when needed but is also designed to emulate the technology in autonomously driving cars that we have today by the year 2040 which will be complimented by all kinds of other futuristic gadgets like an augmented reality visor (see below) that will give you feedback on road conditions and such.
We have to admit, though, that some of the new safety features will probably be pretty cool. You do sacrifice the traditional look, but that might be acceptable if you’re afraid of dumping your bike and losing a layer of skin. The Cliff Notes of BMW’s claims though would have you believing that even though all of this new tech is being put in place that the rider’s sense of freedom was ultimately in mind when designing the bike. In other words, don’t be too intimidated, the rider isn’t being taken out of the equation just yet as according to what BMW is telling us but it’ll be a completely different experience to say the least.
Bloomberg continues that “[The bike] also purports to use a novel matte black “flexframe” that’s nimble enough to allow the bike to turn without the joints found on today’s motorcycles. The idea is that when a rider turns the handlebar, it adjusts the entire frame to change the direction of the bike; at low speeds only a slight input is required, while at high speeds it needs strong input to change course. This should increase the safety factor of riding a bike so a small twitch at 100 mph isn’t going to shoot you in an unexpected new direction.”
At the end of the day, we’re not even sure if you cold classify this machine as a motorcycle because it looks like the only characteristics that it shares with an original bike are that it rolls on two wheels and has a triangular shape as displayed in bikes of old.
Ladies and gentlemen, the future is here. Are you going to ride with it?