BMW has super-charged the race towards zero-emission biking by unveiling its latest concept electric motorcycle.
The BMW Motorrad Concept Link uses radical electric battery packs stored in its base, features a reverse gear to make parking easier, and a seat that adjusts itself to suit each rider’s bottom.
Its touchscreen dashboard can even be connected to the rider’s online calendar so it always knows where it needs to go every time it is started.
BMW claims the concept is “extremely fast” though designers have not yet revealed stats to back up the claim.
Concept electric motorcycle could kickstart new era of biking
The German automotive superpower hopes the concept could kickstart a new era of motorcycle design.
BMW Motorrad’s Alexander Buckan said: “The technical realities of electric drive – such as the flat energy packs in the underfloor and the compact drive on the rear wheel – allowed us to create a highly distinctive design which shapes a new segment.
“The resulting expressive power of the vehicle is absolutely new for BMW Motorrad and breaks with all conventional viewing patterns.”
BMW says the concept blends fast acceleration and easy handling.
Due to its low overall height, getting on is easy too, from the side or even from the back.
A reverse gear ensures that it is easy to manoeuvre, making it ideal to park in tight city spaces.
Electric motorcycle projects data onto windshield
Instead of a classic instrument cluster, speed, navigation and battery information is projected onto the windshield directly in the rider’s field of vision.
Secondary information is displayed on a panel below the handlebars.
Programmable, touch-enabled buttons on the handlebars allow the rider to access functions without having to loosen grip.
The concept is the latest in a series of vehicles designed by BMW to showcase the future of transport.
“Not just a scooter, a way of life.” This is the slogan of the iconic Italian brand Vespa, most suitable for the world’s number one scooter producer.
The company was founded by Rinaldo Piaggio in 1884, and at first, it produced carriages, switching to aircraft production years later. In 1917, the company expanded their facilities by building a new plant in Pisa. In 1921. Piaggio acquired another factory in Pontedera, where they produced bomber plane engines. This factory became a strategic target during the Second World War, so on 31st August 1943, it was destroyed.
After the war, Enrico Piaggio, Rinaldo’s son, established the new Piaggio company in April 1946, in Florence, and built a new factory with the help of the Allied forces. Enrico saw the need of the masses for an affordable and small vehicle, which can be used on the damaged Italian roads. Inspired by the Cushman motorcycles, which were dropped by parachutes by the Allied Forces, in 1944 Enrico ordered the Piaggio engineers to design a scooter. They created a prototype named MP5, better known as Paperino.
Enrico was not satisfied with the looks of the scooter, so he asked the aeronautical engineer, Corradino D’Ascanio, for a redesign. In 1946, the MP6 model was created, and when presented to Enrico, it was immediately called “Vespa” by the owner himself. The Italian term “Vespa” means “wasp,” and its name was given due to the looks and the sound of the vehicle. On 23rd April 1946, the scooter was patented in the Central Patents Office in Florence, and the production began. The Vespa was an instant success, and it became famous soon after the launch. 13 years since the creation of the Vespa, there were one million scooters sold. Today, this number has increased to over 16 million. Many other manufacturers tried to copy the Vespa and produce their scooters, but none of them had the beauty and durability of the Italian scooter.
Vespa has had many models through the years, used for many purposes. However, there is one model which will remain known as the most dangerous scooter ever made: the Vespa TAP 150. Ordered by the French military in 1950’s, Vespa TAP 150 was produced by ACMA, the licensed French manufacturer of Vespa models. The model was first introduced in 1956 and enhanced in 1959. The TAP 150 was planned to be used in the Indochine and Algerian conflicts by the Troupes Aéro Portées (TAP), hence the name of the model. Three companies entered the competition: Valmobile 100, the Bernardet 250 and the modified Vespa. The Vespa won, so approximately 500 pieces of this model were assembled by ACMA.
The TAP 150 had a reinforced frame, a 146 cm³ single cylinder, two-stroke engine and could develop a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour. The TAP was equipped with an M20, a light anti-armour cannon, which could penetrate an armor with 100 mm thickness, thanks to the HEAT warhead attached to it. The Vespa was supposed to serve only as a transport method for the cannon, although it was possible to fire the gun while mounted on the scooter.
This artillery was not very useful against the tanks in the Indochine conflict but proved itself as quite useful against lightly armored targets in the Algerian War. The TAP was constructed to be dropped in pairs from a plane with a parachute. The bikes were mounted on palettes and protected with haystacks. One of the scooters carried the cannon, while the other carried the ammo, so they were operated by two men teams. The TAP 150 was ready to be used instantly, and due to its mobility, it was a very effective weapon. A trailer carrying additional items was often attached to the moped, and it also had a tripod for the cannon. The Vespa TAP 150’s construction was very cheap, with an estimated cost of 500$, so it was the perfect weapon for anti-guerilla warfare.
The Bazooka Vespa was not the first military motorcycle produced by Enrico Piaggio. At the beginning of the 1950’s, he introduced Vespa Force Armate to the army. Although the bike met the NATO standards, Enrico Piaggio himself quit the negotiations in 1952, stating he does not want to deal with the state and the military. The Vespa TAP 150 was used only in Indochine and Algeria and, after that, it was dismissed from service.
Today, the Piaggio group is one of the largest producers of motorcycles in the world, with more than 70,000 employees and operations established in over 50 countries. Piaggio owns eight different motorcycle brands, but Vespa is the jewel in their crown, still faithful to their traditional design and incomparably beautiful to any other scooter.
SUPERCAR-BEATING performance at the price of a family hatchback – that’s what gives the safety lobby the jitters about high-performance motorcycles, isn’t it?
Perhaps we should show them this lot, to reassure them that there are still plenty of motorcycles that are way out of most people’s reach, if not too expensive to ever risk actually riding.
In putting together this list of the most expensive motorcycles, we’ve stuck to machines that, so far as we can tell, are actually available to order, today. That means Honda’s €200,000 RC213V-S, for example, is out.
You may spot a one or two other uber-expensive boutique motorcycles that are absent. We’ve reasoned that if there’s no advertised price, and enquiries aren’t responded to in 24 hours, then we can’t be sure the bike is available to buy at all.
There’s no doubting its desirability or sheer ability, even if most of us are already out of our depth on the stock Panigale, which is about £10k cheaper. As is so often the case, the argument for the more expensive model doesn’t end with its sheer performance or drool-worthiness. An ‘R’ model Ducati is almost a sure-fire future classic, so a good investment too. This one makes 205hp and 100lbft, another two good reasons to own one.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON CVO LIMITED
8/9. Harley-Davidson CVO Limited and CVO Road Glide Ultra, £30,695
Harley’s two most expensive models together take eighth and ninth place. As well as special CVO paintwork, loads of chrome and a ‘touchscreen infotainment system’ they get the 110 cubic-inch version of the Project Rushmore ‘twin-cooled’ engine (the cylinder heads are water-cooled) instead of the stock 103 cubic-inch one found in the Ultra Limited, at £9k less. That’s 1800cc instead of 1690cc when translated to European. Is it worth nearly £30k? Buyers will no-doubt think so. In fact most are likely to bust the £30k mark by adding even more options
This is the homologation special of MV’s F4 RC WSBK race bike, making 212hp and weighing just 175kg dry. It’s a real race bike for the road (or track) with a price that doesn’t seem too far-fetched to us. MV describes it as an ‘ultra-refined, exclusive fireball of a bike’. At over £30k, we hope they’re wrong about the fireball bit.
An outrageously enormous S&S 1950cc V-twin engine tuned for more torque than power (125hp and 144lbft – 44lbft more than the Panigale R) with Öhlins suspension and a historic British brand name on the tank. Is it worth £35,000? If someone’s willing to pay that much then we guess so. Not many buyers are needed, since the machine takes its name from the number planned for production – 24.
The LS-218 is the street version of the Lightning superbike that set an electric land-speed record of 218mph – hence the name. It went on to win the 2013 Pikes Peak hill-climb, beating all the petrol-powered bikes in the process. The key figures are 200hp, 168lbft and a 100mph range at motorway speeds. Time to finally quit the petrol habit? Depends if you’ve got £36,000 spare for the most expensive 20KWH version. It’s not altogether clear when you would get it, as the firm’s websites only says it’s ‘accepting reservations’. Or how, since that firm is in the US, with the price listed only in dollars ($46,888).
We know this one, right? It’s the full-power version of Kawasaki’s supercharged Ninja H2, unfettered by construction regulations for road use. It makes 310hp and 122lbft, has a top speed of 250mph and features unique mirrored paint mixed with a layer of actual pure silver. Having spent £41,000, you’ll then face the question of what to do with it, as it’s not road legal, unlike the Ninja H2, which is 200hp and £22,000. Actually getting one isn’t a given, either. A Kawasaki spokesman said: “The new stock will arrive in the UK early next year, albeit in small numbers. So early approaches to your local dealer would be advisable.”
VYRUS 984 C3 2V
3. Vyrus 984 C3 2V, “Upwards of” £45,000
A 1078cc Desmodromic Ducati V-twin in a bike weighing 158kg dry, with Vyrus’ fancy Progressive Link front suspension arrangement and hub steering. Prices aren’t listed on the exclusive Italian marque’s website (because if you need to ask…) but UK dealer Pro Twins, in Godstone, Surrey, says the 984 C3 2V costs “upwards of” £45,000. It’s one of three models available, each described as a “work of art”. Which is good, because at this price we’d be scared to do anything except put it on show.
Not cheap, these revived British marques, are they? The SS100 is a ‘high performance, luxury motorcycle’ commemorating the 90th anniversary of the 1924 Brough Superior model of the same name. It’s a 997cc liquid-cooled V-twin making 127hp and 88lbft, with a titanium frame and a weight of 186kg dry. Each one is made to order, probably for millionaires.
ENERGICA EGO 45
=1. Energica Ego 45 £49,999
And speaking of not cheap, neither are these electric sports bikes. This is a special edition of the Energica Ego, an Italian superbike making 136hp and 144lbft. That’s the same as the Hesketh 24’s peak torque figure, but this makes it from 0rpm. The 45 celebrates the 45th anniversary of the manufacturer, CRP Group, with special features including carbon-fibre fairings and ‘elements made with 3D printing’. It also comes with a free factory tour, requiring the signing of an ‘obligatory non-disclosure agreement’. Whatever you do, don’t eat the everlasting gobstoppers.
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?
The 250Hp Kawasaki H2R Is A Literal Demon On The Streets!
Set to be the pinnacle of motorcycle performance, the Ninja H2R is a supercharged motorcycle masterpiece. Created with cooperation from across the engineering and technology scope of Kawasaki heavy industries, the Ninja H2R matches cutting-edge engine, performance, the highest quality chassis dynamics and a host of craftsmanship details to create a new two-wheel icon.
The team at Motorcycle News are no strangers to the high speed world of motorbikes so when they got the monstrous Kawasaki H2R in for testing they were excited to say the least. Normal production bikes are restricted to a manufacturers’ agreement of 186mph, but Kawasaki has thrown the rulebook in the bin with the H2R; they say there are no speed limits or restrictions for this bike. After testing this bike it is quite obvious they were not lying. The H2R is a wild bike that .lets out 250Hp and goes well past the 200mph mark. To see this bike in full action turn up your speakers and click the video!
Lazareth LM 847: The 470-horsepower, tilting 4-wheel motorcycle you’ve been waiting for
Lazareth LM 847: a machine that takes horsepower to the extreme (Credit: Lazareth).
Can motorcycles undergo meiosis? If so, Ludovic Lazareth’s LM 847 looks like it’s got stuck in the process of cell division. Built around a gigantic, 4.7-liter Maserati V8 engine, this terrifying tilting quad bike picks up where the Dodge Tomahawkleft off, with four single-sided swingarms, rim-mounted brakes, dual hub-centre steering and a bunch of other crazy touches. Oh, and 470-odd horsepower tearing up the bitumen through a single-speed viscous clutch automatic transmission.
French motorcyclists have lived the last 30 years under a strange and annoying law that restricts all motorbikes to a maximum of 100 horsepower. Every bike released in Europe needed a French version made, complete with electronic or mechanical restrictors to choke it down to a power level deemed safe and proper by the local bureaucracy.
A French R1 would pull like a standard bike up until that magical horsepower limit,then crap itself and wheeze its way up the useless top half of the tacho like it had been shot. It might as well have been; superbike class sales figures in France plummeted because the experience of trickling around on these crippled thoroughbreds was just so depressing.
The spread of European Union road regulations is rarely something high performance vehicle lovers tend to celebrate, but in this case, French bikers have something to cheer about in 2016 – the 100 hp law is dead! Viva la mandatory ABS.
What better way to party, thought famed custom creator Ludovic Lazareth, than with a machine that takes horsepower to the extreme?
Lazareth’s LM 847 is, to the objective eye, a conflation of impractical ideas, awkwardly overengineered into a hulking mass of unrideable ostentation that will probably never turn a wheel on the road.
If that’s your assessment, fine; it’s never stopped Lazareth before. His outrageous vehicles are about making statements, visual and mechanical, and in that sense the LM 847 has plenty to say.
The heart of the matter is a ludicrous motor: the 4.7-liter, 32-valve V8 from the Maserati Quattroporte, a 620 newton-meter bone crusher that puts out exactly 4.7 times the old horsepower limit.
One rear tire was never going to be enough to put 470 horsepower to the ground, so Lazareth supplies two, each with its own chain drive, and each on its own hefty single-sided swingarm.
The obvious choice here would be to suspend each wheel individually, but Lazareth has no time for obvious choices. He mounts a TFX rear shock transversely, in a fashion that looks like it will not only damp bump-handling movements that affect both rear wheels, but also any motion that moves one wheel relative to the other – for example, cornering lean angle changes. How this works dynamically on the road, who knows?
At the front end, there’s another two giant single sided swingarms, each featuring its own hub-steered front wheel with a Buell-style rim-mounted brake. This time, each gets its own shock, as well as an unsprung weight figure that’d probably be admirable on a B-double truck.
Between the front and rear wheels are split carbon fiber aerodynamic shields that work together when the bike is upright to give the impression of a third tire … Or that the whole monstrous thing is just one two-foot wide piece of rubber.
One hint as to how hard that front end is to steer comes from the gigantic width of the handlebar poking up out of the airbox. Lazareth has been quoted as saying if he can’t make something work beautifully, he’ll hide it, so lord knows what that steering mechanism looks like under there. The bars are made even wider with the addition of bar-end mirrors (that’ll be annoying when you’re lane-splitting through traffic to get to work), and the levers are reverse-action, because screw you, he’s Ludovic Lazareth.
Not a bolt on this crazy creation is anything like any other bike you’ve seen this side of the show-only Dodge Tomahawk. From the winged front lamps, to the rude, stout air intake behind the screen, to the incongruous footboards, to the fact that it runs a single-speed transmission with a hydraulic coupling and electric reverse, it’s a complete original …
… until you notice he’s stuck a Ducati Panigale tail section on it, virtually unchanged, and somehow made it work visually despite the fact that it’s fixed to a 2.6 meter long, 400 kg, tilting quad bike.
Lazareth is a sick man. This bike is a sick experiment. I can’t even imagine how a human would fit on it, let alone find the throttle stop on an engine so violently powerful. But I love it, and I’d give it a go in a second, and I’d be delighted to hand it back half an hour later, wide-eyed and trembling, to this French Dr. Frankenstein. The scariest thing is, he’s surely elbow deep in something even more bizarre as we speak.