BMW’S SHOCK TACTICS
German firm reveals mad electric concept scooter
BMW have once again revealed a radical motorcycle concept at the annual Concorso d’eleganza Villa d’este event on the shores of Lake Como, Italy, over the weekend. In previous years, we have seen bikes that have become reality quite quickly – such as the Concept Ninety (which became the R ninet), and the Concept 101 (which became the K1600 Bagger), while we have also seen more conceptual creations, such as the supercharged R5 Hommage. This year BMW have presented the Concept Link, an electric bike that is inspired by their selfbalancing Vision Next 100 concept.
At the heart of the new Concept Link is a compact electric motor that’s powered by large, flat batteries in the underfloor area of the bike. This not only allows BMW to place the weight low down for improved handling characteristics, but it has also allowed them to create a rather distinctive look that BMW say helps usher in a new design ethos.
“The BMW Motorrad Concept Link, with its timeless and reduced style, is more than a concept – it is rather a symbol for a new era,” says Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design of BMW Motorrad.
BMW say the shape of the bike is ideal for urban riding, as its low overall height makes it easy to hop on and off, while the electric motor provides fast acceleration plus urban practicalities, such as a reverse gear. The seat can be adjusted from a single seater to a two-person bench, while hidden underneath is a large storage area accessed through a sliding hatch.
Interestingly, the working internals of the Concept Link are completely different from anything BMW currently has in its motorcycle range and they say we won’t see this technology moving over to the C Evolution.
BMW say the Concept Link is so-named because it links the digital and analogue world as it performs as both a “motorcycle and a communication device”. In a move that is part genius, part Orwellian-nightmare, the Concept Link can be connected to your phone and will even sync with your calendar and work out where you need to be at a given time and suggest an appropriate route and even suggest theme music (surely Ride of the Valkyries is appropriate for every occasion…).
BMW say that the riding experience is still a core part of the design despite all the additional layers of technology, so they’ve made some improvements there, too. The classic dash has been dropped in favour of a head-up display that projects speed, navigation and battery status onto the windscreen along with a secondary touch-sensitive display panel located beneath the handlebars.
Nothing escapes BMW’S fully connected future world – including your clothing. To demonstrate the power of this connection, sensors in the arm mean that swiping your hand over the control panel in your sleeve will open and close the aforementioned storage hatch.
Back to reality
Is this going into production? It’s hard to say. BMW have a mixed history with concepts – many of which come into production quite quickly, while others vanish, never to be seen again. Stephan Schaller, CEO of BMW Motorrad, says that the technology in this bike isn’t a million miles away from production and we could see a bike that closely resembles this in the next five years. That suggests that we might see something with this technology and thinking contained within it.
BMW aren’t afraid to be bold and daring
IN DETAIL 1 BMW have deliberately exposed the power cables running down the bike’s flanks as they say their colour and diameter help to give a notion of the bike’s power. We say it looks like two orange cables! 2
BMW would like their bikes to be able to connect to other road vehicles as part of a ‘Connected Drive’ network that improves rider safety