BMW’S SHOCK TAC­TICS

Ger­man firm re­veals mad elec­tric con­cept scooter

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Jor­dan Gib­bons SE­NIOR RE­PORTER

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.

Elec­tric av­enue

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.

To­mor­row’s world

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

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