MOBILITY/Motorcycles:: Independent and clearly still BMW! A tightrope walk that seems to have succeeded, at least for the time being in the study.
For over 90 years, the two-cylinder boxer engine has been an essential part of the technical and visual identity of BMW Motorrad. But in the course of the increasing electrification of the BMW Group, the question also arises here: What could a BMW motorbike with electric drive look like? And how do you make it recognisable as a BMW Motorrad at first glance? One possible answer is the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster, a highly emotional naked bike with electric drive.
„The boxer engine is at the heart of BMW Motorrad, a character legend. But BMW Motorrad also stands for visionary emission-free vehicle concepts. So with this in mind, we also ask ourselves: What happens if we replace the Boxer with an e-drive and the associated energy storage system? The Vision Bike shows how we can continue to maintain the identity and iconic look of BMW Motorrad in an independent expression – and at the same time show an exciting new variant of riding pleasure,“ explains Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad. „Because anyone who has tried it knows that riding electrically on two wheels is at least as exciting! The high torque right from the start ensures breathtaking acceleration. This almost brute power delivery creates a completely new experience of dynamics. And the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster gives shape to this experience.“
New drive, familiar appearance.
On a motorbike, the engine is the core, a supporting functional element. It forms the basis for the entire architecture. Electric drive components, however, place completely different demands on the installation space. While the engine size of a combustion engine is mainly determined by the displacement, the accumulator is the most space-consuming element in electric drives. The electric motor itself is relatively compact. Based on these new prerequisites, the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster manages the transfer of retaining the iconic appearance of a Boxer and filling it with new function. The Vision Bike is therefore recognisable as a BMW Motorrad at first glance and reveals its electric nature on closer inspection.
The previous engine is replaced by the vertically installed, longitudinally oriented energy storage unit. To cool it, two elements with cooling fins and integrated fans protrude from the side. As was the case with the boxer engine of the BMW R 32, which was developed in 1923 under the leadership of Max Friz, the elements to be cooled are thus placed in the airstream.
The cylinder-shaped e-drive finds space under the energy storage unit and is directly connected to the cardan. The BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster thus demonstrates a clever drive architecture that visually takes up and continues the history of BMW Motorrad.
Dynamism in proportions.
In side view, the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster draws a highly dynamic gesture with a clear front-wheel orientation. The low front and short, high rear convey agility. Instead of the tank, a flat and filigree lattice frame structure spans the vehicle body. Further on, it integrates the seat in a modern form, thus drawing the flyline of a sporty roadster. The frame structure essentially shapes the dynamic perception of the side.
In the centre of the side section, in the middle of a frame milled from aluminium, sits the large energy storage unit with the cooling systems protruding from the side. The three-dimensional surface work on the cladding of the energy storage unit creates a modern aesthetic with precise contours. The cooling elements quote the slightly forward-slanting silhouette of the energy storage unit and thus lend the side a dynamic moment. When the electric motor is started, these cooling elements extend slightly to the side and indicate readiness to drive.
High performance with lightness.
To emphasise the driving dynamics, the overall appearance of the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster focuses on lightness. Elements such as the seat or the cooling system appear to float around the energy storage unit. On the frame itself, milled grooves in the longitudinal direction create an exciting visual moment, reduce the perceived volume and emphasise the longitudinal dynamics. Openings in the milled aluminium frame as well as the lattice tube frame structure above further emphasise this impression. High-tech materials such as carbon and aluminium reduce the overall weight and give the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster a technical aesthetic. Red contrasting elements and brushed aluminium emphasise the innovative geometry at selected points such as the energy storage unit, the frame or the cooling systems.
High-quality details at second glance.
An essential part of the engaging overall aesthetic of the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster is the elaborate design of all details. In the predominantly dark colour scheme, the mechanical elements such as the exposed cardan shaft and the Duolever fork in particular set the tone. These two classic BMW features are reinterpreted here and elaborately staged. Likewise, the implied triangular frame quotes a typical feature of earlier BMW motorbikes and even picks up on their white lining, which here fluoresces in the dark. The minimalist design of the front and rear lights shows an iconic implementation of the BMW Motorrad light signature – maximally reduced and modern. The headlight features the LED daytime running light in the form of a dynamic, flat U-shape. Above this, two compact LED lenses per side provide low and high beam. This creates a striking light signature that makes the concept vehicle instantly recognisable as a BMW Motorrad by day and night. The rear light consists of two C-shaped LED elements integrated into the aluminium rear carrier in the most minimal, technically high-quality design. Five fluorescent elements, each about the size of a postage stamp, are integrated into the sidewalls of the tyres, which are manufactured exclusively by Metzeler for the Vision Bike. These combine innovative design with safety aspects: Standing and riding, the light elements create an exciting graphic effect. In the dark, they increase visibility from the side and thus ensure more safety; in addition, they convey dynamism when in motion.
Smart rider gear.
The functional two-piece is not immediately recognisable as protective clothing, instead this outfit stands for a modern and emotional fashion statement. The bright jacket with iridescent colouring of the large graphics and the casually cut black trousers combine fashion consciousness with new functionalities. Barely visible sewn-in protectors provide protection, integrated technologies enable various light functions and digital networking in the future. An asymmetrical backpack waistcoat completes the driver’s equipment for the vision vehicle. Attached to the jacket via magnets, it offers storage space and additional functionality. The permanent magnets allow for quick donning and doffing.
Symbol of a new generation.
The BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster is a visionary symbol of the future of BMW Motorrad with alternative drives. It stages the electric riding experience in an honest and authentic form and above all: with a new and independent aesthetic in the best BMW tradition.
BRAND: BMW AG
virtualdesignmagazine Michael Hiller