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BMW Vision Next 100

By | General Posts

by Cristian Curmei from https://www.autoevolution.com

BMW has done it again. Offering us yet another concept vehicle that surpasses all previous bounds and expectations.

When I first saw it, a small lump of happiness stuck in my throat, nearly made mew cry. And for good reason. Just look at this wonderfully geometric symphony. You wouldn’t even know what it is if it wasn’t for the wheels and engine screaming “Batman’s motorcycle!!”. In this case, since it’s German, it’s probably a better fit for Fledermaus Mann!

In case you missed the in your face design, the BMW emblem should give you an idea of what it is you’re about to touch. It’s called the Vision Next 100, and it is a motorcycle like no other. Just the design itself is one only seen in movies or on concept projects. Thanks to BMW, however, this motorcycle is now a reality.

“When we develop a motorcycle,” adds Edgar Heinrich, “we are usually thinking around five to ten years in the future. So taking a look further into the future was especially exciting for us and highly appealing.”

With that in mind, BMW worked toward a cycle that is ready to integrate into the future cities our world seems to be developing. Just to give you an idea of what BMW Motorrad has done, please understand that in the photo gallery, the only product that isn’t part of the bike is the rider. But even then, it has to be a naked rider, as even the apparel is specifically designed for the motorcycle and works in tune with it to offer a more pleasing ride.

So, to explain this to you I’m gonna start from the top down. In the gallery I’m sure you’ve noticed that the rider has a pair of gigantic but chic glass-o-goggles. Those goggles are the only bit of protection that the rider needs. I’ll explain in a minute as to why. The goggles function as a windscreen for the rider’s eyes but also as the instrument panel. On them, all information any rider may need is projected, from speed and road tilt, to hazards and even a map showing selected routes. All of it accessed by positioning the rider’s head at different vertical angles. Looking straight up activates a rear-view function. All information seems to be displayed in a manner similar to aviation controls. Or crime-fighting, masked vigilantes.

Next up is the clothing line. BMW moved away from the classic leather apparel that seems to dominate the motor market, focusing rather on lightweight and flexible fabrics. The suit, because that what it basically is, molds to the rider’s body during cruising and offers support to areas on the body that would normally be put under stress during certain riding positions. For example, at higher speeds the neck region of the suit fills with air in order to relieve pressure on the spine to offer a more comfortable ride.

A diverse number of sensory located throughout the suit activate to respond to diverse changes during the ride. Some sensors activate to inform you of turn direction while others when reaching the maximum tilt during a turn. Now, the suit itself doesn’t do much protecting against road-rash, but then again, it doesn’t need to. Uhh, right. No protection?

The Vision Next 100 has an ace up its sleeve. Excuse me, not an ace, but a royal flush. She’s able to do a tight wire walk with some very neat self-balancing technology. Yes, sir! She can stand on a dime. No kickstand needed. No rider. No support. She features an assistance function that allows her to basically stay upright no matter the rider’s capabilities. How? Nobody knows. Does it even matter, really? Just think about it.

She’s able to control the angle at which you take a turn. She’s able to stay upright at a red light while keeping the driver in riding position. No more legs down or legs up. This means she’s perfect for riders of any level. But don’t think that because she can be controlled by a noob, she won’t give a pro the ride of their life. On the contrary, the self-balancing mechanism and software, are specifically designed to actually enhance your ride, and not diminish it.

Now the engine. The engine is just, wow! Those who know motorcycles also know that the engine compartment is a huge influence on the vehicle’s aerodynamics. That being said, you may think that this engine serves no aerodynamic functions, and you’d be wrong, just as I was. The Vision Next 100 hides a feature that made my jaw drop. When at rest, aside from remaining upright on its own, the Vision Next’ 100’s engine is seemingly compact. but the moment you hop on the bike, the engine compartment begins to stretch to the sides like the gills on a shark.

Then you start to ride, faster and faster, and continue to notice that your engine is growing along with your speed. It does this in order to offer the optimal aerodynamics needed for the speed and weather conditions, but also to offer the much-needed protection against any eventual mishaps the Vision Next 100 couldn’t foresee.

The body shape for this baby is set-up to keep the rider in a roadster position. Using carbon and aluminum as the base materials for design and construction, she’s able to offer a wonderful blend of color, ergonomics, design and functionality. The frame, however, with its wild design, includes a functionality feature that allows it to flex depending on the direction the handlebars are turned toward. Meaning if you want to turn right, you won’t have a pivot point for your fork, hell, there isn’t even a fork to begin with, instead the frame will bend or contract where needed to offer the turning capability.

And depending on how fast you’re going the frame will either tense up or relax to offer much needed protection to the rider in case of accidents. A matte-black finish to the carbon ‘Flexframe’ and the polished aluminum engine block offer it a visual balance only rivaled by its self-balancing technology.

As we can see, even the tires look like they’ve got to do some sort of something. Heck, everything else on this thing does, why would the tires be of any exception? The tires do offer some extra functionality aside from just rolling. They feature a dampening function, which offers a smooth ride and adapts to the terrain you are riding on to keep that comfort going

Got any words? Or do you just want one too?


BMW to Add New Cruise Control System to Motorcycles

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

For reasons that have to do with the way they are built and used, motorcycles do not benefit from the same wide array of comfort or safety systems developed for cars. Strides are being made though to have some of these technologies migrate to motorcycles as well.

As far as cars are concerned, cruise control has been around in some form or another from about the time they were invented, but for motorcycles adapting the tech proved a bit more complicated.

There are a few bikes out there with cruise control, such as the BMW S1000RR, or the Yamaha FJR-1300, but the tech is not widely available, and of course not as standard. BMW Motorrad plans to change that, and announced that it would “soon offer this type of rider assistance system.”

Called in BMW speak Active Cruise Control (ACC), it is a brand new system that has been developed together with Bosch. It can automatically regulate the speed at which the bike is traveling based on the speed set by the rider and the distance to the vehicle driving in front.

The system will try to maintain the distance from the vehicle in front as set by the rider, who can choose one of three settings. To calculate the distance, ACC uses a radar fitted at the front of the motorcycle, and it works together with some of the other systems on the two-wheeler, including the brakes and the ABS system.

The system can detect only moving vehicles, and will not react to stopped cars or traffic lights, BMW warns.

According to company, the new system is also able to automatically reduce speed during lean angle cornering, while at the same time trying to keep acceleration and deceleration within tolerable limits during an increased angle cornering.

The German bike maker did not say when the ACC will be rolled out and what models will get it.

1976 BMW R45 Gonzo Tried to Be the Opposite of Custom, and It Nailed It

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Usually when going for a custom motorcycle build, most garages choose the flamboyant way of doing things. We usually get to see extensive engineering, sculpted parts, and a wealth of eye-popping colors and visual tricks that are supposed to leave us in awe. But not this build here.

Sometime in its past, the motorcycle in the gallery above was a BMW R45. Part of a family of horizontally opposed twin-cylinder machines introduced by the Germans back in the 1970s, it would have probably met the crusher if it weren’t for a Spanish garage that goes by the name of El Solitario MC.

Unlike other businesses in this field of work, El Solitario did not try to make the Bimmer stand out in a crowd through some innovative engineering solution, or a design so polished it would have made our eyes hurt. It actually went the other way, with the goal of making it as spartan as possible.

El Solitario says it built the bike with “no pressure for results,” and the goal was not to create a bike with “a posh finish or complicated technical solutions.” Instead, they sort of tried to see how much things they can remove from a bike and still keep it functional, and without spending a fortune while doing so.

Named Gonzo after the Muppets character, it comes with a shortened and narrowed subframe holding the seemingly unpainted stock fuel tank, a lithium battery, and a beat down, custom seat. It rides on 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels, fitted with aftermarket shocks and Michelin tires.

The Gonzo was made by El Solitario (we’ve talked about some other of their builds as part of our Two-Wheeler Month coverage) with no particular purpose a long time ago. It spent its past 20 years or so as the shop’s “terribly underpowered but indestructible” bike, a kind of mascot advertising the capabilities of the Spanish garage.

Vagabund V12 BMW R100 RT May Looks Like a Monster, But It’s Fully Street Legal

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

The now defunct BMW R100 line, debuted by German bike maker BMW in 1976, went down in history as the last line of the air-cooled airheads produced by the Bavarians. While on the market, the family included a wide variety of models, and enough of them were made over the years for the breed to still be around today.

Most of the R100s now in existence are closer to the scrap yard than an actual road, however. But that’s how we see them, because custom garages have an entirely different view of the bike’s potential.

We’ve already seen what the French can do when they get their hands on such two-wheelers when we talked about builds like the Blitz Naso Nero, or the Black Ops, or the Green Beret. But how about an Austrian take on the R100?

A local shop that goes by the name Vagabund has an entirely different approach than the French when it comes to converting Bimmer bikes. Instead of tracking down parts and adapting them for whatever build they’re working on, Vagabund went the high-tech way and turned to 3D printing.

The motorcycle you see in the gallery above once was a 1994 BMW R100 RT, but careful tuning and customizing turned it into something called V12. And despite its menacing looks, the build is “100% street legal.”

Completely different than what BMW had in mind when it first made this motorcycle, the V12 features a host of 3D-made parts: the fork cover (with integrated turn signals), rear end, handlebar controls, housings for indicator lights and headlight, all have been created from scrap and to exact specifications to fit the bike.

All these elements, although quite visible, do not however stand out as much as the rear wheel, completely covered with a fiberglass reinforced plastic painted, just like the entire bike, all black.

As most other Vagabund designs, this too is a one-off, and it has already been sold. We’ll bring more such bikes under the spotlight in the coming days as part of our Two-Wheeler Month feature.

Future Of Connected, Autonomous, Shared, And Electric Performance Motor Bikes – The BMW Motorrad Way

By | General Posts

by Sarwant Singh from https://www.forbes.com

In 2023, BMW Motorrad will be celebrating a landmark event: its centenary as a motorcycle manufacturer. But it wasn’t really the past that interested me in my interview with BMW Motorrad CEO, Dr. Markus Schramm. It was more about understanding how this venerated German brand is engaging with the future. How is it approaching the connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) revolution? What plans does this standard-bearer of all things innovative have in store to negotiate the next 100 years?

While the experiments of four wheeler manufacturers with CASE technologies have been well documented, there’s not been as much buzz about the progress made by their two wheeler counterparts. It was quite revealing, therefore, to get a perspective on how CASE is making motorcycles smarter, safer and (dare I say it?) sexier. In essence, we are talking of a whole new generation of bikes that weld performance, comfort and safety to take driving experiences to a completely different level.

To shed light on all this and much more, I turned to the consummate industry insider: Dr. Schramm, a BMW veteran of almost three decades standing whose passion for motorbikes is evident in the way he speaks (and the number of bikes he owns!). Here are some highlights from the interview:

Staying Connected

“The aim of our intelligent connected motorbikes is to make motorcycling more experience-oriented, more comfortable and also safer.”

Connected technologies have exploded among passenger and commercial four wheelers, enabling undreamed of new services, novel ways of engaging with the customer, hyper personalized experiences and lucrative monetization opportunities. But how are they playing out among two wheelers?

“Connectivity, assistance systems and the digital services are becoming increasingly important in motorcycling,” said Dr. Schramm. “Features like emergency call (e-Call) or our other connectivity offers are already an integral part of many BMW models today. The fundamental goal is to offer the intelligent e-Call function to as many customers as possible.”

And it’s clear that this objective resonates with customers. For instance, in Germany today, around 80% of BMW Motorrad’s customers opt for e-Call when purchasing a motorcycle. What is particularly interesting in this context is that such high take rates are unfolding against a backdrop where e-Call systems are legally mandated for cars in many countries but not for two wheelers. It also perhaps explains why BMW Motorrad is currently the only motorcycle manufacturer that offers an e-Call system ex-factory.

However, safety such as that offered by e-Call is only one aspect of connectivity. “As the company expands its range of intelligent connected motorcycles, the aim is to make motorcycling not only safer but also more experience-oriented and more comfortable,” added Dr. Schramm. “With the typical motorcycle customer in mind, BMW Motorrad’s connected app focuses on enhancing motorcycle-related experiences, including optimizing route planning, displaying navigation information directly in the bike’s thin-film-transistor (TFT) display, recording tours and riding performance statistics such as lean angles, acceleration and deceleration forces or altitude profiles.”

Connected helmets are another major theme in the industry and only getting bigger. Connecting the rider and the motorcycle via the helmet is already standard equipment in many of BMW’s current models. And if it’s any indication of how important connected helmets will be, BMW delivered almost 17,000 of its helmet communication systems to customers in 2019.

Being Autonomous

“We will use autonomous driving technologies not only to raise safety levels but also to take riding fun to a new level.”

BMW has been a pioneer in driving innovation in autonomous technology with concepts like self-balancing, self-park and summon features. All very well for cars. But it’s that familiar conundrum of how autonomous driving and features will work in the motorcycle industry which is defined by motor-muscle connection? “Motorcycles will never ride autonomously; it doesn’t make sense. However, in a future world of autonomously driving cars, being connected will be an urgent requirement for all motorcycle segments,” said Dr. Schramm. “This will enhance safety and ensure that motorcycling remains future-proof.”

It is this idea of operating safely and seamlessly in future connected and autonomous environments that informed BMW Motorrad becoming a founder member, along with Honda and Yamaha, of the Connected Motorbike Consortium (CMC). One of the key motivations here has been to push forward on safety agendas—whether in terms of collision avoidance or warning drivers of dangerous situations—through the use of connected technologies. But this being BMW Motorrad, it’s also about having fun… safely. “We will use autonomous driving technologies in a concrete way,” noted Dr. Schramm. “Our mission will be to raise safety levels, on the one hand and, on the other, to take riding fun to a new level.”

Advancing Shared

“The biggest challenge in the shared space is that people don’t always handle other people’s property as carefully as their own.”

Barring a recent partnership with eCooltra in Barcelona, BMW Motorrad has not specifically focused on the shared mobility space. Given that growth is expected in bike sharing and other last mile mobility options post-COVID, what plans, if any, does the company have for expanding its presence in this space?

“When it comes to sharing we, as a society, don’t always handle other people’s property as carefully we do our own. This is the biggest challenge in this area,” observed Dr. Schramm. “However, BMW Motorrad is committed to the BMW Group’s vision of becoming a customer-focused mobility company. These two disparate threads are reconciled through our short-term bike rental service—Rent A Ride—that allows people the opportunity to ride almost any BMW motorcycle in many countries.”

Going Electric

“Electro-mobility on two wheels will be very significant for the future of motorcycling… it needs to be really fun and adventurous.”

With the C evolution, BMW Motorrad stamped its credentials as a forerunner in electric mobility. It has since made steady gains. A planned concept offering for the high growth urban mobility sector is in the works while the Vision DC Roadster represents a unique take on an e-Power Roadster.

“For me it’s quite clear: electro-mobility will be very significant for the future of motorcycling. We foresee a slew of upcoming products with a focus on electric propulsion, particularly in the field of urban mobility,” noted Dr. Schramm. “And I’m not only thinking of classic scooters here, but also of alternative modern, emotional products. Electro-mobility on two wheels needs to be really fun and adventurous and BMW is committed to developing corresponding products.”

BMW Motorrad is targeting an array of new all-electric products in the near-term. From an initial focus on electric mobility solutions for urban environments, the company plans to move to other segments as well. “And here our claim is to play a leading role in the motorcycle industry not only on the topic of range but also on the subject of speeding up the battery charging time and design. Our Vision DC Roadster shows how we see emotional, inspiring and authentic e-mobility in the motorcycle sector.”

Winning Customers

“Make Life a Ride’ is not limited to a particular product but puts people and emotions squarely in focus.”

And finally, of course, it’s all about the customer. “The overall aim of our brand approach – Make Life a Ride – is to attract new customers, irrespective of age, and to generate enthusiasm for motorcycling,” emphasized Dr. Schramm. “The point is to address not only real bikers but, equally importantly, people who currently don’t ride a motorcycle but maybe will one day. ‘Make Life a Ride’ is not limited to a particular product but puts people and emotions squarely in focus.”

Post Script

I have known Markus for almost a decade now. I first met him when he headed BMW’s Mobility Services division. It was his vision that saw the company transform from being a car manufacturer to becoming a mobility services provider. All these years later, I see his future-focused imprint on BMW’s two wheeler business as well. Highly driven, he thrives on challenges and is passionate about the things he does – his extreme marathons and 100 km ultra marathon in the Antarctic are now part of company lore. The perfect choice, really, to take on the challenge of cementing BMW’s legacy in the years ahead.

1976 BMW R60/7 Is the Olive in Some Popeye’s Dreams

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Sometimes giving an old motorcycle a new identity is as simple as repairing what’s in need of repair, and simply slapping a tank from another bike on the existing frame.

At least, this is how simple the crew from Paris-based Blitz Motorcycles make the whole process look. Unlike most moto shops out there, which go to great lengths to make crazy designs, this one has been making a living by restoring beat down, old machines and giving them a new life, possibly under a different name. Their builds are generally simple, lacking all the bells and whistles others like to adorn their bikes with.

Case in point the 1976 BMW R60/7 shown in the gallery above, renamed Olive. The bike started off as all others from its range, but got a new engine, 600cc in displacement, because the owner had barely gotten the driver’s license and needed to comply with power output requirements.

“We chose the 600 cc engine for this reason, being certain still that once he will be over the first 2 years of riding (and therefore be allowed to ride a more powerful machine), he will stick to this one. For good,” Blitz says about the engine.

The entire bike has been rebuilt according to Blitz, as was the engine (it got new carburetors too) and the electric wiring. On top of the frame the tank is no longer a stock BMW one, but a hardware sourced from a Honda CB250. It is because of the color sprayed on this tank that the bike is named Olive.

Other modifications made include the thermal wrapping of the exhaust pipes, new Firestone tires, new headlight, Triumph handlebars, and a custom seat.

We are not being told how much the build cost to make, or where the motorcycle is doing its rounds now.

BMW R100 R Green Beret Is the Warrior Bike Special Forces Never Used

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

One of the deadliest military forces on the planet, the so-called Green Berets, have a wealth of gear at their disposal to conduct whatever missions Uncle Sam throws at them. But we’re pretty sure they never used this here bike, though.

What’s featured in the gallery above is a BMW R100 R from 1994. The R is one of the many variations of the R100 line the Bavarian bike builder begun making in 1976 as its last line of motorcycles powered by air-cooled engines. The line was discontinued in 1996, just two years after this model was manufactured.

And by manufactured, we don’t mean as you see it here. What sits before our eyes is the result of customization work conducted by a Paris-based garage that goes by the name Blitz Motorcycles. This group has been responsible for other interesting remakes of older motorcycles, mostly BMWs and Kawasakis.

In the case of German bikes, Blitz seems to have a soft spot for military-oriented names. Another build of theirs, also based on the R100 (in GS configuration this time) was called Black Ops.

This one here is the Green Beret, named so because it kind of looks like something the American Special Forces soldiers would use while roaming some desert in search of the enemy.

Painted in a combination of khaki green and black, the frame hides the original engine, only reconditioned to be better suited for modern-day use. Several bespoke parts were added to the BMW, including mufflers, the black headlight, the rear loop and of course the seat. The most visible change is the fuel tank, of course, which in this case was sourced from a Honda CB 125 S.

We are not being told how much the rebuilding of the BMW R100 R cost, or where the bike eventually ended up. We’re pretty sure you haven’t seen it in a war zone, though.

1983 BMW R100 GS Black Ops Comes With Dented Tank Because It’s Cool

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

When someone asks for a custom build to be made based on either a car or a motorcycle, they usually ask for the finished product to be perfect. For someone living in Florida, perfect does not necessarily mean flawless.

The motorcycle in the gallery above was once a stock BMW R100 GS. The R100 line was born in BMW’s stables back in 1976, and was to become the last of the German motorcycles powered by air-cooled engines. In production until 1996, the range grew to include a wide number of models, from the R100 T to the R100 GS, covering an even wider range of customer needs.

Because production of these models ended quite some time ago, and BMW bikes are not usually held in such high regard to be preserved for decades, most of them are now basically useless machines. But there are some garages out there that make a buck by bringing these beatdown bikes back to life.

One such garage is Paris-based Blitz Motorcycles, which focuses on giving a new purpose to old German motorcycles. Like this R100 GS here.

Made at the request of what we understand is an American customer, the bike underwent a major mechanical overhaul that included an engine rebuild, the replacement of the fuel tank, the addition of new parts and, in the end, the renaming into Black Ops.

Named so because the garage “wanted this bike to look stealth and mean” it kind of does not live up to the name. After all, such a dark apparition on a road somewhere is bound not to pass unnoticed, and the distinctive dents on the Honda CB350 fuel tank, kept because “this is what we liked about this tank,” sure makes it easy to pick out from a crowd.

We are not being told how much the rebuilt of the bike is worth.

Reithofer re-elected chairman of BMW board

By | General Posts

from http://tradearabia.com

Dr Norbert Reithofer has been re-elected as the Chairman fo the Supervisory Board of BMW AG at a meeting of the board today.

He was earlier re-elected to the Supervisory Board for a mandate period of five years at today’s Annual General Meeting.

Reithofer has been associated with BMW AG for more than three decades. He joined the company in 1987 and was Chairman of the Board of Management between 2006 and 2015. He has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board since 2015.

The Annual General Meeting also newly elected Anke Schäferkordt to the Supervisory Board for a mandate period of five years. The media manager takes over the seat of Prof Renate Köcher, who stepped down early at the end of this year’s Annual General Meeting in agreement with the Supervisory Board.

With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is a leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises 31 production and assembly facilities in 15 countries; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

In 2019, the BMW Group sold over 2.5 million passenger vehicles and more than 175,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax in the financial year 2019 was €7.118 billion on revenues amounting to €104.210 billion. As of 31 December 2019, the BMW Group had a workforce of 126,016 employees.

Naso Nero Is a 1978 BMW R100 RT Disguised as a Honda

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

A body that looks old, but at the same time fit, a big tank on top with Honda all over it, and a combination of British Racing Green and black that makes it look apart. The bike in the gallery above is not a Honda, as the letters on its tank say, but in fact a decades old BMW R100 of the RT variation.

BMW started making the R100 line in 1976, and it would become the last line of the air-cooled airheads made by the Germans, with production ending in 1996. The family included a variety of models, starting with the R100 T and ending with the R100 GS. Somewhere in between it’s the RT that entered production in 1978.

Despite the misleading looks, the bike in the gallery above is exactly such a motorcycle, born in the first year of production. Its current shape is owed to a long restoration process conducted by a Paris-based garage going by the name of Blitz Motorcycles.

The group has made a habit to bring back to life bikes that should have been long ago scrapped, at the request of customers. In this case, the work was perhaps more engaging because it “came to us in a very worn out condition: over 120 000 kms mileage and an aesthetic that was proving it had had a very very long life.”

As with most other Blitz restoration projects, this time a full engine rebuild was needed also, to give the motorcycle a new life, as was the fitting of new wiring.

Accompanying the mechanical upgrades is a new look for the motorcycle. The main change is, of course, the addition of a Honda tank, but there are also some other fine touches, like the addition of LED blinkers around the fork tubes, or the vintage Triumph handlebar.

The tank itself has a special paint design on it, mixing British Racing Green on most of its body with a black section at the front. This scheme gave the motorcycle its name, Black Nose, translated into Naso Nero because it is Italy where the motorcycle now roams.