The BMW Concept Link is a zero-emission scooter that BMW says will reinvent two-wheeled urban mobility
At the annual Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, BMW have once again revealed a radical motorcycle concept. In previous years we have seen bikes that have become reality quite quickly, such as the Concept Ninety, and we have seen more conceptual bikes such as the supercharged R5 Hommage. This year BMW have presented the Concept Link, a zero-emission electric bike that is inspired by the self-balancing Vision Next 100.
At the heart of the new Concept Link is a compact electric motor driven that is powered by large, flat batteries in the underfloor area of the bike. This not only allows BMW to place the weight low down, it has also allowed them to create a distinctive look, which is further enhanced by the silver and matt black body.
“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.
Due to the shape of the bike, BMW says it’s ideally suited for urban riding. It’s low overall height make it easy to hop and off, while the electric motor provides fast acceleration and easy handling along with urban indulgences such as a reverse gear. To make it suitable for all, the seat can be adjusted from a sport single seater to a comfortable two-person bench, while hidden underneath is a large storage area accessed through a sliding hatch (more on this later).
The Concept Link has a completely new design style with its mixture of covered and uncovered parts. The completely covered wheels strike an interesting juxtaposition against the partially covered rear side section, revealing technical elements like drive unit, cooling ribs, single-sided swing arm, spring strut and tooth belt. At the same time, BMW says they help improve aerodynamic air flow.
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 online accounts, so that it can sync with your calendar. From there it can work out where you need to be at a given time and suggest an appropriate route (either fast or scenic) and even play appropriate music.
BMW say that the riding experience is still essential despite all the additional technology, so they’ve made some improvements there too. The classic dash has been dropped in favour of a heads-up display that projects speed, navigation and battery status onto the windscreen. There’s also a secondary touch-sensitive display panel located beneath the handlebars that, along with the handlebar switches themselves, can be fully customised.
Nothing escapes BMW’s fully connected world including your clothing. To demonstrate the power of this connection, sensors in the arm mean that swiping your hand over a sensor opens and closes the aforementioned storage hatch.
You make me feel mighty real
Is this going to be reality? It’s hard to say. BMW have a mixed history with concepts, either coming into production quite quickly or disappearing never to be seen again. As a company they have been investing heavily in the electronic scooter range, so it’s not impossible that we’ll see something similar in production. Just leave out the calendar bit though yeah? Because when the machines eventually become self-aware, the last thing we want is bikes that know where we are and how to get there quickly.