BMW Motorrad Vision DC roadster
In our motorcycle community it has always been petrol and noise what has been binding us together. But times are changing and we just have to adopt.
I never thought I would be writing a piece on an electric motorcycle and feel good about it. But then again, life is full of unexpected surprises.
In a motorcycle, the motor is the centrepiece – it is the fundamental element, providing the basis for the entire architecture. But electrical drive components have completely different requirements in terms of installation space.
While in a conventional motorbike the size of the engine is mainly determined by its capacity, it is the battery that takes up most space in the case of an electrically powered vehicle. The electric motor itself is relatively compact. Starting from this new basis, the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster is able to make this transfer – retaining the iconic appearance of a boxer while filling it with a new function. This is why the Vision Bike is instantly recognisable as a BMW motorcycle, revealing its electric nature on closer inspection.
According to BMW Motorrad’s Head of Design Edgar Heinrich “the boxer engine is the heart of BMW Motorrad – an absolute stalwart of its character. But BMW Motorrad stands for visionary zero-emissions vehicle concepts, too. In view of this, one question that arises is: what would happen if we were to replace the boxer engine with an electric motor and the required battery? The Vision Bike shows how we’re able to retain the identity and iconic appearance of BMW Motorrad in distinctive form while at the same time presenting an exciting new type of riding pleasure,”
He continues: “After all: anyone who’s ever tried it out in practice knows very well that riding on two wheels is just as exciting when its electrically powered! The high level of torque right at set-off makes for breath taking acceleration. This almost brutal power delivery creates a whole new experience of dynamic performance. And the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster puts a face to this experience.”
Having studied the pictures we can only agree with him. The bike looks absolutely stunning and having all this ‘brutal power’ available as Edgar says, it will undoubtedly be quite a challenge to keep our hormone levels under control at the traffic light.
High performance with a light touch of electrical magic
As unexpected as feeling good about writing this piece was, it is hardly a surprise to see the level of design and technical innovation by the Bavarian brand. The overall appearance of the BMW Motorrad Vision DC conveys a sense of lightness so as to emphasise driving dynamics. Elements such as the seat and the cooling system appear to hover around the battery. On the frame itself, lengthwise milled grooves create a fascinating visual effect, reducing the perceived volume and highlighting the bike’s longitudinal dynamics.
This impression is further underscored by means of openings in the milled aluminium frame and the tubular frame structure arranged above it. High-tech materials such as carbon fibre and aluminium reduce the overall weight and give the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster a technical aesthetic. Meanwhile, red contrast elements and brushed aluminium at selected points such as the battery, frame and cool systems emphasise the bike’s innovative geometry.
R18 vs DC roadster
Only a few weeks ago BMW presented the the BMW Motorrad Concept R18 at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. This bike transports the essence of the big BMW Motorrad classics into the modern age, or in other words, it is taking a historical motorcycle design and giving it a modern, custom attitude.
The BMW Motorrad Concept R18 shows how a forward projection of a 1960s boxer engine could look like today as a purist custom bike in combination with all the classic design icons of BMW Motorrad design.
Back to the future
When replacing what would previously have been the combustion engine, there is now a vertically fitted, longitudinally oriented battery. For cooling purposes, two side elements protrude with cooling ribs and integrated ventilators. As in the boxer engine of the BMW R 32 – the development of which was masterminded by Max Friz in 1923 – the cooling elements are placed in the air stream. The cylinder-shaped electric motor is positioned underneath the battery and is directly connected to the universal shaft. The BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster thus demonstrates a clever drive architecture that visually echoes the history of BMW Motorrad while at the same time taking it a step further.
A new roadstar is born.
Preliminary conclusion: we love what BMW is cooking up in its German design centre and are excited about the constant innovation. They really set the pace on challenging the competition with their cutting edge compositions whether it be the R18 or this all new DC roadster.