Honda just released their self-balancing bike after BMW did last October. But how do they work?
Honda was pretty clear about their technology. There are no gyroscopes or moving weights instead, Honda used sensors and a computer to make tiny steering inputs to keep the bike stable with or without the rider. This is not the first time honda brings such an innovation, I remember when in 2004 I tested the new CBR1000 with an advanced steering damper which adjusted with the speed. The results were incredible, it was the easiest superbike to ride because it adapted constantly. Today they brought it a step further by bringing another axis in play. The fork doesn’t move just left and right but also up and down. Almost like the neck of an animal and this is what give it the stability it needs.
BMW took a different path
There isn’t much information about the technology powering the Vision Next 100. It seems super stable and steady even when the rider is on it so it could be a gyroscope system. But BMW brought it to a whole new level. It’s funny the fact that the Japanese were pretty sensible and the Germans went completely crazy dreaming big like a Silicon Valley start-up. Let me explain you why.
The BMW Vision Next 100 doesn’t need a helmet because you can’t fall over. It has no buttons or touch screen because you can operate the menu with gestures. Every important information is displayed on your glasses. This is a lot of technological revolution but actually, there is another thing. In the picture you’ll see the rider in a sexy tight black suit, well, it’s more than you think it is. The suit is actually part of the bike technology. It keeps your body at the right temperature and vibrates to communicate incoming danger.
“Motorcycling is about escaping from the everyday: the moment you straddle your bike, you are absolutely free. Your bike is The Great Escape,” – Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design at BMW Motorrad
A second thought
So at this point in my life, I feel like I’m stuck in the future whether I want it or not. But it’s ok, it’s the future I’ve dreamed of when I was a teenager. I just have one question to myself, will I embrace this new technology like a teenager or will I be a nostalgic grandpa missing the good, old, dangerous days of motorcycling?