BMW to reveal ‘Vision’ concept bike

But not until October

BMW IS celebrating its centenary this year and as a result has plenty of activity planned but one intriguing titbit is that it will show a ‘Vision Vehicle’ concept bike in LA on October 11.

The firm has already revealed the first of four ‘Vision’ concepts that will appear during the year. It’s a car, called ‘Vision Next 100’ and it attempts to second-guess the future of four-wheelers over the next century. Yes, it’s pretty far-out stuff and doesn’t really give much of a clue as to the firm’s immediate future. Later in the year it will show ‘Vision’ concepts for its Rolls Royce and MINI brands, and finally there will be the Vision motorcycle.

Each vehicle is being launched at a stop on the firm’s ‘world tour’ to celebrate its centenary. The bike will be shown at the Los Angeles event between October 11 and 16.

What will it be like? Your guess is as good as ours. Its theme is “The Great Escape” (hang on, wasn’t that a Triumph TR6 Trophy painted to look like a BMW? Maybe we’re getting mixed up here…)

Apparently it’s nothing to do with the film of the same name and simply refers to the usual clichés of freedom associated with motorcycles. As such, it’s a theme that could be applied to pretty much any type of bike.

Given BMW’s commitment to electric power on the C Evolution scooter, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see its futuristic Vision motorcycle going down that route as well, but BMW’s decision to launch it in the US might equally be an indication that it’s got plans specifically for that market. Having successfully broken into sports bikes with the S1000RR and extended into other markets with models like the C650 and C Evolution scooters, not to mention its new G310R small single, maybe BMW is going to turn its attention back to the potentially huge cruiser market.

Its last venture down that road ended more than a decade ago when the R1200C was dropped. At the time, BMW said the reason for leaving the cruiser market was that it didn’t have a large enough engine to compete, and made it clear that its absence would only be temporary. We know that the six-cylinder, K1600-based Concept 101 bagger is due to be turned into a production model soon, probably for next year’s range, and maybe the new Vision concept will take a step further down that road.

A while ago BMW patented designs for an unusual air-cooled three-cylinder engine, with the cylinders splayed in a W shape to fit into a cruiser-style bike. The engine even featured pushrods rather than overhead cams, making for smaller cylinder heads and allowing for the largest possible capacity to be squeezed into the sort of space that would normally accommodate a V-twin engine. Could that design be intended for the Vision concept? We’ve still got a long wait ahead before we find out.

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