New BMW two-wheelers put a different spin on electric bikes

06 September 2021 - 17:09
The pedal-less BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY weighs just 65kg, significantly lighter than regular motorbikes. Picture: SUPPLIED
The pedal-less BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY weighs just 65kg, significantly lighter than regular motorbikes. Picture: SUPPLIED

Are they bicycles or motorcycles? Something in between, says BMW of its Vision AMBY concept two-wheelers.

The German carmaker has unveiled the electrically-powered vehicle in two versions: one with pedals and the other without. The BMW i Vision AMBY requires pedalling to gain assistance from the electric drive, and the Motorrad Vision AMBY is accelerated using a throttle grip and has footrests instead of pedals.

Big deal: one is an e-bicycle and the other is an electric motorbike and we’ve seen it all before, one might argue.

But the German firm has put a different spin on things by giving the bikes the ability to automatically adjust their top speeds using geofencing to detect the roads they are on.

The drive allows up to 25km/h on cycle paths, up to 45km/h on inner-city roads and up to a top speed of 60km/h on multi-lane roads and out of town. A helmet, licence plates and the relevant driving licence are required to be able to travel at higher speeds.

BMW says there is no legal basis yet for a vehicle with a modular speed concept in its home German market, and the idea behind the AMBY is to prompt legislation that might enable this kind of set-up.

“In this way, the BMW Group is demonstrating that it will continue to be involved in providing mobility options in big cities in the future and offers innovative solutions,” says a BMW spokesperson.

For those who want to stay fit while they commute, the pedal-assisted i Vision AMBY is a regular e-bike with 27.5 inch wheels and a range of up to 300km.

The i Vision AMBY is pedal assisted. Picture: SUPPLIED
The i Vision AMBY is pedal assisted. Picture: SUPPLIED

The pedal-less Motorrad Vision AMBY weighs just 65kg, making it significantly lighter and more agile than other motorbikes. It has chunky treads on the 26-inch front wheel and 24-inch rear wheel, and is designed as a go-anywhere enduro machine. Like regular motorcycles it has front and rear lights.

In both bikes a smartphone is used as the “key”, with an app that enables the user to activate the bike for riding based on their stored driving licence class.

“Everywhere you look, apparently established categories are being blown apart — and that’s a good thing. In the future, classifications such as ‘car’, ‘bicycle’ and ‘motorcycle’ should not determine the nature of the products we think up, develop and offer,” explains Werner Haumayr, vice-president BMW Group Design Conception.

“Rather, this paradigm shift gives us the opportunity to tailor products to people’s lifestyles.”


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