2016 has been the year of contrasts, drastic changes and they still continue to reveal themselves while they get more intense as the year approaches the end. I rode solo to Ladakh this year, something I wanted to do since many years, I switched work and am doing something that is totally different from what I was doing earlier. The World’s on the brink of a world war, Banks are barely able to hold on, Apple’s got worse at pretending to be innovative every year, Arnab Goswami smiled on Television, the temperatures and weather patterns broke plenty of records across the globe and there’s a lot of unexplained phenomenon happening around the world which of course, won’t be reported by the mainstream media. I then came across BMW’s concept motorcycle for the future. I was surprised when I saw people going gaga over it but I was even more surprised when I saw existing motorcyclists drooling over the concept ‘bike’. They even forgot to wipe the saliva off their thighs! Just to let you know in case you’re a free bird who isn’t jobless enough to know about this concept, BMW is working on a concept motorcycle that could be out as early as 2035, called the vision next 100 that looks like a soulless Bat mobile. What BMW is boasting about though, are the capabilities of the motorcycle which are listed below:
- The motorcycle will balance itself by using an inbuilt Gyro, so it doesn’t come with a center or side stand with it.
- It comes with reality glass that the rider must wear in order to see through and get assisted with various aids that prevent ‘trouble’.
- BMW says the rider won’t need a helmet.
- The tires adapt to terrains using some damping technology.
- The frame and engine will shape shift as per changes occurring at the wheels.
- A Bionic suit for the rider that would vibrate and alert the rider of hazards.
OK, that might sound like a hell lot of safety and whatever is too safe these days, it attracts people immediately. But, looking at the above points has got me thinking, I mean this is surely an ‘out of this world concept’ and definitely applaudable. But, is it really motorcycling? Motorcycling is motorcycling because it possesses a huge amount of uncertainty, else it wouldn’t have been so much fun. The human subconscious mind, along with the conscious mind plays a high bit rate game while being in sync with each other when one rides a motorcycle. With this BMW concept, will that game even exist since the onboard sensors and computers balance the motorcycle for you? I can’t help myself but call it a non- motorcycle because a human being is not necessarily in control when it comes to balancing this machine, which is the most basic part of motorcycling. If you split the word motorcycle, you get motor and cycle- Motor because the rider uses an engine go forwards and then there’s the cycle which is essentially known to have two wheels which needs human intervention to be put to use. If a human isn’t intervening in the ‘cycle’ process, why call it a motorcycle? Call it some self balancing computerized cycle (ASCC) or something! The throttle on it, fortunately has to be operated by the human being in a similar manner like it is being done today but I don’t have even the slightest of doubt that this too will have high levels of computerized intervention. I see an age where we’ve given up hope on our biological supercomputers and are looking out for artificial intelligence to depend upon, regardless of whether or not this machine makes it to the market.
Coming to the reality glass part of it that the rider is required to wear to ride the BMW vision next 100, I feel there’s no computer out there that can work at par with subconscious mind in terms of the rate at which information syncs with the conscious mind and also in terms of the way it communicates. Not only that, the subconscious minds also feeds in data from other senses that aren’t listed under the 5 senses we’re told about in school. As a rider, I wouldn’t want to be told by an electronic device about a danger that lies a few metres ahead when I’m riding, primarily because I have a highly intuitive and intelligent system working within me that does that job in the best way possible. Everyone possesses such a system. Depending on a hideous pair of sunglasses to dodge potholes and stray dogs could only diminish the existing instinct people already possess. The glasses could work as a great deal on a play station or for viewing virtual reality porn but definitely not for MOTORCYCLING!
When I’m riding on the highway at say 150 kmph behind a faster motorcycle running on soft compound road tyres, then the motorcycle ahead is definitely bound to throw tiny stones and other pieces lying on the road, directly at my face. Considering my speed and the speed at which the tiny stones fly towards me, if I don’t have a helmet to protect my head at that moment then it would definitely penetrate through the skin anywhere on my face. You could call it a bullet of some sort. I don’t know how BMW says there’s no helmet required to ride something they claim to be a motorcycle. There are hundreds of particles flying around in the atmosphere, then there are insects and honey bees that make their way inside the helmet sometimes too, so imagine not having anything around your head while riding silently at high speeds. I’m not sure if this is a depopulation agenda by BMW for the future. If it is, then I like this machine!
The tyres of this ‘thing’ adapt to terrains while its being ridden, I’m assuming by becoming harder or softer. That’s still fine when it comes to the evolution of tyres but the body of this machine shape shifting freaks me out big time, is it a reptilian or something? Why? Why would you need a machine to constantly change shape in a weird way while its being ridden. I mean, imagine things taking a different shape between your legs, while you move around wearing a pair of ugly spectacles!
The rider’s suit I suppose is connected to the new age machine so it vibrates at certain points and alerts the rider of a possible physical threat. I’m assuming the suit too would harden or soften so as to apply full protection to whichever part of the body is being hit by an object. They say that this machine does not tip over, so the suit may function during a ride only. As a result, the suit would vibrate all over one’s torso while being ridden on highways, after taking into account the number of insects that would smash against the suit. Imagine your chest/ breasts and stomach going drrrrr, drrrrr every now and then. Weird.
I probably have appeared as a big critic here, especially to people who accept any toy that came their way in the name of technological innovation. Yes, you may say that people did protest the coming of computers many years ago but now we all depend on it for our bread and butter, or should I say Roti aur Sabzi since I mostly prefer Indian food over everything else. Read what I mentioned there? We DEPEND on computers today even to perform the most basic calculations, that is what ‘innovation’ has been doing to us and will continue to do to us, in the name of development, advancement and convenience. But when it comes to nature, it will continue to prove as the distance between man and nature increases, that nature is the greatest force that will ever be.
To me, this idea of a motorcycle that intends to replace human instincts with computers in the name of ‘safety’ and ‘convenience’ is a highly arrogant one. NO matter how advanced and quick this thing is, as per me, nothing can beat the system we’ve got within us. Motorcycling is meant to be soulful, it involves the fusion of intuition, feeling, realization, the interplay of the conscious and subconscious mind and the involvement of a ton of fun. Something that doesn’t involve those elements or limits them by a large margin can’t be called motorcycling.
http://brand.bmw-motorrad.com/en/stories/design/vision-bike.html – that’s where you could check this electronic computerized vehicle out.
Image courtesy: BMW motorrad.