BMW shows another take on “urban mobility of the future”

If you liked the direction BMW Motorrad hinted at with the Concept CE 02 electric minibike, then guess what—BMW has more of that urban mobility action on-tap for you. Now, we’ve got photos of the BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY, a “completely new concept between bicycle and motorbike” that “taps into fresh possibilities for the innovative, urban mobility of the future.

The “AMBY” name stands for “Adaptive Mobility,” BMW’s press release tells us. Looking at this thing, it does indeed appear to be in that halfway-between-bike-and-motorcycle genre that so many OEMs are exploring these days. You can’t exactly call it a fresh new idea—Zero was in this space a decade ago. It’s not an e-bike with pedals, although BMW also announced a concept version of one of those as well. That pedal-assist bike is confusingly called the BMW i Vision AMBY, and these machines are supposed to be seen as a 1-2 punch at the problem of urban gridlock. As per BMW’s presser:

The BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY and the BMW i Vision AMBY (see BMW i Vision AMBY press release) interpret the fundamental idea of adaptive urban mobility on two wheels based on differing facets. Both vehicles are electrically powered with three speed levels for different types of road. The drive allows up to 25 km/h on cycle paths, up to 45 km/h on inner-city roads and up to a top speed of 60 km/h on multi-lane roads and out of town. A helmet, insurance licence plates and the relevant driving licence are required to be able to travel at higher speeds, however. While the BMW i Vision AMBY as a high-speed pedelec requires constant pedalling in order to gain assistance from the electric drive, the BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY is accelerated using the throttle grip and has footrests instead of pedals, as is typical of a motorcycle.

So, the BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY is supposed to be a motorcycle-lite then, and if you want full-power performance, you’ll need a licence and insurance.

BMW says “its design suggests clear echoes of the expressive style and layout of an BMW Enduro motorbike.” There’s a big 26-inch front wheel and 24-inch rear, with knobbyish tires. The seat is 830 mm high, which is dual sport territory. There’s a bicycle fork up front, which is apparently enough to handle the bike’s 65-kg weight. Battery range is around 110 km/h.

The bike is actually managed by a smartphone app, says BMW’s press release. The app will check the user’s biometrics to see who’s riding, then configure power output to match their licence profile. The app can also be configured to manage insurance issues, and to ensure the rider does not speed by enacting geofencing management. If the bike sees you’re supposed to be going 25 km/h, then that’s what you’ll do.

How far away is this Brave New World? When will the AMBY become a real bike you can buy? For now, it’s just a concept for the show circuit, but with the ongoing crackdown on internal combustion-powered vehicles in major cities, the future will likely be here sooner than you think.

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