As part of its centenary celebrations, BMW has been putting out concept vehicles envisioning what future transport might become. In the case of its much vaunted motorcycles, the future is electric, and nothing like you could imagine, in the shape of the Vision Next 100.

The traditional diamond-shaped frame of the motorcycle is now gone, replaced with a carbon-fibre monocouque chassis that is reminiscent of the R32, produced in 1923. Called Flexframe by BMW, none of the traditional pivots and bearing points are seen.

Instead, the frame flexes as necessary to allow the bike to be steered, eliminating the conventional steering head and cone bearing arrangement. This allows for speed-sensitive steering – a low speds, only a light touch is required to change direction, with steering effort increasing as speed rises.

As befits BMW Motorrad’s vision of a clean future, the engine of the Vision Next 100 is a zero-emissions unit. While current clean engine technology means a battery powered electric motor, the future could see technology such as fuel cells being applied.

Missing from the Vision Next 100 is the side stand, which has been replaced with self-balancing technology, commonly found today on Segway personal transports. In front, two U-shaped elements form the daytime running lights, and are combined with a reflector that also functions as a wind shield.

Connectivity is integrated into the Vision Next 100, with all riding and bike information displayed in a visor worn by the rider. Gesture control also makes an appearance, with the rider’s hand movements activating functions such as turn signals with the only analogue switch being engine kill switch.

The visor displays other information such as lean angle and suggested cornering line. Should the bike not be in the correct position, the rider can make adjustments, and if no correction is done, the Vision Next 100 will self-correct as necessary.

For the rider, the Digital Companion on the Vision Next 100 provides all necessary data to the rider, with information conveyed through the visor, or via vibration sensors in the suit – for example, when a left turn is indicated by the navigation system, a vibration signal is sent to the rider’s left leg, indication a left turn is imminent.

Rider clothing on the Vision Next 100 also goes high-tech, with a fabric that cools or warms the rider as required. An airbag in the neck inflates at high speed, providing support and avoiding rider fatigue.

“The Vision Net 100 embodies the BMW Group’s vision of biking in a connected world – an analogue experience in a digital age. Motorcycling is about escaping from the everyday, the moment you straddle your bike, you are absolutely free. Your bike is The Great Escape,” says Edgar Heinrich, head of design at BMW Motorrad.