BMW Motorrad has a history of debuting concept bikes here at Lake Como, Italy that become reality, so the just-unveiled Concept Link drops a credible hint at how the German manufacturer plans to tackle the future of motorcycling. "This is our vision of two-wheeled mobility in urban areas," BMW Motorrad's Head of Design Edgar Heinrich announced at the unveil, insisting that the rectilinear two-wheeler is neither scooter nor motorcycle, but rather an exploration of connectivity that "links the digital experience with the analog world of commuting, putting the rider at the focus of the whole experience."

BMW Link eBike
BMW Motorrad head honcho Stephan Schaller addressed the crowd at the unveiling of the Concept Link near Lake Como, Italy.Photo: Basem Wasef

Future-friendly jargon aside, the electric-powered Concept Link was inspired by the gyroscopically enabled Vision NEXT 100 concept motorcycle, but appears to veer towards the scooter side by focusing on relatively short distance city commutes rather than long-range comfort. Its compact design encourages lane-splitting and easy parking, with a plank-like saddle for packaging simplicity. Connecting an underfloor battery to a compact rear wheel motor yields an oddly unfamiliar silhouette replete with hard-edged surfaces and diagonal accents.

Concept Link prototype
BMW Concept Link prototype, an electric-powered motorcycle/scooter hybrid that hints at BMW's vision for the future of single-track mobility.Photo: Basem Wasef

Two strands of thick, bright orange cables along the right side hint at a high-voltage battery source, while a conventional instrument cluster is dropped in favor of navigation and state-of-charge info projected onto a small windscreen. Infotainment and navigation controls operate via a touch-sensitive panel, while customizable touch buttons on the handlebars allow for easy access to oft-used controls.

Concept Link dash and gauge
The display of the Concept Link projects pertinent data up onto the small windscreen.Photo: Basem Wasef

No futuristic bike concept would be complete without a gotta-have-it accessory, and the Concept Link features a touch-sensitive jacket that actuates a sliding door compartment. Swipe the jacket sleeve, and a panel sweeps open like a Starship Enterprise door, revealing a small helmet cubby.

BMW Concept Link storage
The Concept Link's storage compartment opens via touch-sensitivity, and appeared to fit a scooter helmet easily.Photo: Basem Wasef

BMW describes the Concept Link as having, "emphatically function-driven architecture," a statement backed up by its stark lines and Blade Runner-like aesthetic. But more importantly, the concept is indicative of the brand's relentless appetite for growth, a point emphasized by BMW Motorrad boss Stephan Schaller's statement that though the motorcycle industry is stagnating, BMW's sales continue to grow.

Concept Link handlebar
The Concept Link has all of the looks of a futuristic machine, down to the levers and integrated handlebar.Photo: Basem Wasef

"On the volume side we are well on our way," he told the assembled crowd, "but that volume alone will not ensure the future." When asked if there are any niches BMW plans on avoiding, Edgar Heinrich told Motorcyclist that despite entry into the 310cc market, "We think it's feasible as long as it's a premium product in its segment."

As for the timeline for a production version of the Concept Link, Heinrich says, “This concept is a one-off, but there’s almost enough technology now to build it. This is in the nearer future; the Vision NEXT 100 may be 30 years away, but this is maybe 5 years off.”

Concept Link electric cables
Running under the door to the storage compartment are two, bold, orange cables, as a statement of the zero-emission design of the Concept Link.Photo: Basem Wasef
BMW Concept Link electric scooter
BMW Concept LinkPhoto: BMW