BMW Motorrad has filed patents for an electrically-driven front wheel that is likely to be featured in future generation adventure bikes. The patent drawings are ostensibly of an electric front wheel drive system, which will be able to supply drive force in combination with the conventional rear-wheel drive on motorcycles. The drawings show what is an all-in-one unit mounted around a front wheel hub, which will offer drive to the front wheel when needed in particularly steep inclines or slippery surfaces. The system isn't a full-time two-wheel drive, but can be engaged only when the rider wishes to use it.
The accompanying patent description does not say much about how it works, or what goes behind the front wheel drive concept, but BMW Motorrad states that it can be applied to motorcycles, as well as other vehicles, including three-wheelers and four-wheel vehicles. A patent application doesn't always mean that such technologies will be introduced, or neither are these a sure-shot guarantee that BMW Motorrad will in fact introduce an electric two-wheel drive system.
In fact, more than two years ago, there were reports of BMW Motorrad's all-wheel drive system as well, on what was to be the world's first series-production all-wheel drive travel enduro motorcycle with hybrid drive. Called the xDrive Hybrid, that system is similar to the one filed in the new patent application, but two years hence, it is yet to see something of a production form.
If BMW Motorrad is indeed working on such an all-wheel drive system for motorcycles, with an electric front-wheel drive system, two years is a long time to be working on it, and about time we saw something, at least in concept form. Our guess is, something may be shown at the EICMA show in Milan, in November this year. But then again, who knows? Either ways, it will be interesting to see what the next generation motorcycle technology will be showcased at the world's most popular motorcycle show in November 2019.