BMW Motorrad

A Digital Makeover

BMW S1000RR Instrument Close Up
BMW S1000RR Instrument Close Up

A Step Into the Digital Age

Our task was to rethink and redesign the rider experience of the legendary motorcycles. And essentially create a bespoke, digital brand experience that respects the needs and desires of the four different types of riders. And just to make things a little more challenging, we had to do it on a universal platform. A back-end computing unit that is neither brand-specific, nor rider-specific. In fact, it’s so universal, it is even used by competitors. The digital experience for BMW Motorrad was built on that same universal platform. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at it.

  • BMW Motorrad.

  • Universal Platform — Competitor.

The resulting BMW TFT combi display began a completely new era of instrument clusters for BMW Motorrad. The integration of navigation, communication and media players into an operating and interface concept that fulfills the motorcyclist challenges of legibility and reduced distraction while conveying the distinct design characteristics of the four respective experience worlds: Adventure, Tour, Race and Urban.

With BMW Motorrad connectivity you are able to use the functionality of your smartphone, be it calls, music or navigation, from the bike's clear TFT display and, via Bluetooth, connect the motorcycle, smartphone and helmet to the multi-controller on the handlebars. So you always have the right playlist in your ears, stay in touch with your friends and never lose sight of your goals.

RESPECTING RIDER DIVERSITY

Just like a BMW M driver would have sportier expectations compared to a BMW i3 driver, the same goes for motorcycle riders. A race rider who is going to a track day, has different requirements, than an urban scooter rider, who is not exceeding 35 miles per hour. That’s why before even starting with the visual aesthetics, we took the time to define the fundamental experiences for each type of rider.

  • Sport World Rider.

  • Sport World Interface.

  • Adventure World Rider.

  • Adventure World Interface.

  • Touring World Rider.

  • Touring World Interface.

  • Urban World Rider.

  • Urban World Interface.

The BMW Motorrad ConnectRide functional product family can connect to each other via Bluetooth and the BMW Connected App. With the foundation of BMW Motorrad Connectivity laid, more features and products will follow to make the riding experience even easier, safer and more comfortable-no matter where and with which bike you are riding.

The Four Motorrad Worlds

“FIRST YOU TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE NEEDS AND DESIRES OF YOUR AUDIENCE. AND THEN YOU WORK TOWARDS PROVIDING THE RIGHT INTERFACE FOR IT.”

—Holger Hampf, Designworks President

The four distinct interfaces represent the different riding worlds: Sport, Adventure, Tour, and Urban. The way information is displayed on each one, and the way the user interacts with them, is completely different. Not for the sake of being different but because the underlying riding experience changes drastically depending on the context.

For example, Sport has a very linear gauge with speed and tilt angle. Because when you are going around a turn on the track, that’s the kind of information you need to know so you don’t slip and slide. Adventure on the other hand, which is made for the off-road, dirt-biking types has a big bar graph for the RPM.

Four Different BMW Motorrad Displays

Four different riding experiences. Four different interfaces. All built on one unit.

We leveraged layout, color, graphics, and behavior to bring these four characters to life, and created four interfaces that look very different from one another. And certainly, very different from the original, and the competition. But the real differentiation does not come from the visual language. It’s the overall riding experience that defines it.

IF YOU MUST LOOK TWICE, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

You are riding along a curvy, coastal road, at 60 miles per hour. The last thing you need is distraction. Like having to study information, while you are supposed to be keeping your eyes on the road.

“MAKING THINGS GLANCEABLE IS ONE OF THE BIG CHALLENGES FOR TRANSPORTATION DESIGN IN THE MODERN ERA.”

—Matthew Potter, Director of IXD, LA Studio

Designworks has been a key partner in the development of the automotive UX/UI experience across all brands at BMW. So, you could say that we have a decent amount of experience when it comes to digital interface design. Particularly in the mobility sector. And one of the biggest challenges throughout these experiences is making things glanceable; presenting information in such a way that it can be understood within a fraction of a second.

But when it comes to motorcycles, thanks to their very own unique driving context—two wheels, exposure to weather elements; sun, glare, rain, wind, snow, you get the picture—that challenge gets an extra upgrade.

Our focus was to create a very simple, yet modern interface. We reduced the level of complexity, kept the information that is absolutely necessary to the rider, and really ramped up the boldness and the graphic quality of the interface. Things are easy to read. Even with a helmet on your head and the sunshine in your face. As a rider you can see the graphics out of the periphery of you vision. Without having to take your eyes off the road.

The design development took place in close cooperation with a very creative and interdisciplinary BMW internal team over a period of more than a year.

Information and graphics are easy to read even through a helmet and under extreme weather conditions.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING DIFFERENT.

As far as vehicles are concerned, the interface is one of the most important touch points. The vehicle itself is static. Its design won’t change. The primary communication point for the user, is through the interface. That’s where the vehicle is responding to you. That’s where the brand character truly comes to life.

“ONE OF OUR STRENGTHS IS CREATING THIS BRANDED EXPERIENCE THAT WORKS IN A TRANSPORTATION SETTING, FINDING WAYS TO MAXIMIZE DIFFERENTIATION AND REALLY BRING FORWARD THOSE BRAND VALUES AND BRAND EXPERIENCE THAT WE WANT THE END USER TO HAVE.”

—Matthew Potter, Director of IXD, LA Studio

As mentioned before, it’s not always possible to develop a platform from scratch. But honestly speaking, it doesn’t matter. You can work on any type of platform. Be it universal, or proprietary. Standing out will never be a problem. You will be able to develop an experience that is brand-appropriate and user-relevant. As long as you invest the time and effort to understand the user’s needs and the kind of experience they are after. That’s the strength and beauty of human-centric design.