BMW files patent for bike and roof system

Back in the 2000s, BMW Motorrad used to offer a very obscure model called the C1. Offered in Europe between 2000-2002, the C1 was a city scooter with its own roof.

Remember the C1? BMW working on new bike with roof image

The roof featured a windshield with a wiper, behind was an integrated top box storage compartment. Within the structure was a full bucket seat with 4-point seatbelt for the rider. Thought mostly made of aluminum, the motorcycle was quite heavy and only came with a choice of 125cc or 175cc engine. BMW was even planning an electric version. Not surprisingly, the heavy, slow, and bulky bike was discontinued.

Lately, however, BMW has submitted patents to the European Intellectual Property Office for a motorcycle design strikingly similar to the ill-fated C1. The difference this time is that the bike is electric and the roof system is removable.

Remember the C1? BMW working on new bike with roof image

The latest patent features a designed intended to fit BMW’s C Evolution electric scooter. The C Evolution was a concept electric version of the C650 GT  unveiled in 2012. Intended to be marketed with its hybrid electric cars, the i3 and i8, the C Evolution was never sold commercially. Instead it was offered to police forces in Spain and Germany.

Remember the C1? BMW working on new bike with roof image

The attachable roof doesn’t only provide protection from the weather. It also offers protection from accidents and collisions. The cage is fitted with crumple zones, aerodynamic stabilizers and even airbags. Like before, it also has a safety harness for the rider. It attaches to the bike with just a few bolts. How the airbag system is connected was not explained.

The idea is certainly interesting, but is a roof really necessary for a motorcycle?

In theory, for tropical countries like the Philippines where torrential rains are frequent, this is a good idea. These days, we see even e-bikes with that flimsy purple plastic foldable roof. However, in practice, a large bulky roof will make the bike harder to maneuver (especially between other cars) and add quite a lot to its price. With the current backrider shield requirement, riders are already complaining of the possible aerodynamic problems it poses. An optional roof, even one with aerodynamic stabilizers, likely won’t be very popular.

For now, it’s still a patent with no word from BMW as to whether it will be developed and sold yet.