Since the invention of the very first motorcycle, nearly 150 years ago, they’ve been getting better and better and better. And although there’s liable to be a few flat-cap wearing coffin-dodgers that reckon the 60s, the 70s or the 80s were the golden age of motorcycles, I think most sensible people will agree that they’ve improved in almost every way, every decade. Whether you think they’ve improved or not though, they’ve certainly changed; you only need to look at the kinds of things they used to knock around on in the olden days, to see just how much. But, after all these years, have the bike manufacturers reached perfection, or is there still room for improvement? Will bikes get bigger, better and faster, or will government legislation finally ban 200mph machines? Will we really outlaw the internal combustion engine? Join us for a gaze into the 44teeth.com crystal ball as we ask ‘motorcycles of the future; what will they be like?’
In ten years’ time bikes will still look fairly similar to the ones you see in the showrooms today. And on paper, they’ll be very similar, too. The vast majority will still be using four-stroke, water-cooled petrol engines. The few electric options available still won’t really be able to cut the mustard. Electronics will have moved on significantly though. So much so that high-siding a bike will be a thing of the past. Even the cheapest bikes will have engines that are buttery smooth, and service intervals will be into the hundreds of thousands of miles for some models. In the 2030s, China will sell more motorbikes than all the other nations put together.
By the time we get to the 2040s, Greta and her international army of environmentalists will have bullied all the world leaders into subsidising electric vehicles. Battery and EV technology has been improving exponentially during the previous decade. 90% of four-wheeled vehicles are now battery powered, but the bike industry is still lagging behind. To jump through Greta’s hoop (and to cash in on the subsidies), most of the main manufacturers start to develop hybrid bikes; bikes fuelled by both petrol and electricity. Hybrid sales quickly overtake conventional bike sales and before long, having a petrol powered bike is seen as very uncouth.
Petrol is becoming increasingly difficult to get hold of. By the time we get to the 2050s the bike world has followed in the footsteps of the car world. 90% of bikes are fully electric. Electric bikes are now just as fast, just as light, and can go even further than petrol bikes ever could. Even on a full tank of fuel. In fact batteries are now so good at storing power that, rather than powering a simple electric motor, they can power ‘super thrusters’, the likes of which are yet to be invented. Bikes will be capable of many hundreds of miles per hour. But you wont be able to do it because they’ll come fitted with a government transmitter beacon which automatically issues a fine should you break the nationwide 100mph speed limit.
With different power sources and new methods of propulsion, bikes are once again unrecognisable. During the 2060s manufacturers are constantly developing new and innovative motorcycles of the future. One such innovation, developed in a British laboratory, uses onboard electromagnets to oppose the magnetic pull of the earth’s core. This allows a bike to hover up to a meter off the earth’s surface. Although initially expensive, the Chinese quickly reverse engineer the technology and put into mass production. Soon there are a number of different manufacturers having a go. By the end of the ‘60s, ‘hover bikes’ have more safety features than a NASA space shuttle and are therefore genuinely almost impossible to crash.
Even before the motorcycle industry has mastered the art of hovering, manufactures and riders alike are keen to take things to the next step. By the mid-70s ‘hover bikes’, can hover at an altitude of up to 1,000ft, and fly over 1,000mph. What we consider a motorcycle and what we consider an aircraft becomes an increasingly grey area. The Civil Aviation Authority mandate that any vehicle capable of operating more than 100ft off the ground for more than 100 seconds at a time, is to be deemed as an aircraft. And therefore subject to the rules and regulations as such. Whether on the ground or in the air, these motorcycles of the future can be operated fully autonomously using accurate navigation systems. For the more immersive experience, they can also be controlled by the rider, however there will be no physical manipulation required.
Like most things in 50 years’ time, these motorcycles of the future will be controlled via telekinesis, using only the power of thought.