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Finally: motorcycle headlights that look around the corners

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July 2, 2010

Finally: motorcycle headlights that look around the corners

Finally: motorcycle headlights that look around the corners

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You can't accuse BMW motorcycles of lacking gadgets - with the latest and greatest Beemers packing quickshifters, traction control, integrated ABS and all sorts of other goodies, they're right at the pointy end of the pack. But as great as those features are, this one's so forehead-slappingly obvious and excellent that frankly it's a disgrace that nobody else has beaten the Bavarians to it. The (optional) Adaptive Headlight technology on the upcoming K1600GT finally solves one of the most annoying problems on pretty much every motorcycle - by tilting the headlight according to your lean angle, to light your way around a corner as you turn it, instead of having to ride into blackness. Bravo!

The problem is simple enough - to run a road-legal headlight, you have to cut off the top half of the beam using a suitable reflector so you don't blind oncoming drivers, giving you a flat lighting horizon when you're vertical. But when you dip into a corner and lean the bike over, that lit-up area tilts with you, and if you're turning left, the left side tilts downward until you're basically unable to see through the corner, like so:

Finally: motorcycle headlights that look around the corners

It's not just annoying, it's a real safety factor if you do a lot of night miles. So BMW deserves unreserved praise for coming up with its Adaptive Headlight system, that senses your lean angle and uses a tilting reflector to aim the beam the way you're leaning. Hence:

Finally: motorcycle headlights that look around the corners

Check it out in this promo video:

The K1600GT headlight also adjusts its pitch, allowing it to run a full HID Xenon beam without blinding oncoming motorists. So there's every reason to believe this will be the best stock headlight on the market, by far.

Hopefully, the day is not far away when ALL stock bikes will have a smart system like this. It sure beats my solution - retina-frying PIAA driving lights mounted beside the headlights and pointed upwards and outwards. Great for my visibility, but lord help any oncoming traffic - or any roadside wildlife that's not wearing SPF 30+ sunscreen.

More details to follow shortly on the new 6-cylinder K1600 touring series, stay tuned!

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade.   All articles by Loz Blain
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9 Comments

Bravo!!!!!!

Mint, now what will stop cagers from high beaming motorcyclists?

There are only so many used spark plugs taped to the bike after all, lol.

Pity there is no retrofit solution.

Rather handy video ;)

Craig Jennings
4th July, 2010 @ 03:56 am PDT

Hey this may be cool for country riding, but most of the time at night motorcycle head lamps at certain speeds ( high speed) are useless they are mainly there so other can see you. (former street racer)

jlbzx6r
5th July, 2010 @ 06:45 am PDT

I'm not suggesting that this doesn't work as designed, but the photos seem to have been taken while someone was holding the bike up (as opposed to riding it). To make a right-hand turn at speed one must counter-steer a motorcycle to the left (and vice-versa), thereby moving the headlamp still further away from the target area (both in the opposite direction and, due to leaning, toward the sky instead of the ground).

Anyhow, the technology is most welcome.

chupacerveza
5th July, 2010 @ 09:32 am PDT

What everyone is ignoring is that when you are going around a turn, you must tilt the bike so that gravity and centrifugal are exactly balanced, and that the bike always is exactly upright. Any onboard sensor will always sense it is upright. If it doesn't, you fall over. Try riding around a turn without leaning over and you will crash.

jchere
5th July, 2010 @ 03:25 pm PDT

Countersteering is such a minute portion of the actual turn making.... it is just to begin the lean process of the bike, that it's a moot point for that. I for one welcome the technology. After riding for the last 29 years and in 23 countries, not to mention way too many track days etc...),.. this is the first time I have seen something (other than ABS which makes me take corners waaaayy too fast :) ) that will actually affect the safety of cycling.

Yay BMW!... now to sell my K1200LT so that I can pick up another bike with this technology.

william.miranda
5th July, 2010 @ 05:29 pm PDT

As a longtime motocycle rider, I think this concept will be most welcome. There are problems with lighting on motorcycles when cornering hard, but the simulation video shown here just made me say WTF? Its just plain unrealistic. The standard headlight will not just "disappear" like that in a corner. The light is still there and its on the road, its just tilted @ the same angle as the bike. This adaptive setup seems to be more aimed at keeping the beam flat to the road instead of canting at an angle as the bike leans over into the corner. Good concept - Bad Exagerated Video.

Terry Penrose
5th July, 2010 @ 05:50 pm PDT

Bikes with headlights mounted to the front fork have headlights that turn into curves.

Facebook User
5th July, 2010 @ 10:52 pm PDT

ah BMW is like 58 years later than Citroen,

with there DS.

It show's again that Citroen was pretty futoristic with that model again!

Jelmer ten Hoeve
6th July, 2010 @ 07:11 am PDT

This system does not use the handlebars therefore, countersteering does not effect the beam aiming devices. This technology is an adaptation from their 1000ss. it uses an actual gyro that senses actual lean angle not the handlebar position. (The SS uses the lean angle to set max engine output at different preset levels of skill) So the light would adjust to the same angle if you are at 30 degrees in a slow residential turn or at 30 degrees in a 90 MPH sweeper the light pattern will remain the same.

Gyroscopic controls trump the Citroen steering lamps mechanical linkage.

Chris Geddes
14th July, 2010 @ 07:50 pm PDT
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