Yamaha unveils the unique, twisting, self-balancing Motoroid 2

Yamaha self-balancing Motoroid 2
Motoroid 2: Yamaha's strikingly bizarre vision of self-balancing motorcycles. Images credit Yamaha Motor

The motorcycling world is no stranger to futuristic concepts and innovative ideas, but Yamaha’s newly unveiled Motoroid 2 is on a whole different level of bizarre. While it’s easy to dismiss its twisting swingarm and AI facial recognition as mere spectacle, the details suggest this is not just a sci-fi daydream but a glimpse into the possible future of motorcycling.

Concept and design

Six years ago, Yamaha introduced the original Motoroid concept, which left spectators scratching their heads. Fast forward to today, and Yamaha has reimagined its innovative idea in the form of the Motoroid 2. This iteration is still electric, with a hub-driven rear wheel, but what truly fascinates is the swingarm. Unlike a typical bike where the swingarm remains fixed in relation to the bike’s frame, the Motoroid 2’s swingarm can tilt independently. This swivel capability extends to the battery box located under the motorcycle’s central spine, allowing for a dynamic alteration of the bike’s weight balance.

At the heart of this design marvel is Yamaha’s “Active Mass Center Control System” (AMCES). By having the swingarm and battery box move in tandem, Yamaha enhances the bike’s stability. The front wheel of the Motoroid 2 might appear conventional, but its handgrips suggest otherwise. These rigid handgrips aren’t mechanically connected to steer the front wheel. Instead, the Motoroid 2 employs electronic steering combined with the AMCES, enabling the bike to self-balance, autonomously stand up, and even move around on its own. Riders can interact with the bike using facial recognition and gesture control, making it look like something straight out of a sci-fi blockbuster.

What’s different this time?

Yamaha’s original Motoroid had certain features, like a pair of arms, that made the experience feel more human-like. However, the Motoroid 2 drops this human touch in favor of a more streamlined, futuristic design. The previous arms that gripped the rider’s hips have been scrapped. Instead, a translucent white bodywork with blue mood lighting has been added. This bodywork is not just for aesthetics, as it can be tilted upward, pushing the seat backward. While Yamaha remains cryptic about this feature’s exact purpose, speculation suggests storage or perhaps just a quirky design element.

Yamaha Self-balancing Motoroid 2 Translucent Body Work
The Motoroid 2 stands out with its distinctive translucent white bodywork.

Another notable change is in the bike’s cosmetics. The Motoroid 2 sports a new bodywork and an imposing headlight unit at the front. A pair of sizable gleaming training-wheel sidestands adds to the bike’s already otherworldly look.

Purpose and projection

Yamaha’s description of the Motoroid 2 as having “a distinctly lifelike feel” and being “a presence more like a lifetime companion” might sound like a sales pitch, but it’s more a testament to their vision. Yamaha doesn’t see the Motoroid 2 as the next production bike but as a second-gen concept, highlighting their commitment to exploring the relationship between humans and machines.

Yamaha Self-balancing Motoroid 2 Body Work Flips Up
The translucent bodywork, illuminated with blue mood lighting, flips up.

In the ever-evolving landscape of transport, concepts like Motoroid 2 push boundaries and ask pertinent questions about the future. It may never be commercially available, but its unique features and advancements serve as inspiration for future models.

For those keen on seeing this avant-garde creation in person, it will be showcased at the Events Japan Mobility Show 2023 later this month. As for pricing, there has been no indication from Yamaha as of now, given its concept nature.

Yamaha Self-balancing Motoroid 2 Headlight
The Motoroid 2 combines rigid handgrips with a bold, imposing headlight.

In conclusion, while the Motoroid 2 might seem like a perplexing wonder now, it serves as a testament to Yamaha’s commitment to innovation, pushing the boundaries of design, technology, and the human-machine relationship. Whether this will become the norm in the future is anyone’s guess, but it certainly paves the way for more out-of-the-box thinking in the motorcycling world.

Yamaha Self-balancing Motoroid 2 Hub Motor
The Motoroid 2 features a hub motor on a unique suspended swingarm that swivels.

Source: Yamaha