The Sinewy and Slightly Unsettling Yamaha MOTOROiD 2 Electric Motorcycle

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If you ever get the opportunity to attend the newly rebranded Japan Mobility Show (formerly the Tokyo Motor Show), we highly recommend it even if you don’t consider yourself an automotive enthusiast. That’s because the Tokyo event showcases some of the most unusual and thought-provoking designs, many that challenge the notion of what a car, truck, or motorcycle can be, as is the case with Yamaha’s sinuous MOTOROiD 2 electric motorbike slated to make its big reveal later this month..

A follow-up to the original concept bike designed around the notion of “what would the offspring of a 4-legged animal and an electric motorcycle look like?,” The MOTOROiD 2 is also engineered to self-balance by swiveling its slightly unsettling biomorphic entomological backside.

The linked swingarm and battery compartment are both part of Yamaha’s Active Mass Center Control System (AMCES).

The bike is supposedly capable of this maneuvering thanks to its unique hub mount position. Placed onto a swing arm connected at a pivoting point under the rider’s seat, the setup allows the rear wheel to swivel and lean independently from the front of the bike, giving the bike the ability to find its balance like a living animal (a premise emphasized by Yamaha’s query, “How do you live with a machine that feels like a living thing?“).

You might notice there’s something missing from your typical motorcycle: handlebars. The MOTOROiD 2 eschews that part for handle grips closely  positioned underneath the semi-transparent layered front fairing. That should make for an aerodynamic seated position, but its unclear how steerable such a bike might ride with such limited permitted movement.

If David Cronenberg ever designed a motorcycle, it probably would look like this.

Sketches and modeling of the original Motoroid electric motorcycle reveal a more exposed system, inspired by the shape and design of a “living creature.” The second iteration builds upon that idea to a somewhat unsettling degree.

Illuminated by blue LEDs underneath the front cowl and centerstand, it’s impossible not to think of James Cameron’s realm of Avatar.

Other features carrying over from the original concept design include haptic feedback and AI-powered facial and gesture recognition, allowing the MOTOROiD 2 to roll over to the rider autonomously like a loyal pet companion on its own when called over (the first concept did so with the speed of a geriatric retriever). We’ll eventually learn more about the what and how at the Tokyo Motor Show.

For more photos of the MOTOROiD 2, venture over to Yamaha’s global site.

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