BMW has secured a patent that turns the front wheel into a crumple zone similar to the safety feature built into cars for decades. In the BMW Motorrad patent, the front wheel stays straight on impact, rather than deflecting, by means of a metal V-shaped unit mounted on the frame. Crumple zone They claim this will add precious crumple zone centimetres before the rider impacts with the other vehicle or obstruction. Crumple zones were developed and patented by Mercedes-Benz in 1952 and first installed in their 220 in 1959. They are now in just about every vehicle on the road, except motorcycles. But adding a heavy chunk of metal to a motorcycle – even if it is low down and will improve the centre of gravity – doesn’t seem like a smart idea. It also only serves as protection in a head-on crash and we don’t see how it will stop the rider going over the handlebars, anyway. Patent drawing Joke? We’re not sure if BMW is serious about this. After all, BMW are kings of April 1 pranks, but this is a little too early for an April Fool’s Day joke. BMW is also keen on patents and has applied for these just over the past couple of years: An electric scooter with a roof; A hybrid-powered motorcycle with a boxer engine and back-up electric motor; A sidestand charger for an electric motorcycle; and A supercharged engine. None of these has yet gone into production. BMW communications boss Tim Diehl-Thiele tells us: “BMW Motorrad is currently not planning to implement this patent in series production.” Notice the word “currently”.