A California BMW dealership has started using virtual reality to help sell motorcycles to people who don’t yet have a motorcycle licence.
Long Beach BMW Motorcycles is also offering experienced riders the opportunity to see what it is like to ride different bus, such as their GS models or their S 1000 RR on a track.
They can even wheelie the bike!
It’s a great idea, but not the first of its type.
For some time Harley-Davidson has been offering non-riders the thrill of letting out the clutch on a big Harley tethered to a rolling road.
There is no leaning involved, but non-riders get to experience changing gears and feeling the big V-twin roaring between their legs.
A couple of years ago Victory Motorcycles launched a virtual reality riding experience to use at its trade shows in the US.
Unfortunately, Victory is now defunct, but maybe sister company Indian Motorcycle will take it up.
Long Beach BMW Motorcycles owner David Lindahl admits there is no substitute for the feeling you get when you’re on a bike.
“But for people who haven’t yet learned how to ride it’s a fun way for them to see what they’re missing,” he says.
Users wear an Oculus 360-degree Gear VR headset, Sennheiser HD598 noise-cancelling headphones and a wearable SUBPAC subwoofer that provides tactile audio to replicate the vibrations of a motorcycle.
Apart from non-riders, the owners say seasoned motorcyclists are also enjoying the experience to test their limits in unfamiliar terrain.
It would be great if the system were available here. It might bring a lot of non-riders into dealerships.
BMW Motorrad Australia GM Andreas Lundgren says it is an “interesting concept”.
“We don’t have any plans to introduce it at the moment but as the technology evolves I have no doubt it will happen in the future,” he says