BMW e-bike

BMW E-Bike Defies Category With 186-Mile Range, Geofencing App

BMW’s monster new e-bike has a superlative range and a fancy app to work around e-bike classification in the name of performance. It also has an e-moto cousin from BMW Motorrad.

The BMW i Vision AMBY is next-level. That’s not only figurative but also a literal truth: a category for it doesn’t exist yet. The German automaker revealed the new bike and the Vision AMBY (its e-motorcycle-inspired cousin) at this week’s IAA Mobility show in Munich.

Among the features that set this new bike apart are a massive 2,000Wh battery that delivers a 180-plus mile range and an app that cleverly uses geofencing to keep it from being legally classified as an e-bike or a scooter.

bmw i vision amby e-bike

Leave it to BMW to create something that doesn’t exist yet. Here’s the rundown.

BMW i Vision AMBY: Range, Speeds, Implications

The i Vision AMBY leans on its big range numbers for broad appeal. No other e-bike comes close to its claimed 186-mile max, which is a clear step forward in the category.

However, the i Vision AMBY is not necessarily an electric bicycle. Sure, it has pedals, a crank, and an onboard motor. But its designers intentionally pushed it beyond the scope of the category, apparently in hopes of cutting some of the legal red tape between what’s considered an e-bike and what’s considered a scooter.

bmw i vision amby e-bike

In the United States, three classifications for e-bikes exist. It all depends on how much the motor assists the bike and whether or not you have to pedal it. Here’s the gist:

  • Class 1: Motor assist only starts when you pedal and stops assisting when you reach 20 mph.
  • Class 2: Assisted pedaling is possible, but the motor can also propel the bike without pedaling. The top speed for both modes is 20 mph.
  • Class 3: Electric-powered pedal-assist only kicks in once you’ve reached 28 mph.

The designations matter for various municipal legalities as well as registration and licensing purposes.

But Is It a BMW E-Bike?

bmw i vision amby e-bike
The handlebar and cockpit on the BMW i Vision AMBY

That’s where the i Vision AMBY blurs the lines.

Its accompanying app regulates the bike’s speed between three tiers based on the rider’s location and situation: 15.5 mph, 28 mph, and a high-speed 37 mph. Using geofencing, the app can act as a governor. For instance, it can cut the bike’s top speed from 37 mph to 28 mph when you cross city limits. All this helps ensure you’re within legal e-bike limits wherever you ride.

It all amounts to a potential step forward in e-bike capability and regulation. For a full breakdown of the i Vision AMBY’s performance and implications and a dive into the accompanying Vision AMBY, a beast in its own right with a 56mph top speed check out Bikerumor’s in-depth writeup.

bmw vision amby motorrad e-moto

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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.