To say that motorcycle technology has become pretty complex in recent years would be a massive understatement. Every single part of the motorcycle has been engineered for maximum performance, efficiency, and longevity, so much so that today’s bikes are rolling marvels of engineering.

Take for example the headlight. How complex can a motorcycle headlight be? I mean, there’s a bulb and a bunch of reflectors—that’s it, right? Well, apparently not. Adaptive headlights are now a thing, and a lot of premium, modern-day machines have them as standard. But BMW wants to take things a step further.

You see, BMW recently filed a patent for a new groundbreaking adaptive LED headlight design. Instead of the current LED matrix that switches individual bulbs on and off depending on the lean angle, the new design makes use of a gimbal-like device to keep the light level.

BMW's gimbal-mounted headlight promises superb headlight stability

BMW's gimbal-mounted headlight promises superb headlight stability

If you’re into videography, even casually, you’ll surely appreciate the benefits a gimbal provides. It keeps your footage extremely stable even if you run around and flap your arms up and down. The same is true with BMW’s new headlight design—or at least, that’s the idea. The design incorporates a three-axis gimbal that keeps the headlight stable as the bike leans left and right. It does the same when it pitches fore and aft—that’s to say, during heavy braking and acceleration, possibly even during wheelies.

Apart from keeping the beam extremely stable no matter the movement of the bike, the headlight can also physically turn and direct the beam into the apex of a turn, which is said to increase visibility and safety.

Apart from just a gimbal, BMW's design incorporates a camera

Apart from just a gimbal, BMW's design incorporates a camera

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So how does it work? Well, it’s connected to the bike’s inertial measurement unit (IMU), which is the device that governs several fancy rider aids like lean-sensitive traction control, cornering ABS, slide control, and anti-wheelie. Interestingly, the headlight design also incorporates a camera, whose role is more than likely to aid in beam stabilization more than actually capturing images and video.

Quite frankly, I never had any problems with my bike’s regular LED headlights—and they’re not even adaptive. I guess when it comes to groundbreaking technology like this, manufacturers are incentivized to develop seemingly crazy tech for the sake of being ahead of the competition. Most bikes’ headlights are more than adequate when it comes to providing illumination, even on the darkest roads.

Nevertheless, a fancy headlight that’s as stable as the head of a chicken is certainly super cool—until something goes wrong and the system stops working completely. Call me a boomer, but I think I’ll stick to my regular, non-fancy headlight.

At least for now.

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