It goes without saying that motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than cars, but that hasn’t stopped motorcycle manufacturers from trying to reduce the safety gap as much as possible. It’s often worth looking at the safety systems in the car world to get a glimpse into what might be coming down the pipeline for motorcycles.
One of those technologies is anti-lock brakes, or ABS. If you’re a new rider reading this and aren’t sure what ABS is, the concept is simple: when you use the brakes, sensors on both the front and rear wheels detect if/when the wheels lock. When this happens, the sensors send a signal to the ECU, telling it to release enough pressure on the brake caliper(s) to allow the wheel to spin again. This cycle is happening several times a second, applying and releasing brake pressure to avoid lockup and bring the motorcycle to a stop.
Modern ABS sensors are very discreet, housed in a tiny bracket, seen here between the caliper and the end of the swingarm. The sensor reads the speed of the slotted ring inside the rotor carrier to detect lockup.
Now, anti-lock brakes on motorcycles aren’t a new phenomenon – the tech has been around since the 1980s – but ABS often gets a bad rap from some corners of motorcycling. The common complaint is the abrupt pulsing at the lever.
Like lots of things that have been around since the ‘80s, ABS has steadily improved in the past 30-odd years. And in recent years, since Inertial Measurement Units (IMU) started to make their way onto motorcycles, ABS has taken a massive leap both in terms of functionality and activation.
It’s with this in mind that we bring you five key reasons why you need ABS on your next motorcycle.
Dramatically reduced stopping distance, especially in the wet
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