Six facts about motorcycle ABS you should know about (with video)

Here are six key facts you should about motorcycle ABS and why it is so important.

As part of the Global NCAP #StopTheCrash road safety campaign, leading automotive OEM (original equipment manufacturer) Bosch held an exclusive motorcycle ABS demonstration today in the Sepang International Circuit (SIC).


If you didn’t know, Bosch and specifically its Two Wheeler & Powersports Division have been supplying various systems to a number of leading bike makers such as BMW Motorrad, Ducati and KTM. Amongst the key systems it supplies is motorcycle ABS (anti-lock braking system).

Here are several facts you should know about motorcycle ABS and why you it is one important factor to consider when purchasing your next bike.


1. Motorcycle ABS grants shorter braking distances
Yes, you read that right, motorcycle ABS does shorten the braking distance on a bike. As you can see in the diagram provided above, a motorcycle travelling at the typical speed of 100km/h stops shorter in a much shorter distance as oppose to one not equipped with ABS.

How this works is rather simple. Motorcycle ABS systems as such designed by Bosch are engineered to provide the best possible deceleration without locking the front wheel. This maintains both stability and manoeuvrability, allowing riders to perform avoidance manoeuvres with ease in the process as well.


2. Motorcycle ABS enhances your bike’s performance
Not only does it make your biker a lot safer, motorcycle ABS suites also help to enhance your bike’s performance further. In fact, without ABS, other notable value-added systems such as Traction Control, Rear-Wheel Lift Mitigation and Hill-Hold Control cannot be fitted into a motorcycle.

Furthermore, Bosch also designs ABS suites for off-road use too. Here, optimum braking performance is achieved by having ABS control range start slightly later than when on tarmac. This then allows the rear wheel to dig in the ground for improved braking whilst front wheel control also grants higher level of deceleration without the destabilising the bike.


3. Motorcycle ABS CANNOT be retrofitted
Though it may sound as simple as ordering the right spare parts from a dealer, the reality here is retrofitting motorcycle ABS is not possible and highly unrecommended. One key reason to this is the fact that ABS systems are linked with the bike’s electronics and ECU amongst others – things that shouldn’t be tampered with.

With that, Bosch highlights the importance of choosing the right motorcycle during purchase. In other words, if the bike you’re planning to buy has an ABS-equipped variant available, it should be your ultimate choice. Though it may cost slightly more, you really can’t put a price on your own safety after all.


4. You don’t need to change your riding style
Another common misconception is that riders must adapt their riding style when upgrading to a bike equipped with ABS. This isn’t true as most motorcycle ABS systems are designed to a point where it only helps you in critical situation.

Nevertheless, Bosch did stress that riders must always remain alert of their situation and surroundings when riding.

5. You don’t need to activate ABS when starting your bike
The answer to this is a simple no. All bikes on sale today that are equipped with motorcycle ABS do not need separate activation processes as they are automatically turned on as soon as the engine is started.


6. It does not add to the bike’s weight
While this may be true early on in the 1990s, the advancement of technology has allowed the modern motorcycle ABS to shrink in size but not in its capabilities.

In fact, the modern day motorcycle ABS system like the ones designed by Bosch features a haydraulic unit that’s no larger than the width of your palm and weighs in at 0.45kg on average, both of which won’t affect the motorcycle’s weight balance when installed.

Co-founder of Bikes Republic and a motoring journalist by night. He is a self described enthusiasts with a passion for speed but instead rides a Harley and a J300. A man of contradictions, he is just as passionate about time off in the quiets as he is about trail braking into turn one at Sepang Circuit on two or four wheels.

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