Why ABS – 2019

As of January 2019, in Australia, you will not be able to purchase a new motorbike without ABS braking. Europe introduced this as of January 2017 following studies around ABS brakes on motorcycles. They showed there had been a 31% reduction in fatalities and injuries due to ABS braking systems.

So how does the ABS system work?

ABS uses speed sensors on both wheels to accurately determine wheel speed, as well as sensors to determine when a wheel is about to lock. ABS adjusts the braking pressure accordingly to prevent the wheel from locking and assists with maintaining the stability of the motorcycle.

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) prevents wheel lock up when brakes are applied too hard or in an emergency braking situation, effectively ensuring the motorbike is stopping and not sliding (rear wheel). When ABS engages the rider will experience a rapid kickback through the brake lever and may hear a clicking a sound. Riders should not panic if they experience this, they should continue to apply pressure until the motorbike stops.

ABS on our motorbikes?…….. As part of our Q-Ride Townsville licencing course we cover the topic of ABS on motorbikes. Streetwise Motorbike training follows the Queensland Transport Q-Ride Townsville curriculum in discussing what the differences are when completing quick stop or emergency braking on bikes with, and without ABS brakes. We also have both ABS and non-ABS bikes as part of our fleet, so students can experience the difference between the two types of systems during training.

How are Motorcycle brakes different from Cars?

Bikes and cars differ in that motorbikes have separate front and rear brakes, while most cars have brakes that function as one. Motorcycles also use different front and rear tyres and weight shift is also a major part of a motorbike’s stopping performance.

Anti-lock brake systems for bikes and cars face different challenges.
Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are relatively new for bikes. There’s no one standard system. But all ABS work in a similar way: they compare front- and rear-wheel rotation speeds, and if one wheel is locking up under braking (skidding), ABS momentarily releases braking force to that wheel and then re-applies it. The best systems do this about 24 times a second—much faster than a rider could possibly apply.

Some motorbikes also automatically apply both brakes, linking the front and rear. Your rear-brake pedal still (mostly) controls the rear brake but applies some front brake as well and the same applies for the front-brake lever.

How do I know how much brake pressure to apply?

When completing courses with Streetwise Motorbike training, whether it be Q-Ride Townsville licencing courses, or one of our Streetwise Advanced and Defensive training courses, we spend a considerable amount of time covering off on the benefits of understanding your bikes capability.

We then continue to assist you to practice the skills you have been taught and ensure that you have the confidence to stop your bike particularly in an emergency braking situation. We simulate a braking exercise where you complete a 2-stage brake setup (hand on front & foot on rear brakes) at various speeds. Firstly, using only the rear brake, then progressing on to use only front brake, the using both brakes together simultaneously.

The benefit of this practice at Streetwise Motorbikes Training facility is to be able to safely, and while under complete control, bring your motorcycle to a complete stop. This skill is critical in the event an unexpected road hazard, to prevent a collision, and to assist you to practice your roadcraft and to understand the effective use of the motorcycles ABS system.

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