Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) in Motorcycles – Explained in Detail

by Deepak on June 23, 2011

TVS has already made their ability by introducing Apache 180 with ABS. ABS in not a new concept for four wheeler and two wheeler as well. In 1988, BMW introduced the first motorcycle with an electronic-hydraulic ABS: the BMW K100. Honda followed suit in 1992 with the launch of its first motorcycle ABS on the ST1100 Pan European. In 2007, Suzuki launched its GSF1200SA (Bandit) with an ABS.

In 2005, Harley-Davidson began offering ABS as an option for police bikes. In 2008, ABS became a factory-installed option on all Harley-Davidson Touring motorcycles and standard equipment on select models. Now let us enlighten how ABS works on bikes.

Skidding Mechanism

Skidding of a vehicle leads to disaster in many cases. Skidding starts when force applied by driver on the brake lever is more than the required. Skidding results when friction in brakes become more than the friction exists between tyre and road surface. That means wheel gets locked and start skidding on road surface. Less force leads to poor braking and more force leads to skidding. So to avoid the skidding of vehicle, the braking force should remain in limit.

In normal bikes, the brake lever is directly connected with calliper. The force applied by the driver on lever is directly exerted on calliper & disc without any interrupt. In the case of ABS, this braking force is exerted through ECU and Hydraulic valve.

The ABS prevents the wheels from locking during braking. It does this by constantly measuring the individual wheel speeds and comparing them with the wheel speeds predicted by the system. This speed measurement is done by individual speed sensors.

If, during braking, the measured wheel speed deviates from the system‘s predicted wheel speed, the ABS controller takes over, correcting the brake force to keep the wheel at the optimum slip level and so achieving the highest possible deceleration rate.

This is carried out separately for each wheel. Controller is nothing but an ECU with appropriate programming. This program avoids the rotational speed of wheel to become zero (Locking). This is done by temporary releasing the brake force by shutting off the valve in oil reservoir.

The ECU constantly monitors the rotation speed of each wheel. When it detect that any number of wheel are rotating slower than the other (this condition will bring the tyre to lock), it moves the valves to decrease the pressure on the braking circuit, effectively reduce the braking force on that wheel.

The wheels turn faster and when they turn too fast, the force is reapplied. This process is repeated continuously, and this is causes characteristic pulsing feel through the brake pedal.

Figure show major parts of Antilock-Braking System. Basic of antilock braking system consists of three major parts;

  1. Electronic Speed Sensor: This sensor will measure the wheel velocity and vehicle acceleration. LOCATION: On wheel Hub
  2. Toothed Disc: It helps the speed sensor to read the speed of wheel. LOCATION: With Brake Disc
  3. Electrical Control Unit (ECU). ECU is a microprocessor based system contains program. LOCATION: Under the Driver’s Seat
  4. Electrically Controller Valve. This controller valve will control the pressure in a brake cylinder. LOCATION: With ECU

The following are the 3 major benefits of ABS

1. Stopping Distance

As the braking force is controlled and applied electronically, the stopping distance reduces considerably in comparison with normal bike.

2. Sudden Braking

In the case of ABS, the braking is intermittent in nature. So vehicle remains easily steerable during braking also. Below figure shows the comparison of normal bike and ABS bike at sudden braking.

3. Braking on Slippery surface

Most of the riders must have experienced this condition with their bikes and also know the results. ABS provides equal distribution of braking force on each wheel and provides straight line stopping of vehicle.

Some Interesting Facts about ABS

Donovan Green, United States, Department of Transportation had performed some experiments on bikes with and without ABS in 2006. Following bike were selected by him for his test.

  • 2002 Honda VFR 800 with ABS
  • 2002 BMW F650 with ABS
  • 2002 BMW R 1150R with ABS
  • 2002 BMW R 1150R without ABS
  • 2004 Yamaha FJR1300 with ABS
  • 2004 Yamaha FJR1300 without ABS

He had performed two types of tests: 1. Dry Surface Tests 2. Wet Surface Tests. Following are the results of his experiments.

Dry Surface Tests

On the ABS-equipped motorcycles, the operator was tasked with braking sufficiently to assure the operation of the ABS. The measured stopping distance values were corrected to compare data from the speeds of 48 km/h and 128 km/h, except for the BMW F650 data, which was corrected to 48 km/h and 117 km/h, the latter figure limited by that model’s top speed of 157 km/h (i.e. 75% of 157 km/h).

In the ABS-enabled mode, for each load/speed/brake combination, the stopping distances were very consistent from one run to another. In this mode, the braking force was applied in a controlled and consistent manner by the ABS mechanism. With the exception of having to react to the possibility of the rear wheel becoming airborne under high deceleration, the rider did not require significant experience or special skill in order to achieve a high level of performance.

In the ABS-disabled mode, the stopping distances were less consistent because the rider while modulating the brake force, had to deal with many additional variables at the same time. Up to six runs were allowed for the rider to become familiar with the motorcycle’s behaviour and to obtain the best stopping distance.

Test results from non-ABS motorcycles were noticeably more sensitive to rider performance variability.
Despite being compared to the best stopping distances without ABS, the average results with ABS provided an overall reduction in stopping distance of 5%.

The stopping distance reduction was more significant when the motorcycle was loaded (averaging 7%). The greatest stopping distance reduction (averaging 17%) was observed when only the rear foot pedal was applied to stop the motorcycle from 128 km/h.

Wet Surface Tests

The original test procedure called for wet surface braking tests to be conducted at 48 and 128 km/h. However, for safety and stability reasons, all low-friction surface tests were performed in a straight-line maneuver, from an initial speed of 48 km/h. The tests were repeated with and without ABS. The test track was wetted by a water truck, and the wetting procedure was repeated every three stops.

With ABS-equipped motorcycles, the rider was instructed to brake sufficiently to assure that the ABS was fully cycling by applying as much force as necessary to the brake control device (no restrictions on force application).

The front and rear wheel brakes were operated simultaneously when the initial test speed was reached and then were operated individually when the front wheel and rear wheel were tested separately. During braking, the engine remained disconnected from the drive train.

A steering operation was allowed to keep or correct the running direction of the motorcycle during the test. Below vehicle speeds of 10 km/h, wheel locking was permitted.

For motorcycles not equipped with ABS, the test procedure was the same except that the rider was instructed to apply as much force as required on the brake control device in order to get the shortest stopping distance without losing vehicle control or having any wheel lockup above a speed of 10 km/h.

As with the dry surface tests, practically no learning process was required for the operator to achieve the best performance with the operation of ABS. In the ABS-disabled mode, the stopping distances improved as the rider became more familiar and comfortable with the braking system.

On the wet surface, the overall average stopping performance with ABS improved on the best non-ABS stopping distance by 5.0%. The stopping distance reduction with ABS was more significant when both brakes were applied, with an overall improvement averaging 10.8% over the best stops without ABS.

The greatest stopping distance reduction with the use of ABS was observed when the motorcycle was loaded and both brakes were applied, averaging a 15.5% improvement over the best stops without ABS.

In general, the test results demonstrated an improvement in braking performance with the use of ABS, whether braking on a dry or wet surface even compared with the best stops obtained without ABS.

- Dhruv Panchal


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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

abhishek June 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm

with the bike having ABS system we cant do stunts.

Reply

John November 6, 2012 at 5:50 pm

No bro! u r thinking wrong about abs!
by using Abs bikes, we can stunts perfectly.
if u’ve more doubt, just see superbikes stuntings in youtube, they’ve ABS

Reply

fas June 23, 2011 at 6:41 pm

So does that mean that the ABS system could differ in a CBR250R and a 1000RR?

Reply

imran khan June 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm

wt about mechanical abs is it usefull ????

Reply

Jigar Sahh June 25, 2011 at 8:44 am

ABS in two wheeler can only be helpful if the person riding the biek with ABS is able to manage the steering handle straight…..
if a small twist(left/right) by the rider than also the sliding of bike will take place…
No doubt of ABS working for four wheelers…

Reply

lkrishna June 25, 2011 at 10:36 am

can the ABS system can also be applied to pulsar 220

Reply

Nitin Pawar June 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm

In India ufcourse all two wheelers above 150cc segement ABS required.

Reply

Jagan mohan June 26, 2011 at 12:08 am

Is it possible to install an ABS to a 150 cc bike

Reply

S A N September 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm

The info not provided in this article is that the whole process of applying & releasing braking pressure by the ECU happens extremely fast.

Some anti-lock system can do this 16 times per second!!

Reply

vijai chaudhary September 30, 2011 at 4:08 am

vry helpful technology insafty matter…………

Reply

bhanu November 8, 2011 at 12:04 am

please install abs in pulsar 220f.when abs comes i buy it immediately.i want my fastest indian safest indian.

Reply

DeadMan March 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm

In ur dreams ……lolzzzzzzzz

Reply

raj jain January 9, 2012 at 11:56 pm

how much it cost to install ABS in hero honda HUNK ????????
as i also want to install rear disc in bike,so pls reply me as quickly as possilbe…..

Reply

Ronnie Raju January 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm

i would like to install abs in my pulsar 220f. which brand is good???

Reply

Mandar March 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Hi Dhruv,

Is ABS can be implemented at later stage in Royal Enfield 350cc bikes as it is not included in current production. I own RE TBTS and keen to know if I can implement.
Thanks.

Reply

Pranay tare April 19, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Hì druv.
I want abs system ìn my byke pulser 150 cc . How much price ? Pleace call my cell 9270771222 or email . I want very urgent.

Thanks & regards,
pranay.

Reply

senthil May 3, 2012 at 11:15 pm

I want my Honda dazzled with ABS
Pls help my mail : senthil2kamal@gmail.com

Reply

Preetesh July 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm

hello…
This article was very useful and informative..
But can we install ABS system in Karizma R,
some of sites say we can,
the name of the site http://www.saferideabs.com .
But the question is, Is it will work like as apache 180rtr abs system.
Plz have answer, my email id is preetesh1@gmail.com

Reply

raksh October 28, 2012 at 7:46 am

i want to know the cost of abs in pulsar 180cc

Reply

Rahul October 30, 2012 at 11:08 am

Can we used the ABS system with cb unicorn

Reply

santhosh November 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm

how much it’s cost to install ABS in YAMAHA R15??????????

Reply

saket January 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm

all bikes need ABS..

Reply

Susair Hansda May 31, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Hi, I m Susair Hansda, from Bankura, west bengal…. m a pulsar 200NS owner for last 8 months. last month i faced an accident when an old lady suddenly came in front of my bike. n think if my bike would had ABS or MRF tyres, accident might not happened. i can replace bad Eurogrip tyres to MRF easily. but my question is, can ABS be installed in 200NS??? If so, then what’s the price??? is available in west bengal???
plz reply……

Reply

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