As we all know in layman terms that ABS which simply means Anti-Locking Braking System will prevent the rear or the front wheel or both in some case from locking up which if fails, ends in a catastrophic disaster. As the ABS scene in India seen recently is available in only two bikes within the 250cc category one being the Honda CBR 250R and the other in TVS Apache RTR 180, what are the options we are left with for the bikes that we use on regular basis that is equipped with disc brake set-up? Before we dive into the available options in the local market off the shelves, being a deep dive session, let’s see what is ABS first.

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What is ABS?

ABS, Acronym for Anti-locking braking system, is a complex technology in a motorcycle or a car that can help reduce the speed or stop the vehicle in an emergency situation without locking either of the two wheels or even all the four in case of cars. This is achieved by using speed sensors that is attached to the wheels that continuously monitor the wheel rotation speed and sends the data to the braking ECU which is in turn connected to the hydraulic unit that adjusts the hydraulic pressure of the brake fluid inside accordingly. All these are carried out without a fuss which momentarily reduces the excess brake pressure applied by the rider enabling the wheels to sill rotate continuously in spite of the hard braking and all these happens in less than a wink of an eye.

In short motorcycle ABS works by constantly measuring wheel speed with the help of sensors attached and adjusts the brake fluid pressure. If the wheel speed sensor detects that a wheel is about to lock itself, the pressure on the hose is reduced by a complex algorithm running on various on-board electronics that takes care of the wheel locking part. During a normal ride, the rider wouldn’t notice all these complexity of the functioning of various components involved in the ABS system. However in an emergency braking situation which is otherwise panic braking, one can be confident that the wheels wouldn’t lock up giving the rider a taste of the tarmac.

Bosch C-ABS

Can ABS System Purchased separately?

The answer is yes. But there are certain hitches in that too! As India being a mass commuter two wheeler segment market, no manufacturer will come forward to produce the ABS system according to the tailored needs of each motorcycle. So, it’s better to buy a motorcycle that has factory fitted ABS system which would have been tested rigorously by the motorcycle manufacturer as an integrated part of the motorcycle itself. 

So what are we left with?

These are the options that we are left with;

  1. Either buy a Bike that has factory fitted ABS system (Either Honda or a TVS) or
  2. Look out for Mechanical ABS systems 

Mechanical ABS Systems? What are they?

In the Electronic Version of the ABS system that uses a lot of sensors to overcome wheel lock-up, the Mechanical ABS on the other hand is simpler in construction and as well to understand their working. In mechanical ABS, the entire unit designed houses a valve which modulates the braking power taken over by the brake fluid by simply relaxing the pressure that goes to the piston from the caliper. In simpler terms: the excess pressure applied on the lever which in turn travels through the brake hose is reduced by the mechanical unit that site between the hose and the caliper. The same is achieved by a series of pulsating effect that slows down the wheel lock-up time.

As the Mechanical system does not calculate speed by sensors and does not have the complex electronics involved, the perfection of a proper electronic ABS same can never be achieved in the mechanical ABS. However a significant improvement in braking can be achieved because of the mechanical unit.

Wheel Speed sensors CBR 250R

Is Mechanical ABS Units available in India?

            The bad news; there are plenty of Chinese copies available in the market for as low as 400 rupees, be assured that it is as good as stock brakes minus ABS. The Good news is that an Indian company that manufacturers these unit under the name of SaferideABS has made quite a stir in the braking segment with their mechanical systems that are available for sale from them directly.

The more good news is that SaferideABS can be installed in almost all the motorbikes manufactured in India except a very few which has been listed in their site for reference purposes. 

Got it. Now What?

The installation also has been kept simple in mind that one can purchase the same, go to any workshop or an Authorized service centre who knows the basics of disc brakes and get it installed in a clean way. For bikes in warranty the installation of the same mostly will not void warranty as this doesn’t require any splicing of wires or modifying any OEM part. For Do-It-Yourself guys, there is also installation procedures listed in their website for easy reference. The only thing one needs to make sure and take observations is that there shouldn’t be any air bubbles in the hose that can lead to a very inconsistent braking performance that can never be relied upon not only with mechanical ABS, but even with those expensive C-ABS kits. A proper brake line bleeding will solve the inconsistent braking issues faced.

Once the installation is carried out in a healthy way, the only things one need to worry about is that one should not pump the brakes as this causes excessive reverse pulsating effect that eventually causes jerks, additionally the rider may also experience a rapid pulsation of the brake lever caused due to the excess pressure traveling backwards which would feel almost like the brakes are pushing back the leg or the hand when applied which is pretty normal and the same feedback can be used to assure that the mechanical ABS unit is functioning properly.

SaferideABS in a Nutshell?

  • Prevents wheel locking-up in whichever wheel it is installed
  • Reduces braking distance up to 30%
  • Minimizes loss of control and loss of direction in panic braking situations
  • Can be installed in almost all motorcycles manufactured in India and
  • Simple in construction which means easy on the pockets too

– Ram

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  • Faann

    Massive article.

  • Ashwin

    How does ABS ‘reduce braking distance up to 30%’ ? Simple physics gives you the result that ABS increases the braking distance. ABS just buys you time to steer away from what you are likely to crash into, and that’s all to it.

  • ADIL

    Yes , it’s a good article at least I learned a basic idea about ABS and good to know that the mechanical ABS is manufacturing by INDIA which can be assembled in all bikes available in INDIAN Market.

    Thanks

  • Definitely a safety feature to have, slowly more bikes are getting it.

  • prashant

    Hello Ram,

    I had been using this Mechanical ABS since past 1 year and i am very satisfied with it. I own a bajaj pulsar 220 and have attached the mechanical ABS in the front disc. I gives me freedom to apply hard brakes at any point of time and even in heavy rain fall. Its really good.

    Thank you for all your info. on the ABS.

  • FARHAN MOMIN

    CAN WE FIT KARIZMA R, HERO HONDA CBZ OR HONDA UNICORN
    WERE WE GOT IT EASILY & HOW MUCH COST PF THIS KIT
    WAITING FOR YOUR REPLY

  • jeevan

    thanks for the detail report my friend

  • Siddhesh

    Good one to by as a after market product…
    But I doubt about its ‘pulsating action’ which indeed is the utmost neccessity in ABS…
    Still good to try for Rs. 400/-

  • Michael Kneebone

    >>SaferideABS in a Nutshell?
    Prevents wheel locking-up in whichever wheel it is installed<<

    THAT is totally untrue. To use the term ABS with that unit is almost a crime.

    It is really a mush inducer. So yes, on wet pavement, if you panic it **might** save you from locking your front wheel under certain conditions as it will reduce ultimate braking pressure to the brake it is installed on.

    So if you want weaker brakes, why did Honda or HH or anyone else, not just put on smaller brakes? Because, you have less power to the brake then.

    This unit will smoothen out the brake pressure delivered to the caliper for someone with a death grip in a panic. But at the expense of reduced braking. AND it will NOT prevent a wheel from locking up. Only for a very small subset of conditions (total panic) on a grippy road, it will might help, but at the expense of braking on all other surfaces. And it won't do much on a wet road, there is nothing even close to electronic ABS OR learning how to apply the brakes.

    Like I said, if they called it a brake-smoother-outer at the expense of braking power, THAT would be truthful. But this is not ABS in any sense of the word.

  • ravindra

    what about the cbz extreme?

  • Manas R. Pradhan

    Can I install the same on my RE thinderbird 350 ?

  • Anish Nair

    wer in mumbai cn v install the same ?
    and how much does this unit cost ?

  • Jay

    I have been happily using SafeRideABS from last 3 years on my Bullet Electra 5s. I found it on web and ordered product from their website.
    The much needed ABS in bike got emphasized when driving behind Maruti along with Pulsar 220 needed a urgent stop. The Pulsar did a stop-ie, Bullet was stable but I managed to avoid front tyre skid, otherwise it would have been a good fall. Next day, I found SafeRideABS website and within 15 days received the mechanical ABS for 1,200/- Rs. Myself fitted it within half-an-hour after going through the videos on the website. Verified and double verified fixings for break oil leak and pressure.
    Since the installation, I am so much satisfied with the results that I don’t give a second thought to squeeze fully the front brake on dry road. On wet/gravel/rough road, I prefer common sense along with ABS.
    Although it is simply a mechanical regulator, but does it’s job amazingly well.
    Thanks Ram, for bringing it so well in article.

  • solomon

    “there are plenty of Chinese copies available in the market”

    where are they available ,,,,,,,,,tell me

  • Aravind

    Hi
    I already purchased from saferide 2wks back. For my pulsar. I tested in skiddy road with only front brakes @ 60 kmph. it is awesome.gives u perfect control. Now matttter how hard u brake u will not fall. It is pressure regulator which release excess pressure and avoid wheel locking.
    Price: 1250
    Installation charge by mechanic: 80

  • Aravind

    Hi
    i already installed this product from saferideABS 2 weeks back to my pulsar 150. I have tested this in sandy road (which will cause skid) @ speed about 50km/hr with only front brakes applied. The vehicle is awesomely stable with no wheel lock up & Braking efficiency is also very good. so no matter how hard you brake (sudden brake) there will be no wheel lock up & you will never fall. I already experienced 2 times big injury due to front disk wheel lock up on sudden braking. Now i can brake with confidence.
    My observation: (While continious front disc brake applied)
    The unit is a “Pressure regulator” when u apply sudden brake it applies immediate braking. Then it release some pressure of the brake fluid allowing the wheel to rotate for few rotation & then again it apply brake. So no wheel lock up & you have perfect balance & control. No significant change in braking efficiency. All you need to do is to keep pressing Disc brake continiously.
    I recommend to all who doesn’t want to take chance& considers safety. Regarding price: 1250/- & i installed through local mechanic, he charged me : 80/-

  • Scorpio

    Of course none of the Pulsar has this…
    Even am not sure how the feel in TVS Apache.

  • P.C.George

    I think an item can be purchased to install in my Pulsar 135 Ls as well. Where can I purchase one?

  • Yogesh Shah

    A good, informative and detailed article, which is timely too. Does remove the doubts which neither the dealers nor the mechanics clear regarding ABS. Keep up the good work.

  • charan

    some old school guys might be using gear brake, what happens when disk with abs is applied along with the gear brake, because Tyre gets locked eventually.

  • gustinR

    Kawasaki z250 2013 launched in indonesia

  • Manoj

    Very informative article…thanks 4 sharing. ..and about experience of ABS i would like like to say…superb!!!!! I am riding Honda CBR 250R with ABS and it is amzing guys. I didnt get any prblm in quick stpping bike in 75-80km/h.even it also so effetive in high speed of 115-120kmph. Havnt got any lock situation…in even heavy traffic and sharp cuts…

  • mitesh

    SaferideABS costs me____________?

  • Faann

    Even tho it costs more,it is very safe to have one.

  • Arun

    Hi Ram,
    Dude…….! Really it’s too helpfull Article’.
    Lovelly’one to evry bikerider.

  • karthik

    hi Friends,
    iam from chennai .can anyone say where we get it.
    Iam using Apche RTR 160 can we fit it in it .

  • Suman Saurabh

    The article is informative and to the point with an aim to create awareness and interest in the public. The bad side is that the website suggested in it is confusing. I couldn’t find the option to buy an actual ABS for my bike. (Suzuki Gixxer 2016) or for any bike. Please help me as I had my 6th accident and I just don’t want to leave biking.