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Smarter Driver: ABS on motorcycles: CNET On Cars

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CNET On Cars: Smarter Driver: ABS on motorcycles

2:19 /

You may not even know they exist but ABS on motorcycles are becoming a controversial and mandatory part of riding.

You know the old maxim good brakes make you go faster. So learning about ABS at the Marin Speed Shop makes sense. ABS, anti-lock brakes, have been universal on cars, I mean literally since the 2012 model here, but turns out motorcycles are picking up the technology at a very rapid pace. Now ABS on a bike works very similarly to the way it works on a car. Let's look at the apparatus. This ring right here with these holes punched in it is rotating with the wheel obviously and this little detector back here is looking for a very smooth rhythmic passing of those holes. If that changes, that is telling the ABS pump and computer that it detects some stutter when there's a skid. Then the pump begins to modulate pressure up here to the caliper and the whole idea is to back off a little bit in little micro slices until you've got traction again and then put the pressure back on. In those respects, ABS is very similar to the way it is on cars where it differs a lot is in the ways you can set it up as a rider for that matter the fact you can set it up at all. Settings like these let you grab preset driving modes with varying levels of ABS or you can dial that in specifically from level 3 all the way down to off. And remember bikes differ from cars in that they have 2 discrete brake systems, 1 for each wheel. Okay, some numbers. Our partners at State Farm tell us the research indicates up to 31 percent fewer fatalities on bikes that have ABS. Highway Loss Data Institute says up to 23 percent fewer collision claims from those machines. Now about the best numbers I can find indicate that around 100 models of motorcycles industry-wide have ABS standard or optional, but here's the interesting trend. Look at this Ducati 1199, 2012, that bike had ABS optional. 2013, it's now standard. And on bikes where ABS is a discrete option expect to pay somewhere close to or at a thousand dollars. The Highway Loss Data Institute and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have petitioned NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to require a new rule that says every new bike sold in the U.S. has to have ABS soon.

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