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Everything You Need To Know About ABS

Hiran Narayanan
28 January, 2017

There is a lot of buzz in the air regarding the ABS right now as the Honorable Government of India is all set to make it mandatory for all motorcycles above 125cc to come fitted with Anti-Lock Braking system (ABS). So what is this ABS all about ?. What are the benefits and limitations ? Is it worthy to have ABS in your motorcycle ?. Why are companies reluctant to have ABS in smaller displacement motorcycles ? Lets find answers to above questions and dig deep what this technology is.

HOW ABS WORKS ?

In depth working of abs

Here we get into the working of ABS in a simple manner and avoid getting confused in motorcycle tech jargons . Now we shall compare the working of NON – ABS and ABS enabled motorcycle in a similar situation.

1. NON – ABS

Motorcycle rider going in high speed suddenly sees an object in front and decides to brake in an instinctive manner. Both brakes or sometimes front /rear brake is individually applied with huge amount of force on brake lever accidentally and this results in tyres to a lock position. This ends in skidding of tyres and ultimately loss of stability of motorcycle.

2. ABS

Motorcycle rider going in high speed suddenly sees an object In front and decides to brake in an instinctive manner. ABS nowcomes in to play and ABS unitcomprises of speed and wheel lock sensors on both the wheels. This sensors sent the precise data in milliseconds to the processor in the control unit when the tyres are about to lock and also the rotational speed of the tyres. Now when the rider applies the brakes hard data from the control unit is sent to brake lever sensors and adjusts the brake force accordingly to avoid locking of tyres. A major accident is now averted and all credits goes to this state of the art technology.

IN DEPTH WORKING OF ABS

Wheel Speed Sensors (front/rear)

This section goes through in-depth working of ABS. ABS comes with four main components
1. Wheel Speed Sensors (front/rear)
Wheel speed sensors detect the real time rotational speed of both the wheels and sends information to the ECU. It is located above pulser rings and this ring acts as a tool for sensors to calculate precise speed.
2. Pulser Rings (front/rear)
In above image you can observe that pulser ring is situated right below the sensors and when number of slots in pulser ring pass by the sensors increases per second, so is the speed and vice versa.
3. ECU (Electronic Control Unit)
ECU or the brain of ABS is the area where complex calculations are done and the place where data from all sensors are made available. This unit consists of pre-programmed chips containing special algorithms where manufacturers have the luxury of adjusting ABS mappings according to nature of motorcycle like cruisers, off-roaders etc. As per the readings available in hand real time, ABS adjusts the pressure on brake calipers by means of pumps and valves.

Pulser Rings (front/rear)

4. Pumps and Solenoid Valves
Pumps consist of special fluids which alter the pressure on the brake calipers and valves control the amount of flow of fluids within the pump to regulate braking force. These valves and brake caliper pistons work together to increase/decrease force on pushing the brake caliper pistons.
Interesting fact we observe here is that brake lever inputs from the rider are not very much considered here and nullifies it thus providing safety to the rider.

TYPES OF ABS

1. Dual channel ABS
Most common and prevalent type of ABS in motorcycles that comes with both front and rear ABS units. This ABS type is far more safer and efficient than single channel ABS but in terms of cost it is on the higher side. Dual channel ABS is mostly found in motorcycles with higher displacement and premium ones.
2. Single channel ABS
Here only one ABS unit is present (mostly front unit) and another one consists of only wheel speed sensor. Single channel ABS is much cheaper while efficiency of this ABS as whole is still an ongoing debate. This type of ABS is gaining lot of attraction in low cost motorcycles and cost sensitive markets. Bajaj Pulsar RS 200 comes mated with single channel ABS.

ECU (Electronic Control Unit)

BENEFITS OF ABS

DRAWBACKS OF ABS

Pumps and Solenoid Valves

WHAT ABOUT ABS ON SLIPPERY AND WET ROADS ?

ABS is a real boon in scenarios where roads are slippery or wet in nature . As mentioned above ABS prevents locking of tyres thus averting skidding of motorcycle.

MYTH ABOUT ABS

The biggest myth about ABS among riders is that rider have the license to do whatever he is capable of and nothing happens. ABS does help the rider to get out of tight situations and loss of control of motorcycle but not from each and every scenario. Remember ABS does not guarantee 100% safety and it does bring extra layer of safety for the rider nothing more nothing less.

WHY COMPANIES ARE RELUCTANT TO HAVE ABS IN LOWER DISPLACEMENT(200cc and below) MOTORCYCLES ?

Cost is a huge decisive factor among the customers right here in India as our market is very much cost sensitive. ABS increases the price tag and so is the maintenance cost and service charges. Companies need to have expert personnel in selected service stationsfor handling ABS related issues. So all this ends in increased spending for the company and hence lesser profit margin.So that’s why they offer ABS in more premium motorcycles (200cc and above) as the price tag is is much higher and number of premium bikes on road is far low compared to other ones.

IS IT REQUIRED IN YOUR MOTORCYCLE AND WORTHY?

A big and long yes. It is true that ABS is expensive and bit difficult to maintain but is it more significant than your safety and life ?. No never. So look out for models that comes integrated with ABS and never the increased price tag. Now your time to make a decision.