Friday, July 15, 2011


  • World's first brake control system developed specifically for motorcycles
  • Compact dimensions also allow it to be used in motor scooters and small motorcycles
  • Flexible design allows differing levels of sophistication, from basic system to electronically controlled combined brake system
  • By mandating ABS, EU Commission wants to significantly reduce the number of fatal accidents involving motorcyclists
  • Only 16 percent of all newly manufactured motorcycles in the EU in 2010 were fitted with ABS
The old argument that antilock braking systems are too big and too heavy for motorbikes is no longer valid. “At 0.4 litres in size and 700 grams in weight, the current Bosch generation 9 is just over half the size and weight of the predecessor generation. This currently makes it the world's smallest motorcycle ABS,” says Tobias Fluck, a Bosch expert for motorcycle ABS. The company offers this modular system in various builds, ranging from a basic version to a premium version featuring an integrated electronic combined brake system. This means that the perfect solution is available for every motorbike, from the reasonably priced entry-level machine to the super-sports model. Generation 9 has been in series production since 2010, and currently features in models made by Kawasaki, BMW, Ducati, and KTM.
Safe braking with ABS
At present, if motorcyclists have to brake as quickly as possible in a critical situation, they face a difficult task. On most motorbikes, they have to first of all use the hand and foot brakes separately to control the braking pressure for front and rear wheels. Then they have to prevent the wheels locking up at all costs. The findings of a Bosch study based on GIDAS, the German database of accident statistics, therefore come as no surprise: 47 percent of motorcycle accidents are caused by wrong and hesitant braking. The antilock braking system solves this problem, allowing safe braking by preventing the wheels from locking up. This can both prevent a fall and significantly reduce braking distance. Up to now, however, ABS systems are a rare sight on motorcycles. Where cars have been rolling off the production lines in Europe with ABS as a standard feature since 2004, only 16 percent of newly manufactured motorbikes featured ABS in 2010.
The compact Bosch system is available in three versions
The previous ABS systems of all suppliers were based on passenger-car technology, and were thus comparatively large. While they could be installed in larger machines, this was often not possible in small motorcycles. So while the new generation of Bosch brake control systems was being developed for passenger cars, the engineers at the Bosch Engineering Centre in Japan came up with an ABS series especially for motorbikes. The result of their work was the ABS generation 9, only half the size of its predecessor. It is also modular, allowing variants to be produced for different ranges of functions, and its design is cost-effective, which is important if it is to be used widely in all motorcycles with hydraulic brake systems.
Despite its compact construction, the ABS 9 base offers full antilock protection. Moreover, sudden changes in road surface, caused for example by grit or patches of oil, no longer present cause for alarm. ABS allows even inexperienced riders to brake safely. The ABS 9 plus variant is especially suitable for powerful machines. Because it uses an additional pressure sensor, it takes effect even when pressure is being built up during emergency braking This specifically prevents the rear wheel rising, and thus heads off the risk of flipping over.
ABS 9 enhanced, the most powerful version, offers the additional eCBS function. eCBS stands for electronic combined brake system. What this means is a novel combination of front and rear brake. In this integrated version, it is enough for the rider to operate just one of the two brakes – front or rear: ABS 9 enhanced automatically applies the second brake without the rider having to apply more pressure and without changing braking strength. The motorbike can thus brake safely both on wet surfaces and on dry surfaces with a good grip.
Even now, ABS 9 enhanced can help to a moderate degree to stabilize righting moment and banking when braking in an inclined riding position. Moreover, even more functions can be added to the Bosch ABS with eCBS. Successful trials are currently being performed with versions that modulate braking pressure so effectively, even in curves, that the typical motorcycle accident as a result of over-braking the front or rear wheel can be largely ruled out even here. And a controlled intervention in the engine management system is also possible. This opens up the possibility of new functions such as traction control and hill-hold control.
ABS for all motorized two-wheelers from 2017
In 2009, more than 5,000 motorcyclists were killed on Europe's roads alone. According to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), the danger of a fatal accident, for the same distance travelled, is 18 times higher for motorcyclists than for car drivers. And according to many scientific studies, ABS is the system with the greatest safety gain for motorcycles. For example, a study presented by Vägverket, the Swedish highways authority, in 2009 confirms that 38 percent of all accidents involving personal injury and 48 percent of all serious and fatal accidents could be prevented with the help of ABS. A Bosch study based on data from GIDAS, the major German accident statistics database, concludes that a quarter of all accidents with injuries and fatalities could be prevented if ABS was standard equipment. A further one-third of all accidents with injuries and fatalities could at least be mitigated by the antilock system. In 2010, findings such as these were enough to persuade the EU Commission to propose making ABS mandatory for motorized two-wheelers from 2017. A study of the benefits of ABS conducted by the European Commission shows that more than 5,000 lives could be saved over the next ten years alone if ABS were made mandatory. A decision is expected to be taken this year. But for the emerging markets in Asia and South America as well, ABS promises a significant improvement in road safety. The condition for its use on a wide scale is a hydraulic brake system. In all markets, this standard is becoming more and more established.

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