ABS – Compactly condensed

Who doesn't know these 3 letters - ABS.

A system that has long been part of the basic equipment in the car sector has also been on board in the motorcycle sector for a few years, the reason for this is the legislation increasingly becoming more stringent. Although this very regulation was introduced in 2016 within Europe for all newly registered motorcycles, the German manufacturer BMW already offered such a ABS system almost 30 years earlier, namely in 1988 for the K-100 models. One of the main reasons why it took such a long time in comparison to passenger cars, is more technical such as its weight and a higher complexity, as well as financial reasons in the form of costs. Quite plain and simple. Is it really?

The mankind has and will always try to push the boundaries. A fallacy among many riders if they are of the opinion that a braking maneuver is suddenly subject to different laws of physics: Indeed, anti-lock braking systems help, but they do not relieve you of the responsibility to brake properly. One thing you always have to be aware of: a full braking manouvre on a motorcycle is always a compromise between the shortest possible braking distance and a non-blocking front wheel.

But... How do I brake properly?

The braking process – with or without ABS – is basically the same, namely below the control range. If you brake properly, you can take full advantage of the strengths of the system. In order to brake properly, every driver should master the following points.

  • Posture Correct posture with your arms bent enables better control
  • Braking power Bring 80% front wheel brake, 20% rear wheel brake and as close as possible in the (wheel) blocking limit
  • Direction of view The right gaze technique decides, because you subconsciously always drive where the gaze is directed
  • Knee closure Allows optimal weight distribution by supporting on the tank

How does ABS actually work?

Only when the blocking limit that was already mentioned is exceeded, a braking maneuver with ABS differs from a braking maneuver without ABS. No matter whether in an emergency situation or when accidentally braking over a slippery area – the vehicle stability, which the driver himself has to restore without ABS by releasing the brake and reapplying, is guaranteed by ABS technology. All well and good – but how does ABS actually work in a motorcycle?

During a braking maneuver, the system acts particularly on non-adhesive road surfaces by counteracting the blocking of the wheels by reducing the brake pressure until the wheels can turn again, after which the pressure is built up again. But where’s the difference to a car then?

The main difference is not necessarily to be found in the technology, but rather in the purpose: The decisive criterion for a car is clearly the reduction of the braking distance, whereas the motorcycle is more about reducing the risk of falling, especially if the front wheel tends to lock during the braking manouvre.

If you have already taken a closer look at the brake system on the fork of your (ABS) bike, you may have wondered why the manufacturer implements kind of fan-shaped recesses or holes near the brake disc. You guessed it – there is a reason for this: The wheel speed is measured using an induction sensor on each wheel and in the event of an impending wheel blockage (the wheel comes to a brief standstill), a steep drop in the circumferential speed of the wheel is detected. The brake pressure is then reduced until the wheel rolls again. After the wheel starts to roll again, the brake pressure increases until it locks again – a process (also known as the control frequency) that can be repeated up to 15 times per second. The extensive signal processing that is necessary is performed in a central control unit with up to 3000 pulses per second. When the ignition is activated, a kind of self-test is carried out after exceeding the minimum speed, whereby detected faults – similar to those in a car – are stored in an electronic fault memory.

How can I check if ABS is active when braking?

In the control range of the ABS you can feel the activity of the ABS as pulsations in the hand or foot brake lever. In addition to the wheel speeds, modern systems also take inclination angles and rotational accelerations into account, so that the response of the systems when braking in curves has massively improved – a huge weak point of early generations. With modern systems, a pulsation in the lever can often no longer be recognized.

In the event of full braking, you are forced to operate the clutch at the same time as the brake is applied. Sure thing. During the actual braking phase with high decelerations, tire reactions (such as tread noises or scratching noises on gravel) can provide valuable information about the grip limit. Because: Full braking on a motorcycle is always a tightrope walk, so it is important to reduce the braking pressure even at the slightest sign of a locking wheel.

Which variants and generations are available?

As with many other technical solutions on and around the motorcycle, ABS has been continuously developed over the years. The systems available today, slightly differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.

The control frequencies, that was already mentioned in the beginning, and the control quality are far apart depending on the system development. The early generations, which were often referred to as ABS-I, had a maximum of seven control processes per second, whereas the latest and newest systems available are characterized by having up to 15 control processes per second. Believe it or not, the first systems were already available in 1988 and had a total system weight of approx. 11k (!) Current 6th generation systems (from approx. 2013 onwards) are equipped with an inclined position sensor featuring three acceleration and three yaw rate sensors and can measure the declination and the pitch angle of the bike up to 100 times per second. Pretty impressive. By the way, they have significantly slimmed down to a total system weight of about 1kg – not unimportant for a motorcycle. In technical jargon, this type of ABS is often reffered to as cornering or curve ABS. Nevertheless: Bosch, a well-known manufacturer who is significantly involved in the development of ABS systems, does not  explicitly speak of curve or cornering ABS, even with the latest generation (Bosch MSC).

But where’s the limit for ABS?

Well, motorcycle ABS is designed to maintain the driving stability when braking on a straight road – by implication, cornering is more problematic – especially for older systems. However, the physical and systemic difficulty of the braking torque that is applied when during this braking event when cornering, remains an existing challenge even for newer systems.

Furthermore, a high slip control of up to 30% (of 2nd generations of ABS) can, in extreme cases, lead to a rollover (so-called stopies) in the event of a very grippy road just before standstill. The brake pressure (on the front wheel) may open briefly on uneven, extremely undulating roads, which, when the suspension is rebounded, results in a steep drop in the circumferential speed of the wheel, even though the tire has not yet reached the grip limit. In order to avoid panic attacks, it is essential to take a sufficient braking distance into account here.

How should I behave if there’s no ABS and a blocked tire occurs?

Since each turning wheel must be equipped with a braking system, both the rear wheel and the front wheel can lock up when braking – in the worst case, both. If the rear wheel locks when braking, the rear of your bike can break out, which usually has no worse consequences. In this situation, the motorcycle should return to a stable position when the brake is released immediately. With a blocked front wheel, an inexperienced motorcyclist can fall very quickly and be seriously injured. Even experienced motorcyclists often do not know how to deal with a blocked front wheel.

In any case, the following applies: If the front wheel locks, the brake should be released immediately.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of ABS?

The EU regulation (168/2013 / EU) on the type approval of motorcycles enacted on January 1st in 2016, stipulated that all newly registered motorcycles with an engine displacement bigger or equal to 125 ccm (as well as with a power rating above 11kW) need to be equipped with have such a system. Only exceptions apply to the class  of certain competition and trial motorcycles which – often due to their design – are rarely used on public roads. During the initial registration of a bike that is factory new, this regulation became active 1 year later, namely on January 1, 2017. So if you want to buy a motorcycle of the mentioned performance or displacement class, you don’t even need to ask yourself the question: ABS? Yes, No, Maybe? …Definitely!

How’s the current legislative situation in Europe?

Braking with ABS in no way requires less practice than without, but it brings a significant increase in safety and an even higher driving and operating comfort. The best way to get to know the forces that occur and the special features of your own motorcycle is through safety training. One thing’s for sure: Today’s systems are already that technically advanced, that even the most experienced drivers cannot keep up with them and achieve better braking values.

How can I check if the system is working properly?

Like many other technical systems, also ABS consists of several components. Understandably, all components must be fully functional in order to make the entire system ready for use. A first indicator of an overall functionality is, you guessed it, the indicator light on the dashboard. It is advisable to take a quick look at the operating instructions in order to interpret the light correctly. A defective (ABS) sensor can quickly lead to a total syste failure, which means your bike is no longer roadworthy (for the legislator) and the bike needs to go to the workshop. In order not to blindly rely on the lighting (or non-lighting) of this indicator light, you should regularly check the function of the ABS system at regular intervals – even a light bulb has a limited life span. Of course you should take care not to test the functionality of your ABS system  by braking on a public road intendendly.

Incidentally, a shorter braking distance is not the only argument for driving with the ABS anti-lock device. The increasing interest of drivers in more driving safety will inevitably have an impact on the (rest) value of a motorcycle and make such models all the more attractive for beginners or the large group of returners.


Riding fast and safe, the MotoGP way

Riding fast and safe, the MotoGP way!

MotoGP riders need more than just a motorcycle for a race. They need specially designed suits, boots, and gloves. Many protective elements go in making these highly protective racing gears such as knee sliders, elbow pads, etc. But, another very important factor to be considered when it comes to their suits and helmets is the comfort level the rider needs.

Weather also plays a big role in determining the type of equipment a MotoGP rider needs. For example, rain can add several levels of extra risk for a MotoGP rider. In case of a fall, you need the suit to be able to resist abrasion and protect the rider. If you also ride a sports bike and follow MotoGP racing, you need to know what goes into the safety elements of a rider. MotoGP riding gears are made keeping the riders’ safety in mind, whether they are professional racers or everyday bike riders like you and me.
Of course, you don’t need to be in a MotoGP pilot’s outfit every time you go out, but you can always take a leaf out of their book to ride extra safely.

Being fit is an advantage for anybody riding a heavy bike and an insight in a MotoGP rider’s physical training might be the inspiration you need. Lastly, modern motorcycle technology such as traction control can also help you in intense situations. So here we go…

Riding Gear- Striking a balance between protection and comfort


The basic purpose of a motorcycle helmet is to protect the rider’s head during impact. The color and designs of a MotoGP helmet can be very attractive. Riders wear a full-face helmet made of carbon fiber in order to be as light as possible.
Helmets can be customized to achieve maximum protection and comfort. The air intake determines the comfort of the rider and it can be adjusted as per his needs. In order to offer maximum comfort, the helmets can weigh as less as 0,5 kg.

Airbag Suits

Starting in 2018, it is now mandatory for all MotoGP riders to wear an approved airbag system inside their leather racing suits for extra protection. These have to be functional when the rider is on track. The airbag system is actually a protective element that will inflate when it detects that the rider is about to fall or has fallen. It hardly takes a few milliseconds for the different parts of the suit to inflate.
The chest and arms are the major parts and once inflated, they work really well in softening the impact. Even if the rider decides to continue racing again after a fall, there is a second charge as well in the system, which will be ready to go again with the rider and protect him again if needed. This is the most advanced protective technology available to riders currently and it is so accurate, it can gauge the difference between a proper fall and a close shave.


There are protective pieces in the suit that can slip into the inner pockets. These pieces help to protect vulnerable areas against abrasion and also absorb the impact after a fall. These elements are designed in a way to keep them lightweight and also provides maximum absorption abilities. This helps to keep the rider comfortable as well as protected.

Boots and Gloves

MotoGP riders’ boots and gloves need to have extra protection in certain areas and also be comfortable for the rider to wear. A rider must be able to feel his hands and feet easily as those are the two parts he uses the most to control his motorcycle. They should be lightweight and the gloves generally have extra protection at the knuckles, fingers, and the base of the palm. These are the most vulnerable areas in case of impact. Protective gloves also feature a protective plate near the wrists.

Racing suit

The most important part of a MotoGP rider’s protective gear is the suit. They are highly customizable to be able to resist abrasion and impacts and also be lightweight and comfortable for the rider to wear.

Elbow pads and knee sliders

Elbows and needs are highly sensitive areas for a MotoGP rider. In fact, the riders use knee sliders to come in direct contact with the track. These surfaces are extremely abrasive and hot. So basically while taking turns, the rider has to depend on the protective abilities of their knee sliders.
The same way as knee sliders, we see riders’ elbow pads also coming in contact with the asphalt on many occasions. This has encouraged makers to keep improving the protective qualities of elbow pads.

Physical training

MotoGP is the top motorcycle sport in the world. Due to huge competition, riders have to be on top of their game at all times, not just on the track, but also in the gym. Like any other sportsperson, MotoGP racers need to be fit in a way to be able to control bikes weighing more than 150 Kgs, at constant speeds of over 250kph, maintaining lean angles and doing this for over an hour. And, this was just race time, not to forget the training time riders have to ride on track for hours and hours again.
The riders start their physical training cycle with a pre-season in December. It usually consists of cardio and full-body workout, 6 hours a day and 6 days a week. These 6 hours are divided into cycling, gym and some time in the pool.
During the racing period, which starts in March, riders do exercises they think they need, of course under the guidance of expert trainers. They usually want to maintain strength and the exercises undertaken are also for the same.
During summer breaks, the training is mostly the same as pre-season training. After the end of the season, riders generally take a month’s break but also indulge in recreational exercises and sports like football, badminton, etc. to keep fit and stay fresh ahead of a new season and a new training cycle.

Motorcycle safety system – Traction control

The worst nightmare of a MotoGP racer is to lose traction while on track and go flying into the sidelines. But, fortunately, with modern motorcycle safety systems and electronics, it is much easier for MotoGP riders to control traction than we think.
Traction control is basically a system that uses throttle opening or the engine spark advance as input variables to regulate the slip of the rear wheel.
It makes use of sensors mounted in different places on the bike, like the rear and front wheel mountings. It helps to monitor the speed of the wheel. It also manages to monitor roll pitch using an Inertial Management System. This system can also monitor a rider’s slides, turns, and wheelies. There are sensors that can also monitor engine speed. There is a big electronic control unit which monitors and relays information to the pit boxes.
Simply put, this technology helps to monitor every parameter of the bike. If the front wheel is off the ground for a few seconds or the rear wheel slips, the ECU will cut down the power delivery. The electronics are so advanced today, that there are traction control settings available in bikes for every turn a rider takes.
Being a MotoGP rider requires a lot of practice and strength. All riders have to work extra hard to compete in the biggest bike racing competition in the world. In order to protect themselves in a race and come out winning, safely, they need the help of special clothing, fitness, and technology.


10 tips to start the motorcycle season safely – Part 2

10 tips to start the motorcycle season safely - part two

Whoever said that “You haven’t truly lived until you have ridden a motorcycle” couldn’t have been truer. However, there is no denying the fact that motorcycling has this stigma attached to it, quite incorrectly, that it is an extremely dangerous way to utilise your time. Most of this stems from the higher than the normal number of accidents people tend to have on motorcycles. The truth of the matter though is that lot of these accidents can be chalked down to poor preparation and overlooking basic riding etiquette. As the motorcycle season is about to step into high-gear, here are 5 tips to keep you safe so you can enjoy the motorcycling to the fullest without putting your health and life at risk.

Pack first-aid kits for emergencies

You could ride in the safest manner possible and still end up in an unfortunate situation due to someone else’s fault. Even if you yourself might never have to use it, a first-aid kit can come in handy and even be life-saving for a fellow rider. Most motorcycle kits will have a first-aid kit. Just check and ensure that all the components of the first-aid kit are still there and can still be used throughout the entirety of the motorcycle season.

Take a class to learn new riding techniques

While the fundamentals of motorcycle riding are quite intuitive and consists of things you can pick-up just through experience, there are some skills that you have to actively learn. These can include off-roading techniques, mountain-riding, riding on different surfaces, better ways of cornering and so on. Get in touch with your local riding club or institute and enrol for classes that would instruct you on new, fun and safe ways of riding your motorcycle during this riding season.

Start off easy

It is understandable that you would be excited to enjoy the freedom of motorcycling this riding season. However, it is important to note that you will be slightly out of practice and your senses wouldn’t be as keenly tuned to your motorcycle as you want them to be. Start off at a gradual pace and keep the rides short so you can get up to speed and get in tune with your motorcycle first. True enjoyment of motorcycle riding can only be achieved when your motorcycle acts as an extension of your body and it takes a little bit of time to get there.

Check weather and road conditions

The starting of this season will still be witness to some changing weather conditions and poor road conditions. Check the local weather before setting off and account for lower traction that will be encountered at the beginning of the motorcycle season. Do not push the motorcycle to its limits right away and do not ride if the conditions are too bad.

Know your limits and stay within it

Many feel that you have to be constantly on the edge to enjoy the motorcycle season. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even riding along at a gentle pace can be quite fun as you get to lap in the beauty of nature in all its glory and the general sense of freedom that comes with motorcycle riding. Manage your expectations accordingly and do not push yourself and the motorcycle too far. Never ride when you are very tired or the conditions are too bad. Minimise the amount of night-time riding as well. When you are faced with a tough decision, always think with your head rather than your heart. There will always be another motorcycle season to try out new things.

Enjoy your ride and stay safe!


10 tips to start the motorcycle season safely – Part 1

10 tips to start the motorcycle season safely - part one

Whoever said that “You haven’t truly lived until you have ridden a motorcycle” couldn’t have been truer. However, there is no denying the fact that motorcycling has this stigma attached to it, quite incorrectly, that it is an extremely dangerous way to utilise your time. Most of this stems from the higher than the normal number of accidents people tend to have on motorcycles. The truth of the matter though is that lot of these accidents can be chalked down to poor preparation and overlooking basic riding etiquette. As the motorcycle season is about to step into high-gear, here are 5 tips to keep you safe so you can enjoy the motorcycling to the fullest without putting your health and life at risk.

Get back in riding shape

The holidays weren’t too long ago which means that you would be carrying a few extra pounds. This can be detrimental to your enjoyment especially on long rides. Get back in shape by doing basic exercises with a good amount of cardio thrown in. Contrary to popular belief, motorcycle riding isn’t easy even though it gives the appearance of just sitting and riding along. Also, do plenty of stretching so your body can bear the strains of riding a motorcycle without causing much discomfort so you can concentrate on completely on the fun aspects of the ride.

Get your motorcycle in shape

Just a small percentage of motorcycle related road mishaps are due to poorly maintained motorcycles, but you do not want be in this group, right? In all probability, your motorcycle would have been sitting for months. Check the fluid levels first and then the play on the brake and clutch levers. If everything seems all right then start the engine in neutral and let it warm up. Once warmed up, rev the engine and listen to ensure that everything is normal. Check the tyres for punctures and the chassis of the motorcycle for any issues. If you run into issues at any point then get the motorcycle fixed properly. Even if everything is all right, it is a good idea to have the motorcycle serviced so that it is in the best shape possible for the riding season.

Check your gear

It can never be emphasised enough how important riding gear is to safety. It should be comfortable without compromising on safety. It should also be visible even in low light conditions. If your gear has been sitting in a corner like your motorcycle then check it thoroughly to ensure it is all right. Also, wear it and stretch around in it to ensure there won’t be any problems mid-ride.

Plan your trips beforehand

Like pretty much every other important thing in life, riding a motorcycle requires planning as well. Plan your motorcycle season well in advance allotting plenty of time to exercise beforehand. Fix a date for all the checks on the motorcycle and then plan out your rides. These plans do not have to be concrete but they should give you a fair idea as to what you will be doing in your motorcycle season

Ensure your insurance is up to date

This is pretty self-explanatory. Ensure that your motorcycle’s insurance is up to date so you are covered in the unfortunate event of a crash

Enjoy your ride and stay safe!