Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bosch’s generation 9 ABS: An electronic guardian angel for motorcyclists

All motorcycles need ABS. Even this one

According to the European Transport Safety Council, the danger of a fatal accident, for the same distance travelled, is 18 times higher for motorcyclists than for car drivers. In 2009, more than 5,000 motorcyclists were killed on Europe's roads alone. And according to various scientific studies conducted over the last few years, anti-lock brakes (ABS) provide the greatest safety gain for motorcycles. A study conducted in Sweden in 2009 confirmed that up to 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.

Another recent study conducted by automotive equipment and electronics giant, Bosch, also concluded that 25 percent of all motorcycle accidents could be prevented if ABS was standard equipment on all bikes. And a further one-third of all accidents with injuries and fatalities could at least be mitigated by ABS. In 2010, findings such as these were enough to persuade the EU Commission to propose making ABS mandatory for all motorized two-wheelers from 2017.

Last year, a mere 16 percent of all new motorcycles in the EU were fitted with ABS. But now, Bosch has developed a new, lighter, more effective and more efficient ABS for motorcycles, which they hope will be adopted by more motorcycle manufacturers for their machines. The new system is also more flexible than ever before, and can be fitted in basic and more advanced versions, the latter being able to function in tandem with systems like traction control, stability control and wheelie-control etc. This means that a perfect solution is available for every motorcycle, from the more reasonably priced entry-level machines to full-on litre-class superbikes and luxury-tourers.

‘At 0.4 litres in size and 700 grams in weight, the current Bosch generation 9 ABS is just over half the size and weight of its predecessor. This currently makes it the world's smallest motorcycle ABS,’ says Tobias Fluck, a Bosch expert for motorcycle ABS. ‘Generation 9, which has been in series production since 2010, is currently featured on bikes made by Kawasaki, BMW, Ducati, and KTM,’ he adds.

For motorcyclists, having to brake as quickly as possible in a critical situation can often be a challenging task and things become tougher when it’s raining and when the road surface is broken and/or slippery. According to a Bosch study, 47 percent of all motorcycle accidents are caused by incorrect or hesitant application of brakes, with hesitation stemming from motorcyclists’ fear of locking one or both wheels under hard braking and sustaining a fall. ABS solves this problem by allowing riders to brake as hard as possible, without any fear of locking the wheels and consequently crashing.

According to Bosch, their generation 9 ABS has been designed for motorcycles – it’s not been adapted from a system engineered for cars. Hence, it’s not only cost effective, it also includes functionality which has been built into the system specifically for motorcycle use. For example, during hard application of the front brake, the system prevents the rear wheel from rising up, thus preventing unintended stoppies – something that might otherwise be disconcerting for inexperienced riders. Also, its optional integrated eCBS (electronic combined brake system) module allows the rider to use just any one brake, with the system operating the other brake automatically, without the rider having to take any corrective action.

Bosch claims that with its generation 9 ABS, motorcyclists can use maximum braking force whenever required, even on road surfaces that may have oil, water and/or loose dirt on them. Their ABS 9 enhanced even recognises when brakes are being applied with the bike leant over and automatically compensates for braking and cornering forces, reducing the likelihood of an accident due to excessive use of brakes in a fast corner.

ABS is likely to become mandatory for all motorised two-wheelers in the EU from 2017, and that is something we wholeheartedly support. ABS saves lives, simple, and we just hope all motorcycle manufacturers start fitting ABS to their bikes as early as possible.

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