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Guide to Motorcycle ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System)

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You’ve probably heard about ABS (anti-lock braking system) on automobiles, but modern motorcycles can include ABS as well.

What is ABS on a Motorcycle?

ABS is designed to prevent a vehicle’s wheels from locking up and skidding during braking.

The purpose of ABS on a motorcycle is the same as on a car: to prevent locked wheel skids and keep you in control.

In certain conditions, ABS can reduce total braking distance and reduce the chances of a crash.

How Motorcycle ABS Works

An ABS system works by:

  • Connecting the front and rear brakes through sensors and wires.
  • Using sensors to detect speed and braking conditions.
  • Automatically adjusting braking pressure based on the feedback from the sensors in order to prevent the wheel from locking.

On a motorcycle equipped with ABS, the front and rear wheel brakes are connected through an ABS senor unit.

If the unit detects that the wheels are going to lock up as you’re applying the brakes, it will decrease the braking pressure to allow the wheel to continue to spin and then reapply pressure.

Depending on the braking circumstances, the system may do this multiple times.

The system adjust the braking pressure much faster than physical reaction time would allow the rider to do so.

In scenarios where the brakes need to be applied hard and fast, this can be helpful in preventing a skid and losing control.

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Content Editor: Ethan Orenstein

Ethan is not just any motorcycle enthusiast. With a decade of experience riding, maintaining, and restoring a range of motorcycles, Ethan brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Many of the tips and tricks shared on this site are born from hours spent wrenching on personal bikes. Paired with his experience as a journalist covering DMV & insurance topics, MotorcycleZombies.com is a must-visit site for any home-mechanic. Every article has been carefully reviewed and edited to ensure accuracy, authenticity, and simplicity - all to help bring your bike back from the dead and onto the road.

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