In introducing its 2013 line-up of returning models (as well as the updated F700GS & F800GS), BMW has announced that it has made anti-locking braking systems (ABS) a standard option on all of its motorcycles. The move is a part of larger safety initiative called Safety 360, which sees the Bavarian company taking a three-pronged approach to rider safety by focusing on: safety technology in the vehicle itself, safety derived from rider equipment, and safety derived from rider training.
Pre-empting the likely introduction of laws making ABS required on all motorcycles in the European Union by 2016, BMW is the first motorcycle manufacturer to make the braking technology standard on all of its models. Fittingly, back in 1988 the German company was the first motorcycle manufacturer to introduce ABS to production motorcycles, and again is the market-leader in this space.
This news is surely going to be a controversial move with the motorcycling purists, but modern anti-locking brakes overcome virtually all the quoted reasons against the technology’s initial inception. Adding only a couple of pounds to the motorcycle’s overall weight, ABS technology has not only become extremely compact and light, but also extremely potent in its effectiveness and sophistication.
The advent of dual-channel ABS has allowed the rear and front wheels of a motorcycle to be modulated independently, a boon for using ABS in off-road applications where locking up the rear tire is still a predominant motorcycle riding technique. Allowing riders to lock up the rear tire while modulating the front brings the best of both worlds of braking power and motorcycle control — especially during panic situations.
With the addition of ABS technology to sport bikes like the BMW S1000RR, riders are able to approach the limits of front-wheel lock-up with greater safety, which not only reduces the risk of crashing because of tucking the front wheel, but also allows riders to use the full potential of the very powerful braking components found on modern sport bikes — something few sport riders a truly capable of doing (egos aside).
While the debate between pro and anti-ABS factions is surely to continue, the fact of the matter though is that in several years all new motorcycles from the major OEMs are likely to be fitted with anti-locking brakes. I, for one, welcome our anti-locking overlords.
Source: BMW Group