The European Parliament mandated that all new motorcycles and trikes sold in Europe with engines larger than 125cc are required to have ABS by 2016, and because of “global harmonization” – a term to describe manufacturing vehicles to uniform standards – suggests that the requirement will make ABS much more common in the U.S.
I would have anticipated a bigger push for ABS because the rate of fatal crashes is 31 percent lower on a motorcycle with antilock brakes than in the same models without ABS, according to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Thirty-one percent is a big number. Or about one in three motorcycle crashes that could possibly be avoided.
With ABS, riders stop more quickly and stopping distances improve on wet and dry surfaces. ABS reduces concern that the wheels will lock up, which might result in a skid. Locking up the brakes in a panic stop robs the rider of any steering control which can easily lead to a skid and crash. In the often wet northwest riding environment, maintaining control of steering during an emergency stop is most valuable.
ABS is becoming increasingly common on larger motorcycles. In fact, BMW Motorrad USA started making ABS standard equipment on all its motorcycles beginning with the 2012 model year. In the above photo is a list of 2014 Harley-Davidson models that include ABS. One concern is that it’s been difficult to find ABS on smaller motorcycles. Those smaller motorcycles are often purchased by less experienced riders, who are likely to benefit most from ABS.
From my vantage, if you don’t have ABS brakes it’s one of the best incentives to consider trading/buying a new motorcycle that does.
Chart photo courtesy of Consumer Reports.
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