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Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) in bikes: How does it work?

Team AckoFeb 14, 2023

ABS or Anti-lock Braking System has become increasingly common on bikes in recent years due to its safety quotient. In this article, you will learn about ABS in bikes, its benefits to riders, and how it keeps you in control of your two-wheeler.




What is ABS in bikes?

ABS in bikes is a safety feature that prevents the wheels from locking up during sudden braking. When the scooter or the motorcycle’s wheel locks up, the rider loses control of the bike. It may end up skidding, resulting in a possible mishap.

How does ABS work in motorcycles and scooters?

ABS constantly monitors the rotation of the wheels and automatically adjusts the braking pressure to the wheel. This ensures the wheels have enough traction and keep rotating despite heavy or sudden braking. This allows for a more controlled and smoother stop, reducing the possibility of an accident, and enhancing the experience of riding a two-wheeler.

Most major bike manufacturers offer bikes with ABS as a standard fitment or optional equipment. Riders can ride bikes with an anti-lock braking system without worrying about skidding or losing control during hard braking and avoid life-threatening situations.

What are dual-channel ABS bikes?

Dual-channel ABS works similarly to single-channel ABS. However, in a dual-channel model, there are two independent brake channels, one for the front and the other for the rear, resulting in an increase in the bike’s braking efficiency. It is considered an advanced version of the single-channel ABS.

Benefits of ABS in bikes

ABS in motorcycles and scooters have become a standard safety feature in recent years, offering a host of benefits to the rider.

  • Improved safety: It prevents the wheels from locking up during sudden braking, enabling the rider to control the steering in slippery conditions. This can help mitigate the possibility of a mishap.

  • Shorter stopping distances: It reduces the stopping distances, helping the rider react quickly in an emergency braking situation.

  • Greater control: It helps the rider brake more effectively and take control of the situation.

  • Lower wear and tear: Without an anti-lock braking system, the rider would have to manually release the brake to reduce the chances of the wheels locking up. This can cause uneven tyre wear and increased stress on the brakes. ABS mitigates this wear and tear by automatically detecting the lock-up and modulating the brake pressure.

  • Higher rider confidence: It gives the rider the required confidence to stop quickly and safely, resulting in a comfortable and enjoyable ride.

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS): Key components

Here are the main parts of ABS in bikes.

1. Sensors

They are located on the bike wheels and are designed to detect wheel speed. They send signals to the anti-lock braking system control unit when the wheel is about to lock up.

2. Toothed disc

It helps the sensors to sense the speed of the wheel. It is typically located within the disc brake.

3. Electronic Control Unit (ECU)

It receives signals from the ABS sensors, controls brake pressure, and prevents wheel lock-up. It is usually located under the motorcycle seat.

4. Valves

They are usually located at the brake callipers, designed to control the brake pressure.

5. Pump

Some ABS units are designed with a pump to increase the brake pressure quickly in case of sudden braking.

6. Actuator

The actuator physically modulates the brake pressure and works with valves to prevent wheel lock-up. The ECU primarily controls it.

7. Warning light

A warning light on the bike’s dashboard indicates whether the ABS is working correctly.

Common misconceptions about ABS in bikes

Despite being tested and proven, ABS is still debated about its effectiveness. Here are some misconceptions about ABS in two-wheelers.

  • ABS makes brakes less effective: An anti-lock braking system does not reduce the effectiveness of brakes. It increases the stopping power and reduces the stopping distance.

  • ABS is beneficial only on wet surfaces: ABS in motorcycles and scooters can be effective in various road conditions, including wet, dry and uneven terrain. Regardless of the type of terrain, ABS is found to be more effective than bikes without ABS.

  • ABS is unnecessary as I know how to brake properly: ABS is designed to offer an extra layer of safety and protection during hard braking. Even experienced riders can encounter unexpected situations or make mistakes, and ABS can help mitigate the consequences.

  • ABS is only for beginners: ABS offers enough confidence to riders since it helps mitigate the chances of slipping due to hard braking. Be it an experienced or a beginner, ABS is an important safety feature for all riders.

  • ABS increases the bike’s weight: The weight of an anti-lock braking system is negligent and would not impact the overall bike’s stability and control.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the answers to some of the common questions about ABS in bikes.


Is ABS mandatory for all bikes in India?

No, an anti-lock braking system is not mandatory for all motorcycles and scooters in India. However, it is increasingly becoming an essential part of rider safety, and manufacturers are offering products with ABS in modern two-wheelers.

How often do I have to service my bike’s ABS?

The service intervals for ABS in motorcycles or scooters depend on the manufacturer and model. Please check the owner’s manual or the manufacturer for the recommended service intervals.

Which is the ideal bike insurance for bikes with ABS?

It is recommended to opt for Comprehensive Bike Insurance Policy since it covers damages to the bike and third-party liabilities. Please read the inclusions and exclusions to understand if an anti-lock braking system is covered under the respective policy.

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Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet, and is subject to changes. Please go through the applicable policy wordings for updated ACKO-centric content, and before making any insurance-related decisions.


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