Motorcycle technology has evolved hugely in last 15 years. The need of which came especially when the engines were growing more powerful and motorcycles were becoming faster but all they had in terms of safety was brakes.
When you look almost 10-12 years back, you will find that even litre-class bikes were devoid of ABS. They were bare basic, and were considered highly dangerous to ride. But then with the stricter safety norms and regulations, some European countries made ABS as standard and this was later adopted in several other countries around the globe. Now if you pick any modern day litre-class bike or even something in the middle-class range you’ll find that the new bikes have more than just the brakes. Their electronics package comprise of a number of safety features which make them fairly safer to ride.
Talking of which, ABS and TCS are the most common features which are integrated in the modern bikes. Starting off with the ABS, it is called Anti-Lock Brake System. Which keeps the motorcycle up straight by preventing the wheel from getting locked in case of panic braking.
To elaborate the same, wheels tend to get locked when there is application of high braking force and there isn’t enough grip on the ground to bring the bike to halt. For example if the surface is wet, tyres will run out of grip and will lock if the brake is applied. To prevent the same from happening, bikes come equipped with ABS, thanks to which wheels doesn’t lock irrespective of surface condition. Though is important for all vehicles, but it is critically important for two-wheelers which are capable of doing high speeds.
ABS can also be categorized as a single-channel ABS, or a double-channel ABS. As the name suggest, the former is channel only to a single wheel, which is the front by default. While the double channel ABS is active on both the wheels. Even cars and SUVs have this feature which enables them to steer even when the brakes are applied at the fullest.
Another safety feature found in the modern day bikes is TCS a.k.a Traction Control System. It comes into action when the rear tyre of a bike loses traction and starts spinning faster than the tyre upfront. This happens when the throttle is cracked open instantly and there isn’t enough traction on the rear tyre and hence it is unable to translate all the power into velocity. As soon as the TCS kicks in, the power on the rear wheel is cut off instantly for split seconds allowing the wheel to snatch back the grip. A TCS system makes uses of different sensors on-board which continuously measure the spin rate of the rear wheel in comparison to the front wheel. If the rear wheel spins at a faster rate, the ECU cuts off/controls the power and balance is maintained. In the absence of TCS, motorcycle may lose control as the rear wheel spins uncontrollably.
In some high-level premium bikes, there are different levels of ABS and TCS interventions. The higher the level is more active the electronics are, while some riders prefer minimal intervention of electronics.
Whatever the case maybe, these electronics are extremely important for the safety.