Braking on a motorcycle is not as simple as braking in a car. Using the brakes correctly requires practice and experience. Most motorcycles use independent braking systems; the front brake is controlled by a lever on the right handlebar and the rear brake is controlled with a foot pedal. There are a few motorcycles which link the controls and even fewer that control the rear brake with a handlebar lever, however, there is not much research to show if this is safer or more effective at braking safely.
Motorcycle training courses place great emphasis on proper braking technique and the importance of using the front brake. Correct distribution to the front and rear brakes in any situation is important, but in a panic-braking situation, can result in the front wheel locking up, causing the motorcycle to lose control and then perhaps crashing. In the event that not enough pressure is applied to the brakes when stopping, the bike may not stop in time to avoid an accident. This is why practice is so important, instead of thinking about braking; the rider needs to instinctively feel the braking.
A recent study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that motorcycles with antilock braking systems are 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash as opposed to motorcycles without ABS. On a motorcycle, ABS can work in one of two ways; it can either reduce brake pressure when there is an impending lockup or increase pressure when the bike is under control. Then, when a rider instinctively “slams” on the brakes with full force, there is less chance of the wheel locking up and causing a crash.
Many mid-level to larger motorcycles have ABS as an option. Honda has been the first to come out with ABS on a smaller cc motorcycle, the CBR250R, as a $500.00 option.
In all instances, the ABS models are $500.00 to $1000.00 more than their non-ABS counterparts, but should be a consideration for buyers. Color may be important, accessories and add-ons are fun, protective gear is investigated, and now, maybe consumers should also consider ABS when making their next motorcycle purchase.