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Thought that ABS was complicated enough? How about “cornering ABS?”

But don’t fret about it anymore – by the end of this episode, both types will be demystified. 

Tune in to discover:

  • What ABS is, and how it works
  • What “cornering ABS” is, and how it differs from “regular” ABS


Hello and welcome to 30-minute motorcycling – a podcast for new aspiring and returning riders where you’ll learn something new about motorcycles and other two-wheelers in 30 minutes or less.


And a while ago, I made an episode where I talked about the differences between disc and drum brakes and some characteristics of brake fluid. This episode is going to expand upon that because in this episode we’re talking about ABS.


ABS is complicated to a lot of people, and with motorcycles, it can get even more complicated, because some bikes have a special kind of ABS known as “cornering ABS.” 


So, therefore, we’re not just going to talk about ABS, we’re also going to talk about cornering ABS, and how it differs from “regular” ABS.


I’ve said “ABS” seven times so far, so let’s not beat around the bush any further – what is this “ABS”? 


ABS or “anti-lock brake system” is a system that prevents one or both of your wheels from locking when the brakes are applied hard and the deceleration is too high. 


But why is that even an issue? Well, if your wheels lock up, you can’t steer your bike, which is dangerous if you have to stop. Not only that, but your braking distance also increases. 


It’s bad enough in a four-wheeled vehicle, but on a two-wheeled vehicle, like a motorcycle, moped, or scooter, a locked-up wheel is almost a guarantee that you’ll fall off.


That’s what ABS is designed to deal with – it prevents your wheels from locking up when you apply the brakes. But how does it work?


Each wheel has a sensor next to it, which monitors the wheel’s rotational speed.


As soon as one of the sensors detect that one of the wheels is spinning slower than the other one due to high deceleration, the sensor will send a signal back to the ABS unit, which in turn will reduce the brake power somewhat to prevent the wheel from locking up and the tire from slipping.


Sounds complicated? It’s nothing compared with cornering ABS. 


What is Cornering ABS, though? Simple, it’s ABS for when you take a corner. Well, there is a little bit more to it than that.


Essentially, as effective as regular ABS can be, it’s only effective when your motorcycle is upright. 


If it starts to lean over, such as when you take a corner or make a sharp turn, and you apply the brakes too hard, you can still lose traction and fall off – even if you’ve got ABS.


If you’ve got cornering ABS, however, this is not as much of a problem, since cornering ABS can detect if your bike is leaning over, and adjust the brake power to maintain traction and prevent you from sliding off. 


Just like regular ABS, cornering ABS also rely on sensors. However, the sensors for the cornering ABS don’t just monitor wheel rotation – they also monitor things like:


  • Lean angle
  • Front brake pressure
  • And Rear brake pressure


This makes it possible to determine the type of corner you’re taking, and adjust the brake power accordingly to maintain enough traction and prevent you from accidentally dropping your bike because you slammed on the brakes too hard.


And that’s it – in less than 5 minutes, the mystery of ABS and Cornering ABS has been solved! 


Of course, that’s because this was a very basic overview – if you’d like to dig deeper into the topic of ABS and Cornering ABS, I’ve included a few links in the show notes that go into more detail.


Until next time, keep your helmet on and your eyes on the road – bye!