When a car’s tires lock up, the car just skids. When a bike’s front or rear tire starts to slide, you might fall down. Thankfully, there’s technology that can avoid unintentional skids and help you stop quickly and safely, even when the road is wet or dirty.
Here’s how it works. On a non-ABS bike, your master cylinder feeds brake pressure directly to the brake caliper. On an ABS bike, fluid travels from the master cylinders to an ABS pump before continuing on to the calipers. An ABS computer, often situated on the pump, monitors brake pressure as well as the bike’s front and rear wheel speeds using stationary sensors on the fork and swingarm and splined tone rings on the hubs. When the ABS computer sees a discrepancy in wheel speed that it recognizes as a skid or an impending lockup, it’ll trigger solenoid valves in the ABS pump to momentarily reduce brake pressure to restore traction.