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If your occupation is testing motorcycles there’s a certain measure of accepted risk that comes with the job. When cornering ABS (C-ABS) arrived a couple years ago, the general consensus among the motojournos was, Hey that’s awesome, we’ll take your word for it working as described, because no matter how professional we try to be, grabbing a fistful of front brake mid-corner to evaluate this new technology is a line few were willing to cross. Just thinking of the action conjures images of impacting asphalt at a rate approaching lightspeed.

Attending the International Driver & Rider Training Symposium provided Kevin Duke and I the opportunity to safely explore C-ABS and all the mid-corner braking performance the technology promises to deliver. The result? Confirmation that we were not being lied to, and an elevated respect for the engineers and test riders who perfect this technology prior to making it available to OEMs for inclusion on the latest and greatest two-wheelers.

With a KTM 1190 Adventure outfitted with Cedergrens’ Skidbike contraption, Duke and I set to the task of crashing. Repeatedly, we failed. Grabbing a fistful of brakes while leaned over with the C-ABS functioning resulted with a rapidly decelerating motorcycle, and – once the initial I-shouldn’t-be-doing-this gag reflex was muted – no drama. Switching off C-ABS and replicating the act resulted as you’d expect, with the front wheel washing away, but minus the crash due to Skidbike’s outriggers catching our falls.
Read more about the MO Tested: Cornering ABS at Motorcycle.com.
 

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This confirms what I have said about motorcycle ABS for years, and what I caution my MSF students about when discussing about motorcycle ABS comes up. That is, your bike with standard motorcycle ABS is not necessarily able to function the ABS effectively while leaned over any significant angle. Until these recent ABS developments, a motorcycle ABS system is really only meant to function as a motorcycle stability system when the bike is only vertical, or closely vertical.

Keep in mind, that until now, ALL ABS systems are only along for the ride, doing nothing but monitoring wheel speed. Then, ONLY when the brakes are applied to a point a tire is already slipping 10% to 20% (the maximum braking effective threshold), THEN the ABS engages control. The important point is, the tire being braked, has to slip at least 10% before the ABS even engages control. As anyone who has felt a front tire sliding while leaned over knows, that only can produce a major pucker/panic feeling. Like the comment made above, "once the initial I-shouldn’t-be-doing-this gag reflex was muted", the testers felt that pucker/panic until they realized the new ABS system was able to help them maintain control.
 
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