Anti-lock brakes keeping more motorcycle riders safe
One of the major problems with motorcycles is that they slide. But a major safety feature that had been available only on expensive bikes - anti-lock brakes - is now offered on an entry-level bike. Consumer Reports hits the test track to show us the difference ABS makes.Posted — Updated
New motorcycle sales were up nearly 3 percent the first half of this year.
That's great for Angela Annamalai, whose been selling them for years. One thing that's always part of her sales pitch - get anti-lock brakes whenever possible.
"I've seen a lot of folks that have injuries from accidents, and I feel that when you're only on two wheels, why not do your very best to be safe,” she said.
Anti-lock brakes have been standard safety equipment on cars for years. But Consumer Reports says they're even more important for motorcycles.
"On a motorcycle, if you lock up a wheel, you're going to go over in a heartbeat - faster than you can possibly imagine," said Jim Travers of Consumer Reports.
A test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety clearly shows the danger. With the anti-lock brake system turned off, the motorcycle goes into a skid. But with the ABS engaged, the motorcycle easily comes to a stop.
Consumer Reports just checked out a Honda CBR 250-R motorcycle. Anti-lock brakes are an option. It's the first entry-level bike in the United States to offer ABS, and it sells for around $4,600.
"It's going to appeal a lot more to a newer rider, a novice rider,” Travers said. “And that's where we see ABS as having the biggest benefit."
A recent insurance industry study shows what Consumer Reports calls a pressing need for anti-lock brakes on motorcycles. Those equipped with ABS are 37 percent less likely to be in a fatal crash than motorcycles that don't have antilock brakes.