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Greater safety when braking: Continental has produced a small, light ABS for motorcycles

Feb 17, 2009

Anti-lock braking system prevents falls due to excessive braking force – accidents resulting in falls double the risk of fatal injuries

Frankfurt am Main, Germany, February 17, 2009. Continental, the international automotive supplier, is strengthening its presence in the two-wheel market with a new, compact anti-lock braking system (ABS) for motorcycles. The MAB (motorcycle anti-lock braking system) developed by the Chassis & Safety Division weighs only about 1.2 kilograms and can therefore be inserted relatively easily into the structure of most motorcycle designs. Continental's know-how, gained while developing anti-lock braking systems for passenger cars, has made it possible to realize the new MAB in just 16 months. The system will be installed for the first time by Aprilia in its new models Mana, Shiver and Dorsoduro. "Widespread use of anti-lock devices on motorcycles and motor scooters would make a significant contribution towards reducing the number of serious injuries and fatalities", said Dirk Remde, Director of motorcycle braking systems in the Chassis & Safety Division. "Our systems are making an important contribution to the European Safety Charter, the declared aim of which is to halve by 2010 the number of motorcycle accidents compared with 2004." Continental's motorcycle integral braking system (MIB), our first ABS for motorbikes, developed in collaboration with BMW, was unveiled two years ago.

Stability when braking is more important for motorcyclists than short stopping distance

Stability when braking is more important for motorcyclists than short stopping distance As with cars, the primary objective when a motorcycle performs an emergency stop is to ensure that the vehicle remains stable. With cars, the aim is to retain steering control; but a locked-up wheel on a motorcycle will almost inevitably lead to a fall. So, sensors on the front and rear wheels calculate the speed at which the wheels are still turning while braking force is being applied and check whether a lock-up is imminent. In the latter case, the control unit will reduce the brake pressure to prevent lock-up and loss of stability and road adhesion. A rear wheel lift-off protection system (RLP) is also available to motorcycle manufacturers as an option in addition to the basic MAB. RLP is able to detect even more sensitively – by employing, for example, a brake pressure sensor which automatically analyzes the hydraulic pressure in the braking system – whether the rear wheel is about to lift off during hard braking. In this case, the pressure in the front brake circuit is slightly reduced until the motorcycle has regained its stability. The MAB's compact dimensions and light weight make it easier to integrate or "package" into the motorcycle's design. If the ABS unit only takes up a small amount of installation space, less adjustment is needed to the motorcycle's existing structures, to its frame, fuel tank or fairings. Size is therefore a decisive competitive criterion in addition to price – even more so with motorcycles than with cars because there is considerably less space available.

Motorcycle accidents: falls treble the risk of life-threatening injuries

Studies by accident insurers and the Federal Highway Research Institute have proven that anti-lock braking systems provide great benefits for motorbike riders. It seems that one in five motorcycle accidents results in a fall due to a front wheel lock-up. Virtually all these falls (93 percent) could be prevented by an anti-lock braking system. Even if the stopping distance is insufficient to prevent a collision, controlled brake application can significantly reduce the impact velocity and thus the severity of the accident. If the rider falls off, the risk of suffering serious injuries rises considerably. According to insurance experts, the risk of suffering fatal injuries if the rider falls off is twice as great compared with an accident in which the brakes are applied under control; and life-threatening injuries are incurred as much as three times more frequently. In Germany alone, installing anti-lock braking systems would save the lives of 100 motorcyclists each year and prevent a further 3,000 serious injuries. An initiative put forward in the Bundesrat (the second chamber of the German parliament) to make installing anti-lock devices a legal requirement for new motorcycle models, was unanimously adopted by all 16 German states represented in the chamber. Discussions are ongoing at EU level about a common European regulation.


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Nicole Geißler

External Communications


Division Chassis & Safety

Guerickestraße 7

60488 Frankfurt am Main

Tel.    +49 69 7603-8492

Fax:   +49 69 7603-3945