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ABS and combined brakes standard

abs mandatory combined braking assist regulations

From November 2019, all new motorcycle models sold in Australia will either have anti-lock braking systems (ABS) or combined braking systems (CBS).

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher has approved the Australian Design Rule changes which will also affect all models, including existing models, from 2021.

He says the requirements will ensure “all” new motorcycles sold in Australia feature “the same life-saving braking technologies currently required in Europe, Japan and a number of other major markets around the world”.

ABS exemptions

However, there are some exceptions and exemptions to the new ADR.

ABS will be mandatory on motorcycles, trikes and scooters over 125cc, while either ABS or CBS will be mandatory on those under 125cc.

If the bike has switchable ABS, the default setting when the bike is turned off and turned back on again will be for ABS to be active.

Enduro and trials bikes are exempt from mandatory ABS.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries national motorcycle manager Rhys Griffiths says they also negotiated an exemption for trail bikes below 250cc.

However, the FCAI was not able to gain an exemption for larger trail bikes such as the Kawasaki KLR650 and Suzuki DR650. (A trail bike is defined as having a 21″ front wheel and solo seat.)

Rhys says he does not expect the legislation to pass in the next sitting week of parliament, but it could pass early next year.

Combined Braking Systems

Combined braking systems
Honda Blackbird with CBS

Combined Braking Systems or linked brakes have been around for some time, mainly on Honda and BMW sports tourers and some race bikes.

It is where both brakes work when you depress either the front brake lever or the rear brake pedal.

Usually, the pressure applied to the brakes is proportional.

That is, if you hit the front brake, only a proportion of the rear brake is applied and vice versa.

Braking tech ‘saves lives’

The Minister says ABS and CBS can reduce motorcycle related road trauma in Australia by more than 30%.

“With motorcycles currently the fastest growing vehicle type, widespread fitment of this safety technology will make a real impact on reducing fatalities on Australia’s roads each year by ensuring that the safest motorcycles are made available to Australians at the lowest cost.”ABS alcohol locks autonomous combined

However, Motorcycle Council of NSW treasurer Steve Pearce disputes those figures.

“Do you think ABS will save 40 lives per year?” he asks.

“The statistic of 30% is a vehicle-based figure. How many motorcycle crashes involve front-end loss of braking?

“ABS in a motorcycle is great but will we see this impact? And what about dirt bikes? A dirt bike will need the ability to switch between modes.”

He says the additional cost of fitting ABS should be optional for riders.

The introduction of advanced braking systems for motorcycles was agreed to under action item 16c of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, and action item 7 of the National Road Safety Action Plan 2015-17.

As of 2017, about 40% of all motorcycles sold in Australia are already equipped with ABS and manufacturers such as BMW and Harley-Davidson only sell motorcycles equipped with ABS.

CBS is offered on only a few motorcycles and scooters.

There is no requirement for existing bikes to be retro-fitted with ABS or CBS. There are no aftermarket products available, anyhow.

ABS training

BMW demonstrates ABS study mandatory combined
BMW demonstrates ABS

Steve says riders should be trained in the use of ABS.

“No one has mentioned training for riders on how to get the best from the technology,” he says.

“This is a great initiative but we need more feedback and involvement from riders to get the best impact.

“Riders need to be taught in a controlled environment by trainers who can demonstrate how ABS works on a motorcycle and how to use ABS to its best advantage in an emergency.

“Depending on the road surface, the ABS, suspension setup and weight of the rider interact to stop the motorcycle, so riders need to practise on real road surfaces on the motorcycle that they own.

“We also have the situation where ABS does not perform well on dirt roads, so we also advocate the ability to switch off ABS on bikes that are likely to be used on dirt roads.”

  1. I love it when people who don’t ride, have no clue of how to ride and no intentions of ever getting a clue dictate what safety measures riders need.
    ABS on road bikes is one thing but linked brakes is a bandaid put in place because car drivers try to drive a bike and only use the foot brake or because of the HD mob who either never had front brakes or live in fear of locking the front wheel due to the horrible dynamics of some of those Stone Age machines.

  2. ABS on road bikes, no problem, I wouldn’t like it on any off road bike however. What’s next however? Are we going to be forced into wearing certain types of safety gear while riding? Australias’ politicians & public servants really can’t stop meddling (witness the Oxley Highway road speed change) yet the ones making the decisions are not riders nor are they really interested in saving lives otherwise they would fix our roads.

  3. CBS sucks; it’s almost impossible to do tight feet-up U-turns due to the front brake coming on when trying to modulate the rear to load up the engine and tighten the turn. I had CBS on my K1200LT and it was horrible. It was a shame really, because everything else about the bike was terrific.

  4. ABS is seems OK requirement. Don’t use it myself but plenty of good riders seen to (NOT dirt though. I don’t think they thoughr that through) Linked systems not so sure. I don’t like the idea of rear brakes coming on on a steep downhill, or worse, front brakes on a tight curve. Anyone any experience with them in these conditions?

    1. I’m a great fan of ABS & I don’t ride slowly. Combined Braking systems suck, they’re either useless or dangerous, depending on circumstances.
      CBS brakes operate on the principle that the rider’s a moron, & you can’t make things worse. They do.

      CBS is a dubious gadget used to suck in overanxious midlife crisis softies with too much money (dentists, etc) buying their first ever bike.

  5. Did they consult with motorcycle manufacturers before making their decision? Probably not as it is obvious the decision is based on dodgy statistics, and they clearly have little understanding of the consequences. The Kawasaki KLR650 and Suzuki DR650 are two bikes that have given so much pleasure to so many riders for so little money. Their low price is a big part of their appeal. What will become of them now? Will their price go up so much that they will no longer be appealing? Will they be fitted with cheap inferior ABS? Or will they disappear from the market?

    A bike without ABS can stop in a shorter distance than one that has it. Whether it does or not depends on the skill of the rider. As a consequence of this, some riders with ABS will die because they couldn’t stop in time, for example, if a car fails to give way at an intersection. If ABS is mandatory riders will no longer learn good braking skills. Then if their ABS fails (and they do fail) the rider will be in big trouble, and people will die as a result. I have learnt exceptionally good braking skills and I can depend on them. With electronic devices you never know when they will stop working. Forcing everybody to be dependent on electronics for their safety is a dumb idea.

  6. I have ABS on my current road bike and also had it on the previous 2 but I’ve never had ABS on my trail bikes. I’m betting that budget priced trail bikes like the KLR650 and the DR650 (and some other smaller 300/400 class trail bikes) are going to stop being imported as a result of this leaving only high tech high priced off roaders that I have no interest in.

  7. While ABS is a good idea, I would like to see self cancelling blinkers made compulsory. How many accidents are caused by car drivers seeing the bike blinkers on thinking they are turning and pulling out in front of bikes…just think about it.

  8. So, if motorcycle related road trauma doesn’t reduce by MORE than 30% after the introduction of these rules
    (we’ll be watching to see if it does – & it won’t)
    Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher, the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, & the National Road Safety Action Plan 2015-17
    are making stuff up.
    They think we’ll forget their stupidity in 12 months – no way.

    Motorcycle Council of NSW treasurer Steve Pearce is the only one who knows what he’s talkng about.

    “Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher says ABS and CBS can reduce motorcycle related road trauma in Australia by more than 30%.” -quote
    “The introduction of advanced braking systems for motorcycles was agreed to under action item 16c of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, and action item 7 of the National Road Safety Action Plan 2015-17.” -quote

  9. VicRoads was handing out leaflets advising motorcyclists to fit aftermarket ABS systems to bikes without ABS.
    No aftermarket ABS systems for bikes are in existence.
    Everyone knows this
    except VicRoads.

    VicRoads & the other road safety “experts” making rules for bikes & blathering on about speed speed speed speed don’t have a clue about bikes.

  10. I just recently purchased a 1984 Honda GL 1200 Goldwing Aspencade. Rode it home, discovered it had CBS and put it up for sale the day the title came back in. I refuse to ride it.
    Back to looking for another bike to ride while I restore my 92 Harley FXRS-Con. They can keep their CBS and ABS systems on motorcycles, flat dangerous stuff.

    1. I agree, I’ve had to lockup individual or both wheels in order to prevent an accident, it’s all about the particular circumstance.
      ABS removes this ability, it’s like removing a safety function to give another, one which a rider who actually learns to ride their bike, doesn’t need anyway.

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