Combined braking systems (the rider operates one brake lever or pedal but the system activates both brakes) are claimed by some in the motorcycle industry to be good enough for small motorcycles in an emergency.
Tests in Thailand on 18th December 2018 at the TTK Asia test facility proved the opposite.
Only anti-lock braking (ABS) can prevent wheel locking and loss of control in an emergency stop. The tests were attended by FIM Asia President Stefan Carapiet, FIM Director of Public Affairs John Chatterton-Ross, and Thongchai Wongsawan, President of FMSCT Thailand.
Opening the event Deputy Transport Minister Teerapong Rodprasert, representing the Royal Thai government, called for urgent action in Thailand and the South East Asia region to cut the number of deaths and serious injuries that occur every day.
Testing consisted of emergency stops on motorcycles with no ABS or CBS, one with CBS, and one with ABS – although only on the front wheel as is the case with many ABS motorcycles marketed in the region.
The first tests were done on dry tarmac. Three riders took part, one professional and two Thai citizens, who are motorcyclists, but not professional riders.
Final tests were conducted on a wet track – first wet tarmac and finally tarmac covered in plastic sheeting - also soaked with water to produce the most slippery conditions possible. These demonstrated that even a professional rider has no chance of controlling wheel lock without the help of ABS technology.
The wet surface tests were judged too risky for the regular riders and were demonstrated only by the professional.
The demonstration of ABS effectiveness was backed by the Royal Thai government and a number of sponsors including the Safer Roads Foundation. The event was organised under the leadership of Dr Saiprasit Koetniyom and Dr Wiwat Seetamanotch.
After the tests delegates representatives of the media held a lively discussion. John Chatterton-Ross explained that it was only in 2016 that the European Union finally passed regulations on ABS braking for new motorcycles. These contain a provision for the 125cc category to be fitted with CBS instead and the motorcycle industry has latched onto this.
“This exception was granted by legislators in Brussels when the planning was done years ago. It was claimed by industry that the cost of ABS would wipe out the 125cc sector in the market. This is not the case. Even the lowest cost 125cc scooters in Europe such as the Yamaha NMAX come with ABS.
I remind you that has ABS front and rear with a two-channel system. The motorcycle used in the test today has a lower cost single channel system to the front wheel only. This is a global industry with production costs matched to all different markets.
If the small category CBS option is not needed in Europe it is not needed here in Asia either. It defies logic to design and develop CBS for small machines when off the shelf ABS units are produced by all the leading component suppliers to the motorcycle industry. Account should also be taken of the market. Here small motorcycles are often below the European A1 125cc category. Engine capacities of 70cc, 90cc and 110cc are common together with machines at 150cc.
All of these motorcycles and scooters can be ridden at speeds above 50kph and all of them require ABS at the very minimum single channel to the front wheel. This will not interfere with existing designs where a cable or rod operated drum brake is fitted to the rear wheel for cost saving.”
Stefan Carapiet added:
“Today has been a superb example of leadership in road safety. I congratulate everyone here for their work, and their interest. FIM Asia President is committed to improving road safety in our region which has the highest number of motorcyclists in the world.”