Kawasaki Anti-Lock Brakes

ABS has come a long way in the last 30 years. I remember the first ABS equipped car that I drove which had a brake pedal that shuddered like a jackhammer during a panic stop. ABS has been a lot slower to make its appearance in the two wheeled world, for a multitude of reasonsThe front wheel on a 2014 Z1000 with the ABS

  • Due to a motorcycle only having 2 wheels, it’s a significantly more complex undertaking to make sure that the ABS doesn’t cause unintended consequences.
  • There is a lot less space on a motorcycle for the extra equipment that ABS requires, so the technology had to advance significantly along with the miniaturization of the required components.
  • As most motorcycles are produced in significantly smaller quantities than ABS equipped automobiles, the scales of economy that can help to reduce the component prices do not exist.

Depending on the type of motorcycle, Kawasaki currently offers three different types of ABS.

  • ABS – Anti-Lock Brakes. This is the base system found on motorcycles such as the Ninja 300 ABS. It utilizes a self contained hydraulic control unit/ECU along with front and rear wheel sensors which constantly measure wheel speed. When the system detects a current or impending lock-up, it momentarily decreases braking pressure to either the front or rear wheel.
  • KIBS – Kawasaki Intelligent Anti-Lock Braking System (as found on the ZX-6R ABS and ZX-10R ABS models). While utilizing all of the components of the base system, it also incorporates pressure readings from the front brake calipers as well as readings from the engine control unit. KIBS is designed to be utilized on high performance motorcycles.
  • K-ACT – Kawasaki Advanced Coactive-Braking Technology (as found on the ZG14 Concours ABS and the Voyager 1700 ABS models).  K-ACT incorporates the components found on the base system, along with pressure sensors located in both master cylinders and the front and rear brake calipers. K-ACT is smart enough to apply braking forces to either the front or rear brake calipers if it detects that either one of those braking systems is not being utilized.

Whether you are new to motorcycling, or an experienced rider, ABS offers benefits to almost every 2-wheeled pilot. Check out the following video that Kawasaki just released for more details on how their ABS systems function.

Here is an additional link from Kawasaki Heavy Industries detailing how their ABS systems are constructed (as well as other technologies that Kawasaki utilizes).