You’ve of course heard about anti-lock braking systems, or ABS, in cars, aeroplanes and motorbikes, but what about bikes…? Having patented the term 40 years ago when they introduced the world’s first production-ready ABS for cars onto the market, Bosch continues to pave the way with the release of ABS for e-bikes. Essentially a device to prevent a vehicle’s wheel brakes from locking, the introduction of ABS to e-bikes (released in Europe from Autumn 2018) is going to tick a big safety box for pedelec users. We went to Bosch direct to find out more.
Today ABS installation is mandatory in all new vehicles in Europe. Why do you think this is such a critical feature to e-bike design?
Our accident research has shown that the anti-lock system prevented almost one out of four pedelec accidents and reduced the number of accidents involving serious injuries. Incorrect use of brakes often plays a central role in causes of accidents. When braking, many cyclists ignore the front brake which produces a much higher braking action than the rear brake. The reason for this is fear of crashing. The ABS counteracts this risk since the brakes can be used more efficiently. This reduces the braking distance and the risk of crashing and rollovers. It also improves riding stability and manoeuvrability, thus making eBike riding even more enjoyable.
Tell us how ABS for e-bikes works
With front wheel ABS, wheel speed sensors monitor the speed of both wheels. When the front wheel is on the verge of locking, our eBike ABS controls the brake pressure. The ABS reacts quicker than any rider. In particular, the pedelec can be better controlled and brought to a stop on slippery road conditions and loose, wet ground.
What about rear locking?
Rear wheel lift control is another function of the Bosch eBike ABS. It reduces the chance of the rear wheel lifting off the ground when applying the brake aggressively. Wheel speed sensors detect lifting of the rear wheel through sudden changes in the wheel speed. This results in regulation of the amount of braking force applied to the front wheel. Our eBike ABS briefly reduces the braking force on the front wheel so that the rear wheel quickly regains ground contact. This reduces the likelihood of the eBiker flying over the handlebar.
For the mechanical nerds amongst us, how does the ABS work with hydraulic brakes?
The hydraulic brakes and electronic braking system are precisely matched. We developed the eBike ABS with Magura, who provide a special braking system via the Magura CMe ABS. eBike components and the ABS must be in tune with each other as a system as optimally as possible. For this reason, bicycle makers only build the ABS directly on the eBike. Retrofitting is impossible. The power source of the anti-lock braking system is the eBike battery.
If the ABS power source is the eBike battery, as you say, then how much does this feature drain on the battery?
The ABS has no noticeable effect on the battery's range since power is only used when the ABS is actively controlling the braking process. In addition, it is ensured that ABS, light and display also run in backup mode. These safety-relevant functions only switch off when the backup has been used up. The end of backup mode is indicated by an ABS indicator light flashing briefly. The brake then operates as a conventional brake.
Bosch is synonymous with safety. What else are you doing to make eBiking as safe as possible?
Our design also includes an on-board computer that features data including speed, cadence, or range at a glance. Whilst operating the eBike, the eBiker keeps both hands on the handlebar and controls the on-board computer easily and comfortably via a separate control unit during the ride. Safety is of the utmost priority for Bosch. We work continuously on the enhancement of safety products. In principle, many things that are now the standard for cars are also conceivable for eBikes because fundamental elements, such as power supply and intelligence, are already on board in the form of sensors.
Where can people go for more information about Bosch ABS?
You can find more information from Bosch here
Where can people go to test-drive or buy a Bosch eBike?
Visit a list of European dealers here