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Anti Lock Braking System VS Combined Braking System : ABS vs CBS

Last updated on 16-Jun-2022 , By Arif Raihan Opu

These days the modern motorcycles are more powerful and performance oriented. Therefore even in lower capacity motorcycles performance also enhanced significantly. Accordingly those motorcycles are featured with very effective braking system. Consequently ABS & CBS is now also available in lower capacity motorcycles. Therefore illuminating these braking features here is our Anti Lock Braking System VS Combined Braking System. So let’s discuss on the features in brief.

Anti Lock Braking System VS Combined Braking System : ABS Vs CBS

Anti Lock Braking System VS Combined Braking System

Once drum type braking system was the common feature for the motorcycles. By the time the motorcycle engine and performance feature developed more. Accordingly the braking system also developed with more effectiveness. Afterward the issue came that only effective braking is not enough.

So safe braking with more braking effectiveness is now one of the core issues for modern powerful motorcycles. Hence covering this significance modern braking technology is added with these motorcycles. Accordingly the Antilock braking system vs combined braking system comes with modern motorcycles. Hence what are those features and how they work and what are the benefits lets discuss those in brief.



Wheel speed sensors mounted on front and rear wheel constantly measure the rotational speed of each wheel and deliver this information to an Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The ECU detects on the one hand if the deceleration of one wheel exceeds a fixed threshold and on the other hand whether the brake slip, calculated based on information of both wheels, rises above a certain percentage and enters an unstable zone. These are indicators for a high possibility of a locking wheel. To countermeasure these irregularities the ECU signals the hydraulic unit to hold or to release pressure. After signals show the return to the stable zone, pressure is increased again. Past models used a piston for the control of the fluid pressure. Most recent models regulate the pressure by rapidly opening and closing solenoid valves. While the basic principle and architecture has been carried over from passenger car ABS, typical motorcycle characteristics have to be considered during the development and application processes. One characteristic is the change of the dynamic wheel load during braking. Compared to cars, the wheel load changes are more drastic, which can lead to a wheel lift up and a fall over. This can be intensified by a soft suspension. Some systems are equipped with a rear wheel lift off mitigation functionality. When the indicators of a possible rear lift off are detected, the system releases brake pressure on the front wheel to counter this behavior. Another difference is that in case of the motorcycle the front wheel is much more important for stability than the rear wheel. If the front wheel locks up between 0.2-0.7s, it loses gyro static forces and the motorcycle starts to oscillate because the increased influence of side forces operating on the wheel contact line. The motorcycle becomes unstable and falls.

Anti Lock Braking System

Anti Lock braking system therefore ABS is a safety feature of modern motorcycle braking system. The feature prevents the motorcycle wheel from sudden locking. Therefore sudden skidding or slippage due to wheel lock avoided significantly. Moreover this feature allows shorter distance of braking with ensuring safety & stability. Hence braking in sudden or extreme situations is tackled more smartly in ABS featured motorcycles.

In ABS featured braking system the whole assembly works with an electronic control unit of the motorcycle. Here the Electronic control unit or ECU calculates the motorcycle wheel rotating speed, lean angle, brake fluid pressure through the lever pressed etc. Accordingly ECU applies the calculated pressure on the braking assembly and reduces the wheel rotation without locking suddenly. So ABS has so many advantages in safe braking but has few drawbacks considering some unusual issues. Let’s illuminate here below on those.

Anti Lock Braking System - Advantages

  • Most safe feature of modern braking system.
  • Plays a vital roll for traction control.
  • Shortens the braking distance.
  • Increase rider or operators confidence.
  • Increases the life of braking assembly.
  • Considering riding pattern and road surface ABS can be switched on or off.

Antilock Braking System – Disadvantages

  • The feature is quite cost maximizing. So its not suitable for low priced motorcycles.
  • Not perfect feature for serious off road motorcycles.
  • Not suitable for sports stunt motorcycles.
  • It may increase braking distance on extreme slippery surface like ice, oily or muddy surface.
  • It’s quite complicated setup with electronic device and sensors. Hence its further maintenance is not easy.


Combined Braking System

Combined braking system is known as CBS or LBS that is linked braking system. The principal of such braking system in motorcycle is engaging both front and rear brakes with applying single brake lever pressure. In CBS featured motorcycle only a brake lever works for both wheel braking. This feature is quite suitable for armature or inexperienced or for those users who are not frequent with standard braking habit of the motorcycle.

You know applying both wheel brakes in different ratio is a safe practice of effective and safe braking. Here a rider determines the brake pressure proportionally according to his/her experience, habit riding criteria and road surface condition. But here the main principal is using both wheel brakes simultaneously for effective and safe braking. Hence accordingly the combined braking system works.

Internationally the standard is all the vehicles should have two different braking systems. Therefore motorcycle also has two separate braking system for front and rear wheel. In CBS featured motorcycle the CBS brake lever acts simultaneously on both wheel brake. Hence another brake lever works on a single wheel. Here considering manufacturer R&D they determine which lever will work for CBS and which will work individually.

Commonly in most of the models of motorcycle front brake lever individually work on front wheel. Here the rear brake lever works on both front and real wheel in combine. Whatsoever the CBS is featured for safe braking in commuter, cruiser or other type of motorcycles. But it also has few advantages and disadvantages. Let’s focus on those below.

Combined Braking System – Advantages

  • Comparatively better & safe braking option for low priced and small capacity motorcycles.
  • Cost effective feature for safe braking system.
  • Comparatively nice braking feature for commuter, cruiser and touring motorcycles.
  • Helpful feature for armature, inexperienced and infrequent motorcycle users.

Combined Braking System – Disadvantages

  • It somewhat puzzling for frequent and experienced motorcycle user.
  • It hampers common and frequent motorcycle user’s concentration and can cause bad situation dealing with sudden and extreme situations.
  • Not good for serous motorcyclist.
  • Not good feature for high profile and high performance sports motorcycles.
  • It’s not applicable for off road or stunt sports motorcycles.
  • Maintenance and brake activity ratio customization is not so easy and it can cause uncomfortable situation on braking.
  • CBS is a mechanical feature; so it cannot be switched off. Hence it’s the biggest drawback of this feature.


Anti Lock Braking System VS Combined Braking System

After the discussion on Anti Lock Braking System VS Combined Braking System you may have gotten a least idea of both braking features. Both the technology featured for safe braking of motorcycle no doubt. But of-course their application is different and applicable on different motorcycles.

Considering the safety feature ABS is much more advanced and safe feature than CBS. But being an expensive feature it’s not a suitable option for low capacity and low priced motorcycles. Hence in such situation CBS can be a preferable option. But again CBS is not so comfortable for serious type or experienced motorcycle users. Moreover considering situation and riding pattern ABS can be switch off or on. But in CBS it’s not possible.

Apart from “BS” in both names, ABS and CBS are different in terms of purpose and application. For good and effective braking, brake should be applied on both the wheels simultaneously which the CBS (Combi Braking system) does and stops the vehicle with lesser braking distance. Also CBS unit is much cheaper and hence it served purpose well to budget bikes and scooters.

But in panic braking situation, CBS may not help because there is still chance that your wheel gets locked and you may fell down. Here the ABS (anti-lock braking system) comes, as name defined, system doesn't allow wheel to get locked. Also in ABS, the sensor, applies brakes, leave before wheel gets locked and again applies.

This process continued till your vehicle stops. And it stops the vehicle in lesser distance as compared to CBS. Also, unlike CBS, ABS unit is costly and hence we can see it only in high end bikes. But nowadays even 150cc motorcycles are coming up with ABS which is indeed a great thing. So on direct comparison ABS is always better than CBS but it actually depends upon what kind of bike you are using.

So readers, currently we have very limited number of motorcycle in the market which is featured with those braking features. But we hope as we are getting the quality premium motorcycles from international market also will get those braking features with upcoming motorcycles. Hence ride safe and stay in control. Therefore not forget to stay tuned with us. Thank you all.

Published by Arif Raihan Opu

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