7. Electronic Jamming Devices: ABS


When I first came to work at Cycle magazine, circa 1988, the new BMW K100RS had just appeared – the first motorcycle with antilock brakes! (which gave us the excuse to also borrow a new red Cadillac also with newfangled ABS). The new miracle drug did keep the wheels from locking, but it was quite the herky-jerky process, as you could feel the wheels locking and unlocking, the suspension rising and falling, as the primitive computer tried to keep up. Now ABS is mandatory on all large bikes sold in Europe, and it’s optional on nearly every bike sold here – and it usually works so well you don’t even know you’ve activated it unless you happen to see the light on the dash. Lean-angle sensitive ABS is so advanced we still haven’t worked up the nerve to fully “test” it.