Bosch have been involved in car anti-lock braking systems for decades, so with their strong position in the e-bike market it was only a matter of time before they rolled something out for pedelecs. And here it is: Bosch's first e-bike ABS system will be coming to production bikes in 2019, and it'll be on the bikes of 'selected fleet partners' from, well, from now. We're hoping to have a go on the system at the Eurobike show next week.
ABS for bikes? Well, why not? ABS has been fitted to motorbikes for years, so it's not a huge stretch to adapt the system to another two-wheeler. And the benefits on a motorbike are obvious, as this video of Bosch's motorbike system shows:
The e-bike system isn't the same as the motorbike system. Although the e-bike system is probably derived at least in part from the motorbike technology, the fundamental difference is that it's only the front wheel that has anti-lock capability. Bosch have identified that over-zealous braking at the front can have much more drastic consequences than at the rear. If you lock the back wheel then you skid, which isn't ideal but generally isn't that dangerous. Locking the front wheel will often lead to a fall as the bike becomes unstable, and if the front tyre bites in a straight line there's the chance of being pitched over the bars. The Bosch system uses speed sensors on both wheels and monitors braking, easing up on the front brake in order to keep the rider in the saddle and off the tarmac.
And does it work? Well, we don't know yet. But next week we'll endeavour to find out. It's certainly an interesting development: will all e-bikes have ABS in the future?