Using With motorcycles getting faster and faster, like the race-bred Apache RR310, manufacturers have had to provide two-wheelers with equally powerful and effective stopping power. This is where your average disc doesn’t cut it and further enhancements to braking must be made. ABS helps a great deal in that respect, and makes braking more reassuring in emergency braking conditions, and even over low traction surfaces. TVS was the first Indian manufacturer to develop and provide ABS on its motorcycles, dating all the way back to 2011. The TVS Apache RTR 180 was the first Indian made motorcycle to feature ABS, RLP (Rear Wheel Lift-off Protection) and also came with the option to turn it off if desired. The Apache RR310, staying true to the pioneering legacy of TVS offers dual channel ABS. Knowing the correct way to use an ABS equipped motorcycle such as the RR310 would go a long way in fully exploiting its capabilities. In this article, we’ll give you a thorough rundown as to:
- What is ABS and how it works
- Advantages of Dual-Channel ABS over Single-Channel ABS
- The right way of braking, and how to gain maximum braking efficiency on your Apache RR310
- Pulsations on ABS systems and brake noise
What is ABS and how does it work?
ABS stands for Anti-Lock Braking System. An ABS equipped motorcycle like the RR310 comes with sensors that are mounted both to the front and rear wheel. These sensors detect and measure the rotational speed on both individual wheels and send this information to the ECU (Electronic Control Unit), which in other words is the brain of the motorcycle. ABS systems contain three major components called the valve, pump and a controller. There is a valve present in both brake lines (front and rear). The valve can be moved to three different positions –
- Position one allows pressure from the master cylinder to pass through to the brake.
- Position two blocks the brake line from the master cylinder, preventing the pressure from any further build-up under heavy braking.
- Position three allows the valve to release excess pressure build-up in the brake.
Under hard braking, the wheels could lock up, causing the motorcycle to lose traction and slip. To top that off the surface of the terrain you’re riding on could either counter or enhance this effect. This is where ABS comes into play, and ensures that there is no wheel lock. It senses and controls the level of braking applied, and prevents the wheels from locking up, thwarts tyre slippage and puts the rider in complete control.
When the ECU detects a wheel decelerating while exceeding a fixed threshold, it commands the hydraulic unit to hold or release pressure onto the brakes based on available data. The ABS system allows this control by manipulating the fluid pressure in the brakes by rapidly opening and closing valves to maintain command over the amount of braking force applied.
You may have noticed under heavy braking, the weight transfer on a motorcycle can be quite drastic causing the rear wheel to lift. In order to counter it, the ABS system comes equipped with an RLP function. RLP stands for Rear Wheel Lift-Off Protection. When lift is detected on the rear-wheel under hard braking, the system releases applied pressure on the front wheel to make sure the rear doesn’t leave the tarmac. One might assume this process may take too long but as it turns out with advancements in technology new age ABS systems like the on the Apache RR310 can release and apply pressure up to 15 times per second while weighing in at just 0.7 kg. That’s incredibly lightweight and effective.
Advantages of Dual Channel ABS over Single Channel
A single channel ABS system essentially only manipulates and controls the pressure applied to the front wheel, whereas a dual channel system controls braking on both wheels. A single channel system does make sense on a small capacity motorcycle for cost savings. However, this isn’t the case with a track tool like the Apache RR310 that is a whole lot faster and needs to ensure stability is maintained on both front and rear brakes.
Single channel ABS systems don’t control slip levels at the rear, so its lack of ability to maintain traction is really felt, especially under slippery road conditions. Applying both brakes in tandem on a dual channel ABS equipped motorcycle puts the rider in even better control, preventing slippage and ensuring stability at all times. This can be a boon in wet and slippery conditions such as rains. Having a dual channel ABS such as the one on the RR310 is the best option to have in such conditions as it prevents slippage, enhances rider control and significantly reduces braking distance in wet conditions.
The right way of braking and how to gain maximum braking efficiency on your Apache RR310
Thanks to the application of ABS, braking is more effortless, hassle-free, more powerful and more reassuring. New riders, however, often share a misconception that under braking conditions, the brake force has to be more rear biased than the front. This actually is an incorrect method of braking and restricts the brakes from functioning at full potential. If we take a look at most motorcycles, or the Apache RR310 for instance, you will notice the front discs are much larger than the ones provided at the rear. This is simply down to physics as under hard braking conditions, the motorcycle’s weight transfers massively onto its front, thereby lifting the weight off the rear tire, reducing the traction available and limiting its stopping power. All the excess weight that now rests on your front wheel increases its frictional force, empowering it to bring the bike’s speed down more effectively.
As a general rule, you should rely a lot more on the front brakes, as doing that would bring your down your stopping distance. If you have been relying heavily on the rear brake on your RR310, you should quit doing that, and start using the right lever a lot more. You’ll see a drastic improvement in your control while hard braking once you start doing that.
Having said that, making sure that the rider routinely uses both front and rear brakes is a must since relying solely on the front or the rear can be quite inefficient. If the rider were to use only his rear brake, the motorcycle would travel quite a significant distance before finally coming to a halt. On the other hand, if the rider was to only use the front, the stopping distance would be far better than the former but at the cost of stability as the front would feel too heavy. The best and most efficient way of braking, thus, would be to apply both brakes simultaneously where the front brake would perform 70-80% of the braking duties, with the rear taking care of the rest. This allows maximum braking effectiveness by allowing each wheel to slow down in a more efficient manner.
A word about the pulsations on ABS motorcycles and brake noise
With most motorcycles with ABS, including the RR310, riders will notice a certain amount of kickback or pulsations from both the brake lever and pedal. This is nothing to panic about and is completely normal as it’s just the ABS system controlling the pressure by constantly applying and releasing pressure on the brakes.
Also, it is important to note that the Apache RR310 comes equipped with high performance sintered brake pads. These brake pads are made from metallic particles fused together at a high temperature and pressure. Sintered brake pads offer more powerful braking as compared to organic brake pads as they offer strong braking without fade even in wet conditions. They are also less affected by heat build up, and offer fantastic performance in demanding conditions such as on a race track.
Sintered brake pads, however, owing to the fact that they grab the rotors more strongly can sometimes create a little more noise than organic brake pads. This is a known effect and not something to worry about. However, it helps to keep your brake rotors, and bike in general clean and muck-free to reduce any noise emanating from the brakes.
So the next time you are riding your Apache RR310, keep these simple rules about motorcycle braking in mind to be in total control. Following these simple rules would make you instantly appreciate the fantastic braking power the RR310 possesses with its twin discs and dual channel ABS. if you have any questions about the RR310’s braking, shoot away, and we’d be happy to answer your queries.