It is now the peak season for car purchases, and many have started to ask the following question: do we need to purchases models with ABS? To answer that, we have looked into the relevant data as well as the government subsidy and market prices this year, and compiled all information into a comprehensive analysis. This is the only coverage that you need for making your decision.
This question may seem like it’s asking if ABS is useful, though what we actually want to know is whether spending the extra few thousand NT dollars is going to be worth it. First things first, we must understand the mechanism and meaning of ABS.
Biggest Nightmare for Scooters: Wheel Locking
ABS (Anti-locking Breaking System) was invented by the renowned German company Bosch, and has been progressed to the existing 10th generation, which is lighter, smaller, and has a better braking capacity than the previous versions. Pay attention when you are making a purchase, since there are differences in the manufacturers and versions of ABS.
A scooter relies on the braking device above the axle when braking in order to reduce the rotation of the tire. However, excessive breaking force during an emergency braking will completely suspend the rotation of the tire, which is referred to as “locking” that will result in the tire losing its grip, and thus leading to skidding and more severe incidents.
▲ Bosch ABS 10 Device
The ABS system is initiated through the wheel speed sensor, and incorporates the release caliper within half a second to allow the rim to resume rotation when the rotation speed of the rim gets to zero during braking, before repeatedly releasing and braking 6-50 times per second in order to achieve an efficient deceleration whilst avoiding tire locking.
Just a trivia: the ABS system can only be installed on a disk brake device, and it will not be available for a drum brake device that has a weaker braking force.
So here comes the important question. Is one ABS system enough on one single tire? Is double feeder required?
For example, when we hold onto the brakes with both of our hands while we are startled by a vehicle that rushes out from the alley, a vehicle with double feeder ABS not only brakes within a shorter distance, but also maintains the control over the vehicle so that the rider is able to steer and avoid. A vehicle without ABS may result in locking for both front and rear tires, which leads to sideslip or even overturn on the same spot.
▲ Front and rear disks are necessary conditions of a double feeder ABS.
Some automotive manufacturers only install ABS on the front tire in order to save cost, and doing so may result in a locking of the rear tire. Even if the front tire remains in control, the vehicle body would “drift” and sideslip after the rear tire that has lost control skids. Such incomplete design will impose restrictions to the elevation of security.
Another “simultaneous braking” device called SBS or CBS prevents a vehicle from getting out of control due to excessive single-tire braking force by allowing simultaneous operation of both front and rear brakes. However, it has no help in “anti-locking”, and a single tire locking may become double tire locking in the worst case scenario.
ABS Is a Braking Fool-proof Device
We have discovered that numerous netizens seem to believe that such “high-end” equipment may not be useful for commuters and travel groups, but the truth is rather on the contrary. Those who do not require ABS are professional racers, who are able to precisely control the vehicle body and even the “super high speed repeated braking”, and regard “drifting” as a daily procedure. Thus the installation of ABS will create restrictions to these high-end racers.
In contrast, ABS is considered to be a lazy braking device for ordinary daily driving, since all the rider needs to do is push the brakes on both sides as hard as possible without needing a high speed repeated braking or other techniques.
▲ ABS is able to drastically reduce the time required for braking, and stop at a shorter distance, according to the data of the Automotive Research & Testing Center (Source: Automotive Research & Testing Center)
A vehicle with an incorporation of ABS can reduce 1.4 seconds of average braking time under a high travelling speed, and that may be the key in deciding the survival or death of the driver. What is more important is that it doesn’t matter if your speed per hour is 80km/h, 60 km/h, or 30km/h, as it will always be possible for tire locking to occur during emergency braking. Thus ABS is not only useful for people driving at high speeds, since there are just as many careless drivers on the road who drive at low speeds.
The test items of ABS also comprise of road surface test with various degree of friction, which when converted into daily scenarios, correspond to the sandstone, oil, water puddle, and the scary road marking that are beneath the scooter when riding. When the road surface contains lower friction, locking may occur during braking due to the insufficient amount of grip, thus an ABS device must be able to assist the rider to stabilize the vehicle body under low friction.
Is ABS Worthy of Purchase?
Judging from various data, it’s safe to say that ABS does in fact provide significant help to the elevation of security. In other words, scooters with front and rear ABS are definitely safer. The question, however, is, should you buy a vehicle with ABS? Is it worth it?
Take the widely popular Kymco Famous 125 this year for instance; despite being a phase-7 model, its ABS version is NTD$7,000 more than the disk braking version, and consumers will have to pay around NTD$3,000 even with the government subsidy of NTD$4,000, which merely guarantees a single feeder ABS. The ABS version of SYM Duke 125 also costs NTD$9,000 more than the normal version, with government subsidy deducting NTD$4,000, and is also a single feeder ABS. (Refer to Yahoo! Mall for more information on the prices)
▲ ABS model costs around NTD$8,000 more, equaling a 13% price increase. (Source: Yahoo! Mall)
As for electric scooters, consumers will have to spend an extra NTD$4,000 on the popular model Gogoro 2 Delight after subsidy is deducted on the ABS version, though the model does offer double feeder ABS.
If we look at the prices separately, almost all performance models costing more than NTD$90,000 offer double feeder ABS regardless of manufacturers, which provides additional guarantees in security for owners who love to pursue speed. The huge profit margin for high-end models makes it cost-effective for manufacturers, so inserting a double feeder ABS and charging it for a few thousand NT dollars more is definitely the way to go. For consumers, ABS might just be able to save your vehicle, and even your life, so we would say that the extra money is well spent.
In the long run, what is also worth thinking about is whether automotive manufacturers will maintain or consider lowering the current prices if the government subsidy of NTD$4,000 on ABS this year is no longer available next year.
Speaking from the marketing perspective, the above hypothetical question is actually a non-issue since we already know that cost has been reflected on the prices, and ABS models generally cost almost NTD$10,000 (more than 10% of the vehicle) more than non-ABS models, if subsidy is not taken into account. Thus vehicle prices may reduce next year if the subsidy is terminated. In other words, there won’t be any major differences between making purchases this year or next year, and the important thing is whether the extra money that you spent had helped you getting a safer vehicle.
(Cover photo source: Kawasaki)