Source: NuBrakes written by Carter Seuthe
MILWAUKEE – A turn of the century calls for a new look at the traditional style bike company Harley Davidson. Many bike enthusiasts have a long history with driving these no-nonsense, cruiser motorcycles.
Harley keeping features like V-Twin engines and loud exhaust pipes on their bikes is part of what makes them such an iconic brand to many owners and new motorcycle riders.
However, in recent years, Harley Davidson has been adding new safety upgrades behind the scenes to keep up with the standards of today’s driving environment and the impact has been substantial compared to other competing bike manufacturers.
Harley has put on the brakes and started leading the pack with these new safety advancements rolling out on their 2020 models.
First making an appearance in 2020 Livewire, CVO, Police, Trike, and Touring models, the Reflex Defensive Rider System (RDRS) is a new collection of braking technology that is designed to enhance a rider’s safety through added traction control features while accelerating, decelerating or braking.
Not only are these features readily available while braking in a straight line, they also help a rider slow down at the apex of a turn without losing control over the bike.
Similar to current ABS features, a motorcyclist will find the most value in these features while riding in hazardous road conditions or in vital situations where the brakes are needed to slow down the motorcycle at an extreme rate.
Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
Harley’s new Anti-Lock Brake System is designed to have the front and back brakes work independently of each other, allowing riders to apply even braking pressure to each wheel without locking up either tire in the process.
This safety feature has been found on performance sport bikes for the past few years because of its ability to stabilize a bike in critical braking situations, and now can be found on select models in the Harley lineup.
Cornering Enhanced ABS (C-ABS)
The new Cornering Enhanced ABS (C-ABS) technology by Harley is an advancement seen in very few motorcycles on the road today. C-ABS was created to help a rider gain more stability while applying the brakes in a turn. Designed to protect lateral grip at the tire contact patch, the rider will have more control over their bike if they need to apply pressure in a turn. Traditional braking systems, even standard ABS, can’t control the impact of braking in a turn, which causes the loss of control for many riders. This C-ABS technology will hopefully have a significant safety effect for riders in the future.
Electronic Linked Braking (ELB)
Harley’s Electronic Linked Braking (ELB) is designed to apply even braking pressure to each of the front brakes and back brakes without having to use both braking levers. Allowing one braking lever to do the job of two, pressure is now balanced to the front and rear calipers in a variety of applications. The ELB system also senses different types of braking situations. ELB will link both brakes when a driver applies extreme pressure but will reduce the linking to a minimum or remove the link when it senses that the driver is pressing the brakes lightly or is using them at a low speed.
Cornering Enhanced Electronic Linked Braking (C-ELB)
Cornering Enhanced Electronic Linked Braking (C-ELB) is a combination of ELB and C-ABS technology that was mentioned above. Through this mixture of applications, a rider can evenly apply pressure to each of their brakes while having full stability over their motorcycle in a turn. This combination of features will help a rider improve their driving ability and maintain their intended path without having to adjust their riding position.
Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS)
The Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS) was integrated to increase the grip of the tires on a road in any given circumstance. Traction control can help the back wheel from spinning out in case of wet or uneven road conditions and can even assist when leaning into a tight turn. This is another feature that has been released on high-end sport bikes but has seen late adoption into the cruiser and touring motorcycle market.
Harley has created 3 different optional settings:
Standard mode: helps for driving on hazardous dry roads
Rain Mode: helps when driving in wet conditions
Off: helps increase gas mileage and less tire wear
Drag- Torque Slip Control System (DSCS)
When downshifting, the Drag Torque Slip Control System (DSCS) will help prevent the back wheel from sliding out on accident. This is mainly a big advantage for drivers that downshift in wet/ slick road conditions. The DSCS system will be able to detect when the back wheel loses grip while deceleration and will adjust the engines torque delivery to match the rear wheels speed to the pace of the motorcycle.
Harley also added an improved feature of DSCS called Cornering Enhanced Drag Torque Slip Control System (C-DSCS) that will add the slip control feature while downshifting through a turn as well.
Vehicle Hold Control (VHC)
The last feature of the Reflex Defensive Rider System is the Vehicle Hold Control (VHC) which enables a rider to let go of the brakes while on an uphill stop without rolling backwards. This is an improvement with riders driving heavier touring bikes that need assistance taking off when starting from a complete stop at a light, hill, or parking ramp.
To view which select models will feature these new Reflex Defensive Rider Systems, visit the Harley Davidson’s Reflex Defensive Rider System info page to learn more.
A good braking system can make all the difference, and with large automotive manufacturers like Harley Davidson matching the needs of their riders to improve braking performance, it can be seen as a bright future for many motorcyclists. With Harley Davidson motorcycles averaging up to 722 pounds, Harley knows that a braking system is one of the main components that keep a driver in control. These new braking improvements feature a polished example for other cruiser and touring motorcycle manufacturers to hopefully follow in the years to come.