Kawasaki patents a magnetic brake to help save riders from low sides

The Kawasaki electronic brake works off the chain pinion and is designed to stabilise the bike on corner entry


KAWASAKI could be working towards a low-side-free future, as it patents a new kind of electronic brake that could help to stabilise the bike.

The system works on the chain wheel of the bike, and not the brake discs at either end and is a type of magnetic clutch that can be electronically actuated to apply a load to the chain during deceleration. The theory behind the system seems to be that it can help to stabilise the bike at just the critical moment to help prevent a low-side crash.

Braking into a corner does a couple of things to the bike, firstly, it slows the machine down, but it also pulls the bike down compressing the suspension. In doing this, the front tyre especially is pushed into the Tarmac, increasing the amount of grip there is at the front end of the machine. There comes a point in the turn though when the front brake needs to be released, and it is this action that can (in some cases) cause the front end to lose grip which can lead to a low-side crash. The problem is when the front brake is released, the springs in the forks will try to return to a normal position, reducing the pressure on the front tyre in the process which in turn reduces the amount of grip the front tyre has. 

The Kawasaki system could help solve this problem by applying a load to the bike’s chain while decelerating even after the front brake has been released. In this way, the bike will still by applying some force on the suspension, reducing some of that rebound action of the forks that can cause a low-side.

While the system seems like a natural fit for a sports bike that is ridden on track, Kawasaki could be readying the system for use on its road-going sports touring machines too. With radar-assisted cruise control becoming ever more popular on top-spec models, manufacturers are always looking for new ways to control a bike’s speed without calling on the braking system in all situations - which in practice can be quite unsettling to the rider and the bike!

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