ABS on e-bikes? It’s what potential consumers want, study finds

More than half of potential e-bike buyers would like an anti-lock braking system on their bikes but without the added costs...

A family on e-bikes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

More than half of Brits looking to buy an e-bike say they’d like a bike equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), and one-third of potential consumers would like to see ABS added as standard across all e-bikes, a recent study finds

By measuring wheel speed and regulating brake pressure, an anti-lock braking system prevents the wheels from locking up, thereby preventing any skidding to maintain traction, control and maneuverability. While standard on cars and motorcycles, bicycles have been an ABS holdout with only a few higher-end e-bikes offering the safety feature. 

Move Electric, a Haymarket Automotive’s e-mobility title, surveyed 878 consumers, nearly 19% of whom were currently in the market for an e-bike. 

More than half of those potential e-bike buyers said they’d prefer an e-bike with ABS than one without it, though three-quarters of all participants in the study were unaware of ABS technology applied in e-bikes. 

The same research found more than a quarter (27.6%) of all participants had fallen off a bicycle due to heavy braking, while a third (33.7%) have struggled to brake in time to avoid a collision or accident. 

With assisted speeds of up to 15.5mph (24.9 kph), 79.5% of prospective buyers said they would feel safer riding one on the road knowing their bike was ABS-equipped. 

Bosch, a leader in e-bike ABS technology, even claims that “up to 29 percent of pedelec accidents could be prevented each year if all bikes were equipped with ABS technology.” 

Bosch introduced its first e-bike ABS system back in 2018 and has been working on improvements —namely size, weight, reliability and retrofit-ability— ever since. 

The Blubrake ABS (as seen on the Stromer ST5) and Bosch technologies focus primarily on the front wheel, which is most likely to lock up, causing skidding and OTB (over the bars) falls when heavy braking. 

Sensors measure wheel speed and regulate brake pressure. If locking of the front wheel is anticipated during excessive braking, the ABS controls braking pressure and improves the riding stability and maneuverability of the e-bike.

In the event of extreme overbraking of the front wheel, the Bosch ABS system also features a rear wheel lift control that reduces the possibility of unwanted lifting of your rear wheel, therefore diminishing the chance of going OTB.

Of course, e-bikes don’t come cheap, and when asked how much extra these potential consumers would be prepared to pay for the added ABS technology, only 8.4% showed willingness to pay an added £500 or more, which is just about the entry cost for ABS technology on e-bikes today. That vast majority (56.6%) would only be willing to shell out up to £150 extra.

If you're interested in e-bike ABS technology, don’t miss our Electric bike anti-lock braking system head to head article. 

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