You’re likely driving a car that has an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), which debuted in the automotive industry in the late ’70s and is pretty much standard equipment on every new car sold in America today. The technology is significant because it enables drivers to maintain steering control during braking, which means you can stomp on the brake pedal and steer to safety at the same time. Prior to the widespread use of ABS, if you applied significant brake pedal pressure, your wheels would lock up and you would, effectively, almost completely lose steering control. ABS prevents a vehicle’s wheels from locking up by almost instantaneously detecting when they’ve done so and responding (again, almost instantaneously) modulating brake pressure at a remarkably high frequency, up to 15 times per second.
ABS is widely considered to be one of the most revolutionary inventions for vehicles in recent memory. The technology finally made its way to motorcycles in the late 1980s with a hydraulic ABS system on the BMW K 100-series. The system was expensive, heavy, and only available as optional equipment. In the late 1980s, even in the automotive industry, ABS was still in its early stages and not nearly as sophisticated as the systems of today. The same can be said for motorcycles.
When it comes to ABS for motorcycles, the technology is a game-changer. Because motorcycles ride on two wheels instead of four, they’re inherently less stable than cars. Hard braking can lock up the front or rear wheel and destabilize the motorcycle, thereby causing the bike to slide or overturn. Cornering ABS is a bit more exclusive on motorcycles, and it’s essentially a lean-sensitive ABS. The goal of lean angle-sensitive ABS is to provide quick and controlled braking without drastically changing the direction in which your bike is headed. Some bikes even have what’s known as an IMU or an Inertial Measurement Unit that ties electronic rider aids together (traction control, wheelie control and ABS) and allowing them to brake hard whenever they need to without worrying about lean angle, gravel, speed, etc. when doing so.
These are the 10 best motorcycles with standard ABS.
Ducati Panigale V2
If it’s speed, agility, and mad looks you want all in one package, it’s hard to go wrong with the Panigale V2. This sportbike is powered by a 955cc V-twin engine that delivers 155 hp, but it’s the V2’s remarkable cornering ABS system we’re focusing on here. It can handle track duties without dropping the power too much. It complements the V2’s big Brembo brakes and also provides three levels of ABS and even a safe and steady mode that’s ideal for inclement weather. If you’re truly skilled on the road or track, you can even totally disable the system for maximum turning entry speeds and dramatic late braking.
2023 Honda Rebel 1100T DCT
The Honda Rebel is a cruiser to covet, and this year brings a new trim level known as the 1100T DCT that has a bona fide automatic dual clutch transmission. This makes the Rebel even easier to ride than it already was, lauded for its appeal to both beginners as well as seasoned riders. The smooth and powerful 1100cc twin-cylinder engine, low seat height, cruise control, and standard ABS make it a tremendously enjoyable and safe ride. The low profile locking hard bags, the minimalist fairing, and the stealthy pipes give it a clean look that has a healthy dose of modern.
Suzuki V-Strom 800DE Adventure
The V-Strom is all-new for the 2023 model year, and the changes are significant. First of all, the styling is on point because it borrows from the ruggedly handsome ’80s Paris-Dakar-inspired DR 750S Big. The bigger and more dramatic tank and the exposed trellis sub-frame. The V-Strom 800DE Adventure gets a fresh, new 776cc parallel twin engine that replaces the longstanding V-twin, along with a fully adjustable suspension that gives it the most clearance of any V-Strom ever built. It also gets the latest Dunlop ADV tires that are road-worthy, as well as adventure-ready. Two-level ABS provide selectable intervention modes, and you can shut it off at the rear wheel less dirt-riding encumbrance.
Zero Motorcycles DSR/X
The arrival of the brand-new 2023 DSR/X is a milestone for the electric motorcycle brand as its first ADV. First of all, there’s the robust power from the updated Z-Force 75-10X single motor and a potent 17.3-kilowatt-hour that lays down 166 lb-ft of torque. The looks of the electric adventure bike are spot-on with a unique steel-trellis frame, upright riding position, adjustable windscreen, and hulking faux tank/frunk. The DSR/X shuts down the electric bike naysayers with up to 180-miles of range, fast-charging capability, and a ride height that properly toes the line between off- and on-road. It also come standard with stability control and ABS along with top-tier Bosch controllers for both. It’s a revolutionary bike for both the industry, as well as for the already much-praised electric moto company.
KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
Make no mistake. The 1290 Super Duke R Evo is not for the faint of heart. The monstrous 1,301cc V-twin engine takes center stage, making it truly race-ready. The show matches the Super Duke R Evo’s go with minimalist bodywork, a stunning trellis frame with serious torsional rigidity, and more orange coloring than a highway construction site. The bike’s performance is enhanced by a multi-mode semi-active WP suspension, throttle-by-wire, ride modes, cornering ABS, Supermoto ABS, traction control, wheelie control, and cruise control, all standard. This isn’t for beginners, by any means, but the safety measures make it superb to ride fast. Seasoned performance riders will love it as much for its safety tech as they will for its pure performance.
Kawasaki Z400 ABS
This is a streetfighter-look naked bike for the everyman because it’s fun, quick, but still easy to ride for novices despite its rakish and somewhat intimidating looks. It’s also brilliant for shorter riders because of the narrow seat and the relatively low 30.9-inch seat height. The Z400 also gets the same willing 399cc parallel twin engine and chassis on the street carving Ninja 400. The bike also gets a fatigue-reducing assist and slipper clutch for the six-speed transmission. The conventional ABS system for the dual-piston calipers might not be the most sophisticated setup in this group, but the fact that it’s standard on this affordable of a bike is nuts.
Honda Grom ABS
One look at the diminutive Grom and you’d never guess there’s a trim level that has a standard Anti-lock braking system. Meant for urban fun and easy short-range commuting, the Grom ABS is powered by a revised single-cylinder 124cc SOHC four-stroke engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The third-generation Grom also gets fresh styling and a new, comfier low-height seat. The high-demand bike is also even more customizable thanks to the new bodywork. The Grom is certainly better than ever, and it’s an absolute hoot to ride. Despite the fact that it’s one of the smallest simplest bikes in existence, it just so happens that it’s Honda’s best-selling street bike in America, made even better with the addition of ABS.
BMW K 1600 GTL
You shouldn’t be surprised that a touring bike of this caliber has standard ABS. BMW also happens to outfit every one of its motorcycles with standard ABS. Of course, the technology is expected on a big, German-made six-cylinder high-end motorcycle. The high-end steed offers up 160 horsepower and 133 lb.-ft, which is more than a Nissan Sentra. The K 1600 GTL also comes standard with adaptive headlights, tire pressure monitoring, a big 7-gallon tank, five-level heated trips, a huge split-screen 10.25″ instrument display with navigation, and comfy seating for two. In terms of driver aids, there’s engine-drag torque control, and dynamic traction control, and BMW’s excellent Partial Integral ABS. It also comes with full set of side and top locking hard cases for great cargo capacity. The K 1600 GTL delivers power, safety, and capacity for some serious mile-eating riding.
2023 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
Suzuki’s only sport-tourer is a worthy one because of its blend of sportbike performance combined with long-haul capability. You can ride it for hundreds of miles packed to the gills and then carve up some switchbacks for two-wheeled thrills. The excellent chassis and the race-bred GSX-R1000 engine partner up for spirited time in the saddle. The fact that it’s also sub-500 pounds means it’s as nimble as it is quick. It also puts the touring in the segment name with three ride modes, cruise control, traction control, and ABS-equipped four-piston front disc brakes. The GSX-S1000GT+ also provides a 6.5″ full-color display that show maps, music, phone contacts, etc. via Suzuki’s new mySPINN companion smartphone app. To round out the full set, there are even 25.7-liter capacity hard side cases and a cushy seat for your riding companion.
Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR
The Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR is a new model as of 2022, and it’s a rip-roaring delight of a sportbike that goes up against the super-quick Ducati Panigale V2. The rakish cockpit fairing evokes vintage Moto GP racers for a truly unique aesthetic, and the power from the 1160cc three-cylinder engine amounts to a whopping 178 horsepower and 92 lb-ft of torque. The Speed Triple RR also comes with a lightweight aluminum chassis, highly advanced Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 electronically adjustable semi-active forks and rear monoshock, race-developed Brembo brakes with Optimized Cornering ABS, and Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 tires, making it both remarkably agile and controllable. There are also Selectable Rider modes, Triumph Shift Assist, and Optimized Cornering Traction Control that help maximize the bike’s already excellent performance.