Kawasaki has developed a new electronic brake system that aims to prevent low-side crashes. The patent describes a magnetic clutch that operates on the bike’s chain wheel rather than the brake discs at each end. The clutch can be electronically activated during deceleration to apply a load to the chain, thereby stabilizing the bike during the critical moment when low-side crashes can occur.
When braking into a corner, the bike slows down, and the suspension compresses, pushing the front tire into the road surface and increasing its grip. However, when the front brake is released, the springs in the forks return to a normal position, reducing pressure on the front tire and causing a loss of grip that can lead to a low-side crash.
The Kawasaki system seeks to address this problem by continuing to apply a load to the bike’s chain during deceleration, even after the front brake has been released. By doing so, the bike remains stabilized and can reduce some of the rebound action of the forks that may cause a low-side.
While the system may initially seem most appropriate for sports bikes ridden on the track, Kawasaki is considering applying it to road-going sports touring machines as well. Manufacturers are continually exploring new ways to control a bike’s speed without relying solely on the braking system, particularly with the growing popularity of radar-assisted cruise control on high-end models. By doing so, they hope to create a smoother riding experience for both rider and bike.