If you’ve ever ridden a bicycle before, chances are you’re familiar with this scenario: you’re coasting down a hill, when all of a sudden, a dog crosses the road. You grab your brakes in panic, and before you know it, you’re on your belly with a mouthful of dirt, or maybe even missing a few teeth.
Yes, we’ve all experienced crashing our bikes when we were younger due to emergency braking. Imagine how much more violent e-bike crashes are with a lot of these things pumping out more than 500 watts of power, and being able to hit speeds in excess of 25 miles per hour. Yes, e-bikes are a fun, practical, and some would even argue, sustainable way of getting around. But it’s hard to say that they’re any safer—if at all—than a standard bicycle.
This is why major e-bike system companies like Bosch have been working hard not just to make motors and batteries more powerful and efficient, but to make electric bikes safer as a whole. Electric bicycles notwithstanding, braking systems on bicycles have evolved leaps and bounds in the last decade or so. We’re now seeing cutting edge brakes from the likes of SRAM and Shimano, all of which are designed to maximize braking power while eliminating brake fade and improving heat dissipation. Naturally, the logical next step would be to incorporate electronics to the equation.
This is exactly what Bosch has in mind. At the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas, Nevada, the German elector cow company showcased its e-bike Anti-lock Braking System. In a similar fashion as to how ABS on a car or motorcycle functions, Busch’s system makes use of wheel speed sensors on either wheel which can detect wheel slippage. At the same time, a pump actuates the brakes, minimizing skidding, and as a result, stopping distance.
Real-world applications of this include major reductions in e-bike related accidents, as rear wheel skids, which can result in out of control low-side crashes; as well as jackknife crashes (endo-ing over the bars) can be eliminated. According to Bosch, equipping electric bicycles with ABS could reduce e-bike-related accidents by up to 30 percent. Indeed, for inexperienced riders who aren’t used to powerful hydraulic disc brakes, Bosch’s e-bike ABS could be a godsend. We’ll certainly be eagerly waiting for this system of come fitted in new electric bikes in the near future.