The advent of skid-free cornering might soon become a reality for mountain bikers as German frame brand, Bulls, has revealed production bikes with anti-lock brakes.
Pulse-braking technology has always been a peripheral possibility for mountain bikes, since braking systems transitioned from cable to hydraulic actuation. The issue has been execution.
Bulls revealed a range of new mountain bikes equipped with an advanced anti-lock braking system, developed by Italian mechatronic specialist, Blubrake.
With the weight and speed of potential of e-bikes, the requirement for anti-lock brakes have become an issue worth solving for mountain bike brands. Modulation and control have been significant barriers to execution.
The Blubrake ABS triggers its intervention threshold based on data harvested from a speed sensor in the front wheel, in addition to a six-axis inertia sensors mounted in the frame. All the Blubrake ABS hardware adds 600g of weight.
If the Blubrake detects possible wheel slip under deceleration, a control unit powers an actuator configured between the brake lever and caliper. This actuator pulses pressure waves into the hydraulics, which prevents wheel lock-up and skidding.
Bulls has decided to offer the Blubrake anti-lock system on its new range of e-bikes.
The Blubrake system only works on the front wheel, which allows you to maintain steering inputs even during braking, into a hairpin, on loose terrain. Emergency skid deceleration is still available on the rear wheel.
Mountain bikers have generally eschewed the notion of anti-lock brakes on both wheels as extremely loose terrain could create a scenario where the bike simply would not stop. A blend of anti-lock and conventional hydraulic-channel rear brakes appear to be the superior compromise.
According to Blubrake’s own research, 58 per cent of mountain bike accidents occur during braking. With the surge in popularity of e-bikes, which are heavier than conventional mountain bikes and capable of greater speeds, there is substantial market demand for next-generation braking systems.