Don’t Waste Your Money: Safer Motorcycles

Posted at 8:16 PM, Aug 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-13 20:16:00-04

Every year, more than 4,000 people die on motorcycles. An important safety feature — anti-lock brakes — makes motorcycles safer. But until now, ABS has only been available on expensive motorcycles. Consumer Reports takes a looks at the first entry-level bike that offers ABS.

Angela Annamalai has been selling motorcycles for the last several years. She encourages her customers to focus on safety and get anti-lock brakes whenever possible.

“I’ve seen a lot of folks that have injuries from accidents, and I feel that when you’re only on two wheels, why not do your very best to be safe,” says Annamalai.

Anti-lock brakes have been standard safety equipment on cars for years.

But they’re even more important for motorcycles.

“On a motorcycle, if you lock up a wheel, you’re going to go over in a heartbeat. Faster than you can possibly imagine,” says Jim Travers of Consumer Reports.

A test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety clearly shows the danger.

With the anti-lock brake system turned off, a motorcycle went into a skid. But with the ABS engaged, the motorcycle easily comes to a stop.

Consumer Reports just checked out a Honda CBR 250-R motorcycle.  Anti-lock brakes are an option. It’s the first entry-level bike in the U.S. to offer ABS, and it goes for around 4,600 dollars.

“It’s going to appeal a lot more to a newer rider, a novice rider. And that’s where we see ABS as having the biggest benefit,” says Jim Travers.

A recent insurance-industry study underscores the pressing need for antilock brakes on motorcycles. Those equipped with ABS are 37 percent less likely to be in a fatal crash than motorcycles that don’t have antilock brakes.

Consumer Reports says other pluses with the Honda — it has a responsive engine, and it accelerates nicely without feeling intimidating.

Consumer Reports says there are other important safety moves if you’re considering getting a motorcycle. Taking a safety course is a very good idea. And be sure to get a good helmet. You want to look for one that’s been approved by the Department of Transportation.