How the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R’s brakes make it faster

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Wait, brakes slow you down, right? The 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R’s do too, but they should also help you improve lap times by working to keep the rear wheel planted under heavy braking and allowing you to back into corners without ABS intervention. Here’s how the Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System will make you faster.

Like the traction control, KIBS monitors a variety of factors including throttle position, engine speed, clutch actuation and the hydraulic pressure being applied to the calipers to determine the best possible course for activation. Also like the traction control, KIBS has been designed to avoid harsh dips and troughs of application, instead delivering smooth retardation in place of the grab, let go, grab, let go ABS cycle. Not only should this shorten braking distances, but Kawasaki claims the precise control should eliminate spikes in front brake pressure during heavy braking while riding very quickly, thereby reducing the rear wheel’s tendency to lift. That’s a performance benefit, increasing traction and thereby maximum braking power while decelerating. This smooth application should also help while trail braking.

KIBS also accounts for rear wheels slides induced by downshifts, allowing them where most ABS systems would cut in to prevent the loss of traction. The system adds only 6.6lbs of weight to the ZX-10R, most of which is located virtually inside the center of gravity as the Bosch ABS computer is positioned inside the frame, just behind the cylinders.

  • vigor

    my kdx200 has KIPS ;P

  • David

    Mine, too.

  • Luke

    I couldn’t really raise much care for ABS’s effects on the racetrack. It will either become a standard thing or get banned, either way it’s just a fun electronic toy there.

    I see ABS primarily as good marketing PR for motorcycle safety. Plenty of accidents involve riders screwing up the brakes, or not applying them quickly enough. People know roughly what ABS is because it’s been in car literature for many years – it has some currency in the language. In both perceived and actual benefits it’s probably a win.

    What I do wonder, however, is whether the folklore about safety features giving people a false sense of security will hold here. Now that it’s making its way to the high profile blinged-out litrebikes, what will this do for accident stats and rider behavior? Has it been studied yet?

    Importantly, has Kwakasaki created an ABS feature that performs well on wet leaves or an oily intersection? Is this feature tuned for racetrack use?

    • mugget

      That’s how I used to think – same with traction control as well. Yet I’ve now put the top of the line Bazzaz kit on my Gixxer. And if an ABS system like this was available as an aftermarket upgrade I’d probably put that on as well.

      The big thing that I’ve come to appreciate is that rider aids do increase confidence, and confidence is arguably one of the single most important factors for a rider. So I’ve gotta say it’s plenty more than just a good marketing tool.

      Not sure that Kawasaki has mentioned anything about wet leaves or an oily road – but I’d guess that is a secondary concern for them. Everything about the bike (TC/electronic aids & ABS etc.) are all about making it go faster.

  • slowestGSXRever

    +1 to “Importantly, has Kwakasaki created an ABS feature that performs well on wet leaves or an oily intersection? Is this feature tuned for racetrack use?”.

    I’m actually pretty curious about this. Does it do everything that street bike ABS (e.g. SV650, goldwing) does and more? Or just track related magic? If it needs to can it release almost all the pressure on the front pads?

  • newt


    Dunno about ABS, but the California Superbike School has reported a sizeable and apparently statistically significant drop in crashes since they went to the S1000RR.


    • Luke

      Mentioning the S1000RR reminds me of a thought I had the other day.

      I’d like one of the power modes on these new bikes to be something like “learner”. I think dealers could push people to the higher ticket bikes that way.

      Basically: “it’s ok to buy a 1000cc bike, because you can start with an SV650 power profile while you get comfortable and gradually dial more power in. This is a bike you can grow into, that won’t bite you with its power inadvertently.”

      So maybe have profiles: “beginner”, “rain”, “town”, “highway”, “race”.

      Would people buy into that? Or does the litrebike demographic eschew any suggestion that they “can’t handle” race mode?

  • rohorn

    If they said the ABS was controlled by an iPhone, they could double the price and probably couldn’t make enough of them.

  • Plotts

    I think that this technology is cool and sucks at the same time. It’s cool in that it might be taking ABS to the level that it needs to be for bikes, which is almost an invisible system. It sucks because if it works, what’s to keep it from being standardized and even required as looks to be the case in Europe.

    On a side note one of the recent paper magazines touted this bike as un-crashable (in terms of the traction control). I know some idiot out there will read that and sue when they high-side their uncrashable new ZX-10R.

    Traction control and ABS can’t fix stupid………. Yet!