All Tests – With C-ABS, Honda CBRs put the brakes on the competition! – Circuit test: the C-ABS is (almost) forgotten!

With C-ABS, Honda CBRs put the brakes on the competition !

All Tests - With C-ABS, Honda CBRs put the brakes on the competition! - Circuit test: the C-ABS is (almost) forgotten!

Resolutely focused on safety, Honda ignores prejudices by equipping its CBR 600 and 1000 sports cars with sophisticated electronic ABS (C-ABS). A daring bet in a category where performance takes precedence but which seems poised to be won… Test !

Circuit test: the C-ABS is (almost) forgotten !

"Today, I drive a lot more on the road with my DN-01 and undoubtedly, ABS is a real safety asset to face the pitfalls of everyday life.", says Sebastien Charpentier before we go to practice on the" fast "part of the LFG circuit."From the edge of the track during your tests on the sand, your braking was astounding: the fork plunges, the bike does not flinch and the whole comes to a stop like a flower !", testifies the double world champion !

For a professional pilot of this caliber, would it be possible to engage in competition with C-ABS (in endurance, for example)? "After trying it on a dry track today, I would say yes because the system is really efficient. Imagine during the 24 Hours of Le Mans or the Bol, when the conditions change in the middle of the night and you have to keep attacking! At that time, I assure you that the presence of a good abs would be fully justified !", advises General Seb before specifying that the system should be disconnectable from the handlebars for relays in the dry !

Excited – even reassured – by the performance and the positive feeling delivered by this C-ABS, we take the wheel of Laurent Brian (6th in the French SSP Championship in 2008) to discover the fast portion of the track of about 2 km of the Ferte Gaucher. On the handlebars of a 600 CBR 2009 (in Full and with ABS), this part of the circuit is easily understood: only the pin to negotiate in first (after a straight line allowing to hang 190 km / h in three !) and the long left-hand horseshoe-shaped curve put enough stress on the brakes for the ECU to take over.

To fully measure its efficiency on each motorcycle, the hard braking will only be done with the front element: in any case, the computer and its network of chips and hydraulic valves will be in charge of activating the rear at each brake hold down. At the end of the straight line, take a quick glance at the speedometer and at the brake mark detected two laps earlier: despite ultra-violent braking at high speed and downshifting just as dry, the 600 keeps its level. and slows down fiercely as you approach the hairpin !

The C-ABS is then slightly felt when it comes into action: the lever remains firm, as if we were continuing to manage the pressure sent to the calipers, and the front of the motorcycle dives normally, briefly returning them to the handlebars. phases of pressure releases and releases. However, nothing to do with a conventional ABS system: the cycle is much smoother and faster and the bike does not give the impression of no longer braking to avoid blocking !

Undoubtedly, an experienced pilot will feel these phases and deduce that his braking distance is extended. Possible. But on a circuit where all the benchmarks are not yet taken – as in the context of an occasional course on the track – the C-ABS allows you to grab the right lever without ulterior motive and to concentrate on your piloting..

However, the CBR600RR does not seem so lively when diving the rope: it is not that the ABS strikes the entries in curve because of its operation, but the front of the "zealous" bombinette seems more heavy to swing. A session with a model without ABS confirms this: with it, the entries into curves are done very quickly and with ease while the curves requiring to pass the first one (the end pin and the connection leading to the pit lane) cause rearing up of the machine when exiting, a phenomenon that is much less noticeable on the CBR C-ABS.

After examining the Honda mechanism, the answer appears: the lack of space forced the Japanese engineers to install parts too close to the front of the motorcycle, de facto modifying its fabulous balance! Of course, the 600 didn’t become a truck, but for 100% track use, the C-ABS option weighs the front end of the Honda Supersport too much. Obviously, the penalty is the same on the 106 hp version. On the road, however, agility is less predominant and a little more weight on the front can sometimes provide saving stability. !

Change of pace with the CBR1000RR: the big sister catches 208 km / h before the hairpin and takes a deep breath in this released version equipped with C-ABS! Healthy and pleasant, the Honda Hypersport stood out from the competition when it was released by its reduced weight and its agility worthy of a lower displacement. And fans will not be disappointed, since unlike the 600, the excess weight caused by the ABS is absolutely not felt. !

So much so that both in Full and 106 hp, differentiating the versions with or without ABS is practically impossible while driving … Undoubtedly, the masses are better distributed and the balance of the Honda is not affected. Perhaps less disturbed by the difference in behavior of the front end of the 600 with or without ABS, the analysis of the behavior of the C-ABS on the 1000 is easier.

At the risk of shocking purists, sports fans and "high level" driving fans, the C-ABS is a real marvel on this type of circuit with little heavy braking, on the handlebars of a Hypersport of some 178 hp for only 209 kg all full (199 kg without C-ABS). The system makes it possible to apprehend the track without fear and to quickly take its marks, without fear of the braking "cat" at low speed which makes lamentably lose the front under the dismayed eyes of the public…

Because the mass transfer control combined with the anti-dribble clutch of the "big" Honda are truly marvelous when entering curves! It is possible, even for an average rider, to weld large in a straight line and grip the right lever at all times: the CBR C-ABS then dives forward – much less than with the version without ABS – and gently wiggles the rump, while the ECU regulates the pressures and controls the attitude !

At the same speed with the model without ABS, the CBR is much more responsive: downshifting, above all, must be broken down more finely, keeping a finger on the clutch to reduce engine braking, and it simply takes more experience. and time to be able to brake as hard as with the ABS version. Here again, a rider used to circuits and motorcycles will undoubtedly brake a bit later and maintain a higher and finer pressure than Honda electronics. But in fact, how many of us can boast of using our road bike regularly on the track and to its full potential? ?

Contrary to what one might fear, the behavior when setting on the angle on the brakes does not suffer from any criticism. Better, it even seems easier, since the mass transfer allows the bike to turn with less weight on the front! Concretely, the entries in the curve are done with a broad smile and even in this damn horseshoe which closes – and in which we tend to enter too quickly! -, a slight stroke of the front brake does not cause any parasitic reaction: the knee remains on the ground, the CBR does not deviate from its trajectory and we even manage to tighten towards the point of rope by activating – gently – the ‘rear alone !

Alexandre BARDIN – Photos Stan PEREC and David REYGONDEAU

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