Here's a list of all motorcycles with Cornering ABS, a.k.a. an Internal Measurement Unit or IMU. Updated June 2020.
Lately I got really interested in "cornering ABS" that's present on Ducati motorcycles.
Then I realised that "Cornering ABS" is just Ducati's specific brand for a general concept which is to adjust the amount of braking to compensate for what the motorcycle is currently doing.
Other names for cornering ABS are
- Lean-angle sensitive ABS (my favourite generic term)
- ABS Pro or Race ABS (BMW)
- or just having an Internal Measurement Unit or IMU.
An IMU is actually a word for a suite of measurement controls. It's fed into a safety system that includes braking but also includes traction and wheelie control.
The various terms are almost synonymous because any motorcycle with lean angle-sensitive ABS has traction and wheelie control... though the converse is not true (there are many motorcycles with traction and wheelie control but without lean angle-sensitive ABS).
There are also motorcycles with an IMU but that don't detect cornering. They may, for example, only measure the change of balance between the front and rear tyres.
Knowing cornering ABS exists on non-Ducati brands I thought... hey, maybe there are cheaper motorcycles with lean-angle sensitive ABS on them!
There still aren't many motorcycles with cornering ABS though. So here are all the ones I've found.
But first... if you like this, then sign up to my email list.
Why an IMU/Cornering ABS?
In a nutshell — I want to ride fast bikes and I want to live longer doing it. I like the freedom of the open road, but I don't need to arrive with wrist pain and stress to enjoy that freedom.
ABS is often described as the greatest safety invention in the last twenty years (I can't see reference for this, but it's often said). ABS prevents wheels from locking up by detecting when they've done so and modulating brake pressure at high frequency.
Basically, when your wheel skids (even for a fraction of a fraction of a second), ABS releases the brakes, and then re-applies the brakes. It does this hundreds of times a second — meaning it works far better than you possibly can.
When you are going in a straight line and you grab a handful of the brakes, with ABS you stop very quickly — much more quickly than even if you used your hand.
The problem with ABS is that this also makes the motorcycle go upright. This puts you directly into the path of oncoming traffic, or other obstacles.
Lean-angle sensitive ABS adds to ABS by controlling the amount of braking depending on a number of factors including how far you're leaning, whether you're accelerating, and how fast you're going.
The goal of lean angle-sensitive ABS is to brake you as quickly as possible without dramatically changing your direction.
The effect of a good braking system is that at any point in time you can just grab a handful of brakes and let the computer do the thinking.
Different names for Cornering ABS by different manufacturers
Different motorcycle manufacturers have different names for cornering ABS. Let's go through them! In alphabetical order:
Aprilia calls its system cornering ABS.
Ducati calls their system Bosch Cornering ABS — although many other manufacturers also use Bosch systems. When it got upgraded to 6-axis, it became Bosch Cornering ABS Evo.
Honda calls their system just an IMU, saying they have either a 5-axis or 6-axis IMU.
Kawasaki calls their system the KCMF - the Kawasaki Cornering Management Function. It oversees many things, including braking.
KTM refers to it as Bosch's MSC — Motorcycle Stability Control. It's undoubtedly the same basic system as in other manufacturers with Bosch systems.
Suzuki, like Honda, refers to their system as an IMU.
Triumph calls theirs Optimised Cornering ABS, not to be confused with all the others with crappy unoptimised cornering ABS.
Yamaha also calls their system an IMU, proudly calling it a 6-axis IMU.
Zero, like KTM, uses Bosch's branding of Bosch MSC — Motorcycle Stability Control.
Riding Motorcycles with Cornering ABS
The best part of riding a motorcycle with a good IMU (and associated cornering ABS and traction control) is that you can, in theory, trust a computer and accelerate and brake as hard as you want.
That is... if the stability system is working.
An IMU frees you up from the stress of worrying about gravel, pitch angle, speed and so on, and lets you just brake when you think there is danger.
The effect of this is that you spend less mental energy riding and can go longer distances more safely, and arrive fresher. It's a lot like cruise control in this respect.
If you want a fully manual experience, go and get a classic motorcycle and stay in control. Get one without fairings and with a bare-bones engine. That's an experience in itself.
But if you want to arrive fresh after a 12-hour ride (or even after a 1-hour race), get lean angle-sensitive ABS and whatever other electronics you can to help you.
Riding with an IMU is best when you change your riding style to suit. You trust the computer.
To accelerate, you can open the throttle and the front wheel will lift over every crest — but the anti-wheelie will bring it back down again.
To brake, you grab the brakes and the computer modulates the amount that you need, using as much braking power as is available to the motorcycle at any point. The effect is that to anyone but the most experienced of riders you get a shocking amount of grip and braking power, even in the wet, and even on slippery road.
You don't have to warm up the tires or warm up mentally. Your only task is to keep off zero-grip surfaces where the computer can't do anything — like ice. Or a lake.
On most motorcycles with an IMU you can adjust the intervention of the computer all the way down to zero. But many people get a rude surprise the first time they turn it off! Around race tracks, people always end up riding slower.
Motorcycles with Cornering ABS
Here's the list of motorcycles I've found with cornering ABS. There may be one or two others out there. I've done a LOT of Googling for this. If you find another one, please contact me so I can add it to the list.
Aprilia Cornering ABS
Aprilia has cornering ABS on the
- 2017+ RSV-4
- 2017+ Tuono V4
It looks like the RS660 (not yet released) will also have it.
BMW ABS Pro/ASC
BMW as one of the earliest manufacturers with cornering ABS (what they call ABS Pro).
You can get ABS Pro on
- 2009+ HP4
- 2012+ S1000RR — thought it has to be retrofitted if it's not on there (will cost you at least US$300 - depends on where you are)
- 2015+ S1000RR as a factory option (or retrofitted)
- 2015+ S1000 XR as factory option
- 2016+ K1600 GT/GTL (standard)
- 2016+ R1200GS, GSA (option)
- 2019+ R1250R
- 2019+ F850GS
- 2020+ F900R
- 2020+ F900XR
Increasingly from 2019/2020 onwards, a lot of the higher-end BMWs (nearly all of them) have ASC fitted.
Ducati Cornering ABS Motorcycles
Ducati was another quite early manufacturer to fit cornering ABS to a lot of its models.
It's available as standard on:
- 2015+ 1299 Panigale
- 2015+ Multistrada
- 2016+ Diavel and XDiavel
- 2017+ Monster 1200 + variants
- 2019+: ALL Ducati models including the ones you're about to tell me, like the Multistrada, Hyperstrada and Hypermotard 950, plus Scrambler models and little Monsters, everything, I get it.
That last line is important. Even the 2019 Ducati Scrambler has the full Bosch cornering ABS package on it! This makes Ducati Scramblers some of the highest safety per dollar motorcycles on the market.
Honda IMU-equipped motorcycles
Honda has only a few motorcycles with an IMU and cornering ABS fitted. (They have a couple more with an IMU, but no cornering ABS.)
- 2017-18 Honda CBR1000RR - 5-axis IMU
- 2019-20 Honda CBR1000RR-R, SP - a 6-axis IMU (I guess that's the extra "R"!)
- 2020+ CRF1100L Africa Twin
A couple of cheaper Honda motorcycles, the 2018+ CB125R and CB300R and the 2020+ CBR300R, have an IMU but not cornering ABS. Their ABS just detects pitch, and modulates brake balance under dive conditions.those cheaper Honda motorcycles — it's not quite cornering ABS. Honda describes their IMU as follows: "Both brakes are modulated by two-channel ABS that works through an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to give precise front-to-rear distribution of ABS operation, depending on vehicle behavior." (Source). Still, a great safety feature for rookies and low-speed stop-start traffic work.
It's odd that the CB1000R and CB650R or CBR650R don't have any kind of IMU given that those low-end motorcycles do. I'm sure that will change, so I'll look out for it.
Kawasaki KCMF-equipped motorcycles
You can get Kawasaki's KCMF (Kawasaki Cornering Management Function) package on the following motorcycles:
- 2017+ Ninja 1000/Z1000SX
- 2017+ Ninja ZX-10R
- 2017+ H2 SX (you'll really need it on this!)
- 2019+ Versys 1000 SE/LT
The Ninja 1000 is an affordable sport-touring motorbike that's really feature-packed. The fact that it has cornering ABS at that price point is really amazing.
Still waiting for it to arrive to the ZX-6R 636 — not yet, even though it has a fairly advanced safety package.
KTM Bosch MSC-equipped motorcycles
KTM has their MSC package on the following motorcycles:
- 2013 1190 Adventure R
- 2014+ KTM 1290 Super Duke R
- 2015+ 1290 Super Adventure R
- 2019 KTM 690 SMC R
- 2019 KTM 690 Enduro R
- 2019 KTM 790 Duke
- 2019 KTM 790 Adventure R
- 2020 KTM 390 Adventure!
The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure is the newest addition to this list (June 2020). It's amazing that a budget-friendly machine can have lean-angle sensitive ABS! The IMU in a KTM 390 Adventure helps not just the braking, but also the traction control. Pretty impressive.
The SMC R and the Enduro R have been around for a while, but they only got electronics in 2019.
The 2013 KTM 1190 Adventure R was one of the first motorcycles on the market with cornering ABS. This means it's CHEAP! In fact, you can easily find these on the second-hand market with reasonable miles for under $8,000.
Suzuki motorcycles with an IMU
Suzuki first had an IMU on their 2017 V-Strom 1000 — but for braking only (i.e. it didn't do launch or traction control). Very strange. Worth mentioning, but if picking up a V-Strom 1000, go just one year later to 2018.
- 2017+ GSX-R1000/R
- 2018-19 V-Strom 1000 XT
- 2020 V-Strom 1050 XT (one of my favourite best-looking motorcycles)
- 2020 GSX-S 1000 Katana (damn! Also very good looking)
Unbelievably, the 2020 Hayabusa still doesn't have an IMU.
Triumph motorcycles with Optimised Cornering ABS
Triumph has Optimised Cornering ABS on their highest-end models:
- 2017+ Tiger 1200 XR/XC/XCx/XCA (that's the whole Tiger 1200 lineup)
- 2017+ Speed Triple RS (not the S, nor the Street Triple)
- 2019 Rocket 3
- 2020 Scrambler 1200 XE (not the XC, nor the Street Scrambler)
Yamaha's only motorcycle with an IMU
Yamaha just has their six-axis IMU on one motorcycle — the 2015+ YZF-R1/R1M. Luckily the 2016 in Anniversary Edition colours (pictured above) is one of my goals motorcycles. I will own you one day, when your price is less stratospheric!
Even the Yamaha MT-10 doesn't have cornering ABS, even though it has other sweet electronics like cruise control. Otherwise, they're very similar platforms.
Zero motorcycles with Bosch Cornering ABS
Zero first introduced Bosch Cornering ABS on their 2019 Zero SR/F (see my meta-review).
They also have Bosch cornering ABS on the 2020 Zero SR/S, a very similar motorcycle, but with a fairing (and better mileage/range).
Cheapest motorcycles with Cornering ABS
Out of all the above motorcycles, here are the very cheapest motorcycles with cornering ABS/IMU fitted:
- 2020 KTM 390 Adventure: This is the only affordable new motorcycle with cornering ABS and traction control. Its MSRP is $6,199 in the US and A$8,999 in Australia, plus applicable on-road costs.
- 2019+ Ducati Scrambler: You can get these on the road for about $10K
- 2012+ BMW S1000RR — you can get these used for about $10K — make sure it has ABS Pro fitted
- 2013 KTM 1190 Adventure: you can find them used for $8-9K, but there aren't many around