Front Brake Lever
Do not position fingers between hand control lever and handlebar grip. Improper hand positioning can impair control lever operation and cause loss of vehicle control, which could result in death or serious injury. (00032a)
See Figure 1. The front brake hand lever (1) controls the front wheel brake. The lever is on the right handlebar. Operate the hand lever with the fingers of the right hand.
Rear Brake Pedal
See Figure 1. The rear brake pedal (2) controls the rear wheel brake. The pedal is on the right side. Operate the rear brake pedal with the right foot.
1Front brake lever
2Rear brake pedal
Figure 1. Brake Controls
Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
Harley-Davidson's anti-lock brake system assists the rider in maintaining control when braking in a straight-line emergency situation. ABS operates independently on front and rear brakes to keep the wheels rolling and prevent uncontrolled wheel lock-ups either on dry pavement or on slick surfaces such as gravel, leaves or when riding in wet conditions.
How ABS Works
The ABS monitors sensors at the front and rear wheels to determine wheel speed. If the system detects one or both wheels are slowing down too quickly, which indicates they are close to locking, or if the deceleration rate does not match a criteria stored in memory, the ABS reacts. The system rapidly opens and closes valves to modulate the brake pressure. During ABS activation, the system provides the electronic equivalent of manually pumping the brakes. The system can cycle up to seven times per second.
The rider recognizes ABS activation by the slight pulsing sensation in the hand lever or the rear brake pedal. A clicking sound from the ABS module can also be heard. Both are the result of normal operation. Refer to Table 1.
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How To Use ABS
While an advantage in emergency braking, ABS is not a substitute for safe riding. The safest way to stop a motorcycle is upright with both wheels straight.
Harley-Davidson ABS is a manual assist system. During an emergency stopping situation, maintain pressure on the brakes through all ABS events. Do not modulate or "pump" the brake controls. The wheels do not lock until the end of the stop when motorcycle speed reaches approximately 6 km/h (4 mph) and ABS is no longer needed.
ABS cannot prevent lockup of rear wheel due to engine braking. ABS will not aid in cornering or on loose/uneven surfaces. A locked wheel will skid and can cause loss of vehicle control, which could result in death or serious injury. (00362a)
ABS: Tires and Wheels
Motorcycles equipped with ABS must always use Harley-Davidson tires and wheels. The ABS monitors the rotational speed of the wheels through individual wheel speed sensors. Changing to different diameter wheels or different size tires can alter the rotational speed. Different-sized wheels and tires can upset the calibration of the ABS and have an adverse effect on its ability to detect and prevent uncontrolled wheel lockups. Operating at tire pressures other than those pressures specified can reduce ABS braking performance. Refer to Specifications → Specifications → Specified Tires.
Table 1. ABS Symptoms and Conditions
ABS lamp continuously lit
ABS malfunction detected. See a Harley-Davidson dealer for service.
ABS lamp flashing
This indicates a normal self-diagnostics process when the motorcycle is first turned on and the speed is under 5 km/h (3 mph). ABS is not operational until the lamp turns off. If the lamp continues flashing at speeds greater than 5 km/h (3 mph), see a Harley-Davidson dealer for service.
Pulsing brake lever or pedal during an ABS event
Normal condition.
Clicking sound during an ABS event
Normal condition.
"Surge" sensation while braking
Normal condition. This is most noticeable when braking with one brake (front only or rear only). Result of a reduction in deceleration which can be caused by cracks or bumps in road, engine braking (high engine RPMs causing the rear wheel to slow down), hard braking at slow speeds, and other conditions. This is due to ABS modulating caliper brake pressure to prevent uncontrolled wheel lock.
Temporarily stiff rear brake pedal
Normal condition. Engine braking (high engine RPMs causing the rear wheel to slow down) or down shifting can activate ABS. If applying the rear brake at the same time or immediately after, the ABS may be closing a valve to prevent pressure to the rear brake. This is due to ABS modulating caliper brake pressure to prevent uncontrolled wheel lock.
Tire chirp
Normal condition. Depending on surface, tire can chirp without locking the wheel.
Black mark on pavement
Normal condition. Depending on surface, tire can leave a black mark without locking the wheel.
Wheel lock at low speed
Normal condition. ABS does not activate on front wheel below 5 km/h (3 mph) or on rear wheel below 8 km/h (5 mph).