Harley Announces the Reflex™ Defensive Rider System

We’ve had our eyes glued to our screen pouring over all the details and specs from the new 2020 Harley-Davidson® launch2020 Harley-Davidson® launch.  This is one big change that hopefully, you won’t even notice. The RDRS is a whole bunch of new systems that are designed to make riding safer and easier. There are five main features that RDRS provides:

  • Cornering-Enhanced Electronic Linked Braking
  • Cornering-Enhanced Anti-Lock Braking System
  • Drag-Torque Slip-Control System
  • Vehicle Hold Control
  • Tire Pressure–Monitoring System

Let’s break down that buzzword soup and talk about what all this really means.

UPDATE we have added another post with some more thoughts and examples of the RDRS right here

Cornering-Enhanced Electronic Linked Braking

The first new feature, Cornering-Enhanced Electronic Linked Braking (C-ELB), focuses on making braking easier and safer. Before now, when you used the foot pedal it would only slow the rear wheel and the lever would only slow the front wheel. Now the system analyzes your speed, lean angle, and brake pressure, then it uses that information and can electronically apply braking effort on both wheels from either the hand lever or foot pedal.

Model Year 2020 Asset Capture Photography.

Cornering-Enhanced Anti-Lock Braking System

The next part of the RDRS is Cornering-Enhanced Anti-Lock Braking System (C-ABS). This is a newer generation of Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) that takes the technology to the next level. Traditional ABS already brakes better and faster than even the most skilled riders, however, it works at its best only when the bike is vertical. The thing about motorcycles is that leaning is part of turning. So the new Cornering-Enhanced ABS uses the same lead angle and speed information to continually modulate the brake pressure as you add lean angle through a corner. This makes it virtually impossible to lock up the brakes no matter how hard you are riding.

0501662_MW_MY20_191302.jpg

Drag-Torque Slip-Control System

The third new feature is Drag-Torque Slip-Control System (DSCS). This uses speed sensors on both wheels to ensure that the bike is always in perfect control when downshifting under deceleration. The system does this by managing engine braking (or regenerative braking on the livewire) to ensure that even on the slickest road surfaces the rear wheel speed is matching the front wheel speed for more traction and control.

Model Year 2020 Asset Capture Production MY20

Vehicle Hold Control

the next feature is going to be especially useful on big bikes or when carrying a passenger. The Vehicle Hold Control will automatically continue to hold the brakes for a few seconds when the system detects the bike might roll backward when taking off from a dead stop on a hill. This allows the rider to focus on the clutch and can help you take off even smoother when stopped on a hill, bridge or ramp.

0503176_MW_MY20_191302.jpg

Tire Pressure–Monitoring System

The last addition is probably something you have seen in your car. This one is pretty straight forward. It measures the pressure of your tires and gives you a measurement in PSI right on the display of your touring bike. And as a safety measure, if the system detects that the tire pressure is getting too low it will show you a notification to remind you to top up that tire with air.

That’s a quick overview of all of the new additions in the Reflex™ Defensive Rider System. RDRS is standard on all 2020 LiveWire™, CVO™, Police, Trike models (trike-specific RDRS), and optional for all Touring models, except Electra Glide® Standard. All of these systems will make it easier for anyone to handle a touring bike and bring the same standard of tech that we’ve seen in cars to bikes. Is this enough of a safety and convenience bump to upgrade to a 2020 bike? Tell us your thoughts on the RDRS, we’d love to know what you think.

For more of our thoughts on the RDRS and some examples of how it will work in the real world see our latest post here

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