This is quite a common question we hear at Scooter Central. ABS, Anti-Lock Braking System, works to prevent the wheel(s) from locking up, which can cause a crash on a scooter.
The scooter will generally have a sensor ring near the brake disc, which detects movement, and when a wheel locks up the system will override and interfere to regain grip.
A rider can often feel this through their lever as a pulsing feeling.
The ABS Disc as seen on the Vespa “Notte”
The latest regulations require all* new scooters and motorcycles to have either ABS or CBS (Combined Braking System).
We do recommend ABS, and can see lots of benefits in having it on a scooter. For the inexperienced rider, it is a safety barrier in case of a mistake or a changed road condition. For the more experienced, well, it’s the exact same safety barrier.
And CBS? The Combined Braking System found on some models such as the Sym ST200i and the Kymco Agility 16+ 125 essentially links the brakes together. In general, you won’t notice much difference, but if you do accidentally apply too much pressure to the rear brake, some of the force is transferred to the front and can prevent lock ups in this way. It is a good system and works well, but ABS is superior technology with actual interference come that little mistake.
*Few exceptions apply in Australia depending on capacity and compliance.