While linked brakes and ABS were already part of the Harley repertoire, The Motor Company is upping its game with a more well-rounded, sophisticated electronics package. Dubbed the Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS), Harley’s linked brakes, ABS, and traction control now have the added ability to adjust accordingly when cornering based on lean angles. Equally notable is the announcement of H-D's new Vehicle Hold Control (VHC) system to help in hilly situations by preventing motorcycles from rolling backwards. Harley’s VHC is enabled manually and applies enough brake pressure to hold a motorcycle in place until riders roll on the throttle. The RDRS features come standard on all 2020 Harley CVO models, the 2020 LiveWire electric motorcycle, and both of its trikes, the 2020 Tri-Glide Ultra and 2020 Freewheeler. Here’s details courtesy of Harley-Davidson.


Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS) is a new collection of technology designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration and braking. The systems are designed to aid the rider in controlling the vehicle while accelerating and braking in a straight line or while in a turn. A rider may find the systems most helpful when riding in adverse road conditions and in urgent situations. The systems are electronic and utilize the latest chassis control, electronic brake control and powertrain technology. The features of RDRS are bundled together, except where noted.


RDRS features are standard on all 2020 Harley-Davidson CVO, Tri-Glide Ultra and Freewheeler models, and the 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire model. RDRS features are optional on all MY20 Touring models in the U.S. (except the Electra Glide Standard).


Features of RDRS include:

Cornering Enhanced Electronic Linked Braking (C-ELB)

This feature applies braking effort to both wheels when the rider uses either the hand lever (front) or foot pedal (rear) brake control, which can help many riders achieve better braking performance. The Electronically Linked Braking (ELB) system provides more responsiveness and allows for more balanced front and rear braking under a wide variety of brake applications. The system provides more linking when the rider is applying heavier braking and reduces or eliminates linking for light braking and low speeds. When linked, applying the front brake lever alone will cause the system to also dynamically apply an amount of braking to the rear. Applying the rear brake pedal alone will cause the system to also apply an amount of braking to the left front caliper. C-ELB takes into account the motorcycle lean angle or Trike lateral acceleration. C-ELB will alter the proportioning of brake pressure between the front and rear brakes when braking while cornering in an attempt to improve the ability of the bike to maintain the rider’s intended path.

The C-ELB feature is standard on all 2020 CVO and Police models and optional on all 2020 Touring models in the U.S. (except Electra Glide Standard models).

Cornering Enhanced Antilock Braking System (C-ABS)

Anti-Lock Braking System is designed to prevent the wheels from locking under braking and helps the rider maintain control when braking in a straight-line, urgent situation. ABS operates independently on front and rear brakes to keep the wheels rolling and prevent uncontrolled wheel lock. C-ABS is a variant of ABS that takes into consideration the lean angle of a two-wheel motorcycle, or the lateral acceleration of a Trike model. The brake pressure required to limit wheel slip when cornering is typically lower than the pressure required under straight line operation.

The C-ABS feature is standard on 2020 LiveWire, CVO, Trike, and Police models and optional on all 2020 Touring models in the U.S. (except Electra Glide Standard models). ABS is a feature on all other H-D models (or where selected in lieu of C-ABS).

Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS)

C-TCS is designed to prevent the rear wheel from excessive spinning under acceleration when going straight or cornering. C-TCS can improve rider confidence when available traction is compromised by wet weather, a sudden unanticipated change in the surface, or when riding on an unpaved road. The rider may select one of two traction control modes: Standard Mode is optimized for dry surfaces; Rain Mode is optimized for wet surfaces. The system can also be turned off. The action of C-TCS is also tailored when cornering based on lean angle.

This C-TCS feature is standard on all 2020 LiveWire, CVO and Police models and optional on all 2020 Touring models in the U.S. (except Electra Glide Standard models).

Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS) and Cornering Enhanced Drag-Torque Slip Control System (C-DSCS)

DSCS is designed to reduce excessive rear-wheel slip under deceleration, which typically occurs when the rider makes an abrupt down-shift gear change or decelerates on wet or slippery road surfaces. When DSCS detects excessive rear wheel slip under deceleration it will adjust engine torque delivery to better match rear-wheel speed to road speed. On models equipped with C-DSCS the action of DSCS may be tailored when cornering, based on detected lean angle (two-wheel motorcycles) or lateral acceleration (Trike models).

DSCS is standard on all 2020 CVO and Police models and optional on all 2020 Touring models in the U.S. (except Electra Glide Standard models). C-DSCS is standard on all 2020 LiveWire and Trike models

Vehicle Hold Control (VHC)

VHC applies and holds brake pressure when activated and prevents the motorcycle from rolling after the rider has released the brake controls. The primary function of VHC is to prevent the motorcycle from rolling when it is stopped – for example at a stop sign on a hill, in stop-and-go traffic on a slope, or on a steep decline out of a parking structure. VHC is designed to make it easier to ride away with confidence by minimizing the number of controls needed to pull away smoothly. The system applies brake pressure until the rider actuates the throttle and clutch to pull away. VHC may also be engaged when the motorcycle is stopped on a flat surface if the rider wants to maintain position without applying pressure to a brake control.

The rider activates VHC by momentarily applying extra pressure to either the front-brake hand lever or the rear-brake foot control after the motorcycle has come to a complete stop. If rider brakes very hard to a stop, and holds the brake pressure after stopping, VHC may also set without any added squeeze. A VHC indicator light will illuminate to confirm that the rider has activated VHC, and the ABS system will hold brake pressure after the rider releases the brake control. VHC is disengaged automatically as the rider begins to pull away from a stop, or if the rider applies and releases either brake control.

VHC is not to be used as a parking brake, and will disengage if the rider lowers the side stand (on models with a side-stand sensor, not a feature in all markets) or shifts into neutral on models without a side-stand sensor, or if the engine is turned off. In most situations after five minutes the indicator light will flash and the VHC will release if there is no rider action.

The VHC feature is standard on 2020 CVO and Police models and optional on all 2020 Touring models in the U.S. (except Electra Glide Standard models). VHC is not intended as a substitute for a parking brake in any situation.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

TPMS alerts the rider to low tire air pressure. Maintaining proper tire air pressure is important both for vehicle performance and tire life. The TPMS displays current front and rear tire pressure on the Boom! Box GTS screen (or on the odometer on Road King models) and displays an indicator to alert the rider when tire pressure is low, and the pressure should be checked.

TPMS is a feature of RDRS and is also available as a stand-alone accessory through Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Parts & Accessories for 2020 Touring models (except Japan) equipped with original equipment or accessory wheels that accept a TPMS sensor.

The TPMS feature is standard on 2020 CVO and Police models and optional on all 2020 Touring models in the U.S.

RDRS for Trike Models: Harley-Davidson Freewheeler and Tri Glide Ultra models are equipped with Trike-specific RDRS with Cornering Enhanced C-ELB, C-ABS, C-TCS, and C-DSCS. The CVO Tri Glide model will add TPMS to the Trike-specific RDRS.