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Is ABS the be all and end all?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Rolski, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. I'm looking to upgrade, but couple of bikes I'm interested in have no abs, as my current one does cb500f, are people happy to live without abs, is it really a must , as some people go on like if u haven't got abs, you'd might aswell be riding blind folded!!

  2. ABS is a very helpful rider aid It will help you avoid a lock up in a panic situation. But most don't work as well when the bike is leaned over, that is they may still lock up and then you will fall. Some manufacturers are now fitting more advanced electronics with Cornering ABS. Soon ABS will be mandatory on all road bikes. But if you have the skill and training, you can ride just as safely and just as well without it. It's really a personal choice. There are still a lot of riders out there who don't like ABS and think they can ride better without it.
  3. My bike has ABS, I have never had to use it even when feeling like I have breaked hard, but it is nice knowing I have it should I ever need it. I would pay extra for it again, I think it is worth doing whatever you can do to makes your ride safe. ABS doesn't take any enjoyment out of the ride so why not? There is no downsides.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Agreed, my bike has ABS and I like the secure felling of knowing it is there for emergencies. However it is not the best thing on the track. When braking hard on the track, the front is carrying about 90% of the load, and when the ABS kicks in, the bike has a very nasty vibration in the front. But I've learned how hard I can brake without activating the ABS so it's not a problem. Out of 6 sessions on a track day, I might activate it two or three times in the first session them I'm right for the rest of the day.
  5. thats retarded. it's up there with "if youve got ABS you might as well ride a scooter.... or drive"

    ABS is good. it COULD save you in many circumstances. HOWEVER being able to ride and having an appreciation for what your bike can and can't do will save you every time you ride.

    the reality is, ABS on bikes is here to stay and at least some of the systems are brilliant, but its not mandatory and nor should it be. having independent manual control of your braking, with decent feedback provides an opportunity to appreciate the dynamics of the bike, and prevent you from getting into a lull whereby you rely on rider aids to keep you out of trouble... and in the end, abs can only prevent so much. I worry a lot about drivers now that stability control is mandatory... it only works till the tyres literally can't do the job anymore...then they crash... and they dont find the limit till the day theyve exceeded their electronics it and its too late.

    if you're aware of slippery surfaces, and you dont brake hard on the rear into a corner, as you should/shouldn't, then ABS will achieve exactly nothing. Get the bike you want, respect it for what it is. Take time to get used to it. Enjoy.
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  6. have you considered disconnecting the ABS for the track. ABS shudder is normal when the system operates, but something i noticed with my car is I have increased pedal feel and responsiveness when the ABS is disconnected.... the brakes actually work better. I assume this is because theres less expansion in the system when the ABS circuit is taken out resulting in more consistency between the pedal and the calipers.....
  7. Food for thought, thanks all, bty I'm interested in the suzuki 650 gladius
  8. ABS was a factor when buying my bike, as a noob it provides good peace of mind. Last weekend though on a rider training course doing big emergency stop exercise was able to stop very quickly in very short distance, but didn't activate ABS. Still, the peace of mind helped a noob after setting up get on the breaks hard and confidently.
  9. Gotta say, emergency braking (practise only folks) the other day from $1.20 was pretty damn easy compared to my old non-ABS bikes where the front end was a lot less stable.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  10. Did you physically remove the ABS circuit from you cars braking system or just switch it off?
  11. I don't know how to disconnect the ABS and probably wouldn't want to anyway. I know how hard I can brake without activating the ABS, so I just ride to that limit. There are so many other things that I need to work on and will be doing some practice this weekend at a track day on Sunday.
  12. #12 robsalvv, Dec 4, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
    Having been looking at this topic closely for political reasons lately, the main driver of ABS is in fact lazy and unskilled braking associated with crashes (note, ASSOCIATED not necessarily "causing")

    The pro ABS research falls largely into two camps:

    1/ Experiential Research that shows ABS reduces braking distances.

    2/ Statistical research that shows ABS will save X% of rider fatalities.

    What #1 in fact shows is that ABS provides benefits compared to unskilled braking and benefits in the wet and with some ABS packages, benefits in variable low traction surfaces.

    There are studies and findings around that show that ABS can be outbraked - what it takes is well practiced application of braking. It might not be outbrakeable in the wet or where the pavement has several transitions across varying traction surfaces, but if you're a fair weather rider who only rides on bitumen, the ABS will stop your wheels from locking when you munt an ebrake, but you would get a better overall risk reduction by practicing your emergency braking, improving your roadcraft and improving your hazard management and risk management decisions etc.

    Just plonking yourself on an ABS bike means that the same inherent skill level is now on a bike that will avoid locking up the wheels. Do you really think that locking up the wheels is the primary root cause of rider fatals? Of course, you could do both, improve your roadcraft/riding decision skills AND have a bike with ABS... fair enough.

    And #2 type research shows that during a time where ABS is an optional extra, those conservative riders with the readies who paid for the ABS option, are not surprisingly appearing less in the fatality stats - as you would expect since they are conservative riders in the main.

    The best thing about ABS is that it assures stability under heavy braking. You still must brake a bike correctly to get the most out of ABS however this message is NOT being pushed by the road safety agencies (not yet at least - I'm working on them). What the current crop of messages does is suggest shorter braking distances and therefore promotes continued lazy braking skills. They are only shorter compared to less than ideal braking application on non ABS'd bikes.

    Having said that, the state of the art "top flight" ABS is awesome sauce and packed with so much smarts that it can't be outbraked - and it is therefore the ultimate potential motivation in deskilling your braking skills since it will manage weight transfer, pressure, brake force distribution and other factors. You can brake like a nong and get repeatable braking results.

    Simple ABS systems need a little more care and consideration to determine whether they fit into your riding style - but it still will achieve it's primary objective which is providing stability under heavy braking while vertical. Note: stable and potentially a longer braking distance.

    Do not let carcentric notions of ABS guide you. Motorcycle ABS is a black art depending on how it's been programmed and you also cannot steer a bike that is standing on its nose under heavy braking. ABS doesn't change the laws of physics... except possibly the really new MSC ABS which allows emergency braking while leaned over in a curve without any change in line... that there is some black magic! Car ABS on the other hand allows steering while the ABS is activated - those other two tyres and the wider footprint make all the difference.

    Most riders are opting for ABS because it provides a security blanket. So be it. That is the market. Once every bike has ABS, it's going to be interesting to explain why there hasn't been a step change or clearly improving KSI's figures coincident with the penetration of ABS. If nothing changes about riding skills levels and riders are still making the same mistakes, then the ABS hail mary isn't likely to make much of a difference to the stats.

    Time will tell.
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Informative Informative x 2
  13. ABS is a complete waste of money and I can't believe I bothered getting a bike with it...........until I needed it.

    I'm far too good a rider to not know how hard I can squeeze before it skids..........until I wasn't.

    Nothing surprises me to the point I need to brake so hard because I'm super attentive and see every hazard with time to spare..........until I didn't.

    Riding is a dangerous pursuit. Why not have all you possibly can to help you in a emergency situation.
    • Like Like x 3
  14. Well the questions that posts like this raise...

    Were you really any of those things or were you just fooling yourself?


    What was the incident that brought to your attention that ABS was "worth the money"?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. With my beginner bike, the li'l wasabi, I deliberately chose not to have ABS (so shoot me).
    I felt bamboozled at the time (on my lonesome) as it was and everyone had an opinion on it and I just decided to save the money...it was about a grand more.
    I wanted to just handle the bike as it was and learn my emergency stops warts and all. And yep I locked her up a beauty during my HART Ii course but never out on the road.
    But the next bike, my boy, has ABS but it can be disengaged. Not worried whether it has it or not TBH but will practice emegency stops without and then with ABS just so I get to know the feel of my boy :)
  16. I think he was being ironic.

    For my 2c, new riders might as well ride abs - they will have fewer stacks all other things being equal.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  17. So, how often have you felt the ABS kick in? If it is more than once, I would suggest you need some roadcraft practice before you get a bigger bike. More power will just get you into trouble quicker if you don't have the ability to read traffic that is necessary to be safe on a bike.

    If you have never had the ABS kick in, then why are you worried? Your newer bike will most likely have better brakes than your cb500 unless you are going cruiser. In my opinion, most newer riders don't really understand how hard they can apply the brakes when they are properly set up. Practice and lessons will get you braking in significantly shorter distances than ABS alone.

    As an aside, I have a non-ABS bike. I went through the same dilemma myself an buying my current bike, but saved myself about 4 grand and chose to learn to brake properly. I have only ever once skidded the front tyre, and even then I didn't put it down. It was my fault for being "asleep at the handlebars" mentally. In hindsight there was no need for me to brake as hard as I did, and I grabbed unnecessarily hard at the brakes. Set it up, squeeze and then keep squeezing.

    But that is my opinion. This is Netrider. I am sure you will get lots of different and "useful" opinions along the way. Buy what you want and learn to ride it.
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  18. #18 trd2000, Dec 4, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2015
    Can anyone tell me if abs and abs shudder kicks in when the back wheel lifts.... I expect this would be the most common type of engagement... And lifting a back wheel isn't exactly a big deal.

    My test abs bikes have been an rsv4 factory and a 1299 panigale and I suspect they were both very well sorted systems.

    Switched it off. Pull the fuse. I had a problem with a sensor throwing an error code and the abs would turn itself off.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. This happens all the time on my K1300R (linked brakes) I just ignore it.
  20. Replying to trd2000 - a couple of posts appeared in the meantime...

    That was what I wondered. The Guzzi doesn't seem too likely to raise the rear wheel, but I've done it plenty of times in the past on another bike with twin disks. If ABS cut the power when this happened, ultimate braking performance would be compromised. Though I can imagine some people freaking out about the back wheel waving around - it must look a little immoderate