ABS off road??

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Nevada, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Don't be such a dolt. You don't need to lecture me about your notion of technology. I live in snow country and all my cars have ABS that get triggered occasionally. I know what ABS is. I like my throttle, clutch and brakes.I like manipulating them for the conditions at hand. That is what motorcycling is to me.
    #41
  2. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    I have a Tiger 800XC with ABS. I've never bothered to turn ABS off and I've taken it in several off pavement excursions. Never felt the brakes pulsating or missing or anything. Although I'm not racing a Dakar, I've taken it to 70 mph on gravel roads. Like others mentioned, when on dirt I anticipate the necessary moves and I use engine braking in combination with front and back brakes as well.

    On the video of the GS going down hill, it seems there was no engine braking whatsoever. The rider could have panicked and had his clutch pulled all the way in. I bet engine braking would have helped a lot.

    Like others have mentioned, it may be more important to take a class on riding off pavement, ABS or not, before venturing out there.

    And yes, ABS is always better to keep it off when on dirt. But I'm too lazy for that. And I just work around the issue.
    #42
  3. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    :rofl You think a power robbing shaft drive works better than a chain?:rofl

    Are you even aware of X-ring and O-ring chains? The ST would be a MUCH better bike with a chain. :D
    #43
  4. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    When picking your way down a steep descent In trail conditions (not dirt roads) the speed that a big dual sport with stiff road-oriented gearing would "engine brake" to is often faster than the rider wants to go.

    Or to put it another way, just relying on engine braking and you'll go too fast. Brake without clutching and you'll stall.
    #44
  5. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    Pretty freakin' practical if you or somebody you know can simply locate the correct wire, cut the wire, strip the new wire ends, solder or crimp terminals onto the new wire ends, then connect the terminals to a simple inline on/off switch. Remember to put the heatshrink over the wires BEFORE putting the terminals on the wires.

    Radio Shack even sells a nice inexpensive push-button switch that can mount right into a simple hole drilled in a dash plate or a switchgear. Autoparts stores typically even sell lighted switches that are similar. They can mount all over. Really, any flat surface with enough protected space behind it for the switch will probably work. I'd probably take my switchgear apart and check for anything behind, then drill and mount a simple push-button switch there. Then it would be easy to access in an emergency.

    Power gets to an ABS system through a simple, conductive wire. It isn't like the moto mfrs are using fiber-optic cable or magical unicorn hair or anything else supernatural or complicated. Wiring in a simple switch is usually so easy that the only drawbacks I can see to buying most bikes with ABS is the extra cost and the extra weight, but prices and weight for ABS are coming down as the technology evolves. Switching ABS off almost always still retains regular braking ability, but you'd know, for sure, as soon as you applied the brakes with the ABS power-wire disconnected. 'No need to cut anything until you're sure. I'm pretty sure though, because a mfr would have a HUGE freakin' lawsuit if somebody's ABS fuse blew and caused them to lose normal braking ability.
    #45
  6. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    It works like having the ABS fuse blow, then replacing the blown fuse, except you can isolate the circuit to JUST the ABS.

    Mfrs sometimes like putting several functions on one circuit. My Honda Civic, for instance, had the CEL codes and the radio presets handled by the same circuit. Pull the fuse to reset the CEL and you lost your radio presets.

    My GF's SX4 blew the fuse for the 12V receptacle. This also took out her rear wiper function. 'Replaced the fuse for the 12V receptacle and the rear wiper worked fine again too.

    Putting a switch into the isolated ABS power-wire, rather than switching the whole circuit on the ABS fuse, would eliminate the chance of turning off power to some other function of the moto. A wiring schematic would possibly help with the install, but it's not really necessary if you have some clue on how to use a multi-meter to locate the correct wire. You may very well be able to switch the whole circuit on an ABS fuse without affecting anything else. A schematic could tell you this.
    #46
  7. Icecold Dan

    Icecold Dan Been here awhile

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    From a maintenance and reliability standpoint it certainly is. I didn't mean for this to turn into a super tenere commercial. The point is, the OP was inquiring about the merits of abs in a forest service road situation, and to that I still maintain that a well thought out abs system is in no way a hindering factor. My only experience with abs offroad is the xt1200z. It simply works.
    #47
  8. NateLePain

    NateLePain Long timer

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    Are you speaking from experience?

    nlp
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  9. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Depends on the off-road. For very steep downhills, I would want ABS off. Not much use for it in deep sand or mud either. But if it´s any sort of level route, and you´re not the kinda guy, who wants to lock the back wheel to aid turning, then by all means it could stay on. (And some ABS systems work better off-road than others, so there is no one definite answer to this).

    You can pull the ABS fuse off on any bike, and have normal brakes. But don´t leave it this way, because after a few months, the ABS hydraulic motor could get jammed, if it does not get any exercise.
    #49
  10. Nevada

    Nevada Been here awhile

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    I'd like to thank all of you who have answered my question and followup. While I doubt I have attained total enlightenment (such a condition is more likely to be obtained while riding rather than surfing the 'Net), I have learned quite a bit and had my core concern answered.

    :kumbaya
    #50
  11. farqhuar

    farqhuar Human guinea pig

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    It wasn't just the ABS that was off. Having seen the rest of that video, a number of years back, it's my understanding that the rider also had the GS in neutral with no engine braking, and was not touching the front brake at all.
    #51
  12. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    DL 650. ABS works fine off road. Even steep decents and snotty roads with inch deep wet clay on them.

    I was going to fit a cut out switch, tested on some gravel, the ABS was better than I am, havn't bothered.

    Assuming it's nasty:
    Technique matters, I just leave the back brake on, doesn't work that well WRT stopping me, but it does an excellent job of keeping the rear wheel behind the front and doesn't take any attention.

    Front, brakes on hard, no pissing around, big handful, as soon as the ABS starts shuddering, off the brakes, hit it again. Works better for ME than no ABS.

    So, you have a couple of riders who use ABS off road, DL 650, S10 who have no issues.

    BMW, not so positive.

    Luck
    Pete
    #52
  13. Offcamber

    Offcamber Long timer

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    I agree with the post about Yamaha....they got ABS and TC right on the Super Tenere....

    You need to ride it in all conditions before you bash it. Its invisible....you don't even know its working....I ride gravel and hardback every time I ride...I have to, to get to pavement....never once felt like I was sliding the ABS just does its job.

    Granted, I'm not a skilled off-road rider so my dirt and gravel rides are less than spirited....but switch the TC to mode 2 and you can step the rear out all day and stay in control. Turn it off if you really like to hang it out...

    As for the shaft drive...well to each his own but I like the low maintenance of the shaft drive, the S10 has plent of power so a little loss is a none issue. Yamaha has very reliable final drives...
    #53
  14. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen

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    I'm not lecturing anybody. Just info. If you don't like it, I don't effin give a shit.

    By the way. Like you, I like my throttle, cable clutch and normal brakes just fine too, been liking them since 72. Knowing how to ride a bike matters more than the technology on the bike. I too live in snow country, drive a 2-wheel drive pickup truck, no-ABS or traction control, manual tranny, and all season tires. Funny, I never bury it in the ditch like so many front wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles I see stuffed up to the doors in snow.
    #54
  15. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    Yes. But it can be done. Something tells me that rider in question made some critical mistakes...
    #55
  16. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    I had this impression when I saw the video with the bike barreling down that hill. It seemed like he needed to learn a few things about riding off pavement before doing it with a 1200GS.
    #56
  17. tapdiggy

    tapdiggy Been here awhile

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    I don't have a modicum of experience on a bike equipped with ABS, and the informed posts subsequent to mine make good sense about not using ABS in the dirt. But on that same line, the post that mention hysterisis leads me to think tire choice may play a role yet. *possible logical fallacy* If the sensor data is looking for the wheel to resume speed, it should be possible for an aggressive tire, inflated appropriately for conditions and otherwise set up correctly, might "bite" into the surface of the dam mentioned and give the right feedback to have the ABS allow braking again, where a less aggressive street-biased tire might maintain a dearth of traction.

    That all is not to say that it would be better, but might allow for maneuvering capability, which is the main reason for ABS, when combined with other control input (i.e., throttle, clutchwork, even body position).

    I will not say ABS is useless or unnecessary on motorcycles, dual sports included. But they don't replace or compensate for deficits in other controls or rider proficiency. This last sentiment seems to be absent, or went unnoticed when I alluded to it in a previous post.
    #57
  18. btao

    btao RIP Lilolita

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    You are absolutely correct. Tires make a huge difference in how the ABS works. Aside from the tire hooking back up and reaching nominal velocity, the added traction will prevent it from slipping and kicking in the ABS in the first place! Plus, if you know how to ride off road, that helps too.

    From the video, the rider started braking too late to allow the ABS to keep up. He likely was scared to grab it all the way in the beginning and didn't know how to cycle the lever to mitigate the ABS intrusion. Control your speed and know your bike's limits....
    #58
  19. MotoTex

    MotoTex Miles of Smiles

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    On the Tiger 800XC the ABS is programmed to allow the rear wheel to lock up when moving under some designated speed. I've done it. It works. Very kewl.

    This is the area where programming for operation in off-road conditions is the difference. The Tiger is programmed to operate correctly for this, some others are not.

    I was initially concerned about this when considering the bike for purchase. Having read other reports, BMW mostly, about how they must stop and disable ABS made me think that doing this each time I turn down a dirt road sounded like a pain in the ass. Then, reading through one of the Tiger forums I learned about this "feature" of the Tiger ABS.

    So, to the OP, if the ABS is designed to allow normal off-road operation that will prevent you running away off a downhill with a cliff at the end you are good to go. If the manufacturer just put the street program into their adventure bikes, then you might find yourself in a bit of a situation.

    I absolutely love the Tiger's ABS and it is making me a better rider. Feeling the rear pulsing lets me know that I am over-braking that end. I have only felt the front pulse once when emergency braking for a deer, so this tells me that despite aggressive front brake use, I am still braking within tolerance. It is nice to have feedback.

    Overall, this particular flavor of ABS is perfect for the Adventure application and other manufacturers should be doing it this way.
    #59
  20. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    I've not clicked the video so am not talking about that particular rider.

    So I'll say it again, having nothing to do with someone in a video I've never watched, a big adventure bike can have a tall enough 1st gear that engine braking alone won't slow it down enough. And braking without clutch will result in a stall.

    On a steep descent in loose conditions the rear alone won't have enough stopping power anyway. FRONT brake is needed and in those conditions I don't want ABS in the front. The rear hardly matters. On my bike with no ABS, I lock up the rear all the time. On my bike with ABS, I invoke the rear ABS all the time. The rear hardly matters in those conditions, it has so little braking power anyway.

    It's the front where I would like the ABS off in loose dirt conditions. The rear could stay on for fuck-all it does. I have noted the folks posting about work-arounds and DIY on/off switches. Those sound like possibilities but I wish that the bike came from the factory with a more quick & easy way to turn it on & off. On a D/S bike that is intended to go back & forth from dirt to pavement, I think there ought to be.

    On my ABS bike, the procedure is to stop and hold down the button until the light blinks. (I'll try briefly hitting the kill switch while in motion and see if that turns it off.). Then AFAIK it doesn't turn back on again unless I stop and turn the bike off & on. I would prefer it to be more easily switchable. My usual "problem" is that after a stop, I forget to turn it off again and then find myself riding along saying "shit I wish that was off".

    I don't doubt it could be useful on pavement so don't necessarily want it disabled all the time since most of my big bike miles are indeed on pavement. IIRC, the more off-road oriented (higher ground clearance) version of my bike doesn't have ABS at all.
    #60