ABS off road??

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

  1. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    Right, and you don't immediately fall down. That's what I'm saying. You ease it off and then re-engage. A lot of our more pavement oriented brothers seem to regard a front push as an instant crash and it's not. At least in the dirt it's not.
    #81
  2. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    My current big bike comes with an OFF button buy it's a PITA to use because I have to stop first and hold it down for long enough that it knows it's not an accidental touch. I have tried this while in motion (on pavement and knowing I was soon to turn off pavement) and it doesn't turn off that way. So I will experiment with some of the "back door" methods that not so much disengage it but intentionally cause it to be unable to engage (intentional fault).

    The factory does expect people to turn it off, they build in that option. But they don't make it as easy as I'd like. Instead their response is to also make a no-ABS version which is not any cheaper and also has taller suspension and I don't know if the engine is "hotter" or not. I have turned mine off enough times that my glove rubbing on the "dashboard" has rubbed off the label for the ABS button!
    #82
  3. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Team Orange

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    I haven't read this whole thread, but I have a little bit of experience with the KTM 990 Adv ABS off road. It's way too difficult to turn off. You start the engine, then old the little button in the middle of the instrument panel in until it blinks, then it should be off. I don't now how to tell for sure that it's off other than trying to lock the rear brake to see what happens. You have a certain number of seconds to push and hold the button after starting or it won't do anything. After having ridden for many months without doing any serious dirt, then finding myself going downhill on a gravel road and unable to stop very well, it took about half a dozen tries before I finally got it to turn off properly because I didn't get the sequence or timing quite right. I corrected that problem the next time I went in the dirt.

    When going down a hill with ABS enabled, the rear brake is nearly useless. The front brake is better unless you're going over washboard or loose rocks, then it's not much good either.

    If I were designing a bike like that, there would be a switch just like the high beam switch so that you can quickly turn ABS off or on, and there would be a light or something to indicate that it's off. Maybe a real bright yellow one so that you're not accidentally riding with it off when you didn't mean it to be off.

    It's not very nice to discover ABS is still on while you're on some steep loose downhill section where you have a good reason to need to slow down.

    I happen to think that KTM screwed up in designing the control for turning ABS off.
    #83
  4. Icecold Dan

    Icecold Dan Been here awhile

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    Actually, what I think you meant to say was "KTM screwed up the design of the ABS":wink:
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  5. MJS

    MJS Long timer

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    I happen to have a bit of personal experience with some of the bikes mentioned and ABS. I’ve had a chance to ride all of the BMW’s including the F650GS, the 800GS, 100, 1150 and every year 1200GS and also the 950 / 990 KTM and the Triumph 800. I do not have enough time on the Yamaha to comment on that. All of the following comments refer to technical off-road riding; i.e. steep, loose downhills, fast washboard, etc.

    The BMW’s fall into a few different camps. Some, like the 650 singles have a very basic ABS system. These basic systems work better with ABS off because they are basic, not much change from the original system released in the early 2000’s. The larger bikes have linked or integrated brakes that hydraulically connect the front and rear brake circuits. This inter-connection exists even if the ABS is off. How is that important? Well, when you apply the front brake 20% of the braking force is also applied to the rear brake circuit. The problem (?) is that if the ABS is on and the ABS kicks in it releases the hydraulic pressure in both brake circuits. So a skidding rear wheel also causes the front wheel to lose braking. The BMW ABS systems have gotten progressively better in handling off-road terrain as the 1200 line has evolved. I’ve heard that there are some new features coming with the integration of the traction control and stability systems on the new 2014 water-cooled GSA. Will probably have to wait till Feb to see what they are.

    The Triumph ABS works very well off-road. To my knowledge the front and rear brakes are not linked. However from my experience, in challenging terrain the bike was still better with the ABS off. It was such a PITA to turn off that I eventually got to the point where I didn’t bother. That works fine as long as you keep your speed down. But going to fast on a steep descent could still lead to a moment of pucker.

    The KTM was easier to turn off and frankly, I didn’t really try to see how good the ABS was. The bike is so much fun and capable that I was to busy grinning (with the ABS off)

    As for turning off the ABS, no manufacturer is going to make it easy. It needs to be a very deliberate procedure requiring defined input from the rider. Why, because of liability. If it takes deliberate steps to turn off, it can’t be claimed it went off by accident and contributed to a crash. Most of the time (at least with the BMW’s) you can unplug a wheel sensor to disable the ABS. It will go into fault mode but will clear when the sensor is re-connected.

    The real point of this is: know your bike, know your ability and be able to read the trail / terrain and adjust as needed. Which may include stopping to turn off your ABS. (Or just remove it as I have done to several of my bikes)

    My $.02. YMMV. yada, yada, yada :D
    #85
  6. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    Off pavement that's the best way. If you had tried it with the ABS on, not as fun for those times when it comes on. But still better than the BMW singles, one of which I used to have.

    A way to look at the problem with the KTM off sequence is that when doing mixed surface riding, people are in effect encouraged to leave it off the whole time (including the pavement sections) so as not to have to stop to turn it off for the dirt sections. If it had an easy on/off switch this would result in the ABS being used MORE since you could more easily just turn it off for those sections where you wanted it off, and then put it back on when you got out to the road.
    #86
  7. Old Git Ray

    Old Git Ray Now retired...YeeHaa

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    Most DS bikes desined (not just manufactured) in the last 4 years are built with the new Bosch (Japan) system 9 ABS unit. It is a quantum leap in ABS design and in no way to be confused with previous systems.

    AFAIK these include the 2014 BMW GS, the new Triumph range, the Yamaha Super Tenere (the first to have it) and I think it is now incorporated in the KTM 1190.

    Notably it is not included in all previous GS/GSA versions and the old KTM 990 series which were both designed before the System 9 was developed.

    These is a lot of bollocks spoken about ABS not working off road and I agree with regard to the old systems. I had an 09 GSA that I swapped for a 2010 Super Tenere.

    I scared the shit out of myself with the GSA on a wet grassy slope on a farm expecting the brakes to work at least to some degree and they did not at all. The tyres were TCK 80s. When I got the S10 I swapped the tyres over from the GSA so using EXACTLY the same tyres I tried the same brake test on the same piece of wet grass. The S10 just stopped without any drama as though I was a riding God which I am not.

    It was the same with the TCS, which uses the same electronics. The GSA would allow a big wheelie before waking up and slamming the bike down on the deck. Fun in the dry, scary on a wet corner. The S10 will only allow a wheelie of around 1" before reducing the power (as opposed to cutting it off) and it will not allow the rear to step out unless the TCS mode is changed.

    On top of this, the S10 specifically is further enhanced by using magnets in its wheels (92 in each wheel) whereas the others use the old 'Hall Effect' type sensors.

    Anyone that bases their ABS experience on anything other than a bike with this new system needs to do some research and try it out properly.

    I Have done 24000 miles on my S10. I ride off road a lot of the time with luggage and 2up with absolutely no regard for whether my brakes will or won't work. They just do.

    This is my wife and I a couple of weeks ago on Engineers Pass at 12,800 feet. We rode back down a jeep trail directly to Ouray (not the easy route to Silverton). Anyone who knows this trail will testify that this is horrible.

    [​IMG]

    This is the resulting damage to my bash plate. Whilst my bike lacked ground clearance, it did not lack any braking ability. It was flawless as I am sure all newly designed bikes are.

    [​IMG]

    See here for more details....

    http://www.bosch-automotivetechnolo.../pdf/safety_1/en_4/abs_esp_generation9_de.pdf

    and here....

    http://www.bosch-presse.de/presseforum/details.htm?txtID=4896&locale=en

    And this is a quote from here..... http://www.bosch-presse.de/presseforum/details.htm?txtID=5910&locale=en

    With its Generation 9 motorcycle ABS, Bosch offers a scalable braking control system for all motorcycle classes. And by offering new additional functions, the company will provide motorcycle manufacturers with precisely tailored solutions for additional safety applications. For example, engineers can add an off-road version or a traction control system to the diverse Generation 9 variants. In 2013, both functions will feature for the first time in the 1190 Adventure and 1190 Adventure R by KTM. “The many variants of the Generation 9 motorcycle ABS and its additional functions allows us to satisfy the requirements of all motorcycle makers and their customers,” says Fevzi Yildirim, general manager for motorcycle safety systems at Bosch.
    #87
  8. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    My 2013 Multistrada also has the Bosch 9 ABS unit (with three selectable levels of operation, including an option better suited for riding off pavement). And an improved 8-level traction control, much more subtle.
    #88
  9. Old Git Ray

    Old Git Ray Now retired...YeeHaa

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    I bet it works too, doesn't it ?
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  10. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    So, bottom line, if you have this new ABS, leave it on for dirt.

    If you have any of the older ones, turn it off for dirt.

    Seems like to release dual sport bikes with not-ready-for-prime-time ABS was something that the manufacturers should not have done. ESPCIALLY KTM which has such a long history of high performing dirt bikes.
    #90
  11. Icecold Dan

    Icecold Dan Been here awhile

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    Well said. This does appear to be the case.
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  12. dmcd

    dmcd Been here awhile

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    I haven't read all the posts, so i'll keep it brief. If I forget to turn off the ABS on my XChallenge on level dirt it's a pain in the ass/inconvenience/exciting. If I forget to turn it off descending steep rocky trails, it is plain dangerous.
    #92