Is ABS overrated on the 990?

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by KamLeeR, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. KamLeeR

    KamLeeR Animal Adventurer

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    I've had more people say they wouldn't own a bike without ABS. Heck all the bikes I've ridden, KLRs, 950s, etc have not had ABS. The BMW 1200 GS I own now is the first bike I've ridden with ABS. This GS is a heavy feel and they might be good to have on freeways, but the 990 seems fine without. When it comes to selling these beasts, people want ABS, but is there that much of a safety standpoint with having ABS? I've heard the KTM ABS is not up to par like BMWs.

    I heard all the KTM road bikes will have ABS now, even the 690, really?
    #1
  2. nevermind

    nevermind sLOW Rider

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    Do you ever ride where the road surface might be a little slippery due to other vehicles dropping fluids or perhaps a tad wet from a brief shower?
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  3. Chuckracer

    Chuckracer Jerkus Maximus

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    I do. Do I need ABS?
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  4. Rsquared

    Rsquared Echo

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    I won't own another street bike without ABS...
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  5. JoeMongo

    JoeMongo ¿Por dónde?

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    I rode BMWs with their poor ABS for a very long time, then added a VFR with it's non-intrusive ABS for a long time, then added a DRZ with no traction, no power, no brakes, and no ABS. I had more fun learning to slide both ends of that bike around my neighborhood and out in the dirt than I ever would have expected. No crashes due to locking up the brakes. Lots of slides, both intended and not intended.

    I do ride the DRZ like a dirtbike (go figure), keeping my weight near or over the contact patch. If I leaned it over while hanging off the inside, I'd be on my ass the first time it slid during late braking entering a turn, or panic braking for a dog in the road, or whatever.

    Now I have a 990 Adv. with ABS. It is easily the most intrusive ABS I have ever been subjected to, but that feeling may be somewhat influenced by the recent experience riding the DRZ. I have since sold my last BMW and my VFR, both of which were great street bikes, and neither were any good in the dirt.

    The ABS on my 990 isn't even any good on the street. It keeps releasing my brakes when I am trying to use them to control the bike. It's not subtle at all, like my VFR was (to be honest, I never did feel the VFR ABS operate). It's even more of a sudden release, and occurs much sooner, than my BMWs did. Maybe the newer BMWs have better ABS. I don't know.

    I've started reading up on removing the ABS from my 990. It looks like two brake lines and one speed sensor, and a couple of hours, will do it. I'm waiting as long as I can stand before removing it, but that day gets closer every time the ABS operates.
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  6. KamLeeR

    KamLeeR Animal Adventurer

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    Thanks for your info! That's one reason why I bought the Baja. Some folks have me thinking selling it since it has no ABS. I rode my 950 all over and never had any issues with wishing I had ABS. I know its probally 50/50 on whether to have ABS or not, guess its how you ride the bike. Id rather not have it then have it go haywire on me and have no predictable control.
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  7. EZ300

    EZ300 Just wanna ride my motorsickle

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    I'm also thinking about removing my ABS. It really is obtrusive. While stopping I hard I know it's there so I brake hard and when the ABS "does it's thing" the clamping and unclamping is unsettling. I'd rather depend on myself. Offroad I forget to turn it off and get in a lot of trouble.

    I just convinced myself,... I'm going to remove mine.
    #7
  8. bomose

    bomose Long timer

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    I've just bought a 2011 Dakar after putting many miles on my 950.. It will be my first bike with ABS. I've only put 400 miles on it, but haven't noticed the ABS at all, although I haven't put it through the paces. It will be interesting to see how it does. I could definitely live without it. One thing is the ABS shouldn't kick in until traction is lost so I don't understand how so many people think they feel it unless they are on the edge all the time, or on the track. I guess I'll find out when the weather improves. Until then, I'll leave it on.
    #8
  9. Katoom119

    Katoom119 Mmmm....Orange Kool-aid

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    Is ABS overrated? Absolutely not. Anyone that has seen the BMW demo where the guy rides on wet, soapy pavement with and without ABS can attest to that.

    Is the ABS on the 990 overrated? Yup. It's a hunk of shit.

    As JoeMongo said, I've ridden BMW's and VFR's with ABS enough to know what a good one is supposed to feel like. While its inevitable that you'll get some clicking/stutter in the bike from the momentary locking and releasing of the wheels, it shouldn't be so obtrusive as to take your concentration away from whatever it is you're trying to avoid.

    The KTM system, at least on my 08 990, was like riding a jackhammer in an earthquake.

    I could brake hard enough with the front brake up on dry pavement in the mountains, with the Pirelli Scorpions, that the instant I touched the rear brake to keep the bike tracking straight it would kick in. The rear wasn't so bad as it just didn't do anything. The front would literally make the bars jump in my hands. I would do panic braking drills in an empty parking lot (which has saved my ass before and saved a friend from t-boning a car on my other bike) and I had more control over the bike when the ABS was turned off. Also I got tired of turning the damn thing off every time I wanted to ride off road. Yes, I know you can simply wire in another switch, but I didn't like it on the street either, so I just ripped it all out.

    Pulling the ABS helped the feel in the brake lines, gave me more control over the bike (not how fast it stops, but how it behaves while it's stopping), and on the plus side gave me some more room under the seat.

    Now I just listen for the howl...
    #9
  10. Katoom72

    Katoom72 Been here awhile

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    The 990 ABS has to be the worst on the market (just Like the EFI) the 1190 on the other hand is the best i have ever tested
    #10
  11. ciedema

    ciedema мотоциклист

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    I have never ridden a bike with ABS until I had my 990. By all accounts there are other systems that work much better. That said I have the ABS save my sorry arse more than once on everything from Ice to dry pavement. I am not in a hurry to get rid off it (on the front at least, the rear well maybe).
    #11
  12. PatSmith

    PatSmith Been here awhile

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    I understand that the feeling of abs activation is a little unnerving but feel that a bike with abs will stop sooner than a bike without it.
    #12
  13. spencergt66

    spencergt66 Been here awhile

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    +1

    990 abs is total crap, it's my next mod (remove and throw in trash).

    To me putting ABS on the 990 in the first place was a bad Idea. The bike is ment to be in the dirt sure you can tour with it but there's a lot of other better choices for that.
    #13
  14. Zuber

    Zuber Zoob

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    Yeah, then you haven't ridden total crap. Try an early BMW R1100GS or F650GS. These are dangerous. I've had a total run away down a moderate gravel drive way while mashing on the brakes. There is no way you could get it to stop. The KTM 990 is WAAYY better. The new KTM's and BMW's are better.

    If you replace the stock soft organic brake pads with semi-metallic, the ABS will be worse. If you have taller suspension, the ABS will kick in sooner.
    #14
  15. Apple Jam

    Apple Jam Forest Flyer

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    Absolutely true of my 07-990.
    Shoulda pulled it all out many years ago.
    "How it behaves WHILE stopping" is MUCH improved.

    I have heard/read the 1190 ABS is significantly better, but for me, unless it is a street only bike, I would skip it. If I lived in a city and rode with traffic re regularly, I would likely want it.

    Practice your panic stops. On pavement and on dirt. A 1-hour course with Jimmy Lewis at the 2012 KTM Rally taught the importance and advantages of this. I LOVE to hammer hard on my front brake off-pavement. It is so satisfying to get that right.
    #15
  16. Bowser

    Bowser Been here awhile

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    Ridden thousands of miles on bikes with and without abs and linked brakes, professionally on BMWs and Honda ST1100, and privately on BMW’s and my KTM 990 and Harley’s.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    My personal feeling is that the KTM ABS is the worst of the lot. I wanted the underseat tank so removed it and to date haven’t regretted, the brakes have much more feel without the ABS. Not a long job took me about ¾ of an hour, only advice I would give is, go with two front hoses and a double length banjo bolt, so each brake has its own hose from the master cylinder to the calliper, a) it makes for a really easy install, b) it gives great feel at the leaver, c) saves money on the spliter and finding somewhere to mount it.<o:p></o:p>
    #16
  17. Rodknee

    Rodknee the post is mightier than the sword...

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    the rear abs is very very sensitive, and kinda sucks. the front abs is not that bad. i don't mind switching it off while offroad, and usually leave it enabled while on road.

    although i am a very capable offroad rider, i know the abs will pay off while loaded up on a multi day trip, after 14 hours of riding, when i am tired and a deer/moose/car pops out in front of me... i can just grab a handfull and it will stop the bike.

    you have to be kidding yourself if you think you will be as sharp/quick after riding 600-1000 miles as when you were when you first started in the morning. so, abs switch for me, and i will leave the plumbing intact. :clap

    *edit* my bike is a 2012, so i am not sure if there were updates from the earlier bikes or not.
    #17
  18. richtidebruin

    richtidebruin Lurking since 2003..

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    From my experience on a 2010 990 std, I felt the ABS was more worthwhile on the front than the back, to help prevent a front wheel wash-out. FWIW, I always felt any benefit was primarily street related, but I am not as hare-core an off-roader as a lot of us on the forum. But I don't understand the fuss, since as I recall it can be turned-off.
    #18
  19. pdxthmper

    pdxthmper Been here awhile

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    its really easy to wire in a switch so you can turn it on or off as you wish, no screwing around with holding the button crap. There are several write ups on here about how to do it. Off road the ABS is scarry, I doesn't bother me on black stuff.
    #19
  20. Black Hills

    Black Hills Long timer

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    I had the 990R so no ABS, 20k miles and not an issue (nor a crash). I don't see it as a necessity but rather a nice option for those times when maybe you have been out in the cold/rain miles from home and are perhaps a little tired and not paying attention. At that point the "save you ass" factor may come into play. for off roading or hooligan behavior simply turn it off, same goes for traction control on the 1190:D
    #20