Looking for an adventure bike, but do I want ABS?

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by Erant, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    As long as we´re talking about road-riding (tarmac or gravel roads), I think it´s pretty much the exact opposite, especially for beginners. Without ABS, they won´t have a snowballs chance in hell to execute a controlled hard braking AND at the same time going around an object, when the surface does not offer perfect and unchanging grip. And remember, there´s the element of surprise, that´s very important, and it can catch out an experienced rider, too. A beginner is very highly likely to either lock the front or back end, or be afraid to use the brakes effectively at all, and neither action will help much.

    It´s not the correct way to brake, but when you´ve wetted your pants, it doesn´t matter, and with ABS the beginner can afford to just slam on both brakes in panic, and will be much less likely to go down. Even steering the bike a bit will be possible.

    When the bike is very heavily loaded, two-up & luggage, I think many experienced riders will look like novices in a situation like that. That is because the really bad situations are the ones, that are very hard to simulate. Usually there´s no time to think, you just need to act instantly. You can ride a bike for decades, and never get into a situation like that. But on the other hand you´ll never know, it could happen today or tomorrow.

    One thing that I do worry about a bit, is the possibility that new riders, who have ABS on their first bike, depend on it too much, and start to think that effective braking is the same as just slamming both brakes. It is not.
    #21
  2. Erant

    Erant n00b

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    Having taken the Basic Rider Course, I am aware of the intricacies of braking. I'm aware that I can't just slam on them, and I'm aware that locking up your tires is bad. I've actually locked up my front wheel when on the freeway before, and managed to stay shiny side up. This situation was different in that it was city riding, I had no chance to think about what to do, and I probably simply panicked (again, I'm not even sure if I locked up my tires, I literally had 20ft. of space). I'm looking for something that will help me keep the rubber on the road in those situations, where my 1 year of experience simply doesn't stretch (and I'm (a little) painfully aware that I'm still un-experienced). Whether I want it on or off on the dirt is something I'll figure out when I actually get on the dirt. (Can't wait.)

    Thanks for all your insights!
    #22
  3. Ixxioixxl

    Ixxioixxl Adventurer

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    I am also a new rider and got my 2012 DL650 in March of this year. Since then I have put on over 7k miles and had lots of fun. The 2012 comes with ABS mandatory and it has helped me a few times so far. First that comes to mind is those big white squares at cross walks when they are wet, but that only takes one time to learn the evilness of those. I also took the rider course and they taught braking with no ABS and it was good to learn; but when a car was pointed at me going the wrong way down the highway while I was going 55mph I was glad to have the ABS(and proper swerve technique from the class) :evil

    If you do get a bike with ABS I would find a dirt road with no cars and a nice sized hill. Then while going down the hill put the back brake on, then a little front brake if you want, it is kinda strange so just be prepared to adjust. I learned trying to stop because something was at the bottom and it was definitely an "oh shit" moment. Just gotta practice and get used to it I think.
    #23
  4. Jonny955

    Jonny955 Been here awhile

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    Ummm....shouldn't you have mentioned to turn OFF the ABS for this little experiment? Otherwise, it's a good way to end up with a broken bike and a hospital bill.

    Jon
    #24
  5. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    Nope, the DL ABS works fine for me on dirt. Your riding style has to compensate, but I can use a lot more brake.

    Once the ABS cuts in, just back off a bit and try again, I can afford to brake a lot closer (or over) the traction limit since I know a wheel isn't suddenly going to lock and dump me.

    Just crawled down a nasty nasty dirt road today with ABS on all the time - had to come to a dead stop on a very steep slope covered with loose rock while a couple of kangaroos finished up what they were doing before I could get past as well. :lol3
    Worked just fine and was a lot easier than doing the same descent without ABS - which I have done in the past.

    Not saying all ABS systems are like that, but this one is.

    Pete
    #25
  6. GrahamD

    GrahamD Long timer

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    Except with a Super Tenere.

    You apply the front and let the smarts modulate the Front back bias and the ABS. All bikes are different.

    Find a nice gnarly section with a rub off and give it ago on your bike.

    Read the manual as well. They are all different. :deal
    #26
  7. Jonny955

    Jonny955 Been here awhile

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    The S10. according to the reviews, is the only one with an ABS system that is still usable in the dirt. even so, there are many riders who would like to be able to switch it off so it's not 100%.

    Peter W, the off-road riding I have done requires that you lock wheels up (deliberately) sometimes to improve control and furrow the loose dirt in front of the bike to aid stopping. I have never met any other off-road rider (including professional instructors like Si Pavey) who advocates leaving the ABS switched on for better off-road control. I take my hat off to you!

    Jon
    #27
  8. creggur

    creggur There are no curves here.

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    Was never a huge fan of ABS until it outsmarted a bone-headed move (by me) and kept me from impacting/sliding under a Chevy Silverado. 99% of the time you don't even know it's there - it's the 1% that means the most...

    It's no replacement for skill or good judgement; rather a tool to be used when you need it. Wouldn't want to ride without it now...​
    #28
  9. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

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    I wish it was an option on all bikes, so if you did not want the extra hardware complication or price increase you could opt for the model without it.

    In more than 30 years of riding without it and no accidents, I really don't see any need for it if you are a skilled rider with some dirt experience. I don't see a need for traction control either. If you're a newbie throwing a leg over your brand new Hayabusa for the first time, both are probably a good thing.

    All I see is technology replacing skill. Traction control, accelerating or braking, is a matter of controlling force and understanding how much to use in the given situation. I believe having technology replacing direct operator intention will lead to insurance company dictated riding parameters that "they" consider acceptable.

    I'll take my motorcycle riding with the pure and direct experience it is supposed to be. I don't even like Yamaha's interference in direct throttle control with their ride by wire programming on the S10.

    I say go ride a real dirt bike in slippery/loose conditions to understand proper traction control, then take to the streets. That's what worked for and probably a few others.
    #29
  10. Mikef5000

    Mikef5000 Long timer

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    Hopefully without sounding too much like a broken record; the Tenere's Linked ABS brakes, if you haven't tested them yourself, don't lump them together with the other options; they are a completely different animal.

    I've done two extreme tests (Umm, both totally intentional and in a controlled manner :D)

    Having a great old time on a loose gravel road, coming over the top of a hill at about 50 mph, and seeing a stop sign at the very bottom of the steep decent. Grabbed the front brake and squeezed more... more... more... till both brakes were pulsing with ABS and I was quickly coming to a stop. Despite the sheer mass I had moving down that hill, I stopped well clear of the stop sign. Could it have been done without Linked/ABS brakes? Sure! But it would have taken way more effort on my end, and wouldn't have looked near as pretty.

    The other situation started similar (speed on gravel), but instead of a hill it was a sharp corner. Obviously braking first, then cornering is the optimum method, but I came into it too hot, and had to continue braking through the corner. With ABS still pulsing, I put my faith into the thing and leaned into the corner, and it just worked. Came out 90 degrees later at about 20 mph lower speed, removed the seat from my clenched rear, and swore, on a big bike, I can't go without ABS again.

    I've ridden in slippery nasty mud, down stair-stepped rocky downhills, and numerous other terrains, and never once have I wished the ABS was not on.

    I could see it interfering when on single track and needing to make a hairpin turn, when the only way to pull it off is to slide the rear tire... but... as much as I advocate taking the big bikes off road... that's pushing their limits a bit don't you think?

    But alas, it's all personal preference. I think the easy answer, since you're asking about ABS, is yes, you want ABS.

    For those folks that know they slide, who want to slide, then perhaps you don't want ABS, for anyone else, it's just a great feature.

    (And FWIW, any bike with ABS can easily be run without ABS (whether or not there is a switch from the factory). Pull the fuse if you hate it that much, or spend a couple minutes and couple dollars, and run a switch to wire leaving the fuse)
    #30
  11. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    I'm not a riding God. I lock wheels in those conditions and I usually fall off. I doubt I'm unique in that.
    I'm not racing, my objective is getting from A->B without falling off, not as fast as possible.

    Just grabbing a handful of brake and leaving it locked isn't going to be much use agreed - but for me at least ABS lets me use more brake than I could otherwise, which means shorter stopping distances.

    All I can suggest is that you try one of the bikes with "known good" ABS, (S10, DL650, others ?) and play on a nice wide dirt road some time - I think you'll be surprised how well the ABS works.

    Pete
    #31
  12. GrahamD

    GrahamD Long timer

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    Not arguing that. All I am saying is that there are too many general rules running around. In some situations you will need to turn ABS off. Some bikes a lot sooner than others. Make an informed choice about the bike you are riding is all I'm saying. That requires getting to know it.
    #32
  13. GrahamD

    GrahamD Long timer

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    That's fine. You can disable it with a 15c fuse. However my feeling is it was done because of a few (thousand?) people complaining about EFI "snatchiness" so they de-snatched it a bit. Maybe a bit too much. The whole emissions thing may be a part of it, as YAMAHA designed the bike for the next set of standards. May have had the marketing department asking for a more "slide carb" feel while the tech heads were thinking that would make the emissions thing easier as well.
    Some who have disabled it put it back to standard as it was getting a bit much for them. An off option would be good I suppose.

    And yes there is no substitute for getting to know the dynamics of a "RAW" bike. totally agree. I still prefer to have this stuff around. I am not always 100% switched on myself, especially when tired, distracted or just plain out of practice.
    #33
  14. Ixxioixxl

    Ixxioixxl Adventurer

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    I did it with the ABS on, I don't have a switch for it since I don't go much rougher than dirt/minimum maintenance type roads.

    I should have mentioned that I have only ever had a 2012 DL650 and I have no idea how other bikes would react, might land you in a ditch on different models but mine worked well. I have rode down dirt road/muddy dirt road hills with unknown stuff and water at the bottom a few times since and just kept the back break on most of the time and it worked out. I'm guessing things are about to change a little since I just got my Heidenau K60 Scout tires in the mail to replace stock tires :evil
    #34
  15. JGoody

    JGoody Been here awhile

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    Remember that ABS works properly on a bike when it's going straight, not leaned into a turn... but then so do non ABS brakes. So for a panic stop get the bike steering straight if at all possible. When I asked a buddy with ABS, "Do I need it?" the response was "not until you do... and then you really need it." So far I've only had it activate once -- when I tested it out on a nice straight hard stop. Felt the pulsing and the stop was controlled and smooth. All that said I'll take ABS.
    #35
  16. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    There was the ABS-test in Motorrad that I mentioned. They also tested aggressive braking on a curve with a VFR1200A, and came to the general conclusion, that while theorretically possible, in reality the bike won´t low-side because of ABS. The VFR doesn´t even have the latest generation ´race-ABS´, like the CBR1000RR does.
    #36
  17. farnorth1

    farnorth1 farnorth

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    ABS works....I hear what your saying, practice is good, but nothing happen's in slow mo like tv......sometimes you just want Brakes....now ....kill some speed...yeeee hawwww.....get the ABS for those times......nobody hits the deer they see.....
    #37
  18. vonzipper

    vonzipper n00b

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    I would say yes..saved my butt a few times on the black-top..get a shut off switch for gravel and dirt..just from my experiences
    #38
  19. SuperCruise

    SuperCruise Been here awhile

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    Modern ABS is great. I have been nothing but impressed with how good the S10 stops with it, including off road.
    #39
  20. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    For asphalt, it's a no-brainer. For gravel, depends on many many things incuding road condition, and rider's experience. Many riders, (who are not experts on riding outside the tarmac), will actually benefit from a modern ABS on gravel as well. Then there are a few riders, who are better off without it.
    #40