Smart/Stupid ABS

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by keiPHadventure, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. keiPHadventure

    keiPHadventure Adventurer

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    I been riding two-wheeled vehicles since I was 2 years old and ridden proper motorcycles for eleven years. I've preferred to ride my bikes more than drive my cars as well. I've taught myself all the information I can get so I could maximize my riding/driving skills. In short, I'm a defensive rider at any given moment. But nothing could have prepared me for what happened.

    I have a BMW XChallenge with ABS. I got it a few months ago. I've already tested out my other sibling's BMW's before I got mine (all equipped with ABS). I found the ABS system too crude, unrefined to like it. I've always been a purist of motorcycles, I don't want electronic nannies to do the decisions and control the bike for me (ABS, TC). My greatest strength is braking(everything is relative of course). From the get-go, I've always know that the BMW's ABS is too sensitive. Hit a bump during medium braking, it activates immediately even though you know that the tire hasn't even lost contact with the road yet, lengthening your braking distance and giving your sphincter a good exercise!

    I was headed to work yesterday during rush hour. I spotted a car stopped on the side of the road on a 6-lane avenue. When I was near, the car suddenly made an illegal U-turn! Being hemmed in on both sides by two cars, I didn't have enough space to swerve and avoid the car in front of me. I started top brake, but then I hit some rumble strips. The ABS kicked in and I lost my braking control of the bike and plowed straight into the car's left-side rear.

    My face wasn't protected enough by my three quarter helmet. My face hit the car's D-pillar, dented the sheet metal too. My ribs hit the handlebar before I fell off my bike. Right now, my jaw's a bit misaligned and I have a nasty gash below my lower lip after my teeth ripped through the flesh. Fortunately, no stitches necessary and no broken bones. I can't eat anything larger than my finger because I can't open my mouth wide enough and my gums have bruises and my front teeth hurt, even the softest bread is excruciating to chew.

    My bike only suffered a cracked fender and bent handlebars(which I righted after I left the hospital). Tough bike, that.

    But here's the point: even if the car did make an illegal U-turn, I know I could have stopped with enough space to spare if the ABS didn't kick in. I can brake hard enough to make my front tire chirp but not lock. I hate the ABS. I've posted my bike up for sale immediately. I don't want to live with stupid ABS. It didn't help me at all. I'm really disappointed.

    I sincerely hope something so simple like this doesn't happen to anyone else. Please be careful out there, everyone...
    #1
  2. dovetailredux

    dovetailredux Adventurer

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    Why don't you just pull the fuse for the ABS instead of getting rid of the whole bike? Heal up fast, man.
    #2
  3. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    +1. Assuming you otherwise like the bike, ABS can usually be disabled. Of course, it's always nice to have an excuse to buy a different bike!

    Glad you weren't more seriously injured - hope you heal quickly and completely!
    #3
  4. eric2

    eric2 ®egister this:

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    Sounds fishy, cars on either side avoided the car you hit? Try taking responsibility for your lack of experience
    #4
  5. keiPHadventure

    keiPHadventure Adventurer

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    @dovetailredux: I usually turn the ABS off, it's a PITA if I keep doing it every time. Before I crashed I was already here on the site looking for solutions to delete the ABS. Unfortunately, I only got the answer the evening before I hit the car. Too bad, really.

    @SloMo228: Yes, it's a good opportunity to change bikes for me. I do like my bike, but a friend of mine is selling his F-GS at a good price. I think it's a good deal, so it's a timely decision for me.

    @eric: Those cars on either side almost hit the car, too. I wouldn't have hit the car if my ABS didn't activate at the wrong moment. Read the post again please. And lack of experience? Really? So you've never crashed or dropped your bike at any point in your life? You must be an amazing rider. You should start a riding school. Enlighten us with your talent, please.

    Anyway, thanks for the well-wishes. Just wanted to share my story here.
    #5
  6. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    Glad you're alright...wondering if you will be wearing a FF helmet from now on?? And I think what Eric was trying to get at is that you didn't leave yourself an "out". I realize we do not live in the philippines and have no idea of the roads/drivers there.....but I'm always adjusting my speed and position to make sure I've got a spot to my left and right to swerve into if needed.
    #6
  7. _Davi_

    _Davi_ Adventurer

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    I hate to sound like a shit, but if you can brake hard enough to make your front tire chirp but not lock, I assume that is on good ground. If you hit rumble strips, you wouldn't have been able to make them chirp either, I dare say. Meaning, the ABS got you stopped as fast as conditions allowed, which weren't good ie rumble strips. IMHO, braking without ABS would have likely resulted in the same outcome at best.
    #7
  8. Rock Junkee

    Rock Junkee Been here awhile

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    I hate ABS too... I had a deer run in front of me on some slick roads, and I just could not get it to slow down quick enough... Luckily I did not hit it or crash but came awful close. First thing I did when I got home pulled the ABS off had napa make me some brake lines...
    I am with you ABS sucks, so sorry to hear about your misfortune Get Well Brother!!!:freaky
    #8
  9. keiPHadventure

    keiPHadventure Adventurer

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    @hardwaregrrl: Yeah, the road conditions here are actually shite compared to what your first-world countries have. I know the standards. I could only hope for the best out here, and maybe pray that the worst won't happen! I'll make sure to keep wearing my FF helmets from here on end, too! The "out" that you guys mostly have doesn't happen here a lot, and most of the other drivers here really don't care about other motorists espacially when one rides a motorcycle here. Ask/read some F1 driver's testimonials who've visited here, they'll have a lot of comments about the traffic conditions in my country... Really scary stuff.

    @_Davi_: Quite right. The ABS did try to help me out in its own way... I don't hate the concept of ABS, really. But on my bike the system isn't as refined as the new ones. I've used my brother's Panigale and the ABS was magnificent, not overreactive and only starts to intervene when the situation is really on the serious situations... Same goes for the other newer bikes I've tried out. All I'm saying is I wish my XCh's ABS wasn't so careful and protective that it had to intervene at the worst possible moment. By the way, our pavement here's 90% bumpy and the rest are still only somewhat smooth, so braking on uneven surfaces are quite normal for us here. I wish you guys could see how the sportbike riders suffer here even on short rides!

    @Rock Junkee: It really gets to you, doesn't it? The scare that you get when that one in a million moment comes up to kiss you and remind you how vulnerable you are in any given moment. I never wanted to have to post here but it just happened.

    Again, I wish what happened to me doesn't happen to any other riders out there. It could be worse for them... Thanks again. Ride safely, everyone!
    #9
  10. GearHeadGrrrl

    GearHeadGrrrl Been here awhile

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    Never braked hard enough to have it happen to me, but on the F800S/ST forums several riders have complained of partial and even total loss of rear braking on "stutter bump" like surfaces.
    #10
  11. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur

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    Hey, GearHeadGrrrl, how's the wrist feeling?

    I have a Sertao and the front ABS is near perfect. Under any condition it will stop the bike as fast as is possible. I used to be a road racer and I know about braking, controlled slides, etc. and the front ABS will pull the bike down faster than anyone without can on the same road and the same tires.
    The rear ABS is not so good. For some reason it hammers hard and the wheel will sometimes lockup and pop free about twice a second. SO, just like my old race bike, I ignore the rear brake or just use it lightly to drag the rear end. We will see how well I can do that in a real panic when the adrenaline kicks in, but I stay pretty calm always.
    Wish I could simply disable only the rear ABS.
    #11
  12. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

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    Buckle up and prepare for many replies by asshats who say: "it can't happen" or: "you're doing it wrong", "you are lying, making it up" etc., etc.

    Having owned a brand spanking new BMW F800ST with ABS, I know *exactly* what you are talking about!!!

    I've been riding for over 40+ years, and have never crashed or had nasty things happen due to incorrect brake application by me, normal riding or panic emergency situations. I live in the PNW, and commute solely by motorcycle year round. I like to imagine I have just a wee bit of experience with bikes and how to use the brakes on them...

    MY ST's brakes were horrifyingly scary. The extended release when braking and going over the tiniest pavement imperfection, had the exact feeling of not only completely letting off the brakes, but cranking the throttle too, lol! WTF! I'm speeding up! I'm not braking, I'm fricking speeding up!!! Auuuugh!:eek1 :lol3

    It's difficult to describe to anyone who hasn't had it happen. The sensation makes me shiver and feel ill just thinking back about it. :puke1

    The first time I disbelievingly rolled straight through the crosswalk and halfway into an intersection with zero ability to stop, was the worst feeling I've ever had. It shook me up to say the least. If there had been pedestrians or any vehicles, I would have run right into them.

    That nasty piece of work got traded in on a Honda NC700X, with AWESOME ABS brakes. Take heart that some manufacturers can do the ABS thing properly.
    #12
  13. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

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    It's not just the rear brake, it's *ALL* braking that goes away! :eek1
    #13
  14. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    German Motorrad magazine had a big ABS article a while ago. There were 7-8 very different ABS-bikes (sportsbikes, tourers, big trailies, customs) compared, and they seemed to notice what you are describing. Bumpy surfaces do affect certain ABS systems more than others. But they never saw the differences as being that dramatic, and this added to the stopping distances, but not that much. I haven´t tried the F800ST myself, so I can´t comment on that.

    But my point is, these systems are different from one another (and naturally bikes are also), some bike+ABS-combos handle braking on bumps a lot better than others. So to claim ´ABS sucks´ is cutting corners, a lot.

    (But that´s always the problem on the net: everything should somehow be seen as either totally black, or totally white, and there´s nothing in between. (Luckily) this is seldom the case in real life).
    #14
  15. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

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    [QUOTE Pecha72]

    But my point is, these systems are different from one another (and naturally bikes are also), some bike+ABS-combos handle braking on bumps a lot better than others. So to claim ´ABS sucks´ is cutting corners, a lot.

    [/QUOTE Pecha72]


    ---> "...got traded in on a Honda NC700X, with AWESOME ABS brakes. Take heart that some manufacturers can do the ABS thing properly."

    :D I agree and need no more convincing.
    #15
  16. keiPHadventure

    keiPHadventure Adventurer

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    @GearHeadGrrrl: One of my brothers has an F800S and the same thing happenened to me again. It's worse on my XCh's rear brake because I've had the ABS kick in while using the rear brake in some rough stuff, the pedal just went straight down and the bike kept plowing ahead... Very hairy moment there!

    @Motopsychoman: That's fantastic if the front ABS on your Sertao is much more refined than the one on my XCh. How's the Sertao like to use? It's great that you used to be a road racer, you know how to maximize your brakes and know what you want to do with your bike. The Sertao is still relatively new, right? Maybe given enough push here and in other forums you might find a solution to deactivating just the rear ABS. Best of luck to you!

    @L.B.S.: The bike speeding up while the ABS was working, that's exactly what happened to me too! I actually felt the front and rear suspension settle from the braking dive and free wheel while I was squeezing the front brake for all that it was worth! It's a funny thing in hindsight but the pain I get while eating these days bring me back to the horrifying and grim situation I'm in right now because of the ABS. Good pick on the NC700! Did you get the dual-clutch automatic model? It must be a great bike to ride! Cheers, mate!

    @Pecha72: I know what you mean, and L.B.S. said it too. Other manufacturers and bikes do the driver aids quite well. Ducati and Honda sportbikes have wonderful, almost brilliant ABS and there's nothing negative I can say about those systems. Again, I don't hate the concept of ABS. It's just a model-specific issue that brought me here.

    So, well, I know that there's a billion other panic situations that could happen to any other rider and maybe elevate the risk of accidents(or actually get into accidents), all I'm hoping for is every one of us will remain safe, unscathed and in one piece every time we travel. Ride safe, everyone!
    #16
  17. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

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    btw, sorry about the incident and your injuries, hope you heal up soon, buddy! :D

    Mine is the NC700XA; the manual transmission, ABS/Combined model.

    The first thing I did on the Honda test ride, was to find a set of railroad tracks and gnarly bumpy pavement, and nail the brakes going over them, over and over again. :deal

    I was amazed and ecstatic. Turned around, went back to the Dealer and said gimmee one of these! :lol3

    Side note- I was very suspicious of, and resigned to the whole "combined" or linked brake thing, I really didn't want that either :puke1 but again, I have to tip my hat to big Red for making my mistrust of the concept a total non-issue. :clap

    In day to day use, I cannot tell that my bike even has ABS or anything incestuous going on between the brakes, other than if I stomp heavily on the rear pedal, and feel the front dive ever so slightly, and the braking seems way better than it should, from only using the rear brake. (and of course the fact that the rear tire didn't instantly lock up, lol)

    I went from an unrepentant ABS hater (the one and only car I've ever owned and driven in my whole life doesn't have ABS either) to a kool aid drinking convert with the NCX.
    #17
  18. TexaNate

    TexaNate Been here awhile

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    ABS is designed to save you when you panic and grab a handful. FYI traction on rumble strips is greatly reduced so depending on your speed, you might not have been able to get enough traction on the wheel even without the ABS's hinderance.

    When you say "Nothing could have prepared me for what happened", you are denying yourself this learning opportunity and I urge you to reflect more on what you could have done differently, before you get in an even worse accident.

    Firstly - I could be full of crap but I recall some statistic that 60% (someone correct me if I'm wrong) of helmet impacts are to the face, where 3/4 helmets don't cover. In the future, you might consider a full-face helmet (I know they're rare over where you are but think about the added safety). If it's too hot, put the visor up.

    Secondly - if you had no time to react or swerve away from a dangerous potential hazard (a parked car), you were probably riding too fast given your surroundings and you were not anticipating every possibility. Even if you were a MotoGP champion on the perfect bike on the perfect surface, and were able to stop accordingly - what would have stopped someone from rear-ending you? I'm all for being able to execute a flawless e-stop or a graceful swerve, but we should never have to use those tools unless we screw up with our awareness and strategy - even when other people pull out in front of us. It is our responsibility to slow down and leave ourselves enough time to react within the bounds of our skills and equipment. This collision obviously isn't your fault, but that doesn't mean you can't take steps to ensure it won't happen again in the future.

    I wish you a speedy recovery.
    #18
  19. keiPHadventure

    keiPHadventure Adventurer

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    @L.B.S.: Sounds great! Congratulations on your new bike! I would have loved to own one as well. I really like the NC in every aspect. Looks nice, too! Cheers to you! Ride safe!

    @TexaNate: I get your points, thanks for the input. Very well said.

    Here's the sad part: I've always been a sportbike rider since middle school and I've prided myself on maintaining the discipline of always wearing full-face helmets. My BMW is my first foray into the off-road scene. I've also been careful to choose the top-shelf helmets, even if they're extremely expensive. For some reason, on that day that I did get into an accident, I chose to wear my partner's half-face helmet. It could be a cruel twist of fate, or maybe a one in ten thousand moment, I'm not sure. But the fact remains that that one lapse of my judgement brought me a big problem. I'll make sure NEVER to use open-face helmets again!

    And you could be right, I may have misjudged some of my actions that day. I may not admit it to myself either, but who knows? You're quite correct as well, the rear-ending part you mentioned was a big possibility on my mind. If I did slow/stop in time, I still couldn't trust the braking ability of the driver behind me. That thought is drilled into my brain everytime I ride or drive and I cringe everytime I think of it.
    I've also thought about what other outcome I may have gotten into, and right now I am happier that my accident is a lot less worse than if someone rear-ended me. I take solace in that.

    Thanks for your advice. I really appreciate it.
    #19
  20. GETTHUMPER2

    GETTHUMPER2 Been here awhile

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    :clap:clap:clap
    I ride for a living, this is what I do, I am a motorcycle courier in one of the worst places in the USA for unpredictable traffic, distracted drivers, unlicensed/uneducated/unqualified drivers, etc...., I think that most who have driven in the Los Angeles/ Orange County area will know what I am talking about.
    I have also trained many riders for the company I used to work for, I believe I am qualified to have an opinion on matters such as this.
    Based on your closing post, give yourself a "pat on the back", You just moved up to the next grade and you will now take your street-riding-survival skills to the next level. Self awareness, and personal responsibility are the cornerstones to improvement in almost any endeavor.:clap:clap:clap
    THUMPER>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    #20