ABS on a KTM 950-990A? I recently read a statement that went like this, Some think themselves to be such skilled riders as to not need ABS brakes. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> Truth is - many riders are so skilled they dont need ABS brakes. We watch them on TV every Sunday evening. But skilled braking is not limited to professional racers many of us can stop a motorcycle (and automobiles) faster and safer with standard (non ABS) brakes. The reason is the basic concept of ABS brakes is flawed. <o></o> Back in the day when power brakes became common in cars people had difficulty with not locking the brakes and skidding the tires in a panic stop. Untrained and unskilled drivers would simply stomp the brake pedal (close their eyes) and hope for the best. Of course skidding tires dont stop as quickly as tires that are almost skidding. Almost skidding is called "immanent lockup". Immanent lock up is by far the fastest way to stop. <o></o> However drivers were not trained or advised to use that technique. Immanent lock up takes a lot of time and practice to perfect and a safe place to practice it. It was far easier to teach the on and off or pumping approach to maintain traction in a panic braking situation. If you are as old as I am you may remember TV ads demonstrating on-and-off panic braking. When the tires skid, release the brake pedal, then reapply the brake, when the tires skid again release and keep repeating the process until, well, what ever happened after the driver failed to stop in time. <o></o> ABS brakes are based on that same flawed off-and-on concept of braking. Of course one will rightfully argue that computer controlled ABS is far far more precise and faster that an unskilled driver pumping a brake pedal. Thats true, but even todays most advanced ABS is not fast or precise enough at least not when on two wheels. Thats why it not worth a #### off road or on rough pavement. The computer releases the brake to the wheel (or both wheels) that stops turning (skids). Then after a set time, the computer reapplies the brake with the equal force as originally applied. Problem is even today ABS takes too long to reapply. <o></o> Many experienced riders have experienced something like the following. Its somewhat rough pavement (thats what the KTM 950-990 adventure bikes are for) and the rider is forced to brake hard. One or both wheels strike a hole, bump or pavement joints and the computer thinks the tire is locked up and releases the brakes. Suddenly the rider finds himself rushing along without brakes. After what seems like an awfully long time the computer reapplies the brakes. The wheel runs over another bump and the computer releases the brakes again. This can repeat itself until the rider is wrapped around a tree or into the back of a car. We usually learn this and slow down on rough roads or turn the ABS off if possible. <o></o> I was recently teaching a group of four riders some off road techniques. Three of them are C riders in hare scrambles and enduros one is a beginner. We worked on getting over slick obstacles and up gnarly hills with muddy tree roots and rocks. Traction control (and balance) was everything. At the beginning of the day I noticed that even though the three C riders had difficulty getting up and over slick rocks and tree roots, they had long ago mastered traction control while descending the same slick hills. Their braking skills were well beyond the capabilities of ABS brakes. When dirt bike riders mature and buy a street going motorcycle they are the ones that hate ABS brakes the most. Because they can out perform the so-called Antiskid Braking System. No computer controlled braking system (at least for now) can out perform a highly skill human with an alert mind and good motor control. The human mind and body is truly amazing. <o></o> If a rider is incapable or unwilling to grow and mature his or her braking skills then he or she should get and use ABS. And turn it off when off road. <o></o> My cry is this: if motorcycle manufactures are going to sell us ABS brakes if we want them or not at least make it right. Make the ABS so that it brings the tire(s) to immanent lock up and no more. That will be difficult to do, but til then Id rather not have ABS on my motorcycle. As it is now ABS is almost a prescience acronym for Anti Braking System. Hopefully the designers will soon change that. <o></o> I did not spend my time writing this to be critical of anyone or to be confrontational, but only to be informative and to offer my educated and experienced opinion. Your comments and counter opinions are of course welcome. But please make them time worthy and reasonably intelligent.