Do I really need an ABS ? | Page 2 | GTAMotorcycle.com

Do I really need an ABS ?

Baggsy

Well-known member
Site Supporter
It might eventually become mandatory here.
What happens if you lock the front tire while practicing maximum braking without ABS?
With ABS you can approach the maximum with less risk.

p.s. you don't have to go highway speeds to practice braking.
 

ReSTored

Well-known member
I've been riding for 35+ years and I'm on bike #10, probably 200k km + in total. Current bike is non abs, next bike will definitely have abs. I routinely practice "panic" type stops and can always get a nice chirp out of my front tire as I'm on the verge of locking up, so I know how to brake very aggressively. That said, don't confuse practicing braking in very controlled conditions with real life riding in all types of weather on all types of surfaces. IMHO 99% of riders cannot beat ABS in real day-to-day riding scenarios and anyone who tells you that having ABS means you don't know how to ride or that you somehow slack off and rely on ABS in just being disingenuous.

As you describe yourself as an occasional rider you're the perfect person to have ABS as maybe your riding and braking skills are not as honed as they could be.
 

Mad Mike

Well-known member
I think there are two schools of thought.

1) Absolutely. I subscribe to this is you are a casual or fair weather rider and you want your bike for occasional rides. You don't care to be a student of the sport , you just want to hop on and get some wind in your hair, you don't plan much in the way of spirited riding.

I say absolutely because the $1000 extra spent on ABS only needs to save your skin once to pay itself off.

2) No. You're at the beginning of a multi-year multi-bike journey to being a proficient motorcyclists. You're taking riding more seriously than fair weather socials at Tim's and a riding day is more than running to the first rural Ice Cream store and home. You will start on a low power bike, learn correct braking without assisted technology stepping in, you will push your limits carefully.

Most of us here learned without ABS. I have a few friends that learned on Honda ABS/CBS bikes and rarely ride non-ABS. While they are great riders, they have become dependent on ABS and never developed a feel for proportioning brakes, they brake mostly using only the foot pedal - I can really see the liability when we switch bikes.
 

ReSTored

Well-known member
............. No. You're at the beginning of a multi-year multi-bike journey to being a proficient motorcyclists. You're taking riding more seriously than fair weather socials at Tim's and a riding day is more than running to the first rural Ice Cream store and home. You will start on a low power bike, learn correct braking without assisted technology stepping in, you will push your limits carefully.

Most of us here learned without ABS. I have a few friends that learned on Honda ABS/CBS bikes and rarely ride non-ABS. While they are great riders, they have become dependent on ABS and never developed a feel for proportioning brakes, they brake mostly using only the foot pedal - I can really see the liability when we switch bikes.
I understand, but don't agree with your argument. I have an older bike, most of the people I ride with have newer ST1300, FJR1300 or BWM RT1200's and all have ABS. These are pretty accomplished riders and most are doing 20,000 - 30,000 km a year and much of this in the US on more demanding roads than we have here in ON. In discussion with these riders all learned to ride on non ABS bikes and rode non ABS bikes for years before ABS became standard on large displacement sport touring bikes. None of these riders would ever consider a bike without ABS as they have experienced the benefit of ABS in wet road situations as well when the occasion deer crosses their paths.

There seems to be a premise that ABS means that you don't know or understand how braking works or how to brake effectively. I don't accept this. Most people with ABS will tell you that their ABS kicks in a couple of times a year. It's there when you need it, but it's not used daily.

In controlled conditions, with advance notice, a skilled rider might be able to beat ABS stopping distances. In real life riding conditions, on a wet road, at 5 PM after 9 hours of riding when a car turns left in front of you with nowhere to go I'd be placing by bet on ABS.
 

MacDoc

Well-known member
Site Supporter
There are some conditions in contruction for instance where you find yourself off pavement and ABS can offer poorer braking as you cannot lock the rear wheel but that's rare.
One reason some adventure bikes offer switchable ABS for use off pavement. I must admit following the BMW instructors advice to "grab the brakes full on" pointing down a sand/grass hill was a hard thing 😱🥴 but the GS just walked down like magic.
Still, I'd rather do the braking in that circumstance ....old dog new tricks. :rolleyes:

This is one reason I think new riders should get off pavement as part of their learning curve ...even if it's taking their street bike on some mild gravel or dirt roads north of the GTA.
Nothing like a bit of gravel or grass surface to mess with ABS. Experiencing your bike's behaviour on grass or dirt or gravel under controlled conditions will help prevent unexpected surprises and let new riders learn just how important that back brake is and maybe just how important to avoid gravel or sand patches on curves.

I must admit C-ABS on the CBF1000 felt strange when you hit the rear brake and nose dipped. Both brakes need to be learned.
 
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Mad Mike

Well-known member
I understand, but don't agree with your argument. I have an older bike, most of the people I ride with have newer ST1300, FJR1300 or BWM RT1200's and all have ABS. These are pretty accomplished riders and most are doing 20,000 - 30,000 km a year and much of this in the US on more demanding roads than we have here in ON. In discussion with these riders all learned to ride on non ABS bikes and rode non ABS bikes for years before ABS became standard on large displacement sport touring bikes. None of these riders would ever consider a bike without ABS as they have experienced the benefit of ABS in wet road situations as well when the occasion deer crosses their paths.

There seems to be a premise that ABS means that you don't know or understand how braking works or how to brake effectively. I don't accept this. Most people with ABS will tell you that their ABS kicks in a couple of times a year. It's there when you need it, but it's not used daily.

In controlled conditions, with advance notice, a skilled rider might be able to beat ABS stopping distances. In real life riding conditions, on a wet road, at 5 PM after 9 hours of riding when a car turns left in front of you with nowhere to go I'd be placing by bet on ABS.
I hear your argument, but that's not really related to a kid looking at his first 300cc bike. I have a few liter bikes including an FJR1300 non-abs as well as a VSTROM with ABS so I know exactly what your riding buddies say and feel. I can't say if I ever kicked in the ABS on my bikes, if I did I dont' remember -- If I ever have to I'm sure Ill appreciate them.

My point is some riders today are learning poor techniques by asking for the ABS to do the braking for them. Your friends all learned on non ABS bikes. I have a few that learned on ABS bikes and also do 30+K a year on their STs -- some, particularly a couple I know that ride ST1300s use their right hand rarely, they rely (depend?) on the CBS system that they learned on their first Shadow. They don't feel comfortable on my non-ABS FJR.

Do you recall following your friends through sweepers? When do their brake lights switch off? Entering the corner? at the apex, or exiting the corner?
 

Morrissey

Well-known member
For what it's worth, I rode the first 19ish years of my motorcycling life without ABS and came out unscathed. Probably has a lot more to do with random luck than any sort of skill on my part. Not having ABS would not be a deal breaker for me, but seeing as my new bike is well over 700lbs with a full tank of fuel I am very glad to have the ABS on it.

I think if you are a new rider coming up in this day and age, you might as well spring for the ABS if you're going to buy new. Pretty well most new bikes come standard with it and it has been available on many bikes for quite some time, so unless you're going to get into the vintage bike scene, probably every bike OP will consider buying would have it anyways. Also, when the time comes to sell the R3 down the line it will be an easier sell with the ABS vs without as most new riders want a bike with ABS.
 

Lightcycle

Motorcycle Nomad
Site Supporter
I like my ABS, but I also like knowing what it felt like when I locked the front on my non-ABS bike while learning how to ride. Enough to know never to do it again.

If it's your first bike, get it non-ABS. Get it small and get it used, so you can take it to the limit without worrying about it being too costly to your wallet and your body. Then after making mistakes (and learning from it), get the bike you want and get ABS with it. Along with the electronic stability control, electronic suspension adjustment, cruise control, heated grips, slipper clutch, quick shifter, etc.

And a good extended warranty program...
 

crankcall

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I learned before ABS was invented, have owned both, currently own both. It would not be a deal breaker to not get ABS, but I would certainly take the option if available. Especially for street riding in an urban area.
 

Allistonfjr

Well-known member
IMHO. This is a risky activity. Anything I can do to mitigate that risk I would do. If that extra bit of funds is an issue then maybe buying a bike shouldn't be an option. When its time to sell the bike that extra value is in the selling price.
 

Trials

Well-known member
One more thing that needs to be added to the discussion :| improper braking is Not the only way to crash a motorcycle, even if that crash was not the result of stopping so fast that the car behind hit you. Braking might not even be the #1 reason riders crash! You can simply have the front tire wash out in a corner and brakes were not even a factor, you can stop real quick and not have yourself in position to keep the bike up when it has fully stopped, you can come on to the throttle a little too aggressive, a wet manhole cover can take you out in mid turn etc. etc. Part of learning to ride well requires constantly adjusting your speed, lean and body position on the motorcycle and reading the terrain to ride according to real world conditions even on pavement is key to having a successful and enjoyable motorcycle experience.

Have fun, learn fast but be careful when you need to be and believe it or not I somewhat envy your newness, you are just starting out on what has been the adventure of a lifetime for myself and many others.
 

bigpoppa

Well-known member
I wonder if ABS will save you if you use the front brake on dirt/gravel instead of rear brake?
Or is the tire washing out not a function of the wheel locking, but rather slipping??

In other words, does washing out have anything to do with the front tire locking out, or can you wash out even with the front tire rotating freely?
 

ReSTored

Well-known member
Do you recall following your friends through sweepers? When do their brake lights switch off? Entering the corner? at the apex, or exiting the corner?
It depends on the road. More often than not brakes are not touched at all and, if so, then before the curve. We tend to follow "The Pace" type riding style The Pace and we're not racing from corner to corner.


I wonder if ABS will save you if you use the front brake on dirt/gravel instead of rear brake?
Or is the tire washing out not a function of the wheel locking, but rather slipping??

In other words, does washing out have anything to do with the front tire locking out, or can you wash out even with the front tire rotating freely?
I can run into some deep and nasty gravel when our cottage road is graded and the front wheel sinks in a few inches in loose gravel. This can force the wheel to move side to side, nothing to do with braking.
 

Trials

Well-known member
Some brands have ABS sensitivity based on lean
Even if the ABS magically takes care of corner braking you can still crash by leaning badly, steering badly, poor throttle control, improper body positioning or simple loss of traction. What if they come out with a completely self driving motorcycle fitted with outriggers, would you want one? You might as well just ride the TTC.

& lol try following somebody like Jordan Szoke for a while and I guarantee you'll wonder if his brake light is even working.
 

Allistonfjr

Well-known member
Even if the ABS magically takes care of corner braking you can still crash by leaning badly, steering badly, poor throttle control, improper body positioning or simple loss of traction. What if they come out with a completely self driving motorcycle fitted with outriggers, would you want one? You might as well just ride the TTC.

& lol try following somebody like Jordan Szoke for a while and I guarantee you'll wonder if his brake light is even working.
Of coarse everything has limits. I’ll do what I can to help limit the risks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Trials

Well-known member
... I can run into some deep and nasty gravel when our cottage road is graded and the front wheel sinks in a few inches in loose gravel. This can force the wheel to move side to side, nothing to do with braking.
When the front wheel fails you, ride the rear ;)
 

xrljoel

Well-known member
ABS isn't a deal breaker for me either. Like others I rode without it from 1980 until 2012 when I bought my KTM 990 SMT. I occasionally still spend time on sandy roads "playing" with the ABS, and never notice/engage it in regular riding. I expect my next bike will have it (and more) as that's where the industry is going and I'm fine with it. The presence of such riding aids won't lower the level of caution I exert when riding.

If I were the OP I'd pop for the R3 with ABS. As others have said, it will be more valuable down the road, and I'm a believer in buying as much/as good a bike as you can afford.
 

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