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ABS. do we want it on our cruisers? why isn't it already?

although i have zero experience with it on a bike, i've been all for the idea of having ABS on motorcycles since i started riding. it seems like a no-brainer. it prevents you from locking up your wheels and sliding out of control if you need to suddenly stop. no-brainer, right? but as of now, hardly any cruisers have yet to get ABS. the few i've seen have mostly been heavy touring models. most of the motorcycles that have it are streetbikes. why don't cruisers have it yet? cost? lack of demand/support? technology doesn't warrant it yet?

i'm starting to wonder now if i really would want ABS on my bike. when i first got my bike i locked up my rear wheel trying to make a sudden stop because i was riding less than careful. i fishtailed and bumped into the vehicle in front of me. minimal damage, i was lucky. i had grabbed onto both my brakes in a panic. rookie mistake. i haven't locked my wheel or panic-grabbed my brakes since (that i can recall). it was a lesson learned. ABS would have probably prevented me from hitting anything and let me safely control my bike to a stop. if i had ABS, would i have learned to not yank on my brakes in the future? for new riders, even though ABS can help prevent accidents and is a great safety device in that regard, would it actually be a hindrance on learning how to properly brake in emergency situations?

then there's the extra weight/cost/maintenance/complexity that ABS adds to a bike that i would assume most seasoned riders would rather not want to deal with because, hey - we already know how to brake and correctly respond in emergency situations, right? i mean, we already learned how to deal with not having proper fuel gauges (grrr!!!) so why would we want something that could alter our personal riding styles? what say you?


 

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I have never liked abs on anything, cars, work trucks, motorcycles, nothing at all.

This is likely due to the fact, I learned to drive without abs, and the abs system is always kicking in for whatever reason, it just feels different. I have never owned a motorcycle with abs, only test rides.
When in the slow, I always made a point to disable abs atleast, cause I am going lock up the wheels, and I want them to lock up.

On a motorcycle, I can understand their place, and usefulness, much more than a car. Also it adjusting both breaks, when you grab just one (panic cases), and it applies pressure to both could be useful also.
 

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If you drive a car in the snow, then ABS has already saved you from hitting something, or it will in the near future. There are many variations of snow and ice, and with the worse ones nobody can manually stop and steer a car as well as any fool can with ABS. If you are not from the north, to put this in perspective, I have stopped my car on ice, and had the car slide sideways over to the curb, with zero forward motion. The ABS stopped the car's forward motion, but it could not stop the locked tires from sliding sideways after the car had stopped. THAT is slick ice!

For motorcycles you will never ride on anything that extreme, but it will stop you from locking up that front wheel and dropping the bike in a panic. When I got my Royal Star, within a week a deer ran across the road ahead of me and I locked up the back tire totally unexpectedly. Compared to my 650 the Royal Star locks up the back wheel MUCH easier (disk brake vs drum is part of it).

So if you are riding more than one bike, and you are mostly use to one of them, the other will get you in trouble when you are riding subconsciously.

Under normal conditions I think the goal is to ride as if you dont have it, and let it surprise you if it does engage. Then you are not depending on it every time you stop, and if it should fail you wont drop your bike.

Driving a car in snow is just the opposite - I frequently mash the brake to the floor and let the ABS do its thing, just so I can see how slippery the roads are today.
 

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Good topic with mixed feelings from me. On a 100% commuter or strictly fair weather rider I think it's a great safety addition. Anything that helps making the rider safer is a good thing. ABS is not cheap and driving up the price of bikes which are already experiencing a drastic slide in sales might not be a good thing. Another issue is maintainance. Brake fluid is hydroscopic and is not changed by most as suggested by most. So on non ABS brake systems changing a master cylinder or caliper is no big deal. Now throw in the cost of an ABS module and solenoids which is contaminated with water is a totally different situation. Heck, people can't even remember to add a fuel stabilizer in their fuel much less proper ABS maintenance. Can you imagine the threads of ABS issues after a bike has sat for several years and brakes are locked? On a race bike of any type, NO! I do not like things like traction control, ABS or electronically controlled suspension on any race vehicles. You take away the art of vehicle setup and driver experience in order to competitive. You turn racing into a video game with these type of enhancements. So to answer your question of ABS on a cruiser, yes and no, make it an option for those who want it.
 

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If you drive a car in the snow, then ABS has already saved you from hitting something,SNIP
Driving a car in snow is just the opposite - I frequently mash the brake to the floor and let the ABS do its thing, just so I can see how slippery the roads are today.
From all the videos I've seen and from much driving experience in the frozen north, ABS will stop you shorter than trying to not lock up the brakes or locking them up.

It's always fun on snowy roads just to jam the brakes on and leave theme there until stopped.
 

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From all the videos I've seen and from much driving experience in the frozen north, ABS will stop you shorter than trying to not lock up the brakes or locking them up.



It's always fun on snowy roads just to jam the brakes on and leave theme there until stopped.
Having learn to drive on a 3 speed Suburban in the Bronx and the my 3 cars did not have ABS.
I have to tell myself to not pump the brakes when hitting them hard in the snow. (When I am back up north.)
That said .... I don't know how I feel about them on a bike. Guess I'll test ride one someday.

Ride Smart! Ride Often!
 

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one obvious difference between ABS on a car and motorcycle

with the car you can floor the pedal to see if the ABS is working, and practice how the car handles and steers when it engages.

on a motorcycle, if you slam on the front brake, and ABS is not working or you turned it off.. you are going over the handlebars.

kinda like testing bullets by pointing the gun at your head.
 

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I would like to to say that from what I know a traction controller would apply brakes to a slipping wheel so the other wheel(s) that have power will get the power. On an AWD car without limited-slip the power from the engine will go to the easiest wheel to power. Motorcycles, unless they are trikes, traction control would not be affective and would possibly wear the chair or belt prematurely.
An abs would not have enough time to to release the brakes after the has locked up to prevent the rider for flipping, except on maybe a large and heavy bike, but the front wheel will kick out if it skids and if the abs kicks in while the tire is in contact with the rode enough, then the bike and rider goes off in which ever direction the bike is aimed.
The most affective abs and traction control on a bike would be an experienced rider
Also a wide and low light on the front fender would be good for a motorcycle .
 

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^ you are under estimating how fast an ABS can respond to a sensor detecting a wheel that has locked up and release it again

ABS on motorcycles definitely works as advertised - you can pull the front brake lever in to the grip, and the front wheel will not lock up and skid out from under the bike. You better have a firm grip on the bike, because it will shock you how fast the bike can stop on dry pavement.

As I mentioned before, the problem with ABS on a motorcycle is letting yourself get use to it always being there. If you always slam on the brakes thinking "the ABS has got this.." then if it ever fails you will drop your bike.

Use it as if you dont have it, dont depend on it, then when you panic stop you probably will not drop the bike.
 

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All I can say my old Stryker didn't have an ABS and I locked the wheels up one time while riding on the interstate and that wasn't the most pleasant feeling I'd had. My current bike has ABS and I’ve tried it a couple of times on the empty street and parking lot and all I can say - ABS works and helps! It makes simultaneous hard braking and swerving possible and that's what matters in the extreme situation, IMO.
 

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All I can say my old Stryker didn't have an ABS and I locked the wheels up one time while riding on the interstate and that wasn't not the most pleasant feelings I'd had. My current bike has ABS and I tried it a couple of times on the empty street and parking lot and all I can say - ABS works and helps! It makes simultaneous hard braking and swerving possible and that's what matters in the extreme situation, IMO.
I agree Oscar. Mine has ABS as well as traction control. Being able to brake hard in either wet or even sandy/gravel conditions is not something you have to worry about. The traction control works great for the same conditions. If you’re in a wet condition & a corner, the back end won’t break loose and slide out from under you if you roll hard on the throttle.
While the ABS is ALWAYS on, the traction control is “selectable” for on or off.
Look at studies in breaking distance between ABS & NON ABS. It’s really a no brainer.
 

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Here's an eye opening experiment with highly trained drivers and wet roads - Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - it's kind of how we northerners play in the snow every fall with the first heavy snowfall - it's great fun and scares the crap out of the passenger if you haven't fore warned them.

The second one is a pro with over 1.5 million KM trying to stop shorter than the abs - food for thought.


 

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I'm a thumbs up on ABS, but not a strong one. I think I'd be ok with ABS on my bike. It's spooky how quickly the rear tire breaks traction on my 950. However, I seriously doubt I would buy a bike just because it had ABS.

I haven't felt the need to ride on any kind of snow or ice. I have only ridden on wet roads a couple of times and I didn't really enjoy it at all. Too much traffic and I don't trust those bastards on dry roads, much less wet ones.
 

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I'm a thumbs up on ABS, but not a strong one. I think I'd be ok with ABS on my bike. It's spooky how quickly the rear tire breaks traction on my 950. However, I seriously doubt I would buy a bike just because it had ABS.



I haven't felt the need to ride on any kind of snow or ice. I have only ridden on wet roads a couple of times and I didn't really enjoy it at all. Too much traffic and I don't trust those bastards on dry roads, much less wet ones.

It’s the same as “It's better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it”. And yes, too many dumb squarehead with the phones on the roads these days...


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