Jaybird180

Honda Linked Abs For New Rider

20 posts in this topic

I believe congratulations are in order. My wife purchased her first Motorcycle! She's even said that she's going to try a trackday with me! Sadly, my last time on track was a Superbike School as WSMC several years ago (family and work stuff).

 

Okay onto my question:

She purchased the younger cousin to my CBR600F4i, the CBR250R-ABS. I read through the manual and it says that the rear brake actuates a portion of the front brake. Front brake application only actuates the front brake. ABS appears to be front/rear independently actuated. It also says that ABS may increase stopping distance in some circumstances (???).

 

What would you recommend to her about training brake usage? She will likely trade the bike in about 1-3years, assuming her learning progresses well. FWIW, I did find rear brake application very effective when I rode the bike home, but I am habitually a front brake user, basically checking the rear just to make sure they're still there from time to time.

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Yeah, ABS will almost always increase stopping distance. Sad but true.

 

While I know that most experienced riders focus and use mostly the rear brake, I believe it is safer to always apply both on the street. And there are certainly times on the track where you might want to use your rear brake as well (though usually to do some specific thing).

 

Here's something on the topic that I ran across just the other day in fact. Curious to see what others think.

 

http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/lifestyle/use-your-rear-brake-motorcycle/

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I watched the video.

 

For a novice rider my advice is to avoid the rear brake altogether, except in a few odd circumstances where too much front brake use is dangerous. The only two I can think of are travelling downhill on a sketchy surface (e.g., asphalt strewn with sand or gravel), or if you find yourself off the pavement and onto the grass on a track (or anywhere else you end up on grass!).

 

Other than that, using the rear is just a bad habit that can bite you. Sure, under normal braking you can use the front and rear together just fine, but then what happens when you have your first panic stop? You apply both brakes hard and skid the rear tire (for sure). Startled, you likely release both brakes, and now your stopping distance is increased substantially. You would have been much better off with effective application of the front only. EVERY rider should regularly practice hard, front only braking, with a progressive squeeze on the lever over about 0.5 s to let the front suspension compress and weight transfer to the front tire to occur, and then hard braking to the point of nearly lifting the rear tire, with increasing brake pressure as the bike slows right up until the point where it stops. This should be practiced often enough that it is second nature in an emergency situation. The rear brake has NO place in this, since there is so little weight on the rear tire anyway.

 

On a bike like your wife's, you have a linked braking system that changes all of the above, plus ABS to possibly protect you from amateurish use of the rear brake. Personally, I would still recommend avoiding the rear brake, unless the rider never plans to ride any bike that doesn't have ABS and linked brakes.

 

When you get to the point of running expert pace on the track and are seeking to shave those last few tenths, then maybe the rear brake starts to come back into the equation, as pointed out in that video. I don't use the rear at all, ever (except on the grass....), and I am fast enough to be a reasonably competitive amateur racer. But I am still seconds away from an expert race pace, not tenths of seconds.

 

I know opinions will vary on this. My opinion is based on 25 years of street riding and 5 years of track riding and racing, and only applies to sportbikes and standards, one-up. Cruisers, touring bikes, two-up riding...I think my opinion would be different.

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I remember when I took my MSF course they made it sound like locking up the rear was fine and that locking up the front was the one to worry about.

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Which is easier to recover from?

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I remember when I took my MSF course they made it sound like locking up the rear was fine and that locking up the front was the one to worry about.

Exactly. I'd much rather lock the rear. When I first took a license course way back before fire they actually had us do a controlled skid stop in fact. It was kinda fun, actually :-)

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For the training I would pretend the system is not there at all. My BMW has linked brakes that operate very similarly. Unless I was looking on my data to see the brake pressures or testing the system as you were I would probably never notice the system at all. Learning good technique regardless of the equipment being used will allow her to ride anything safely.

 

Something to think about for the ABS naysayers.

 

Until ABS actually engages (and trips the light on the dash to tell you it did) you still have the same amount of braking capabilities as a bike with standard brakes. Once you cross the threshold where ABS engages is where you loose the braking power. Very close to the same threshold of where you are on the verge of locking the brakes on a bike with standard brakes. What do you have to do to keep the front from folding when you actually lock the front wheel? What does that do to your stopping distance?

 

Modern ABS systems use wheel speed sensors to detect wheel lockup. ABS only engages when the speed difference between the two wheels becomes great enough. On the S1000RR platform ABS is tunable with the Race Calibration Kit. Personally I would rather tune the ABS system to make it less sensitive when it started getting in my way rather than turn it off or disable it. The computer will always be able to do it more consistently than I can. That might cost some time but it eliminates a lot of risk.

 

The good thing is ABS technology is improving on a daily basis. BMW offers cornering ABS now on their bikes that can take lean angle into account when you apply the brakes mid corner. It's mostly a road technology now but give them a bit of time and I'm sure they will refine it for heavy track use.

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Honda have introduced linked brakes and linked abs [ combi brake and C-ABS according to them ] on scooters and bikes because most riders in Asia rely solely on the use of the rear brake. The front brake isnt even functioning on many bikes, with the lever hanging off or no brake fluid in the reservoir. Have experienced this in person.

 

The idea as mentioned above, is that rear brake usage causes a proportional front brake application automatically. Front brake works as usual. Honda make a big fuss about this while marketing them here.

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You learn something new and rather terrifying every day. Thanks Stroker for sharing that. :)

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My FJR has linked ABS, and I'm not a fan,

 

it makes the braking on the front uneven, my front calipers have 8 pistons but only 6 are linked to my brake lever so the braking force differs from rotor to rotor and the pad wear is very uneven for the set of pistons that are linked to the rear brake. Also upgrading to stainless lines is impossible cause there are so many hoses going in and out of everywhere. Unless I'm riding in the rain I much prefer the traditional brakes on my previous street bike or track bike to the ones on my FJR.

 

While the system is asjustable on the S1000RR ( with the purchase of a specific add-on ) the system on mine is not adjustable at all, I can't disable it or change the ABS threshold. You end up having to learn to brake at the threshold of the ABS sensor, not the threshold of your available traction.

 

 

Tyler

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I'm afraid I probably would not be much of a fan of that myself.

 

As "bad" as the brakes are on your FJR I have a feeling they are leaps and bounds better than the non ABS system on my older Harley Davidson. I have a single front rotor and two pistons for a bike that weighs 800#. The positive thing about that though is you are never quite strong enough to squeeze the front brake lever enough to lock the front wheel. Sort of a primitive unintentional ABS system.

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I agree 100% that staying off your rear brake is the way to go except for the circumstances noted. The point I'm trying to make is what are you going to do when your back tire locks up in a panic stop? Believe me, you are in trouble. That was one of the main contributing causes of a nasty crash I had during a CSS Level I School. It also caused me to get squirrelly a couple of times before but not enough to make me give up my stubborn and foolish attachment to the rear brake. I knew the teaching on this but I chose to ignore it and it bit me hard.

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Am I misreading this, or are some posters arguing that "locking the rear is not as bad as locking the front, so you should use the rear brake"?

 

If that is the argument, I strongly disagree. I think I already explained why. Why not just use the front as effectively as possible, and not have to worry about the back of the bike coming around on you because you locked the rear? If you were braking properly with the front, the rear wasn't helping you significantly anyway. If the bike gets sideways your braking effectiveness is going to be reduced substantially.

 

Rear brake, bad. Threshold front braking with massive weight transfer and the front tire squirming and squealing, good.

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Can someone explain the difference between locking up the front vs the rear. FYI I do use front only 90% of the time. Just trying to understand the why better.

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I think Stroker was just commenting on the general thought process in the Asian market rather than saying the rear was better. As well the people commenting about locking the rear being better than locking the front were just making comments about which is easiest to deal with rather than trying to say to actually use the rear.

 

At least that's the way I saw the rear brake comments. :)

 

The rear brake is not completely useless on any bike. Dragging the rear at low speeds makes any bike more stable (parking lots and paddocks). Many faster riders use it to intentionally lock the rear heading into corners to "back it in". It's also quite useful if you venture off the track surface into gravel or wet grass.

 

As for the differences between locking up the front and the rear.

 

Rear wheel lockup's don't affect the motorcycles ability to remain upright. When you lock the front there's a huge potential for the front tire to "fold" causing the machine to topple over. Out of the two I would personally rather deal with a locked up rear. But that being said I use the front brake 95% of the time. The front brake provides more braking force and does not suffer from the weight loading problems that the rear does. It's important to note as well though. If you lock the rear and if the rear starts to step out of alignment with the front wheel and you release the rear brakes the bike will suddenly snap back into alignment sometimes with a force that will launch you off the bike. Either brake used incorrectly can cause you massive problems. Although that can also be said about any control on the motorcycle. :)

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I agree in a panic situation the rear brake is one of the easiest control to overdo. YellowDuc comments on learning front brake use are spot on.

 

But I don't understand the rear brake aversion when riding on track. Even at the end of the straight, rear brake gives me an extra 10% braking power, no matter how much power goes to the front. Is it only fractions of a second in the end? Perhaps, but the gain in braking distance and bike stability improves my confidence. Yes, you have to learn how to use the rear brake and not overdo, like many other things riding a sport bike.

 

As for the ABS, same thing. It's a question of measure. The problem is that most standard ABS controls are tuned for street riding. If you're on track you must be able to define the point of engagement of the electronics (relative to rotors, brake pads, asphalt quality, etc...). At the extreme, when the front wheel is about to lock why not to have an electronic support? It's like saying, I'm not riding with stock suspensions because they're terrible on track.

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I think the aversion to rear brake on track comes from two things - the fact that when the rear wheel is in the air, the rear brake doesn't work, and also the fact that an error with the rear brake in a turn can launch you dramatically in the air.

 

When braking heavily on the track on a full sport bike, there is very little weight on the rear tire, so putting the right amount of pressure on the rear brake to get some braking without locking it up takes a lot of attention, and that attention is usually better spent on other things.

 

On modern sport bikes in dry conditions it is absolutely possible to lift the rear wheel under braking, without sliding the front, and that can create a problem for ABS, because it can reduce front braking to get the rear wheel back down, and it is not a nice feeling if you are running out of track and the brake begins to release on you! Lots of racers turn off the ABS after experiencing that, including me.

 

The newer BMWs have a lot of electronic adjustability and that may have handled that problem.

Having said all that, I DO think ABS is great for street riding and for most riders on track, too.

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I think the aversion to rear brake on track comes from two things - the fact that when the rear wheel is in the air, the rear brake doesn't work, and also the fact that an error with the rear brake in a turn can launch you dramatically in the air.

 

ok, but so does an error with throttle control on a negative camber turn. Aren't most high sides due to throttle + handle bars pressure? We can do equally or worse damage with other controls than the dreaded rear brake.

 

 

 

When braking heavily on the track on a full sport bike, there is very little weight on the rear tire, so putting the right amount of pressure on the rear brake to get some braking without locking it up takes a lot of attention, and that attention is usually better spent on other things.

 

Yes, but the rear brake can be applied before the rear lifts.

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Consider that there are all kinds of bikes, with varying weight distributions and brake systems.Bikes such as this royal enfield standard below are terrible bikes.Weak frame, heavy vibrations, primitive suspension and bargain tires. Good luck applying the same technique you do on sportbikes - The front brakes on this bike offer little feel and hardly stop you. They also lock without warning.The rear is a much safer option, as there is actually more weight on the rear and a locked rear can be controlled more easily.You can lock up the rear tire and keep going for a good 200 feet. Anyone gone 200 feet with a locked up front tire? :D:D

 

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Also on scooters with little wheels and basic suspension, the rear is always a much safer option.Get on the front hard and the front end will collapse alarmingly and bottom out real quick. No telling when the bargain front tire will lock up either.In fact, the rear brakes are larger than the front by design on these things.

 

scooty_pep_01.jpg

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