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Abs In Cornering


Jerry
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ABS is showing up on more bikes every year. For those of us who ride in all types of weather this is a good thing. Problem is that there are some who feel that ABS is meant to help them in corners. On cars, it prevents wheel lockup, allowing the driver directional control. So riders and dealers claim this holds true for bikes. I say this is wrong. In my opinion, ABS is designed to stop a wheel slide when the bike is upright and going straight. It isn't meant to rescue someone who applies his brakes too hard while leaned over in a corner. In my opinion, a rider who applies his brakes hard enough to activate the ABS system, while turning or swerving, is a rider who's going to end up testing his riding gear while sliding down the road--or learn what it's like to fly from a highside.

 

Am I right?

 

And what will likely happen--lowside or highside? Can someone explain?

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ABS= Anti Lock Brakes is a complete misnomer. The only way an ABS system can work is for it to sense that wheel speed has changed (locked or slowed significantly), this means locked up and started to skid. Not all systems are the same speed in the computer or the mechanical bits but they will lock before they unlock.

If you hammer the brake in a turn enough to activate the ABS you will most likely be on the ground in short order. For general use it's a great thing, but understanding how it works is necessary to using it properly.

Will

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For a moment there I thought it was going to be about how being physically fit with help your cornering ability as well.

 

Ballstic, you are absolutely correct, if you hammer the brakes in a turn you are looking at a wad up in short order ABS equipped or not, but nobody does that.

 

The difference between a lock up and release by the pilot and one done by the ABS is the difference between perhaps tenths of a second and thousands of a second. A pilot will tell you the front end went away instantly where as the ABS will back off the brakes just enough to let the rubber grab again before the lean angle goes to an extreme beyond what the tire can catch and hold.

The reason I felt like I had to define ABS is because people do think the brakes will not lock the wheels and it's not true. If a rider thought that and felt invincible on the brakes in corners that would be a bad thing. The wheel will lock for just long enough to put you on the ground if you were leaned over much.

The speed of the electronics is ever increasing but the mechanical parts still take time to operate.

One other point is that many of the ABS systems will not lock the wheel again after being activated until you release the brake and it resets. What that means is you won't have all the brake power you had until you modulate the lever. That would be a bad thing in racing. You just don't have time to do let the system reset, you need brakes now and hard. The problem most racers have now is keeping the rear down not the front from locking. Other than a cold tire or snapping the brake on before the front tire is loaded the real benefit to a racer would be offset by the liability of having the system release some of the brake force when it was most needed.

That being said I totally agree ABS is going to cut down on accidents but there is no replacement for riding skill and it would be a mistake to get complacent about learning braking skill because you ride a bike with ABS.

Will

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The reason I felt like I had to define ABS is because people do think the brakes will not lock the wheels and it's not true. If a rider thought that and felt invincible on the brakes in corners that would be a bad thing. The wheel will lock for just long enough to put you on the ground if you were leaned over much

 

My primary street bike is a BMW 1150RT. It has what BMW calls EVO brakes (basically the front and rear brakes communicate with each other and BMW says they are anti lock). I assure you that you can lock these brakes if only for a nanosecond - I do it on occasion in gravel, rain and even once in some snow.

 

Will is on the money. If you are leaned over to the head cases and you grab a hand full of brake, you are going down.

 

And as mentioned above, I can go super deep into turns on the brakes but I think largely due to the geomotry of the bike (the telelever/paralever suspension removes a lot of nose dive so the bike does appear to be more stable under heavy braking). I also feel pretty comfortable trailing the brakes. But then, as mentioned above this is my main ride so I am pretty careful with it - unlike a certain GSXR...

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