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Braking With Abs Part 2


Gr8Dane
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Most bikes don't have ABS, so the majority of riders have not had the chance to experience how it works.

I would like to share my personal experiences, and start a dialogue, in a Q&A format. Most of you already know the what it does and how it works, however, my intent is to clarify the practical applications and the limitations.

 

Q: What does ABS do ?

 

A: ABS is an electronic brake modulation system. It's purpose is to avoid locking up the wheels during a panic stop. It's an acronym for the German words "Anti Blockier System"

 

Q: How does it work ?

 

A: Electronic wheel speed sensors compare retardation rates (and in advanced traction control / stability management systems also compare acceleration rates) against pre-set parameters. When impending lock-up is determined, the ABS will momentarily release then re-apply brake pressure. In early generation ABS systems, this cycle is fairly slow (2-5 HZ) and can be rather abrupt. Early generation automotive-systems would also pulse the brake pedal, which caused many drivers to think they had a brake failure. Later generation systems are more transparent and less intrusive.

 

Q: Will ABS improve my braking performance?

 

A: Yes and no. If you have issues with grabbing huge amounts of front brake, ABS will boost your confidence level. However, ABS is not some sort of magic wand that will make the brakes work better or stop harder. Maximum braking is still determined by the configuration of your brakes and the available traction.

 

Q: How do I know when the ABS is active?

 

A: For the split second the ABS cycles, it will feel like your brakes just failed. It can be a quite scary feeling if you don't expect it. It feels like your bike is doing an 'unintended acceleration'. Of course, a split-second later the brakes come back on, and you're good to go.

 

Q: Should I practice panic stops with the ABS on my new bike?

 

A: Absolutely. You will be amazed at how hard you can stop, and you will learn how the system works. Just be sure there's no-one behind you!

 

Q: Can I turn off the ABS?

 

A: That depends on the bike. The BMW GS bikes have an ABS off-switch for off-road riding, where it is a benefit to be able to lock up the wheels, especially the rear. In addition, the GS models automatically turn off the ABS at speeds lower than (if memory serves me right) 3 MPH. This is of benefit in snow, sand, gravel and mud. You need to be able to lock your wheels in these adverse situations, or you may not ever come to a complete stop. The S 1000 RR adjusts the level of ABS intrusion depending on which mode the bike is in, and will actually allow you to back the rear tire into the corner under heavy braking.

 

Q: I was riding down the road and was braking moderately, and suddenly the ABS cycled. Totally surprised me. What happened ?

 

A: Chances are you hit sand, gravel or water which momentarily reduced the amount of available traction. The ABS intervened. Another scenario is a ripple in the asphalt, which compressed and then unloaded your front suspension. When it unloads, you have less traction. The ABS will react instantly.

 

Q: How do I know the ABS is ready?

 

A: ABS does a self-test when you turn the ignition on. You can self - test without resorting to panic stops by simply applying the rear brake enough to trigger the ABS.

 

Q : My friends say they don't need ABS?

 

A: I bet they have never ridden a bike with ABS. It's an amazing eye-opener and a true life-saver. Are these the same friends who won't wear a real helmet or full leathers?

 

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Anti Blockier System?

 

Really...?

 

Sure, on a BMW.

 

On an American car it stands for "Antilock braking system". Unless you are talking about some plastic bits in the interior, or the composition of some OEM motorcycle fairings - then it is Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. :)

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Personally I think ABS is a great idea for a road-going motorcycle, and it really does sound like the modern systems work wonderfully.

 

My only reservation, especially for a track bike, is the extra degree of complication it adds from a mechanical standpoint. As a shade tree tinkerer who almost never takes his bike to a mechanic, I strongly value simplicity over technical superiority. A traditional hydraulic disk brake system is a wonder of physics and an extremely simple thing that anyone can understand and repair. Adding sensors and pumps and servos and extra lines makes it much less so.

 

But then again, I ride an air-cooled 2-valver at the track, so I am already way out in left field on this to begin with. Incidentally, I had the same reaction initially to motocycle fuel injection. However, then I came to realize that with the acquisition of a laptop and some software and connectors, fuel injection (as compared to carbs) made the fuel tuning *more* accessible to a person like me, not less so, while reducing the number of moving parts and making it simpler to service. I doubt that I will ever feel that way about ABS though.

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If you have the chance to try out Kawasaki/ Honda's newer race ABS, the pumping feel will be much less obvious/near nonexistent :lol:

 

pulsing type ABS .. I'd call them GEN1 , effective but still quite outdated when compared to the newer kids in the block tech wise. :P

 

 

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Anti Blockier System?

 

Really...?

 

In Germany maybe, but not everywhere else.

 

The term is German. Later, other languages have tried to make phrazes that use the same letters and make sense. And Norwegian, it's Anti-Blokkerings-System, Blokkeringsfrie Bremser (Lock-free brakes) is more commonly used when ABS doesn't suffice.

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Put me in the "never ridden a bike with ABS category".

 

(I initially expected to expect a discussion about stabilising your body during braking using your core abdominal muscles. tongue.gif )

 

I'll admit that I used to think of myself as a "real rider", a "riders rider" if you like. My idea of a real car is a TVR - no power steering, no ABS, just you and the car, 100% in your control. I had the same type of view when it came to motorcycles, but then I started to see that all the electronic aids to make the performance of modern motorcycles much more accessible. Also things like TC (traction control) and ABS are just there for the moments when we aren't up to the job. BTW I'd still love to drive a TVR, but I'm happy to have a car without electronic aids because they're different to bikes in that there's no risk of the car falling on it's side if you lock a wheel!

 

The Aprilia RSV4 APRC SE (did I get those acronyms right?!) which is chock full of electronics is another bike that I'd be really interested to ride.

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  • 2 years later...

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