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Abs On Track

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Is ABS on track a bad thing? Every time it comes up that my bike has ABS and that I'm taking it to the track people seem to question it. I'm going to be doing my first track day in September.

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This depends on the ABS system. The complaints I have heard about ABS on track are that it is too aggressive, kicks on too early, or does not allow the rear wheel to lift or slide. So, a lot will depend on your preferences, the adjustability of your ABS system, and which bike you are riding (meaning, how good is the ABS).


On the new S1000rr, the aggressiveness of the ABS depends on the rider mode you set. In Rain and Sport mode, the ABS will prevent the back tire from sliding or lifting off the ground, which is great for most riders. In the Race mode, it is difficult to activate the ABS, you have to be braking REALLLY hard (so hard that the rear wheel is in the air and the front is either sliding or about to) to get it to come on, and in Slick mode I haven't heard anyone say they had it activate while riding unless they set out specifically to try forcing it to come on. You can also turn the ABS completely off if you choose.


A big plus point for ABS is that it can save your bacon if you make a mistake, like grabbing the brake too abruptly, or braking too hard while leaned over, or encounter bumpy or slick pavement while braking.


I personally have had both types of experiences with ABS - once someone made an error in front of me and came right across my front tire. I grabbed the front brake hard and fast and managed to miss the other rider; I'm pretty sure the ABS kept me from locking up the front wheel which may have saved me from crashing. But, in another case, I was braking really hard at the end of a straight and the ABS kicked in, reducing braking when I really needed it and scared the heck out of me. However, that was on an earlier model year bike and in Sport mode so I was pushing the threshold for that setting. I know for sure the newer model in Slick mode (or probably even in Race mode) would not have intervened, because I have tried it. :)


In short, if you are really good at braking and plan to brake at the very limits of front tire traction, are OK with the rear wheel lifting, and/or want to be able to use the back brake to slide the rear end into corners, you will probably have to turn off the ABS. But anything short of that, as long you are riding a recent model bike with a good ABS system, you will probably never notice it and will be better off having it, as a safety feature.

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Wow. Not a lot really to add here as Hotfoot nailed it.


Except for a couple of tidbits. It's important to keep in mind that rear brakes ABS is completely disabled for Race mode on the S1000RR. This is to make it easier to "back it in" for corners.


As Hotfoot said the Race ABS system on the S1000RR is one of the better systems on the market. With the addition of the Race Calibration kit you can fine tune ABS intervention even more as well as many other settings on the bike.


Some systems however are designed mostly for road use and don't work as well on the track. They are limited in function and are tuned for the "worst case scenerio" of a wet road as most road riders don't use the brakes super hard all the time. Many of these systems end up being disabled for track use.

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