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 Motorcycle Safety
 General Discussion
 ABS stops you quicker - NOT ALWAYS!
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17375 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 12/02/2020 :  7:49 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend                        Like
Sure, we all know that having ABS is considered a safety feature and that in many cases ABS can stop a motorcycle in a shorter distance than without it. And, many of us know that a truly braking skilled rider can stop even more quickly than ABS can.

But what frustrates me no end is that most of us do not know that there are conditions in which ABS virtually guarantees that a motorcycle using ABS will take more distance (MUCH MORE) to stop than not using ABS. When? On slick wet surfaces or on loose gravel surfaces. Some At least one study shows that using ABS can result in stopping distances more than 30% greater than not having ABS on such surfaces.

THIRTY PERCENT!!!

If you have ABS on your bikes, can you turn it off? Do you do so?

Technology is great, but relying on it instead of yourself and practice and skills is DUMB.

scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 12/02/2020 :  10:18 PM
I've had three KTM adventure motorcycles that all had ABS. The 2008 990 Adv definitely did not stop well on loose gravel with ABS enabled, especially when headed downhill. To turn it off you had to be stopped, then press a button near the speedometer.

The 2018 1090R and 2020 790R have more advanced ABS that works much better off road. The 1090R behaved differently when set to Off Road mode than Street mode, allowing the rear tire to be locked up if desired. The 790R that I have now appears to leave the ABS in street mode even when the ride mode is set to Off Road, but it still stops very well on loose surfaces. It also has a Rain mode, but I haven't tried that out yet. I haven't really felt the need to switch the ABS to Off Road mode, and I ride a lot of dirt roads.

Personally, I expect it to stop better on wet roads with ABS on than without it. But I try very hard to avoid riding in the wet, so I don't know when I'll be able to test it.

To switch modes on the newer bikes involves five button pushes with my left thumb followed by closing the throttle for about a second. Then a couple of more button pushes to get back to the default instrument panel setting. It doesn't care if you're moving or not. It's slightly more complicated to turn ABS off, but I've had no reason to want to do that so far.

By the way, my goal when riding is to never get to the point where I can feel ABS kicking in. On the 2008 KTM, the rear brake was way too sensitive and I could frequently feel it doing something. It's very rare to feel it on the newer bikes because it works way better.

As for traction control, which both newer bikes have, it gets "exercised" much more. A few times I've forgotten to switch from Street to Off Road and then tried passing a truck on a dirt road. The traction control severely limits acceleration on loose stuff. I rarely forget to switch when entering dirt sections, though.
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Eagle Six
Junior Member
32 Posts


Snowflake, Arizona
USA

Kawasaki

ZX14R

Posted - 12/03/2020 :  10:18 AM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. DavisIf you have ABS on your bikes, can you turn it off? Do you do so?

Technology is great, but relying on it instead of yourself and practice and skills is DUMB.



I currently have two bikes, neither of which I can turn ABS off. And I agree 100%, technology does not replace skills rather it supplements our abilities. Skills should be regularly exercised and refined.
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DataDan
Advanced Member
585 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 12/03/2020 :  10:03 PM
I know of no study that has found a 30% disadvantage for ABS on any surface. The only one I know of that formally compared ABS/non-ABS is one from 2006, A Comparison of Stopping Distance Performance for Motorcycles Equipped with ABS, CBS and Conventional Hydraulic Brake Systems (PDF link is to MSF, but the study was done by US DOT and Transport Canada).

Non-professional riders rode motorcycles that either had switchable ABS or were models available with or without ABS. Braking tests were done on wet (from 30mph) and dry pavement (30mph and 80mph). In addition, two conditions of load (full and light) and three conditions of brake use (front only, rear only, and both) were compared.

The following table summarizes part of that study, wet (30mph) and dry (80mph) surface, light load, both front and rear brakes.


Average deceleration in g with and without ABS, from 80mph (dry pavement) and 30mph (wet)

.......................dry....dry.......ABS......wet....wet.......ABS
.......................ABS...no ABS..advantage...ABS...no ABS..advantage
.....................................................................
Honda VFR800..........0.92....0.91......1.1%....0.72....0.67.....7.5%
BMW F650..............0.94....0.84.....11.9%....0.68....0.64.....6.3%
BMW R1150R............0.96....0.91......5.5%....0.64....0.70....-8.6%
Yamaha FJR1300........0.82....0.97....-15.5%....0.59....0.49....20.4%


One one sore thumb is dry performance of the FJR, a 2004 model. Early ABS FJRs had terrible braking performance, which somehow went unremarked upon in the moto media (including MCN). It was well sorted by the time I bought my 2013.

As I would hope all motorcyclists know by now, the benefit of ABS isn't improved braking performance--it's a slight disadvantage for the very best riders (of whom I am not one) in favorable situations. Rather, it can prevent overbraking and crashing in an emergency while producing near maximum deceleration
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17375 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 12/03/2020 :  10:46 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
A June 1999 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found that ABS increased stopping distances on loose gravel by an average of 27.2 percent.

https://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NRD...FinalRpt.pdf

Okay, an average of 27.2% is less than 30%, not more than, though with that average some were higher. So sue me. (grin)

By the way, I fully understand the dynamics involved relative to loose gravel but I do not understand them relative to wet/slick roads. Can anybody help with that?
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DataDan
Advanced Member
585 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 12/04/2020 :  11:13 AM
Thanks for the link. Here's a summary of that study:



A test track study of light vehicle ABS performance over a broad range of surfaces and maneuvers

Abstract

Numerous crash data statistical analyses conducted over the past few years suggest that, for automobiles, the introduction of four-wheel antilock brake systems (ABS) has produced net safety benefits much lower than originally expected. The studies indicate the apparent increase in single-vehicle crashes involving passenger cars equipped with four-wheel ABS almost completely offsets the safety advantage such vehicles have over their conventionally-braked counterparts.

The braking performance of nine high production passenger vehicles was evaluated in eighteen stopping situations. These situations were comprised of various road surfaces, driver steering actions, and vehicle speeds. Testing was performed with lightly and heavily laden vehicles, with the ABS active and disabled, and used two brake pedal application techniques. The selected vehicles included at least one ABS from each of the eight current, major, ABS manufacturers.

This study found that for most stopping maneuvers on most surfaces, ABS-assisted full pedal brake application stops were shorter than those made with the ABS disabled. The one systematic exception was on loose gravel where stopping distances increased by an average of 27.2% overall. Additionally, the vehicular stability during testing was almost always superior with the assistance of ABS. For the cases in which instability was observed, ABS was not deemed responsible for its occurrence.

Based on results to date, the authors of this study believe ABS braking performance deficiencies are not responsible for the apparent increase in ABS-equipped, single-vehicle, run-off-the-road crashes.



For info, the PDF at Jim's NHTSA link somehow has copy/paste disabled. Text can apparently be copied to the clipboard from Adobe Acrobat Reader, but only gibberish is pasted into another app. Moreover, the PDF is not searchable. CTRL-F brings up the search box, but nothing can be found. To get the abstract above, I found a link to a copy at a non-government website, from which the abstract, but nothing else, is copyable.

For some reason, our federal government wants to suppress the information in this study.
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17375 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 12/04/2020 :  11:34 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Thank you for that follow-up review.

What is also troubling, of course, is that the report I cited is two decades old and the one you cited is about 15 years old. In those days pulse rates were still too long for optimum performance and there does not seem to be much in the way of contemporary information - particularly for ABS on motorcycles.

In any event, in no way was I trying to argue that ABS was NOT a true safety feature - only that relying on technology instead of practiced skills was sometimes dangerous. However, that is exactly what ABS was designed for - enhancing safety for unskilled riders and it does that remarkably well.

And, there have been many studies that show that ABS equipped vehicles are demonstrably safer in almost all roadway conditions.
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Eagle Six
Junior Member
32 Posts


Snowflake, Arizona
USA

Kawasaki

ZX14R

Posted - 12/04/2020 :  4:18 PM
quote:
Originally posted by DataDan


Abstract

Numerous crash data statistical analyses conducted over the past few years suggest that, for automobiles, the introduction of four-wheel antilock brake systems (ABS) has produced net safety benefits much lower than originally expected. The studies indicate the apparent increase in single-vehicle crashes involving passenger cars equipped with four-wheel ABS almost completely offsets the safety advantage such vehicles have over their conventionally-braked counterparts.



Dan, and/or other members, is this statement your opinion, or would you agree with this statement.....

'Perhaps, because of the advertised perception that ABS is better than most drivers braking skills, some drivers rely on it to save them when they have created a situation beyond any known braking technology or excellent braking skills that would have prevented a crash.'

I followed a thread for a while in a well used specific bike forum. The 2020/2021 model years of this specific bike has ABS, Traction Control, Bosch IMU axis and corner control. This thread included statements from rider members such as, 'You can go WOT in a turn and the electronics will save you'. I have paraphrased, but that is the basics of more than one members comments.

It wasn't so much the specific comment, as much as, the general attitude from some members that these electronic control system can save a rider from crashes as if they are smarter than any riders ability to be stupid, that concerns me. In other words, ride however you like the bike will save you.

The best I can tell, certainly not definitive, most of these type statements come from riders with relatively little experience and skills, as well as, riding systems and riding skills knowledge.

Just my personal observation both seeing and reading.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 12/05/2020 :  10:34 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Eagle Six

It wasn't so much the specific comment, as much as, the general attitude from some members that these electronic control system can save a rider from crashes as if they are smarter than any riders ability to be stupid, that concerns me. In other words, ride however you like the bike will save you.
This reminds me of MotoGP racing when electronics first started helping the riders. I can't remember what year, but for sure in 2007 when Casey Stoner won the championship on the Ducati (it was an 800cc engine that year). Apparently the younger riders were better able to trust the electronics to do the right thing and they could open the throttle more while leaned over in a corner than the more experienced riders who knew that doing something like that on the older bikes would toss you on your head in a high side crash.

So my 2020 KTM has sensors that detect lean angle and the traction control is supposed to prevent you from having too much power cause you to lose traction. But there is no way I'm going to actually test it. My reflexes from decades of riding won't let me.
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frankenstein34
Starting Member
1 Posts


Surrey, BC
Canada

Yamaha

R1, RD350LC

Posted - 12/24/2020 :  12:01 AM
First post; interesting format.

My comments regard personal experiences with ABS and traction control.

First motorcycle experience with traction control would have been on a BMW R1100GS, borrowed from another dealership (I worked in the industry for 34 years, ending in 2011) - I believe that the bike was a '99. Early systems were not especially complex, and pulse rate seemed to be measured in full second intervals. The ABS was appallingly "bad", especially in the wet, and off-road; the good news was that there was an off switch. It FELT like a 20-30% increase in stopping distance could be possible in use, as the system came in early, long before any chance wheel lock would be possible.

My next experience would have been on a 2006 FJR1300; as it was on a Yamaha Canada junket (45 minute ride loop), and raining, there was plenty of opportunity to locate the ABS threshold, but the linked braking meant that individual determination was not possible in the traditional way. The ABS did not intrude especially into the braking performance; quite impressive.

Next was a purchased 2008 GL1800 (that I still own), again with linked braking. biggest issue would be very poor master cylinder to wheel cylinder ratios, which means that maximum braking is difficult to locate either with or without ABS function - a panic-brake situation on dry pavement with good grip did not engage the ABS, and it's difficult to find in the rain as well (which to my eyes is just fine).

A recently purchased MT07 (2018) has ABS which massively gets in the way of effective stopping - I initially presumed that it was due to system parameters (aimed at entry level riders), but riding a friend's H2 (2019)(full compliment of ABS, traction control, corner control with adjustment from nanny-state to supposedly minimal invasiveness) set on #8 (of 12 settings, 12 being least invasive), was able to quickly come up against the traction / wheelie control in a corner (same corner ridden 10 minutes earlier on my 2000 R1 (no electronics package) where no significant effort was being engaged in (public streets, not track-day). Seven corners later, trail-braking into another corner, had the ABS pulse 3-4 times, widening my line into the corner.

Not my bike (H2), but would be interested in additional adjustments to the electronics package to determine whether early initiation would be reduced with settings adjustment. My MT07 will be re-wired to allow the ABS to be switched off based on expected conditions.

I am an experienced street rider who also races on and off-road + track-days, and consider myself (like 80% of everyone) above-average, while recognizing that I still (58 years-old) make occasional poor decisions at the track.

I've looked for up to date data on ABS related to motorcycle crashes, but suspect from conversations (with friends at local training facilities) as well as data located, that ABS is not significantly impacting crash rate positively or negatively. Inexperienced riders seem to crash equally well with or without ABS access, although more data through time now that pretty much everything comes with ABS will be interesting.

Final comment regarding ABS on 4 wheel vehicles and the abstract from Data Dan. Unsurprisingly, it seems difficult to locate actual data regarding ABS related crashes in snow/ice/gravel. After nearly colliding with another vehicle in a near new 2001 Toyota Tundra in a situation where one track of the vehicle was on glare ice, and the other track was on dry pavement (common Winter conditions here) and the vehicle ABS simply would not even think of allowing brake use, I permanently disabled the ABS. My recently purchased 19 year newer Chevrolet Colorado has equally poor abilities on ice, which was extremely surprising to me considering the current 4-channel ABS, fortunately the truck I chose allows the ABS/traction control to be turned off.

Perhaps I'm beating a dead horse, but in my personal experience, I've never had ABS "save" me from any situation, and have had ABS rear its ugly head at the most inappropriate times (ice, gravel), nearly causing an incident.
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17375 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 12/24/2020 :  8:53 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Welcome aboard.

Your post was filled with good information and it's clear you have great motorcycling experiences. Thanks for sharing.
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Eagle Six
Junior Member
32 Posts


Snowflake, Arizona
USA

Kawasaki

ZX14R

Posted - 12/24/2020 :  10:14 AM
quote:
Originally posted by frankenstein34

First post; interesting format.


I enjoyed your first post and Welcome to the Forum.

My first expierence with ABS was with a 2005 Honda ST1300A, in 2005. First new bike I ever purchased. Shortly after break in I decided I should test the ABS. Using the same road (good traction, good conditions), making repetitive passes. First several threshold stops I was rather impressed with the stopping ability of this somewhat heavy bike, but no ABS. I finally decided to grab a hand full (against all my training) and got the ABS to work, it was scary! I made maybe 8-10 more passes engaging the ABS early and a couple late. Certainly not scientific, but I was not impressed and it took much father to get stopped.



quote:
Originally posted by frankenstein34My next experience would have been on a 2006 FJR1300; as it was on a Yamaha Canada junket (45 minute ride loop), and raining, there was plenty of opportunity to locate the ABS threshold, but the linked braking meant that individual determination was not possible in the traditional way. The ABS did not intrude especially into the braking performance; quite impressive.


My next experience with ABS was similar to yours with a 2007 FJR1300 in around 2016. I didn't really like the bike although it is a good bike, but the ABS linked brake system seem to work better and more predictable than the Honda ST.




quote:
Originally posted by frankenstein34and consider myself (like 80% of everyone) above-average, while recognizing that I still (58 years-old) make occasional poor decisions


I got a chuckle out of this line, as I think it fits many of us. Although I'm now 74 years old, with lots of experience, lots of formal training and and lots of self-training, I reserve the right to be stupid once in a while!!

I also had a 2007 Honda VFR800A with linked brakes. It was a cute bike, but I wanted to disconnect the link and ABS. After researching how to do that I decided to sell it and buy my second 2006 Ninja ZX14 and was back to non-ABS, non-linked and I was again in heaven.

Recently I purchased another new bike a 2020 Ninja 1000SX with ABS, Kawasaki Intel Anti-Lock, traction control, Botch IMU and Kawasaki Corner Control. Although I have not as yet performed any hard testing of the corner control, the ABS hasn't interfered with my threshold braking and traction control has engaged a few time and very smooth.

And, like you, ABS hasn't saved me. Unlike you and others, I do very little off-road/dirt and try to avoid the snow and ice.

Thank You for your input.
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