New Riders and ABS? Might not be a good idea... - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
General V-Strom Discussion Talk about all things V-Strom not limited to just one of the above models

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post #1 of 27 Old 03-26-2008, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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New Riders and ABS? Might not be a good idea...

Being a new rider and loving my WeeStrom, I have often questioned whether I should have purchased the ABS model over the non-ABS version, and I believe I have come up with a reasonable justification for getting the non-ABS version.

Now ABS is a wonderful thing and can certainly save your bacon. There is no doubt in my mind on that. But the critical point is that out of all the bikes on the road today, a very small minority (albeit growing, but still very small group) have ABS on them. Also, chances are that if the V-Strom is your first bike, it will most likely not be your last or only bike.

Now I've been commuting (about 15-20 kms each way) pretty much every day since I bought my bike, and in the past three weeks I've put over 800 kms on it in mostly city driving. About half of that has been in wet or rainy conditions.

Since I've started riding, I have had a few wheel lock-ups in my riding and it scared the living spit out of me. Once was the front wheel and a few times the rear. If I had ABS, I would never have experienced these situations, but being a new rider, I'm learning what causes these situations and can adjust. And since most of it is in slower traffic, it's arguably a bit safer.

I am learning how a bike handles a locked wheel, how when the rear tire locks up, press harder on the rear and don't let it grip until you do stop. How it slides out on either side as it happens. How you can affect the sliding sideways marginally with your legs. When the front locks, let up on the front brakes so it can turn and regain control, because otherwise you're going to just go straight and have no control. Valuable lessons to learn, and like a kid learning to speak and walk, in the formative period of my riding experience where I'm really open to learning and not set in my ways.

If I was learning on an ABS bike, I would not have experienced any of these conditions and would probably just grab the brakes as hard as I could to stop whenever I want. With ABS, if I went onto another bike and experienced an emergency stop situation, what do you think would happen? And probably after a year or two of riding with still no experience with what happens when one or both wheels do indeed lock?

As it is now, I can feel a bit more confident that when I get onto a different bike, I still won't know how hard or fast to grab some brake when I need to, but I will practice to find out just how hard it does work before I put myself into a situation that I need to.

And, if I do end up going a bit too far, I am gaining a bit of experience on how to handle it and not panic. Invaluable lessons in my book.

Another side is that it keeps my confidence level down and keeps the cockiness in check, reinforcing the space and speed you need. I am gaining a different confidence in my riding and control, not so confident that I'm going to be doing 80 kph in a 40 kph off-ramp. Not even 60. maybe 50

As a learning tool, I think ABS will affect your riding ability on other bikes, so in my books, it might not be a good thing for riders just starting out.

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post #2 of 27 Old 03-26-2008, 05:13 PM
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Locking up a front brake means you can't steer. Go just a few feet on a bike you can't steer and you go down. You're lucky that front wheel slid in a straight line. They usually don't.

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post #3 of 27 Old 03-26-2008, 05:44 PM
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A few weeks ago I pulled the fuse on my ABS while out riding in the dirt. I had forgotten to put it back in and on the ride home I managed a little rear wheel skid at a traffic light, nothing major but it surprised me.

While riding street I use 75% front 25% rear brakes and about the opposite on the dirt, probably closer to 80% rear 20% front. So after riding 30miles or so on the dirt up until then I don't know if I should contribute my rear wheel skid to using more rear than front or the fact that I've grown used to ABS and I would be skidding more often if I didn't have it on my next bike.

My guess is that although it's easier to get complacent about emergency stop practice when you have ABS, you still need to do it. When I buy a new bike and whether it has ABS or not I'll still do the practice stops and adjust my riding to the stopping effort of the new bike.

Rant complete

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post #4 of 27 Old 03-26-2008, 06:04 PM
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Sure, as long as you never ride in the rain....

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post #5 of 27 Old 03-26-2008, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by garandman View Post
Sure, as long as you never ride in the rain....
Good point! I tend to forget about riding in the rain. I live in the desert, we don't get much of that here.

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post #6 of 27 Old 03-26-2008, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greywolf View Post
Locking up a front brake means you can't steer. Go just a few feet on a bike you can't steer and you go down. You're lucky that front wheel slid in a straight line. They usually don't.
I know I was very fortunate, it only locked up on the last few feet of my stop. It has taught me more about being prepared though and since then I've had a few other emergency stops, I've been remembering to load then squeeze, not the panic grab I did on that occasion.

[I][SIZE="2"]Now Wee-strom-less... [/SIZE][/I]
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post #7 of 27 Old 03-26-2008, 06:30 PM
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i think the whole idea behind ABS is that it makes it unnecessary to lock up the brakes. no need to know how it feels.

that said, i can't really say that ABS has ever done a damn thing for me. my touring bike has it. my Vee does not. neither one lack for stopping power. i'm still waiting for ABS to rescue me from ....... sumthin. does that make me a hipoooo-crate?

i think if i were buying a little bitty 650 i'd prolly spring for ABS, then i'd run around looking for a slick patch so that it could save me (thereby justifying the cost).
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post #8 of 27 Old 03-26-2008, 06:35 PM
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Agree. Learning to brake properly is the best preventative measure you can take on a bike. This is why the MSF course takes the time to teach riders proper braking. ... I take that back... attending (and passing) an MSF course is the best preventative measure you can take... then you need to practice.
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post #9 of 27 Old 03-26-2008, 07:37 PM
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What exactly do you guys do when you practice your braking? I find a deserted location (usually parking lot of sorts) and start with basic accelerate / emergency stop runs a number of times, trying to go faster and stop quicker, without locking up. I then do pull-out-of-a-turn braking, meaning straightening the bike out of a turn as quick as possible to start applying the brakes.

I'd like to hear about your maneuvers, I'm always eager to pick up new tips and tricks.

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post #10 of 27 Old 03-26-2008, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by TouringDude View Post
i think if i were buying a little bitty 650 i'd prolly spring for ABS, then i'd run around looking for a slick patch so that it could save me (thereby justifying the cost).
I consider that my part-time job.

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