URGENT - is ABS worth investing in? Does the bike stop quicker? Need to buy bike tomorrow....

Help. Need to get my new bike ordered pronto to keep insurance NCD valid.

Have decided to up the money and go for a Fazer 1000 in the end. Would like to see other riders comments on some or all of the following:

  1. Fazer FZ1 S Import (from US). Price 6300 OTR, without standard immobilizer fitted on UK models, larger indicators, some little reflectors that can be removed. Servicing and insurance checked out fine.

  2. 06 FZ1 S (no ABS) for about same money as an 07 import. Is ABS worth having? Is it much better to have than not.

  3. 07 FZ1 SA (with ABS) for 7300. Ouch. Is it better to have ABS? A lot extra to spend, is it worth an extra 5 or 600 quid?

Thanks for your opinions in advance.

ABS is a safety feature which prevents the bike from skidding. Basically, if the ABS cuts in, the braking distance is actually greater, same with cars.

Think about it, ABS basically reduces (or releases and reapplys to prevent the wheel from locking up) pressure on the brake discs to enable the wheel to start turning, not so that you stop quicker, but that in theory, you can steer around the object you are braking to avoid. If you skid, you lose all steering ability, by the ABS releasing the wheel to rotate, means it grips when you turn the bars. The overall effect is to increase the braking distance. The shortest braking distance is that where you are just on the point of locking up / skidding.

Do noy buy a bike just because it has ABS, although it will help you keep the bike upright should you slam the anchors on too hard.

reckon its worth the extra cash then?

I dont know mate, I dont have it on my bike as am sure most dont.

The problem is, because people dont practice their emergency stops enough (same for cars), in an emergency, people grab a handful of brake, load the front suspension and cause the skid. The mind needs to be trained through practice to do an emergency stop but feel the maximum braking point and allow a steer through. As I said, ABS increases braking distances which is not that good a thing, but is allows the untrained brake grabber to steer around the obstacle… which in an emergency situation, again unless you are practiced at it, wont happen as everyone tightens up and straights the bike.

Sorry I cant say whether it is paying for the extra feature, arguably not?

I wouldn’t rush just to “keep NCD valid”. At the end of the day once you have earned NCD it is there, even if you don’t insure, it is not dependant on you having continuous insurance.

I don’t like the idea of abs on bikes as it increases the chances of high siding especially if your back end is feeling lively. Sure it has it’s advantages however I would consider you riding style. Does it have an option to turn it off like on some BMW’s or is it permanently on?

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I thought highsiding was as a result of getting off the gas when the rear starts to slide from giving the throttle too much welly. Once off, the rear tyre starts to grip again and throws you off… ABS wont help you in this situation as you aren’t braking anyway.

I think NCD expires after 5 years, but I do agree, if you aren’t going to / dont want to ride, dont buy a bike just to enable keeping it. If you do, buy a junk of sh!te and keep it in a garage / back garden as an ornament!

I’ve got ABS on my CBF and not on my ZX. It’s fine when I’ve been riding the CBF a bit, because it’s a forgiving bike anyway and the ABS means the rear tyre doesn’t lock up if I slam the anchors on. But if I then ride the ZX, I tend to lock the back end up once of twice if I’m not paying attention.

If you’re riding a bike with ABS, there’s the chance that you become “lazy” (can’t think of a better way of putting it), but if I had the option, I’d probably have bought a non ABS option in the first place. I don’t think it’s worth the extra cash, but it will depend on how you ride. Have you test ridden both?

thats not true fella. an abs system working properly will stop shorter than a vehicle without. a tire skidding has lower friction than a tyre gripping and decelerating.

if you add steering into the equation too, the abs system keeps you decelerating whilst you steer.

not sure how effective it is on bikes tho

I have only ever come off my bike when i have needed to hit the brakes REAL hard.

So when i looked for my recent upgrade i wanted ABS as my braking technique must be pants.

Here is what the FJR offers and i love it

ABS with Combination Brake System (CBS ABS);

Both of the new FJR models are now equipped with an ABS system incorporating a ‘Combination Brake System’ (CBS ABS) which is designed to offer greater stability during braking.

Whenever the rear brake is applied, the CBS ABS system automatically applies the appropriate braking force to the front wheel using the lower two pistons in the front right 4-piston caliper. In order to ensure smooth and progressive action, the CBS ABS system’s lower two pistons in the front right caliper are smaller than the other six pistons in the dual front calipers. The CBS ABS system is activated only when the rear brake is used.

When the front brake is operated, six of the eight front pistons – that is, all four on the left side caliper, and the upper two on the right side caliper – are operated, while the two lower right front caliper pistons of the Combination Brake System are not activated. Combined with the ABS function, which is fitted to both the FJR 1300A and FJR 1300AS models, the Combination Brake System delivers outstanding braking performance to complement the high performance and potentially high payloads of this large capacity sports tourer.

Sorry JB, let me explain more what I meant.

When ABS cuts in, braking distance is increased as braking pressure is effectively reduced to allow the wheel to start turning again.

Braking distance is shortest at the point just before the wheel starts to lock up provided the braking pressure has been applied progressively and loaded the front tyre up. Slamming on the anchors overloads both the front suspension and tyre creating the skid, ABS just negates the effect of the ham fist.

ABS is a good safety feature on cars as steering is easier on a more stable platform of 4 wheels. In an emergency situation on a bike, we all tighten up and would probably find it hard to sheer around an object anyway. ABS is probably good as it will prevent overloading the front wheel, but as Keti said, could make you lazy.

Practice makes perfect, then you wont need ABS.

Firstly, I have never ridden a bike with ABS so have no real experience of it on bikes. Here’s my thoughts anyway

ABS on bikes is not very common at the moment even though its been around for quite a while. Therefore I doubt if the bike technology is anywhere near as advanced as it is on cars at the moment (same as FI - when they first started injecting bikes the fueling was terrible). And some systems on cars is not even that good (my 206’s ABS was terrible and I wished that I could switch it off). Based on this, I would definitely want to try it out for myself (try and lock the brakes in several different situations) on the particular bike that I was interested in buying, before I handed over even more money for it.

I am a competent rider, and anal enough that I do in fact practice emergency stops to keep rehearsed, also to check my brakes are in good working order.

I don’t really have enough info on motorcycle ABS to make an informed judgement. Even with ABS, I doubt I would attempt to counter steer/ swerve whilst braking, as I know this is asking for trouble with standard brakes - all I have ever used. If ABS would permit this, I wouldn’t fancy practicing it…

Yamaha’s website doesn’t give decent info on how their ABS system works so will try calling a few more Yam dealers to get info on basic stuff like is it only front ABS or front and rear and does applying front brake also invoke the rear brake as it does on the FJR.

Still not sure whether to invest. Although I have found a dealer where the difference in price is on 300 quid…

Ridden ABS and non ABS CB1300’s, as well as a couple of other ABS bikes. On each I’ve made it kick in a couple of times under v hard braking and it does the job - only did it to see what it felt like . Well it works… like car systems it does judder, but you can live with that if you need to haul up in a hurry.

Had I had ABS on a bike I would quite likely not have a metal plate in my arm… saying that I’ve not gone a bought an ABS bike since.

One of the best systems I’ve tried was the combined linked brakes on the Blackbird - but this is not ABS…

ABS is in no way a substitute for reading the road correctly and less so is it a cure for bad braking habits.

Nope not that imoportant, NCD stays usable for two years, and you really shouldn’t buy an import (more trouble then their worth - make sure they put the headlight converter in FOR FREE, if you EVER have electrical work done make sure the person doing it knows its an import, and you have to give them your owner’s manual)

I wasn’t saying that you were an incompetent rider, but dont think that practicing emergency breaking is an anal activity, infact to think that IMO is an arrogent attitude. As with everything in this life, to become better at something requires practice.

Unless you practice the finess which emergency stops require to prevent skidding, grabbing handfuls of brake in an emergency will almost certainly end up in tears.

Don’t like ABS myself as I like to be boss Same in a car, but there will be the odd occasion where I might wish I had it as I get up off the floor having just made an error That’s the exciting part

Tests have been done to confirm that a top rider is better than the computer, but those that aren’t confident should deffo have ABS especially if you’re behind me

I read that test somewhere as well. Basically, ABS stops all but the very best riders quicker and safer.

You have to take into account the fact that the rider on test knew he was going to have to stop sharpish when he set off. Unfortunately the deer that steps into the road in the middle of the night doesn’t give you a briefing beforehand.

There was an article about that in TWO a few months back. They had 2 Triumph Sprint ST one with ABS, one without. They tried emergency braking (with former racer James Witham) in a variety of situation and compared the stopping distance. On the wet, the ABS beat the non ABS every time. I don’t remember if the ABS was better on the dry but I’m pretty sure the difference was marginal. Bearing in mind that the average rider will not stop as well as an ex-racer I’d say the ABS is worth having at least on the wet.

I too like to be in control but I won’t kid myself and pretend that I can do an emergency brake as well as a racer so if my next bike has an ABS option (and I can afford it) I will take it. Having said that, if the bike I want does not have any ABS, I won’t mind.

My 2p

Pierre aka FrogRider

i think we’re only slightly different paths about what ABS should do for someone who can brake hard already, and how it may be used by someone inexperienced

ABS cuts and reapplies the brakes constantly around the point at which the tyre is braking traction. braking to the limit of traction gives the shortest stopping distance. again assuming the ABS system is working correctly, if you have applied your brakes properly with weight distribution and hard braking, you can apply the brakes hard to the limit, without fear of tucking the front. if you feel the judder, you applied too much pressure. most racers learn the limit of braking from crashing

if a newbie brakes badly, it will still hopefully stop the tyre braking away, weight will transfer forward and they will still stop sooner as the result of the lack of ABS and poor over braking means they lose the front and crash. yes, it doesn’t teach them proper technique, but it may also mean they dont have to learn how to heal from a bike crash.

like a few people have mentioned, its the panic situations where it comes into its own. on track i know how to grab the anchors hard (altho still not 100% where the limit is). on the road last year i had a big crash as i had to panic brake and i instantly over powered the front, tucking the tyre and scrubbing off speed with my ass. i cant recommend it

also consider situations where you misjudge the level of grip due to cold tyres or tarmac, wet conditions and diesel. ABS would in principal get you throught that situ. your own judgement might not.