Originally Posted by Nevada
My question is this:
How important is it to be able to switch off the ABS for a rider that ISN'T imagining himself to be participating in the Dakar?
I've got a couple of bikes with ABS and routinely forget to turn it off on excursions off tarmac. When this is just a gravel road or hard packed surface, its really not that big a deal or even terribly noticeable but I'm also a relatively slow and cautious rider. I've never bothered to turn it off for road construction if that's any help to illustrate what conditions might be or not be appropriate for ABS use. The times that it has gotten my attention were in really nasty cobbles and loose surfaces on steep grades (pointed steeply downwards) or when things get real slick and muddy. The worse the terrain or conditions, the more important it gets to be able to and remember to turn those things off.
The trouble with your question is that its a slippery slope (some pun intended). As you venture "off road", what you consider interesting to ride will likely evolve as you learn stuff and start to look to challenge yourself as you get more and more comfortable and experienced doing so.
I like the ABS feature on my bikes but appreciate that it needs to get switched off in conditions that would render it useless or dangerous (where there is no traction and particularly that condition where the stakes are high). Since most bikes decelerate fairly quickly through easing up on the throttle or judiciously down shifting, there's really not all that many situations for myself where I feel the need to pull over and turn off the ABS system.