Thread: ABS off road??
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:13 AM   #67
not dead yet
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Western Mass
Oddometer: 30,482
Originally Posted by Nerb View Post
I think people have a weird perception that ABS releases the brakes completely when actually it only prevents lockup.
I have invoked the front ABS off pavement numerous times. In loose off-pavement conditions it definitely drastically reduces braking effectiveness. As I noted, I have gone into the ditch and into the weeds due to this, when I otherwise could have braked normally and made the corner. The way it "prevents lockup" is by briefly RELEASING THE BRAKE for that wheel. The problem in some off pavement conditions is that it releases it for so much of the braking time that there is MUCH less braking.

Granted, some people are awesome and can ride around with a locked front wheel, but for the rest of us mortals, there is never a time when we want the front to lock. The rear... yes, disable the ABS, but not the front.
I'm not awesome, I'm an old man with cancer. I don't "ride around" with the front locked, I lock it and release it during hard off-pavement braking. For anyone with much dirt experience it's not such a big deal. Actual dirt bikes never have ABS and the front brake still provides the majority of braking power. Sometimes the front starts to lock up and then you ease off and keep going. When I am riding my dually as a dirt bike, I prefer it to have dirt bike brakes which means no ABS on either wheel. The more-dirt version of my big bike comes from the factory with no ABS (as well as a taller suspension).

When I took MSF-ERC for the insurance discount (which of course is on pavement) on a non-ABS V-Strom 1000 with knobbies, out of boredom I was intentionally locking up the front and pushing it the last 10 feet into the "stop box" every time, until they asked me to please not do that.
Advanced pancreatic cancer found 04/2010. Have outlived +/- 97% of patients with this diagnosis, but 08/2013 cancer now in liver, vascular system and lungs with 20+ lung tumors. Sick/weak sometimes, not riding much. No more treatments & now under Hospice care.
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