Optional ABS On 2008 Harley-Davidson Touring And V-Rod Models

Most people know that ABS or anti-lock braking system is a system on motor vehicles which prevents the wheels from locking while braking. The purpose of this is to allow the driver to maintain steering control under heavy braking and, in some situations, to shorten braking distances by allowing the driver to hit the brake fully without the fear of skidding or loss of control. .Harley-Davidson introduced an antilock braking system on two police cruiser bikes in 2005. Now it’s a factory installed option on all 2008 Touring & V-Rod models (total of 10). The use of Brembo brakes with the latest in braking technology will improve consistent braking and stopping power under all operating conditions. At the Dealer Convention July 9th in Nashville TN,  Harley  declared that the system is almost invisible  Unlike many motorcycle ABS, Harley-Davidson ABS is a manual, independent system, meaning the rider maintains full, independent control of how much of each brake is applied. The ABS system is provided by Delphi Corporation.

20 Responses to “Optional ABS On 2008 Harley-Davidson Touring And V-Rod Models”

  1. 1 a 1 cycles Jul 24th, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    if you consider “invisible” as taking up half of the right saddlebag so be it. the system works well but as an experienced rider if i want to lock up the rear and slide i want the ability to do it not a grab and release electronic solenoid telling me no you cant.

  2. 2 Nicker Jul 24th, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Besides not being able to trail brake, i’m wondering how much this option adds to the cost of maintenance.

    Will the average owner be able to purge their own brake systems?

    Exactly what was the “business case” for adding ABS…. Who asked for it?

    Seeing one bike at a dealership for an extended period because of some unresolved ABS problem was enough for me to opt out.

    What possible reason could HD have for increasing the price of their product…?

    Sorry, smells like more Progressive, do-good meddling…. 🙁

  3. 3 pop Jul 26th, 2007 at 6:40 am

    Standard HD (And others) methodology.

    Police bikes first- have law enforcement do your beta testing to tweak the most flagrant problems before you
    Tout it as an option- have thousands of option happy buyers pay for the exclusive opportunity to shake out the bugs in as guinea pigs before you
    Make it standard on some models- if it doesn’t kill enough of the option buyers to get blamed for any fatalities make it a standard item, talk up it’s wonderful safetiness and add a few benjamins over cost to the tab before you
    Make it a fleetwide standard- so you can placate the DOT that you are continuing to imprint safety onto your products and onto your customer base, because after all riding is about safety and expensive add ons that you have to pay for if you want to get an RK to park in your garage and show to people when they say to you that they didn’t know you have a bike because they never see you ride.

  4. 4 Motor 6 Jul 26th, 2007 at 11:39 am

    It no longer takes up saddle bag space, it is a new system that resides behind the left side cover.

    I thought the idea of brakes was to STOP the bike, if you are sliding, you are not stopping.

    don’t know of any one, Harley, BMW, Ford, Chevy etc. who has been killed by using abs, know a bunch who have been killed without it.

    Read up on the system …. think about it….. and like me you will want it.

  5. 5 Troy Jul 26th, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    If this ABS system is so great, why is it an option on a few models & not standard on the entire line of bikes? Are we to assume some bikes should stop better than other bikes?

  6. 6 Nicker Jul 27th, 2007 at 3:01 am

    Sorry Motor6
    i smell a basic problem here and pop may have put his finger on it:

    “…the DOT that you are continuing to imprint safety onto your products and onto your customer base, because after all riding is about safety …”

    -1- Who decides how much “safety” is enough?
    Not too long ago some idiot actually proposed safety legislation that included “seat belts for bikes.”

    -2- Riding has always been about “riding.” Those who want to be “safe” should take safer transportation.

    The problem with our society is that everyone wants to be indemnified against all of life’s liabilities. This is some sort of Progressive Liberal mind set that’s been creeping into our culture for the last 50 years.

    Are you sure the people you know
    “… have been killed without…” were actually killed because they didn’t have ABS or were they killed because they didn’t know how to ride?

    Don’t make the rest of us pay for the your need to be safe.
    Wanting DOT to assure all productes are safe is the same mind set that almost got us Hillary & Ira Health Care.

    Read up on trail braking.

  7. 7 pop Jul 27th, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Motor6, if you want ABS I don’t see where anything anyone is saying prevents you having it.

    There have been aftermarket retrofits for a few years and everybody knew it was coming.

    That being said, before casting the “ABS” is safer net (insert any of a number of safety devices into the quotation marks)do just a little research like this…


    Google, it’s a wonderful thing.

  8. 8 Nicker Jul 28th, 2007 at 12:44 am


    “…ABS-equipped vehicles ….suffered a 44% increase in rollovers…”

    Could it be ABS has created “Highg-side” for cars…?

    Too much of a good thing………:-)

  9. 9 carl merena May 17th, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    has anyone heard of any lockup problems on the new harley abs systems. in other words, in a panic stopping situation has anyone heard of brakes failing to do what they are supposed to do and that is not lock up? thank you for your time, carl merena

  10. 10 Rick Nov 5th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    So I bought a 2008 Ultra and want to put tall handlebars on, but no one has upper brake lines for ABS. Goodridge break line manufacturer said that the new ABS break lines are incompatible and if you want to change one, then you have to replace all of them for $350. Drag Specialties doesn’t know of anyone working on this and Harley won’t talk due to liabilities… Anyone heard differently? Anyone know where I can get an upper ABS break line that is 12 inches over?

  11. 11 Carl T. Houston Nov 8th, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Just bought an FLHTCU in May with the ABS option.
    Rode a 77 shovel for years. I am really impressed with the ABS.
    Tried it out on wet roads and gravel (intentionally). Works great in my humble opinion.
    I commute in some kind of fierce traffic and am thankful it is there.
    I still ride my Shovel, but feel more confident on the Ultra.
    I understand old school, but am glad the option is there, any way the ABS has been proven in the metric world for 10 years and I feel confident the bugs have been worked out.
    About time Harley moved into modern times.

    And, Yes, Pop, As with anything, the more bells and whistles there are the more that can go wrong, but I alone am prepared to accept that, at least parts are not falling off for my “Wing Nut” friends to pick up for me, as I make sure we rine in alphabetical order..Harley before Honda…HAHA!

    Love the Ultra, Love the ABS.

  12. 12 Russell Apr 29th, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I have ridden motorcycles for many years, and there have been many times that I have had to grab my brakes really quick, and we all know what happens when we do that, the ole pooper puckers, heart races, and brakes lock up and tires start skidding, and sometimes you end up on the ground saying Damn that hurts. I done that in 1999, after hitting the side of a car, that ran a stop sign.
    I have a 1987 FXSTC, love it to death, my first Harley. Then I bought me a 2008 FLHTCU in March last year, I presently have 15,000 miles on it, I ride it all year around. When I first rode it, I wasnt crazy about ABS on a motorcycle, but I have grabbed, and stood on them brakes a few times since buying it, and since then I personally recommend the brakes. I love them. Dont get me wrong, I still ride my ole softail, but I thoroughly enjoy the newer Ultra.
    The only thing I can say to all of those who are against, or are unsure of the ABS brakes, Take one out for a test ride, you might be surprised. And if you dont like them, WELL, thats what makes this coutnry so great, we all have our own opinion, and we are are allowed to express it any time we want.

  13. 13 Kevin Jun 9th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I just had an Accident involvng my 2008 Street Glide with ABS brakes .I have practiced emergency stopping frequently .This time, in an real emergency, I could feel my front brake pulse but Two different Eye witnesses told me my rear locked up. and smoked.Any other with similar experiences please respond.

  14. 14 Bill LV Jul 17th, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    • I have owned my 09 Ultra since Oct. of 08.
    Today I had my second accident and I’m not sure what happened.

    The first incident involves me running up under the bumper of a car making a sudden stop. I believed it was my fault for not paying attention and not being use to my ABS braking system.

    The second one I’m not so sure of. I was coming home on the freeway, obeying all the speed limits. As I entered the on ramp from one freeway to another my bike began sliding rear to front and I was on the ground. The weather is about 101 degrees and dry. No oil or water on the ground. I was not applying any brakes, throttle or shifting. I have no Idea what happened. It was like I locked up my front wheel and accelerated on a curve.

    Now I wonder if anyone else has had anything like that happen to them.

    I have been riding Harleys since the early 70’s and yes I have dumped my bikes before. I cannot explain what’s happening.
    The ABS is the only new thing I can think of that may have something to do with my two incidents.

  15. 15 George Jul 30th, 2009 at 6:23 pm


    I was riding my 2008 Screamin Eagle Ultra Classic 6 weeks ago. Cool, dry, paved road. I entered the right hand turn going about 30 MPH, following one rider, when the rider following me saw my brake lights come on and instantly the bike and I were down, sliding across 2 lanes of traffic and ending up entangled with a guardrail. Life flighted to a trauma center, without any recollection of what happened and the only explanation is the front end locked up in the corner. I have been riding for many years. Inquired with Harley-Davidson, but they won’t release any information on possible ABS problems. Anyone else have problems?

  16. 16 Everett Sep 29th, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    I bought a 2008 electic classic,did,nt know about the option to not get the abs system,I put 21 in the front and 18 rear…the light on the abs never shut off,they told me to change the bearings,so I did @ harley I must say also. now riding my front brake just locks up on its own. Thsi is really dangerous>>> what do I DO.I dont have the money or the time,to keep going to THE HUNDRED DOLLAR DEALER… can some one give me suggestions?

  17. 17 sparky lee Oct 26th, 2010 at 10:19 am

    h-d needs a lot of work before their ABS are safe and dependable.

  18. 18 sparky lee Oct 31st, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    In Nov. of 2009 I bought a new FLHP (highway patrol road king) with abs.My driveway is about 1/3 of a mile long down hill with a heavy curve 1/2 way down; good for 10 to15 mph.My first trip down was pure terror.I put it in neutral ,put on a little rear brake to keep the speed down,the abs released the brake and here we go.I did as the dvd and the owners manual(page51) said ;did not pump or release ,I kept trying to add brake. I hit the bottom at 25 mph or better. I got cought in a rain storm in Ohio in Sept, decided to pull into a station about a block up the street.I moved to the center turn lane of a 4 lane road ,once again I put on a little brake to slow down ,the brakes release again;thank the lord for down shifting. After that I made several different application test on grass(not pot) gravel/dirt, tar/gravel most down hill as most of my rideing is in the mountains and on the Blue Ridge Parkway;hard applications the abs kicks ,light applications they release with no indication the abs is working. This bike has absolutley the best brakes I have ever had on a bike and I have been riding for over 40 years.The only problem with them is abs, you never know what the are going to do. NOW:do the MATH; a 17 inch wheel is 79 inches in circumfrance,there is 0ne roller on the left wheel bearing that sends a signal to the sensor for abs,so the wheel travels 79 inches before it gets another signal; thats a long way at 60 mph with a fixed object in front of you. P.S. I have disconnected my asb and have had no problems;and enjoy rideing again.Ride safe..

  19. 19 denise Nov 10th, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    asking “sparky lee” how do u disconnect abs? I’m about to buy a 2011 street glide w abs I’ve been riding since early 1996 I don’t know if I’m gonna like it….please advise me. Thanks

  20. 20 sparky lee Nov 25th, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Denise,I pulled the fuse ,cut the wire to the ABS light and disconnected the wires to the wheel sensors. Later I disconnected the main wireing harnes to theABS computer. I would start with the computer wire first if I did it again and see what happens, that may kill it all.You may want to get a shop manual for your bike to find some of these wires.Good luck and be real carefull at slow speeds on less than perfect surfaces. Also I hear H_D has comeout with a down load to make these brakes less sensitive, you may want to check it out . TAKE CARE .

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