Antilock Brakes Lower Fatal Motorcycle Crashes

According to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety antilock brakes could help motorcycle riders avoid fatal crashes, The fatal crash rate involving motorcycles equipped with optional antilock brakes, or ABS, was 38 percent lower than the rate involving similar motorcycles without the system. Like their counterparts on cars and trucks, antilock brakes help motorcycle riders stop their bikes abruptly without locking up the wheels or fishtailing. The system evaluates the brake pressure multiple times per second, allowing motorcycle riders to fully brake both wheels in an emergency situation. BMW AG introduced ABS on the K100 in 1988. Antilocks were standard or optional equipment on about 40 motorcycles from the 2008 model year. Top manufacturers include BMW, Harley-Davidson Inc., and Honda Motor Co. ABS typically adds about $1,000 or more to the cost of a motorcycle.

Zipper's

34 Responses to “Antilock Brakes Lower Fatal Motorcycle Crashes”


  1. 1 Mike Greenwald Oct 27th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Before jumping on this bandwagon, I would caution everyone to read about and understand that all the anti-lock braking systems are not the same.

    Just because the insurance companies have jumped on this bandwagon and made this issue their new poster child does not make it better for the motorcyclist.

    Don’t buy into the flim flam crap that it is always the motorcyclist that is at fault.

    The insurance companies do not want you to believe that their majority clients (cagers) cause the majority of multivehicle crashes.

    The insurance companies know that the helmets that they have touted are not working and they know that the dayglo vests are not working.

    Insisting upon responsible driving and not tolerating the courts’ acceptance of the I didn’t see ’em defense will be a start.

  2. 2 Teamfee3 Oct 27th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    This seems like an odd response. I have personally benefitted from ABS brakes and I am not sure how you can argue that use of helmets and high-viz apparel does not help. I didn’t think this article in anyway laid the blame on motorcyclists but simply stated the benefits of ABS brakes in certain circumstances. And what statistics show helmets are not working or that high-viz vests aren’t working?

  3. 3 Nicker Oct 27th, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Teamfee3-

    RE:
    “… an odd response…”

    Not really. Think about it for a moment.
    Last year some OEM was gonna build a bike “ya couldn’t fall off.”
    Someone else wanted to add 360 degree roll bars.
    Another rocket scientist wanted seat-belts.

    Look, where the Hell will this stop….?
    Next “they” will want us to wear air-bag riding suites.

    RE:
    “… I have personally benefited from ABS brakes …”

    Apparently you need help “to fully brake both wheels in an emergency situation.”
    So your free to buy whatever brakes you like.

    However, you also need to recognize that all the “Insurance Institute” is looking out for is their own business case. They’d rather see me riding a “virtual reality” MC game then exposing their money to real world risk out on the open road.

    You wannabe “safe” from falling of your scooter, so take up Golf.

    -nicker-

  4. 4 Mike Greenwald Oct 28th, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Teamfee3,

    Thanks for responding.

    You say, “This seems like an odd response. I have personally benefitted from ABS brakes and I am not sure how you can argue that use of helmets and high-viz apparel does not help. I didn’t think this article in anyway laid the blame on motorcyclists but simply stated the benefits of ABS brakes in certain circumstances. And what statistics show helmets are not working or that high-viz vests aren’t working”

    Evidently, you are unaware of several things. First, you have not researched the difference of anti-lock braking systems and how they are used on motorcycles. I cannot discuss this further with you until you invest the time and you do it. I did not argue for nor against anti-lock brakes. I differentiated. By doing this, I cautioned people to know and understand the differences.

    You claim to have benefited from ABS usage. Without knowing the specifics of your incident that involved your activation of the ABS system on a bike, I am skeptical.

    The statistics would be the ones produced and spewed forth by NHTSA. If you would be so kind as to read and understand them, they will show an increase in helmet usage and usage of high visibility textiles and fabrics on the motorcyclist and the motorcycles.

    Seemingly, if these methodologies that thrust all the responsibility upon the motorcyclist had worked, the death and catastrophic injury numbers would go down. Yet, these figures are going up.

    It is an “odd response” in the day of “compliance” to the law and in the days of inattentional blindness.

  5. 5 madpuppy Oct 28th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    ” You wannabe “safe” from falling of your scooter, so take up Golf.”

    LMFAO, thanks Nicker, I needed that !

  6. 6 toph Oct 28th, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    hey mike- for those of us not as informed as you, maybe you could educate us on the major differences in ABS as used on motorcycles.

    thanks-
    toph

  7. 7 fuji Oct 28th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    For those that oppose advancements in the motorcycle world then lets put them on an old flat head no suspension and drum brakes and no helmet.

  8. 8 Mike Greenwald Oct 28th, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    toph,
    I already get accused of being long winded and you want an explanation here? Yikes.
    Take a look at the differences in the technologies in use by the motorcycle manufacturers and then take a look at the differences within the automotive community of manufacturers. Once you have done that, look at linked braking systems. Quickly understand the physics and engineering, and then look at the packaging for the application to see how all of it relates to your riding skills on the surfaces that you ride upon and draw your own conclusions as to which ones best suit you. Apply that knowledge to your current bike or future bike and determine if the product will make you safe or just be an added expense that is unnecessary for the riding that you do. I assume that you already practice your panic stops regularly and know the time and distance that it takes you to stop your bike on all surfaces, wet or dry.

  9. 9 T Oct 28th, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    We all being a little rough here?
    How many times while “panic stopping” do you feel the rear wheel start to slide?
    Its nice that some people can keep calm, and control both brakes while fear takes over.
    I would think a Hell of a lot more people panic. I always thought the concept of ABS brakes on a bike was a major milestone. All This Big Brother bullshit! Isn’t the whole idea ending the day healthy?

  10. 10 Mike Greenwald Oct 28th, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    fuji,
    An adaptation of old technology does not necessarily make it good or bad for motorcycling. Look at the benefit received before talking like some pompous ass that embraces this line of crap from the insurance companies. I assure you that you are better than that.

  11. 11 Doc Robinson Oct 28th, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    I recently rode 10,000 miles across the US on a 2008 Harley-Davidson Road King equipped with ABS. This gave me lots of time to play with it, testing it in various situations and I have to say I really like it. In many, many accidents, riders of various experience levels lock up the rear wheel to the detriment of braking effect. The Harley ABS prevents this and brings you to a stop much quicker than manual braking. In company with a buddy on a non-ABS Road King, I spent half a day on a lonely road in Utah, attempting to equal the stopping distance I achieved with the ABS on the Road King. But on his bike, which doesn’t have it, while I came close there was a difference in stopping distance no matter how many times I tried. That difference could have been the difference between hitting the truck/auto/tree or whatever, and not hitting it. Every motorcycle death or serious injury, as well as devastating families, harms the industry, with a widespread ripple effect. It makes no sense to compare ABS with day-glo vests and other misguided attempts at safety.

  12. 12 Mike Greenwald Oct 28th, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Doc Robinson,
    What has been presented by the insurance companies is a blanketing statement that will add 1000-1200 USD retail to each and every bike.

    For years, Harley Davidson had ABS only available on their police bikes. The particular unit seemingly took up half of a saddlebag. Things have changed and the sizing is now more compact. Other manufacturers had their units already sized to fit under the seat. My argument is not for or against ABS. My argument is that riders should know what is available and the costs of this technology before ascribing to it.

    Many people got on the helmet bandwagon until they realized that helmets could or would kill them in certain instances.

    Some of the same people and others have gotten on the band wagon for hi-viz clothing or vests.
    Automobile deaths have occasionally harmed the automobile industry until it comes to designs of automobile designs that kill motorcyclists. Then, nothing is done to rectify it. My point is that motorcyclists do not have to embrace anything that is thrown at them by legislators, insurance companies, or John Q Public.

    I am glad that you have had a positive experience with ABS.

    I, too, have had positive experiences with several different variations of ABS on different bikes. It makes a world of difference to me whether or not it is both front and rear or just rear or linked.

  13. 13 fuji Oct 28th, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Many people got on the helmet bandwagon until they realized that helmets could or would kill them in certain instances. My question is when? How rediculous. and what are those percentiges?

    I assure you that you are better than that ! your quote.

    Having been an EMT [ emergancy medical technician ] for several years it was very dis heartening and phycological to scrape some ones ” FACE ” and scalp off the pavement when in knowing that a little common scense and an open mind to technoligy may have saved a life or kept a person from being a vegitable.

  14. 14 toph Oct 29th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    alright Mike- I’ll do the research and report back.

    i was more interested in your stance as you initially seemed to state that ABS was not good (like helmets and bright vests), thrown at us by insurance companies, then later state you’ve had great experiences with ABS on bikes.

    so, which bikes have it right? and wrong? come on mike, this is a blog to speak your mind.

    I have about 10,000-14,000 miles on H-D and BMW equipped ABS bikes. Other than it occasionally getting tricked into actuating, I never needed it. BMW’s was more transparent than H-Ds- smoother and less chatter.

    Do I need ABS? probably not. I can see the good and the bad. I live in a dry part of the country so it’s not as vital for me as i ride on slippery roads less often. but, i ride in lots of gravel and sand all year long.

    with that said though, i’d rather rely on skill and experience than a computer. i slow down in the rain, don’t tailgate, look ahead, etc.

    I think it’s great for less experienced riders who have a tendency to overuse the rear brake; stomping on it at the first sign of trouble.

    However, I have had more than one instance where I intentionally slid the rear of the bike to avoid getting hit. You can slide the rear to put the bike on a different trajectory if done right. If done wrong, maybe a highside. But, anything I can do to avoid getting hit by a cage I’ll do.

    The linked systems I’ve ridden on metrics like honda and victory felt well designed. again, i’d rather have the control. they’re not good for doing burnouts either.

  15. 15 Mike Greenwald Oct 29th, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    ABS, in the current formats, exists is alchemy. It is not worthwhile until the manufacturers provide it to the smaller or the independent builder. Once that occurs, the innovations will come forth more quickly and the applications will be widespread. If this takes place the general ridership will provide meaningful data as to the usefulness of having it on a motorcycle.

    The insurance industry may eventually recommend other things for motorcycle builders and ultimately motorcyclists to contend with. Things like traction control or a design similar to BMW’s articulating “no crash ” frame design or Harley Davidson’s carver trike. Or electic motors…. the list goes on.

    Insurance companies are certainly less and less about risk management and more about running government in their behalf.

  16. 16 Tim Somers Oct 30th, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    My “69” BSA has anti lock brakes, or may be just english drum brakes, They sure won’t lock up. Wonder if I qualify for an insurance discount.

  17. 17 FUJI Oct 31st, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    TOPH ; Good responce .

    I ‘am with you on your quote.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————
    I was more interested in your stance as you initially seemed to state that ABS was not good (like helmets and bright vests), thrown at us by insurance companies, then later state you’ve had great experiences with ABS on bikes.

  18. 18 Mike Greenwald Oct 31st, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    My point here is the government hops on the bandwagon of things lobbied for by various groups such as the insurance industry.

    In their lobbying efforts, they do not always present the total view of things. There are many things that have been appearing to be well meaning and benevolent that have been nothing more than a further relinquishment of freedoms, liberties and rights.

    How well does ABS operate on a chopper, a bobber, or a boardtracker? How well does ABS operate on a dirt bike or an off-roader? Name the builders that are using ABS on their current bikes that are not H-D, Honda, BMW et al.

    If it were all that good, why aren’t the smaller builders or assemblers using it?

  19. 19 Nicker Oct 31st, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    Reality check:

    In 1962 iron man Magri road his Pan Head headed over a snowed in Donner Summit to retrieve film of the winter olympic games so a Sacramento TV station could put it on the air.

    Oh my God…. How the hell do ya-spose he did that without ABS….????
    All it took was snow chains on the real wheel.

    Its time to get back to basics.
    Stop sniveling and learn how to ride.

    -nicker-

  20. 20 Mike Greenwald Oct 31st, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Nicker,
    How do you suppose we are going to tell the insurance companies to fuck off and butt out?

  21. 21 Nicker Nov 2nd, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Mike G.

    I hate to say it but that cow may have already left the barn.

    But in a feeble attempt to close the door after the fact how about graded insurance rates:
    So, something like
    – all newbies go on assigned risk right off the bat (registration records determine newbies).
    – all rates come down according to the actuarial tables and your driving record.
    – all approved safety devices have a mitigating effect on insurance.

    So, ABS can reduce your insurance according to accident stats relating to cause.
    But DOT stats have to be used not OEM or Insurance industry stats.

    So if ya want ABS, fine, get it. Just don’t foist it off an the rest of us.

    Just a thought.
    -nicker-

  22. 22 Mike Greenwald Nov 2nd, 2008 at 1:26 am

    Nicker,
    What you propose would work. The ways that the insurance lobby would defeat it are as described, as well in the foisting part.

    Sure be a damned shame if we saw an increase in the motorcyclist death rate due to faulty ABS as experienced in the automobile industry and in the light truck industry.

  23. 23 Nicker Nov 3rd, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Mike,

    I hear ya.
    But the death rate is gonna go up as the population of driving public goes up,
    simply because “shit happens.”

    The only way to get the insurance industry out of our act is to take the litigation out of the equation.

    Judges who throw out ridiculous law suit would be a good start.

    So, what’s it take to impeach a judge these days….????

    -nicker-

  24. 24 Teamfee3 Nov 3rd, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Wow, some real high level discourse here. Seperate your anti-regulatory agenda from the benefits of technology and you might get what I mean. There is a reason technologies like ABS and traction control exist in the highest levels of motorsports – because they work. Yes Niker, ABS may not work great on a heavily raked out chopper with only a rear brake, I get it, that’s a “real” bike. And really, ABS might not be great off-road? Wow, that’s a revelation. Wear your denim and hanky on your head if you please, it’s your right in some States, but you’ve lost when helmets and high viz apparel start killing people and there we will just have to agree to disagree. There is a statistic for everythnig, use them as you please as well.

    I am with you 100% on keeping the government and insurance industry out of our lives but you have seemed to turn that into some sort of anti-technology rant. If you get hit by a car with a driver that wasn’t paying attention and you die or are critically injured because you weren’t wearing a helment or protective gear, reality and sanity says “shit happens” but part of that is one you and that’s called personal responsibility, government regulation or no.

  25. 25 Teamfee3 Nov 3rd, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Mike, I like the K1200RS graphics on your webstie. I’me guessing that’s where some of your ABS experience comes from.

  26. 26 Mike Greenwald Nov 3rd, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    The ABS on that bike, ’99 K1200RS, are a rather early rendition of what ABS on a bike could be. Other bikes that I have ridden are now using different set ups than that one.

    One of the major things that will help with any braking system is the choice of pads and pad materials that you put on your bike. The choices range all over the place. Keeping the brake fluid changed every season helps tremendously, too. Increased maintenance costs are something to be looked at with ABS that are not addressed in the recommendation.

    For anyone to take a position of superiority of ABS over “normal” braking systems for the “average” rider under “average” conditions on the street is far fetched and expensive. Psychologically, the implication is that it is still the rider’s fault or inadequacy of rider, rider skill or equipment. This is not the case, rather it is an implication or indictment by the insurance industry of piss poor riding skills and lousy bikes. This further implies that current riding skills as taught by any motorcycle riding instructor are woefully inadequate.

    Good riding is not about ABS or traction control devices or any of that other add on crap.

    For the insurance industry to make a blanket recommendation/statement in the way that they have done here is frivolous and a smoke screen. ABS is not a panacea for getting a bike stopped quickly. I think that ABS may instill a false level of confidence in the rider as well as the public perception of what risks that can be assumed on a bike and I do not see that false confidence as beneficial to anybody riding a bike.

  27. 27 Nicker Nov 3rd, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Team-

    RE:
    “… Yes Niker, ABS may not work great on a heavily raked out chopper with only a rear brake, I get it, that’s a “real” bike. And really, ABS might not be great off-road? Wow, that’s a revelation. Wear your denim and hanky on your head if you please…”

    Hmmmmm….? ….. your a newbe to this blog….?

    Well, my 85 K-bike has brakes on both ends and and doesn’t seem to need ABS …. at least not in the last 100K miles…. (the only thing it continually seems to needs is tires).

    Out in the shop there are a bunch of “real bikes” (brakes on both ends) none of them seem to need ABS….

    Is it just possible that not everyone needs or wants ABS…. do ya think….????

    -nicker-

    PS.
    “…hanky on head…”
    And your point is…..???

  28. 28 Nicker Nov 3rd, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Fuji

    RE:
    “…For those that oppose advancements in the motorcycle world then lets put them on an old flat head no suspension and drum brakes and no helmet…”

    If i “let ya put me” on a flatty, i’d be a “Socialist” …… 🙂

    -nicker-

  29. 29 Nicker Nov 3rd, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Timmy S.-

    RE:
    “…My “69″ BSA has anti lock brakes, or may be just english drum brakes, They sure won’t lock up. Wonder if I qualify for an insurance discount…”

    Ya, that works for me.
    -BTW-
    it takes a Fontanna to lock up a BSA…… 🙂

    -nicker-

  30. 30 Mike Greenwald Nov 3rd, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Nicker,
    Get a flatty here
    http://www.vft.org/vftforsale2.html

  31. 31 Nicker Nov 3rd, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks Mike:

    RE:
    “…Good riding is not about ABS or traction control devices or any of that other add on crap…”

    “…. For the insurance industry to make a blanket recommendation/statement in the way that they have done here is frivolous and a smoke screen. ABS is not a panacea for getting a bike stopped quickly. I think that ABS may instill a false level of confidence in the rider as well as the public perception of what risks that can be assumed on a bike and I do not see that false confidence as beneficial to anybody riding a bike….”

    That is -The Definitive- answer to ABS…!!!!!

    The message couldn’t be more clear.
    Riding is a skill that must be learned.
    There are no short cuts to learning to ride.
    It;s a skill that can’t simply be bought.
    No amount of money will ever turn anyone into a biker (ask Reggie Jackson)

    Crashing is the ultimate equal opportunity activity.

    Nothing else needs to be said.

    -nicker-

  32. 32 Mike Greenwald Nov 3rd, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Nicker,

    You are right nothing more needs to be said about the insurance industry promotion of ABS. I thought that it might be important to point out that some of us need to review or learn how to brake.

    1. Which brake is the most effective? The front brake is the most effective, giving between 60 & 80% of the bike’s stopping power in hard stops, depending upon surface conditions. This is because most of the weight of the bike and rider transfers forward onto the front wheel when the brakes are applied. A common example of weight transfer is when you trip on a gutter – your feet stop but momentum keeps the top of you going and you fall flat on your face. The weight transfer that takes place under braking on a motorcycle pushes the front wheel onto the ground and makes it grip very well.

    2. Is the front wheel likely to skid if you apply the front brake hard? No. The front wheel is likely to skid uncontrollably and bring you down only if you jam the front brake on hard. If you apply the front brake in a staged (progressive) process, the front wheel may skid but that skid is normally quite controllable.

    3. Is the rear wheel likely to skid if you apply the brakes hard? With most of the weight being on the front wheel, the rear wheel tends to be light under braking and will therefore lock up and skid very easily.

    4. How do you control a rear wheel skid? Control of a rear wheel skid is easy. Just keep your eyes up to the horizon and look where you WANT to go (not necessarily where you are actually going) and the bike will skid in a controllable manner with a minimum of fishtailing. Basic and advanced braking techniques are best learned under controlled conditions rather than when a truck pulls out on you! Your local motorcycle school will run a fun braking exercise session for you and some mates if you care to call the school and arrange it.

    5. Is braking a natural skill? Braking, as with any riding skill, is a learned skill, not a natural one. This means you must practice the correct braking skills enough to make them an instinctive reaction before you can be sure that you will do the right things in an emergency. Overseas research has shown that, because of panic overpowering the rider’s conscious reactions, nearly a third of all riders do absolutely nothing in an accident situation: they don’t even apply the brakes! If, however, your high level braking skills are so well learned that they are instinctive, you will do it right, no matter what the situation. However, this requires you to do a lot of high level braking skill practice, the skills will not come with normal everyday riding.

    6. Is there a special braking technique that ensures that a rider will get the best out of a motorcycle’s brakes? Yes. The process is called STAGED BRAKING and it involves the rider applying the motorcycle’s brakes in a staged process. This gives the rider predictable, progressive braking.

    7. In an emergency do we concentrate on using staged braking on both front and back brakes? This is a controversial subject. Some experienced riders reckon that, even in an emergency when research has shown that panic tends to decrease your riding skills, they can apply the back brake perfectly with no loss of braking on the front. Well, research has shown that the average rider can only properly concentrate on the use of one brake in an emergency so, unless you think you’re road motorcycling’s equivalent of a top motorcycle racer, we would suggest that you concentrate on getting the best out of one brake. Of the front and rear brake on a motorcycle, the one to concentrate on in an emergency is the front brake because if you get that one wrong, lock it up and don’t correct that problem then you’re going to crash.. If you try to get the best out of both brakes in an emergency, you will get the best out of neither. You can’t concentrate FULLY on both brakes at one time. You know your mother’s old nag, “You can’t concentrate on two things at one time”! So, to get the best braking, you have to concentrate using either the front or the back brake and, since the front brake gives up to 80% of your braking power and incorrect application is likely to make you fall off, it makes sense to concentrate on the front brake. The American Motorcycle Safety Foundation teaches their instructors that “in an emergency braking situation you should apply the back brake hard and let the back wheel slide if it wants to. This way you can concentrate on what is happening up front; there’s enough to think about in the use of the front brake.”

    8. So how should I apply the rear brake? Apply it and forget about it. Let the back wheel skid if necessary. Concentrate on using staged braking to harness the superior power of the front brake to save your life.

    9. Is Staged Braking difficult to learn? Given practice, the skill is not difficult to learn. The best way to learn it is to start off with a four stage application of the front brake. Later you can increase the number of stages to make your braking more and more progressive, if you want to.

    10.Can you explain four stage braking in practical terms? To understand four stage braking, think of a rider coming up to a set of lights. Stage One is the force with which he applies the front brake when he sees the lights turn orange some way ahead, in other words, lightly. At Stage One, the rider is applying the front brake to the point where the brake is just on and slowing the bike down very, very gently to roll to a stop. Stage Two is the force the rider would use if he was a bit closer to the lights when they turned orange, and he had to make a normal, smooth stop at the lights. So, Stage Two is the firm pull used to bring the bike to a firm, but quiet stop. The rider applies his front brake to Stage One (friction point) before going on to apply to a steady force at Stage Two. Stage Three. Our rider has dithered about whether to stop for the orange light before deciding he’d better. By this time, he has to stop quite hard to stop. So he applies the front brake to friction point (Stage One), then onto a firm pull (Stage Two) before applying pressure with a strong pull at Stage Three. Stage Four. The rider very unwisely decides to run the orange only to find, just before he reaches the lights, that they turn red. In this serious situation the rider needs all the braking he’s got. So he applies the front brake to friction point, moves onto the firm pull of Stage Two, then to the strong pull of Stage Three, before giving it all he’s got at Stage Four.

    11. If you “give it all you’ve got” on the front brake at Stage Four, won’t you get front wheel lockup? Possibly but by using the staged braking process, by the time the tyre gets to the point of locking up at Stage Four, the weight has transferred forward onto the front wheel and any tendency of the front tire to lose grip is both easily sensed and controlled, unlike a front wheel skid caused by a tyre locking up when the brake is jammed on hard while weight is moving around on the bike under weight transfer. With correct use of the Four Stage process, controlling a front wheel skid is simply a matter of keeping the wheel steering straight ahead as you relax pressure on the front brake to allow the wheel to revolve again and regain grip.

    12. What will happen if the front wheel locks and I don’t relax some pressure? You’ll fall off as the wheel will eventually tuck under and the bike (and you) will fall down.

    13. How good can you get at emergency braking? In emergency stops, expert riders are capable of controlling a front wheel skid by releasing pressure on the front brake just enough to get that wheel turning again without actually letting the brake right off. This requires considerable sensitivity on the brakes and the only way you will gain this sort of sensitivity is to practice. At the NZMSC higher level Megarider sessions, the way the instructors tell if the pupil has reached a suitable standard is whether they can hear the front tire chattering as the tire grips at the point of adhesion during emergency stops.

    14. Is a bald tyre a liability when braking? A treadless tire will quite adequately handle braking stresses on a perfect road surface. The trouble is that perfect road surfaces are more than rare – they’re virtually extinct. Tire tread acts like a broom, sweeping debris, dirt, gravel and water etc off the road surface in order that the tyre can grip the road. The tread on a sensibly ridden motorcycle can comfortably handle most foreign matter on a road surface – with the possible exception of oil (especially diesel oil), thick mud, and smooth wet paint. But link a bald tire with foreign matter on the road surface and throw in braking stresses for good measure, and the crash will resound throughout the neighborhood.

    15. How should I brake on slippery and loose surfaces. Carefully but not timidly. The secret to good braking on poor surfaces is observation. If you know what’s under your wheels you can tailor your braking to the surface. So, keep an eye on the road surface. If you cross a slippery surface under strong braking the front wheel may lock. This is why riders who brake late and hard for orange or red lights often spill off – into the middle of the intersection. The fall occurs because the rider fails to ease the front brake as the front wheel crosses the white line that crosses the lanes at the edge of the intersection. Then the front wheel breaks loose under braking on the slippery surface, the rider panics and freezes, and he and his bike head groundwards… The basic requirements for braking on a loose surface such as gravel are the same as those applying to braking on a sealed surface. The difference is that you must observe the requirements more strictly on gravel. You must brake in plenty of time, preferably brake while upright and in a straight line (any braking while leaned over in gravel is extremely hazardous), use both brakes very progressively, carefully interpret the noise from the front and rear tire while braking to detect and counteract any wheel lock-up, know your road surface, and take particular care when braking on gradients, inclines, and heavy cambers.

    Emergency Braking is an obvious survival skill. In a crash situation one needs to be able to scrub off speed fast to either avoid crashing into something or to reduce the severity of the impact. A less obvious fact about emergency braking on a motorcycle is that poorly implemented emergency braking can itself cause a crash. In a crash situation in a car, locked wheels simply reduce the extent of speed reduction. On a motorcycle, locking a wheel (and especially the front wheel) is likely to cause the bike to go out of control and the rider to crash. In the first two years of riding, most riders untrained in emergency braking skills tend to lock the front brake under hard braking and fall off. Whether this crash is serious or not is mainly a matter of luck. This experience will undoubtedly cause the rider to be scared of using the front brake, the most effective brake on the machine, and can make him/her extremely vulnerable in a crash situation. Research by Harry Hurt of the University of California has established that only a small minority of riders correctly use their brakes in a crash situation. Most use only the back brake (which only provides about 20% of the machine’s total stopping power) while about a third apply no brakes at all! It has been suggested this happens because the rider, having fallen off under brakes in the past, is scared of his brakes. Getting riders used to using their brakes in emergency mode is essential to their health and survival. Just getting riders informed about the procedures and factors involved in emergency braking will go a long way to reducing the number of crashes, injuries, and deaths.

  33. 33 WP Nov 9th, 2008 at 12:02 am

    ABS is not needed on a bike unless you plan to ride in snow. I’ve ridden for 40 years without having a problem with locking my brakes up.
    Riders who are worried or who are technophiles might consider a Volvo.

  34. 34 Nicker Nov 16th, 2008 at 12:53 am

    RE:
    “… ABS is not needed on a bike unless you plan to ride in snow …”

    So, how did Magri get his panhead from Sacrament over Donner Summit to Squaw Valley and back to Sacramento in the middle of the winter of 1960…..???

    The answer then was – Learn how to ride.
    The answer today – Learn how to ride.

    Yes, it ain’t “fair” that ya have to “learn” to ride.
    And it’s even more unfair that some people are better at it than others…… 🙁

    Given time, I’m sure BO has a plan to give us all “Universal Riding Ability.”

    But until then you can expect to have every “safety” precaution thrown at ya that man can devise so that we’re all equal under the laws of physics.

    Happy high-siding.

    -nicker-

Comments are currently closed.
S&S
S&S
S&S
S&S
Barnett
Affliction Holdings, LLC

Socialize

Facebook Google+ Twitter