Should You Dismiss Anti-Lock Braking System When You Buy A New Motorcycle?

A new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HDLI), an organization doing scientific studies of insurance data representing the human and economic losses resulting from the ownership and operation of different types of vehicles and supported by auto insurers, shows that anti-lock brakes, despite their unpopularity, reduce motorcycle crashes.

 The study demonstrates the benefit of ABS for bikers of every level of experience, but much more for inexperienced bikers. HDLI states that beginners riding bikes with ABS are 30 percent less likely to file an accident insurance claim within the crucial first 90 days of ridership and 19 percent less after that.

ABS would help newbies compensate for their mistakes. At the same time, riders with more experience also reap large benefits from the technology. Opponents to buying the anti-lock braking system offered as an option on a new motorcycle usually mention the cost of ABS versus benefit and think that if a beginner gets riding experience relying on ABS he will not acquire the handling skills to compensate locking and sliding with his bike when the ABS system will malfunction. All bikers with ABS equipped motorcycles already get a premium discount from their insurer.

21 Responses to “Should You Dismiss Anti-Lock Braking System When You Buy A New Motorcycle?”

  1. 1 Luis Jul 15th, 2012 at 8:47 am

    As long as you can disable it when you want to I’m fine w/ it.

  2. 2 Troll Jul 15th, 2012 at 9:28 am

    First wires to cut….

  3. 3 BobS Jul 15th, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Two things I always want on a bike. ABS and a really loud horn.

  4. 4 roscoe Jul 15th, 2012 at 11:11 am

    ABS is the way to go. I wish my current bike had it.

  5. 5 Tom Jul 15th, 2012 at 11:29 am

    And until you feel how system works you will be at it’s mercy,just as long as you don’t drive like stupid cagers who think it will help when they stop at the last minute.

  6. 6 Bleeding Ears Jul 15th, 2012 at 11:32 am

    “First wires to cut….” Stupid is as stupid does.

  7. 7 TC Jul 15th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    my new bike has ABS and i will never buy a bike without it again, its nice to visit the past but dont try to live there these bikes acualy stop when i see others slide

  8. 8 richard Jul 15th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I’m on my 2nd HD bike with ABS. It WORKS!

  9. 9 Fredp Jul 15th, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    No rider can brake better in a panic or wet situation than ABS. Your brain just don’t get it at panic time!

  10. 10 Patrick Jul 15th, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    ABS. A must for touring bikes. Ride without it at your own risk.

  11. 11 Zyon Jul 15th, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I don;t have ABS on my bike and it takes me way to long to get stopped. I wish I had them. It’s an option I’ll pay for when I get my next bike. I’m not so sure why people shy away from safety features that can help keep them alive.

    I’ve had ABS on the last umpteen cars I’ve owned and I’ve never seen one fail. However, I’ve had the piston on the front brake of my bike go out on me completely twice and I lost brake pressure out of the blue once on my rear. Crap can happen to any part at any time. You are better with the safety features.

  12. 12 Jonathan Jul 15th, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Two thoughts:

    1. “The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)……” Conclusions of IIHS and its affiliates concerning motorcycles are suspect and probably based on ‘cooked’ data. They are pursuing a predetermined agenda.

    2. ABS is screwing up my wife’s F650GS: it jams and prevents the front brakes from functioning at all. So far, no one can diagnose the problem. Hmmmm……. all the non-ABS bikes in the family (4 others) stop just fine. No doubt, ABS works fine when it works, but for the moment I’m really glad it is switchable on my wife’s bike.

  13. 13 mymidbikecrisis Jul 16th, 2012 at 2:52 am

    These days motorcycle manufacturers seem happy to encourage you to do wheelies by letting you turn off Traction Control, but apparently still a strict policy on Stoppies when it comes to ABS. They just won’t let you do it!

  14. 14 Greg T. Jul 16th, 2012 at 6:15 am

    BMW is equipping all of their road bikes with ABS as standard equipment for 2013. I have it on my 2012 BMW F800R (optional in 2011, standard in 2012.) Happy it’s there. I agree with many of the comments here (and sympathize, too.) You can’t rely on it to be your safety net, and setup is important.

  15. 15 fuji Jul 16th, 2012 at 7:25 am

    One of my bikes has a linked brake system.

    At first I was scepticle of the system but thru time and circustances it has been a valuble addition now my regret is that I didnt get the ABS

    I will say this . When riding one of my bikes without brake assistance I have to remind myself of its capabilitys.

    At my age my reflexes dont compensate for the differrence as qiuickly.

    Insurance companys will give a discount for ABS

  16. 16 BobS Jul 16th, 2012 at 8:25 am

    The IIHS certainly does have an agenda. If we wreck less, they pay fewer claims, their profits go up. What insurance company or association doesn’t want more profit?

  17. 17 ValueTeck Enterprises Jul 16th, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Won’t leave home without it. Motorcycle or car.

  18. 18 Walt Lumpkin Jul 16th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    It has saved my butt more than once. I never leave on a trip without them.

  19. 19 Slow Ride Jul 16th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    There is no way to balance a motorcycle if the wheels are locked up. The wheels have to turn to balance a two wheel machine. If the wheels are locked up, you’re out of control. The only way to regain control is have the wheels start turning again. Or to come to a stop (hit something).

  20. 20 BobS Jul 16th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Slow Ride, that’s not technically true. When your bike is sliding down the highway grinding off all your custom paint and fancy chrome pieces you will have zero traction on both wheels…perfect balance!

  21. 21 PJ Hyland Jul 16th, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    There’s an alternative to ABS. It’s called TCB (Traction Control Braking). I understand that it has been featured in Cyril’s blog in the past. It’s a device, about the size of your thumb, that replaces the banjo bolt on each of your calipers. It features a rubber diaphragm that separates the brake fluid from a small air-filled chamber. In a panic stop the device releases some of the pressure in the system. This allows the wheels to continue to turn slightly. The tires scream but because the wheels never fully lock up the bike tracks straight and stops in a significantly shorter distance than without the devices installed. Plus you’ll find that your brakes work more effectively under moderate to hard braking.

    The confidenceI I feel knowing that my braking system will help me avoid loosing control in a panic situation makes riding more pleasurable. I will install them on any bike I own going forward.

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Cyril Huze