As you know, the reason I bought a new bike was to upgrade to ABS. I believe in it so firmly that I put my money where my mouth was. As one who practically lives on a bike, ABS is a welcome backup to my own skills. Yes, I think I have really highly developed riding skills. No, I don't think I'm infallible. As good as I am, ABS never has an off day, never gets distracted, and always has up-to-the microsecond data on what's happening with the tires. I'm not saying I would never again ride a bike without ABS. However, the bike I use for business will always have it. Think about how much multi-tasking is required during our work day. It's great to have ABS in the background. It wil always totally be there even when my mind may not be.
In an interesting coincidence, right after my last post which was on braking, I received some information on how ABS has contributed to reducing rider fatalities. In a release from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( IIHS ), it was stated that bikes with ABS had a 38% lower representation in fatal crashes than similar motorcycles without them.
The news release was provided by MSNBC. You can read the article here.
What was interesting was that similar bikes were compared. In other words, a sport tourer model for example, was picked. Researchers looked at the fatal crashes involving that particular model. The model without ABS was represented more frequently than the same model with ABS. You can see for yourself by clicking here for the October 22 IIHS status report.
Since this kind of research is used to determine insurance rates, I'm going to ask my agent if my rate can be lower due to having ABS!
An vital reminder is that there are no magic bullets. ABS is certainly a wonderful tool. It is not a force field that will deflect all troubles. We still need good braking skills. Not every stop will require ABS. When we need to stop the bike "right now!" use the ABS. That's why we paid extra for it, after all. It's still critical to use the brakes smoothly even when getting into the ABS. Believe it or not, with really abrupt braking inputs, it's possible to still skid a tire. We've seen what we call a dashed skid mark. The rider controls weight transfer while the ABS controls wheel rotation. Here comes that "practice" word again!
By the way, I've been doing my own practice with the ABS on Elvira. She will stop so quickly from highway speeds that I literally get motion sickness from the sudden decelaration. Now that's the way a bike is supposed to stop!
Miles and smiles,
Coming up next, my brush with Smugness!