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- Subject: ABS
- From: "Tom Brown" <tbrown@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 21:13:47 -0600
You're the guy who removed his ABS! Thanks for checking in. After riding
a couple of early ABS bikes, I have to concur that a nice, non-ABS brake
system with stainless lines is probably a better deal.
How difficult was this to remove and re-route? I know how difficult it was
to convince everyone on this list you aren't crazy. I'd only be worried
about resale of the bike after removing a highly touted safety feature.
I'm pretty sure the actual brakes work just great.
I can tell you that ABSII was on my '99RT and the front brake never worked
right until I installed EBC HH pads. I think maybe the stock pads have been
contaminated with brake fluid or something.
I next got an '04 with the first generation servo brakes. The new brake's
ABS cycled better than ABS II, but the servo system is pretty grabby when
the bike is running and there are almost no brakes when the bike is off.
They stop like hitting a wall and are very quick to work. Nice at speed,
but at slow speeds, kind of hard to modulate. The right side pedal is
pretty unnecessary. Does the same thing as the front brake lever with less
I sold the '04 when the hex head came out. The brake system on that bike is
very good. Not only is ABS as good or better, but the brakes are easier to
modulate, stop just as hard and fast, work better when the bike is turned
off and the rear brake works the rear wheel only, which can be handy for
BMW is improving this technology and I think it's safe to say that the
latest version is a pretty nice thing to have on a bike like the RT. For
track riding, I'd still prefer plain old excellent non-abs, non servo
brakes, but this technology shines in everyday use.
>1. Of the various surface/obstacle conditions tested, rough rippled
was not among them. It was precisely this condition which, on multiple
occasions and not just in Michigan, caused anomalous ABS behaviour on my
that flat scared the hell out of me. I was, and remain, convinced that those
specific, particular situations would have been utterly non-memorable if the
ABS had not activated. Conversely, I do not have any "ABS saved my butt"
stories (though I'm sure many riders do).
The roads in Michigan have not gotten any better since I removed the ABS.
And I've not had a single terrifying experience while riding since then,
2. "Although ABS bikes have several more feet of plumbing, which could
theoretically make for mushy or less reactive brakes, except for our Racer
(who insisted all the bikes needed braided steel brake lines), our testers
felt the ABS bikes equaled the feel of the stock machines."
Gotta agree with Racer: my RS brakes always had a disgustingly mushy feel,
from day one and no matter how often the fluid was changed, until I removed
the ABS. Since then, with braided lines up front...oooooooh what a nice,
feel. Night and day difference. I savor it every time I ride, this morning's
Now, having said all that (and hoping here's a bit of fire-prevention):
A. The article--not to mention persuasive arguments from the likes of
like Steve M.--is pretty convincing. Not quite enough to make me want to
re-install my ABS, but enough that I'll certainly consider an ABS-equipped
bike when the time comes to replace my current mount; but you can bet I'll
hunt down some seriously screwed-up pavement for my test ride.
And yes, yes, I know I'm making the utterly unwarranted assumption that I'll
somehow survive without ABS until then.
B. It's my understanding that BMW ABS has evolved at least one generation
since the ABSII which came on my early '93 RS. Quite possibly a unit with a
faster modulation rate would not be affected by rough pavement the way mine
was. Maybe I'd like the Honda or Yamaha ABS a lot better. I'll find out,
because I don't plan to automatically replace my RS with another BMW.
C. Maybe my particular ABS unit was defective all along. I know for a fact
was set up wrong initially: it was way too trigger-happy--but I didn't know
any better--until the first time I replaced the front tire which (I
resulted in the sensor gap finally getting set correctly. But the
that the system had all that time been seriously malfunctional, and had
unquestionably compromised braking effectiveness, certainly left a sour
that never went away.
'93 R1100RS x-ABS x-Bing x-teal seat