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  #1  
Old 6 Feb 2009
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ABS - worth it?

Hi, all!
(Since this is a BMW-specific question, I hope I'm posting in the right place)

Looking to buy an F 800 GS. Almost every dealer is stocking them with ABS, but a few have them without (or are willing to order). Anti-lock brakes adds about $900 to the price.

Anyone have experience with this? I'm a city rider looking to start adventure riding when the weather breaks. Have never ridden with ABS before, and am concerned about the "liability" of running through brakes every year - at BMW prices, no less.

Thanks for your input!
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  #2  
Old 6 Feb 2009
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What do you mean liability of running through brakes?

i have a K1200RS and love the fact ABS is there on the crappy days to save my skin...
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  #3  
Old 6 Feb 2009
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Oh dear, massive can of worms opened

-Those that have BMWs with ABS will say it's great, get it, saved their lives many times, etc, etc.

-Those that have BMWs without ABS will say it's not necessary, don't get it, added complexity, etc, they have never needed it.

That's more or less what happens every time ABS is mentioned, oh & I fogot one more -

Those that don't have a BMW will say don't get a BMW!!
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  #4  
Old 6 Feb 2009
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The ABS on the 800GS can be switched off when you go off of the paved road.
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  #5  
Old 7 Feb 2009
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Don't listen the bollox from both sides.

First question would be are you mr. Valentino Rossi or anybody from racing scene? If not, then...

Check the real life tests and make up your own conlusions:

No Fault Braking, A Real-World Comparision
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  #6  
Old 7 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Margus View Post
Don't listen the bollox from both sides.

First question would be are you mr. Valentino Rossi or anybody from racing scene? If not, then...

Check the real life tests and make up your own conlusions:

No Fault Braking, A Real-World Comparision
That makes for fairly positive reading (though 17 years old)

So would I be right in guessing, Margus, that you do ride an ABS equipped bike?
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Old 7 Feb 2009
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BMW's ABS is great...until it breaks!
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  #8  
Old 7 Feb 2009
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For City riding I would go with ABS. Yes, it can act up on BMW's but you've got a long warranty to sort that out. IMO, worth the money and in the US, I really don't think you can get one without it. It's how BMW are making a profit on that F800GS.

If you are always, 100% alert you may "beat" ABS in dry conditions. But ABS cuts you some slack and allows you to slam brakes on on wet or slick City conditions and survive. Once you understand how it works and where it won't help you ... it's quite nice. Especially in City traffic.

I was testing a brand new R1200GS in San Francisco. I had just picked the thing up and only been on it for half an hour. Lane splitting through stopped traffic at about 20 mph. Some Chinese guy had barely tapped another car in front of him. The guy was out of the car inspecting damage (none) as I came by. Next, his Mother suddenly gets out on the passenger side opens the car door 2 meters in front of me and starts to get out. I had ZERO time to react! And...
It was raining
But that bugger GS stopped RIgHt NOW! .... about 6 inches from the inside door leather and just missed the old Chinese lady ... who turned green and slide her ass back in the car mumbling in Cantonese. I've never seen a bike stop that good.

I paddled backward ... speechless ... and rode away. I was not speechless at the lady getting out into moving traffic .... that's normal San Fran Asian driving behavior .... what made me speechless was the AMAZING stopping ability of that bike.

BMW's have some issues but stopping quickly is not one of them.

Patrick
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Old 8 Feb 2009
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I too had a situation here in Mexico City with one of the Cafre's (taxi driver). Man, that was close! doing about 70kph, he pulled out in front of me into my lane, then decided to SLAM on his brakes My intent was the old brake and dodge, risking inniment death once i enter the lane next to me, but the ABS worked so well i didn't need to. I was quite impressed! Did it save my life, couldn't tell you. I've had non ABS situations that were similar, and i'm still here . Now, having said all this, my bike was an '05 model with servo brakes. Having owned a bike with them, and having maintained about a dozen of them last year while working in the bike shop, i will say that i would avoid this type of ABS system. It is very problematic, difficult to maintain and residual braking in the event of a failure makes the brakes on an R100GS look superior! BMW has realised that they are garbage, and probably lost their shirt in warranty claims (me included, one month outside of warranty ) and have gone back to a non-servo system. On these models, you don't know you have ABS until it initiates. If i had a choice, i would get the new ABS, if not for the safety factor, but for the re-sale factor also
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  #10  
Old 8 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl P View Post
-Those that have BMWs with ABS will say it's great, get it, saved their lives many times, etc, etc.

-Those that have BMWs without ABS will say it's not necessary, don't get it, added complexity, etc, they have never needed it.
And those whos have a BMW with ABS and hates it...
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  #11  
Old 8 Feb 2009
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Presuming you'll be on pavement most of the time, I would definitely get ABS. I went to a BMW training course where they had us (and the trainer himself) do a hard brake with and without ABS to see which worked better--on pavement, ABS was a big difference, but on a gravel/dirt road, you can stop better w/o ABS. But it is easy to turn off before getting on such roads, so it's OK.

And I have seen very little about technical problems with the ABS on the BMWs, so I wouldn't worry that much about reliability.
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  #12  
Old 9 Feb 2009
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Thoughtful replies

Thanks, all, for your thoughtful replies.
It doesn't seem to be a black & white issue, really, but it's helped me decide.

I think I'm just resistant to the price, but, it is in essence a safety feature, and as a year-round NYC rider, well... $900 is less than any hospital bill. And a 3-year warranty does add comfort to the prospect of ABS failure.
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Old 9 Feb 2009
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That's exactly the logic I used when getting ABS on my bike. Plus, remember you will get a reasonable amount of that $900 back when/if you sell the bike.
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  #14  
Old 10 Feb 2009
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I dont think there´s really any debate that (in street riding) ABS can help, when you have a really tough situation. That might not happen very often, some people ride for years and years without one such incident..... but the rarity of these is also the reason, why it is almost impossible to prepare for them. Or be able to do exactly the right things at exactly the right moment.

This kind of situation will jump on you, when you´ll least expect it, and I believe way more than 90% of riders are not able to get their best braking performance at that precise moment. It is highly likely there won´t be any time to correct it. Will be very good not to be able to lock the wheels then.

Dont know, how other manufacturers handle it technically, but Suzuki uses exactly the same hydraulic unit, that they´ve had in their cars for years (cars have 2 such units, though). It´s proven technology, and I can confirm it worked 100% on our halfwayaroundtheworldtrip, and has also been working without a glitch ever since. The bike´s now done 55.000 kms. I am yet to hear about 1 serious technical issue with Suzuki´s ABS on bikes, and these days they do have many models equipped with it, that have also sold in big numbers.

Me, I will never get another streetbike without ABS.
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  #15  
Old 10 Feb 2009
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I had a GS with ABS. A nice safety feature, peace of mind etc, but only twice did it ever kick in. To be fair, had it not, it would have hurt.

That said, I have never had it, nor needed it, on any of the other 18 bikes I have owned and the outcomes of both major prangs I have had, courtesy of cage-driving myopia, would not have been improved by having ABS. Up until last year I did a lot of miles every year and lots of those were in the city, in heavy traffic conditions.

If you have ABS, I think its a good feature but if you find a bike that ticks your boxes, but happens not to have ABS, I still think you'll be fine and have a slightly fatter wallet.

However, learning to stop well and in a controlled fashion is still something to practice and learn, if you can, rather than learning exclusively on the road where messing it up may not be as forgiving as the local carpark.
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