Motorman’s Tips, Tricks and Techniques
I frequently get asked by riders that plan on purchasing a new motorcycle if they should spend the extra money for ABS (anti-lock brakes). The answer is a resounding YES. ABS is a life saver and probably the best innovation to come along in years.
The fact is, most motorcycle crashes could have been avoided had the rider had an ABS equipped motorcycle. Forget for a moment who cause the crash. It doesn’t matter who’s at fault when your sliding across the ground and wind up in the hospital and your motorcycle is totaled.
Most motorcycle crashes happen when a vehicle violates your right of way. The rider then panics, locks up the rear brake or both brakes, then slides onto the ground and right into the vehicle they were trying to avoid. In these situations, a rider will exclaim, “I had to lay the bike down!” It’s as if the rider believes the bike will stop sooner by sliding on the ground and can be steered somehow while doing that sliding. That of course is nonsense. The bike will stop shorter on its tires, period.
I understand fully that modulating the brakes to keep them from locking the tires is difficult, especially for someone that never practices emergency braking. That’s exactly why ABS is a life saver on a bike with ABS, the tires cannot lock if the bike is straight up. Even in wet conditions or an oily surface. The bike will stop straight and true every time.
You must remember, the bike cannot be leaning when you apply the brakes with full force. If you straighten up the bike you can slam on both brakes as hard as you care to without locking the tires and skidding.
There are two types of motorcycles, KTM and BMW where you can in fact, use full force on the brakes even with the bike in a lean. That system is not yet available on Harley’s or any other cruiser type motorcycle that I’m aware.
Harley provides an excellent video on all their models with ABS that show what ABS can and can’t do. I highly recommend getting that dvd out of the saddlebag and watching it.
I also recommend testing your brakes on your ABS equipped motorcycle. Start at 20 mph and work up to whatever speed you’re likely to ride. A short practice session will give you the confidence to use your brakes to their fullest extent prior to an emergency braking situation.
So, if you’re wondering if you should go for the extra money, of course you should. Personally, I won’t buy any new bike without ABS.
I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. I also hope that you go to my website, www.ridelikeapro.com and purchase my NEW Best Combo package. The three techniques I teach you to master will save your life because you’ll have skills and confidence for riding that new shiny motorcycle Santa brought you. It’s the best hundred bucks you’ll spend on you. Trust me, everything from A to Z about riding properly is in this package deal.
Till next month, get out there and practice.
Jerry “Motorman” Palladino
Copyright 2016 Jerry “Motorman” Palladino www.ridelikeapro.com