Here we are talking about general road riding.
If like me, you have been riding bikes forever and now you are recently riding a scooter with ABS you may need to make some changes to the way you break especially where your breaking zone in over a bumpy surface.
As we know, the front break is where the majority of our stopping power comes from. The harder we break the more the front wheel is loaded and the "lighter" / less effective the rear wheel becomes. The rear wheel does however provide some stability when breaking and “settles” the back end of the machine.
I have always used both front and rear to the max when the need arises to reduce speed rapidly. My current scooter is a BMW R1200GS with ABS and after years of riding super bikes without ABS it took a little getting used to but soon I loved it and became totally confident in the system.
Initially though, I was caught by surprise by the ABS. Coming up to a very familiar T-junction, I was breaking firmly, but well within expected limits, suddenly the ABS released all breaking for a split second, grabbed again, released and so on as I crossed a section of 10 meters or more of quite bumpy section.
The problem was, with the rear wheel bouncing off the ground and me using lots of front and rear break as I always have, every time the rear wheel came off the ground over the bumps, or even became light, it was stopped or slowed enough to change the differential speed between the front and rear wheels and the ABS jumped into play.
Doing the same bumpy section over again applying the same front breaking pressure, and using very little or no rear brake force, allowed me to stop faster and more controlled without the ABS needing to get involved. The rear wheel, although still coming off the ground didn’t stop or slow rotation greater than the front.
I then tried the same section again, again using only front brake, but this time grabbing the front lever as hard as possible. The ABS now briefly kicking in and out as the front tyre was pushed beyond its grip capability. The stopping distance was remarkably shorter than the first attempt where I was using my rear brake together with the front.
The key is for you to understand your bike and the particular ABS system. Some systems now have multiple settings for various conditions. Bike ABS is becoming more and more sophisticated with improvements and refinements coming out with each new model. I believe that the ABS system Honda have developed is setting the standard – smooth and subtle to the point where the rider can barely feel it doing is job to get you stopped as fast as possible.
Safe Riding.... ThinkMike