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How important is the ABS for a new rider?

  • Quite important, but not worth spending 20% more on the bike

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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, I'm getting the A2 license as we speak, and got my eyes on a beautiful Honda Shadow. They stopped making the majority of them 10-15 years ago so all I find second hand don't have ABS. Just a couple of days ago, I found a very recent 2016 version with ABS, but instead of costing 4 or 4.5k, it costs 5k. The last bike I rode was a moped almost 20 years ago, so I'm definitely new.

Thanks!

EDIT: Let me be a bit more specific:

I want a Shadow. Found a Shadow Spirit from 2015 with ABS. Costs 5000. Another one is a limited edition Shadow Phantom, extremely sexy, but for 4500. Normal Spirits are around 4000. Should I get the ABS one, being not as pretty and more expensive? Going to be mostly on secondary roads (mountain passes, sea-side, etc), no highway and no urban

EDIT2: Update: cannot get the ABS one. It "smells": less than 5k miles and it's 6 years old. Rust spots and need to have it transported 500km. Will get the Shadow Phantom with extras, that makes me drool just by thinking about it. I'll do a couple of safety courses with it to learn how to do emergency breaks and evasions
 

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ABS is nice to have, but you are unlikely to need it if you have good braking technique.
My Suzuki has ABS, my old Kawasaki doesn't. I'm happy with or without it.
Lack of ABS wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me.
 

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I say go with the most tech you can reasonably afford, it appears that many more motorcycle manufacturers are adding safety systems in compliance to the ever changing regulations as time goes by. Or so it would appear. Even Harley-Davidson now offers ABS and traction control stock on their touring platform.
 

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I'd go with the ABS. Having it can really save you in a panic situation or unforseen road condition, however, it is not a replacement for proper riding technique. You still need to practice panic stops, using both brakes etc. Ultimately, you can have the best skills in the world, but in a true emergency, I'll take all the help can get.

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Let me be a bit more specific:


I want a Shadow. Found a Shadow Spirit from 2015 with ABS. Costs 5000. Another one is a limited edition Shadow Phantom, extremely sexy, but for 4500. Normal Spirits are around 4000. Should I get the ABS one, being not as pretty and more expensive? Going to be mostly on secondary roads (mountain passes, sea-side, etc), no highway and no urban
 

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Let me be a bit more specific:

I want a Shadow. Found a Shadow Spirit from 2015 with ABS. Costs 5000. Another one is a limited edition Shadow Phantom, extremely sexy, but for 4500. Should I get the ABS one, being not as pretty and more expensive?
I'd buy the best bike you can for the money. If overall condition is similar, I'd personally go with the ABS bike. Yes, of course the way it looks, as far as color etc. and if you like it is important. The other part of the equation is that either seller may come down in price a bit too. As a rider with +/- 150,000 miles under my belt over the last 10-12 years, I'm a big fan of extra safety, but ultimately you buy the one that feels right to you. In the event of true emergency, that ABS may be the only thing between you and death or serious injury. No matter how great of a rider we are, how much we practice our panic stops and our evasive maneuvers; we never really know how we are going to react in the heat of the moment. I'll take any extra safety edge I can get.

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Even if the bike is uglier and more expensive? Safety first, I guess...
Uglier? If you don't like the bike don't buy it. You're always going to regret it. More expensive? That depends on you, I can't live in your wallet, and you can't live in mine. The difference to me between $4,500 or $5,000 is inconsequential. But I have no idea how you are setup financially. To me, yes safety is important.

It seems to me, that you know the answer to this question, but you're asking advice in hopes that someone will be able to confirm your decision. Nobody can do that for you.

My mom always said, that advice is what we seek when we know the answer but we're hoping for a different result


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I wouldn't let non-abs prevent me from buying a bike I like and thought was worth the price. I have had a lot of training in emergency and threshold stops and self-train often. I have had to use that training a few times over the years. I currently have 2 non-abs bikes and 1 abs bike.

There are a lot of "I's" in those statements, good luck on "your" decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
"It seems to me, that you know the answer to this question, but you're asking advice in hopes that someone will be able to confirm your decision. Nobody can do that for you."
I'll admit that I secretly was doing that. Waiting for someone to say "learn to break properly without ABS and get the one you like the most"
 

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You do not need ABS, or most of the other modern electronic stuff.
Fuel injection and bright headlights are nice. Same with electronic ignition. Starter motors are nice, but not much good if you do not maintain the battery. Discs brakes are nice, but change the fluid once in a while.

Often the answer you receive depends on who is answering.
A simple question. Is now a good time to spread grass seed? If I was selling grass seed the answer would be yes. If I was a gardener, the answer would have some qualifications.

So back to your question. A newbie or tech freak would likely answer yes to ABS. An experienced rider would likely say no, and add you need to learn to brake, and anticipate. If you over cook a corner, which is a common mistake, you need other skills beyond ABS. UK
 

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You are a brand new rider and my opinion is, after 58 years of riding, racing and touring on ALL kinds of bikes numbering 88 right now, is think safety! I mentioned the number of bikes and years, to show some motorcycling credibility and experience.

Experienced riders are a world apart from new riders and even they understand that the inexperienced need all the help they can get.

My vote is for you to get a bike with ABS---opinions may vary.:)

Sam:)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update: cannot get the ABS one. It "smells": less than 5k miles and it's 6 years old. Rust spots and need to have it transported 500km. Will get the Shadow Phantom with extras, that makes me drool just by thinking about it. I'll do a couple of safety courses with it to learn how to do emergency breaks and evasions
 

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I'll do a couple of safety courses with it to learn how to do emergency breaks and evasions
Of course it is essential that you learn emergency braking and swerving skills, and keep practicing them so that you don't get rusty. But just as important is learning how to be aware of your surroundings, and how to ride with safety margins (that is, with enough room between you and the vehicles ahead of you) so that you don't need to depend on those braking and swerving skills on a regular basis.

Your safety courses should teach this (situational awareness). If they don't then look for other courses. There are free online resources for this, too. Look for Dan Dan the Fireman's YouTube channel.
 

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There's a couple of riding techniques I find I have to practice constantly to keep up with. One of those is panic braking/stopping. The other is tight U-turns, which is probably more important for me as I ride 900 lb motorcycles. I guess my point to this post is, take the classes, but keep practicing no matter how long you've been riding. You just never know when you're going to need that skill, and if you haven't been practicing it on regular basis, when you need it, it may not be there.

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I'm sure you realize the value of having adequate braking distance, but that is just part of it, the part you most likely can control. What we don't control is the sudden obstacles that can present themselves whether that be another vehicle pulling out in front of us (side street or oncoming left turn), or animal darting across our path, etc.

Often repeating our skills for emergency/threshold stops is good and that should also include self-training to avoid the panic response. Of course we need to practice short distance stopping/slowing, but if we are doing that alone, it doesn't help much with the panic response, as we have already decided when to start braking. To help with the panic response it is better to have another person that can give us a sudden signal when to practice a stop. That is when not expected. The more we practice that, the less likely we will panic when we need to stop for real and the better we will get at threshold stropping.

Along with that is to also self-train threshold/emergency stops on other than flat dry hard surfaces. When ever the opportunity arises I like to self-train on dirt, grass, sand, and in the rain as these are the conditions ABS is most helpful and without ABS, these are the conditions we need the most training.
 

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Not important at all for a brand new rider. Maybe a bit more important for a newish rider who's never rode a bike without ABS, as i'd say they probably have the highest chance of doing some dumb sh*t with the brakes, cause ABS sort of let's you get away with that and that's what they'd be used to. Hell when I first started riding the bike barely even had brake fluid in it till I figured that out. People who tell you that you "NEED" ABS are the type of people who'd wear rain boots and a poncho in a light spring drizzle, it's just kinda unnecessary.
 

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I look on ABS as a nice to have.
If I was choosing all other things equal, I would pick the bike with ABS.
is it a deal breaker, maybe, probably because I‘m thinking about resale value. Maybe not depends on the price.
Do I need it to ride a bike?
Back to nice to have, better to have and not need, than to need and not have.
Did a course a couple of weeks ago.
Instructor did a demo.
we measured his stopping distance from 50k using the ABS.
we measured his stoping distance with him ussing good technic and the ABS didn’t activate.
it was approximately half the distance.
So the point is,
What you really need to have, is good brakinging technique.
Which requires practice.
Im still working on it.
 

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I think most have echoed what I would say and that is, what you really want to have is good braking technique, and that will come from practice and understanding the mechanisms of good braking technique. Electronics are good for sure but can sometimes mask inefficiencies in skill level. I like to suggest learning without and then having it just in case :)

That being said, how would you define good braking technique. What can you do to make your braking as smooth and efficient as possible without locking up the tires?
 
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