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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there

I am wondering if for a Honda Grom 125CC bike (that I will mostly use for trails and small amounts of highways), if I truly need ABS? What are the pros and cons? 2018 JUST got ABS for their bikes, but I love the 2016-17 models.

Whats your stance?
 

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You do not need ABS. that is my stance.
Practice in loose dirt, grab the front brake and find out what happens. Do the same with the rear. Now do it in a corner. Hopefully you will figure out what to do. Hint: Ease the brake before you crash. On really step down hills do not use the front brake, skid the rear.

UK
 

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Swamp Rat Rider
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You do not need ABS. that is my stance.
Practice in loose dirt, grab the front brake and find out what happens. Do the same with the rear. Now do it in a corner. Hopefully you will figure out what to do. Hint: Ease the brake before you crash. On really step down hills do not use the front brake, skid the rear.

UK
+1 No ABS Needed , That's my stance ..
 

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If ABS was really needed there would be a ton of bikes on the market cheap without it!
I have been riding for about 40 years and never even been on a bike with ABS I'm sure it would be nice but I'm making a change to find out.
 

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ABS is definitely nice. I have it on my cars and truck but not my vintage motorcycle which didn't come with it.

However, I've been driving cars and motorcycles since the mid-60's so ABS is more of a luxury than a necessity for me. Call me old fashioned but I believe everyone should learn to drove a vehicle with a manual transmission and without ABS before earning their operators' licenses. This would increase safety and also give everyone the knowledge to drive a vehicle with a clutch in case of emergencies.

And don't even get me started about texting while driving.....
 

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None of the 4 bikes I have owned in my lifetime so far none had ABS; in fact, the first two had drum brakes front and rear! There are many pro's and con's for and against ABS, and I won't get in to them. I'll just say that ABS is one of those nice-to-have things, but by no means is it necessary.
 

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Before I bought my first motorcycle last year, I asked most all sales floor personnel their game on ABS. I think they all said not really necessary. I would probably opt for traction control first over ABS. I think the best "hillbilly ABS" is what they teach in MSF courses; stay behind traffic in front of you at a 2 second interval distance; also, don't attempt maneuvers that are over your head, and you won't end up over the cliff...
 

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The Grom is not a dirt bike or a trail bike at all. It is a street intended motorcycle. ABS is wonderful on the street. Of dubious use if any off road or trail.

The new Honda Monkey 125cc is a more trail friendly platform but it is more of a scrambler with mostly street intentions. But try to find one--I have been doing so with no success. I will get mine without ABS. But on a larger street motorcycle, you betcha, yes, you do need ABS. Absolutely.
 

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ABS is a street tool.

The Grom is not a dirt bike or a trail bike at all. It is a street intended motorcycle. ABS is wonderful on the street. Of dubious use if any off road or trail.

The new Honda Monkey 125cc is a more trail friendly platform but it is more of a scrambler with mostly street intentions. But try to find one--I have been doing so with no success. I will get mine without ABS. But on a larger street motorcycle, you betcha, yes, you do need ABS. Absolutely.
There a few great posts here, but this tops those, well, in that it matches my opinion more, for what's that worth, lol.

You see, ABS is helpful on the street. In dirt and gravel it's proven to slow you down slower. Where are you riding tells me whether it's helpful or not.

Regardless, you know what's more helpful? Doing street and dirt drills practicing emergency braking so you can learn the max of any kind of braking you can do in the circumstance. ABS might let you hammer down when you shouldn't on a wet street and pull back some braking for you, but an excellent driver can out drive someone with ABS. In a panic, would ABS have ever helped me on the street? For an instant. The moment I realize I'm skidding I ease off and point the motorcycle in the right direction if stopping fast enough isn't an option.
 

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I have been riding almost a year without ABS and find stopping pretty easy. I haven't had any issues and have had to emergency brake a few times. I haven't had a situation yet to where it was so close I had no choice, but to 100% fully engaged the brakes or I would have a serious problem, but a couple were close to it.

I use traffic lights to practice stopping really fast. Eventually you get use to how to apply more pressure and the weight shifting. I did not take any courses.

Not sure how much of a difference trail riding would make. I imagine it depends on what kind of driver you are as well. I think anyone who is a good driver and doesn't get nervous probably won't habe trouble, but if you aren't a great driver then maybe get ABS.
 

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I know a guy who rides his Grom with street tyres as a dirt bike. He can't keep up with real dirt bikes, dual purpose, and trail bikes on the same trails, but the little thing is seemingly unstoppable.

With that in mind, ABS isn't going to help you in the dirt, especially with street tyres.

On the street? Honestly I don't think the Grom is fast/heavy enough to warrant the extra dough. I've ridden my neighbour's Grom a few times and the brakes are so good you'll do a stoppie if you aren't careful.

But that's just me, my oldest bike exclusively has drum brakes and it does the job pretty okay.
 

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On The Road Again!
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I've been riding for 50 years and I've never needed ABS on any bike I've owned.
Modern bikes have gotten WAYYYY too complicated.
 

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I never had ABS until the current motorcycle. I love it. Now that the technology is mainstream, why would you not choose it, other than to save a little money? It's like airbags. Sure, they are not really necessary. Millions of people drove for decades without them (a few million died who might otherwise not have). It absolutely can be done. Doesn't make it a great idea, though, when it is so easy to have airbags. It's not 1990. Get ABS.

Sure, 99 percent of the people on this forum drove cars/motorcycles in 1970 and, by definition, they are all still here telling you ABS is unnecessary (because they all have mad skills and can pulse their brakes on 1/10th second notice at 7 times per second because mad skills).

Would you run that gamble with your kid in their car? What if your kid wanted a 1970s car with drum brakes? Sound okay on today's roads? Are you going to ask your family to run that gamble with you?

IMO, just get a bike with ABS.
 

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Contrary to what the above poster said. Defensive riding is your best defense.
The OP is riding in the dirt. He does not need ABS. The bike he is riding is not fast, and does not have powerful brakes. For street riding he does not need ABS. It is not a matter of pulsing the brake lever, it is a matter of easing off the brake when the inputs require it. To learn about the inputs required, the best place is in the dirt IMO.
The good news is that is what he intends to do.

Once upon a time bikes took about 180 feet to stop from 60 mph. It was a good idea to ride defensively, which means avoiding situations where heavy braking was required. How did riders survive with such lousy brakes. Good bikes now stop in about 120 feet, really good in a lot less. The OP does not have a high speed, or good braking bike. The last thing he needs for this bike is ABS, IMO.

I have raced in quite a few very difficult cross country races. Difficult enough that there is often 40 finishers from 140 starters. Every finisher gets a trophy of some sort.
There is more to learn riding in difficult off road places, than on the highway. By that I mean more bike riding skills. For the pavement we need more traffic avoidance skills.

If the need arises after someone has purchased a higher performance bike, then take an advanced riding course.
A newbie on an R6, as is often described on these pages, needs all the help they can get. But often, nothing will save them. They are often WOT when they drill something solid.

Brakes are better, frames are better, tyres are better, motors are smoother. New bikes have a lot of good stuff going for them, yet the stroker set keeps doing what they have always done, crash and burn. Let us not fall prey to making our decisions based on this group.

Thank you for your input. UK
 

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Contrary to what the above poster said.
Nothing contrary. I agree totally with UK. If you are riding on dirt, skip the ABS. In addition, defensive driving (especially space cushioning) is your best defense. Your road strategy *should* avoid those situations where ABS would matter. But if it doesn't, it sure is nice to have ABS.
 

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ABS does not determine whether or not I will buy a particular bike. It's a good feature, especially for street riding if not so much for off-road. If I have a problem with ABS, it's that many folks will see it as an excuse for not maximizing their skills.

An example -- like most folks of my generation I learned to drive in a manual transmission car. By the time I got my license I could manage a clutch. I could start off smoothly with no stalling, even on steep hillsides, etc. Didn't matter if I was driving a VW Beetle, or my dad's old Ford pickup, or the big delivery truck I occasionally had to drive in my first job. And the first time I got behind the wheel of a car with an automatic transmission, there was zero transition time. I got behind the wheel, cranked it up, dropped it in to Drive, and away I went. By contrast, my son learned on a car with automatic and it was several years before he encountered a manual. The transition was anything but smooth! In fact, many years later he still shuns anything with a clutch, even though he eventually became reasonably proficient in using one.

Things like automatic transmission, ABS and, God help us, automatic braking and lane-keeping, are great accessories, but they obscure the need to learn basic skills you really need to have. What if there's an emergency and you have to drive a manual? What if the ABS fails and you have to make a sudden stop? What if the power steering goes and you suddenly have to haul that wheel around like you're driving a 1960 F100, instead of flicking it around with a fingertip? It is simply bad to assume all the goodies will work all the time.

Better, IMO, to learn the basics so that you're prepared if and when the advanced systems **** out.
 

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In the dirt, no ABS.
On the street, why not -- it's nice to have.
Kind of a wishy washy answer. Read again what the OP is riding.
There are some very bad cage drivers who could benefit form ABS while driving in the snow and ice. For straight ice, nothing will help except studs.
Are these conditions the OP or any other bike rider be subjected to?

In the rain, doing 100 mph that requires an emergency stop, ABS may help a rookie. Probably not, Rider aids are not the answer. It it were so, then all the safety devices to date, would be lowering the crashes. Is that what is happening?
The tires, brakes, head lights, cornering ability, defrosters, suspension and much more have been improved. Yet the stroker set continues to crash just like always.
The answer IMO, is not ABS brakes. It is a too simplistic approach to the problem, which you expressed quite well. " On the street, why not -- it is nice to have " Phooey.

It is interesting that all the more experienced riders say they do not like ABS. The newbies, as always would like an easy fix.
Do I need to post my credentials, for you or others to dismiss?
The fastest riders in the world, do not use ABS.

UK
 

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Kind of a wishy washy answer. Read again what the OP is riding.
There are some very bad cage drivers who could benefit form ABS while driving in the snow and ice. For straight ice, nothing will help except studs.
Are these conditions the OP or any other bike rider be subjected to?

In the rain, doing 100 mph that requires an emergency stop, ABS may help a rookie. Probably not, Rider aids are not the answer. It it were so, then all the safety devices to date, would be lowering the crashes. Is that what is happening?
The tires, brakes, head lights, cornering ability, defrosters, suspension and much more have been improved. Yet the stroker set continues to crash just like always.
The answer IMO, is not ABS brakes. It is a too simplistic approach to the problem, which you expressed quite well. " On the street, why not -- it is nice to have " Phooey.

It is interesting that all the more experienced riders say they do not like ABS. The newbies, as always would like an easy fix.
Do I need to post my credentials, for you or others to dismiss?
The fastest riders in the world, do not use ABS.

UK
Sigh. I did read what the OP will be riding. Hence the first part of my answer. He doesn't need ABS. But others were commenting on street riding too, so figured I'd drop my 2 cents in on that side of the coin too.

What exactly is wishy washy about my answer? You say the fastest riders in the world don't use ABS; that's true. Are you saying that we should all be held up to that standard though?

I'm simply recognizing that in a perfect world we'd all be as good as those top riders, be able to dedicate as much time to practicing our riding, our machines would be as capable and as well maintained, and would be ridden on perfect roads. But that's not the case, is it?

We DON'T all have lightening fast reflexes, we can't all say that 100% of the time we will never be surprised on the roads or be thrust into a panic braking situation. We can't say we will 100% of the time apply perfect braking force just short of locking things up and get the shortest stop possible, can we? We also don't ride on a meticulously maintained track on racing tires 100% of the time, do we? We might even encounter a wet patch of transmission fluid at the exact time we need to jam on the brakes (it's happened to me in my non-ABS equipped bike, and before you ask, no, I didn't dump the bike, but it was a pucker moment for sure).

So, while I will certainly count on my skills and practice my hard stops, it's nice to know that the option is out there to buy a bike that has ABS since I'm not a top rider in the world riding the bleeding edge of race bikes on a closed course in controlled conditions. And since ABS on supersports is actually pretty unintrusive, it will likely only cut in when I wouldn't actually be able to do better. As for other bikes, I don't know...I just know I saw a comparo of a pro rider on two supersports (an ABS and non ABS bike) and he was able to stop the non ABS bike, in wet conditions, within mere feet of the ABS bike (from highway speeds -- not race speeds). Did he do it slightly better? Meh, yeah I guess...but again -- controlled conditions, pro rider, no panic on his part. That isn't the real world.

Call me what you will. I stand by my opinion. And you don't have to agree. I DO agree we could all use more and more training and practice. Knowing the edge of the capabilities of your machine is important. We should never stop striving to improve our riding. But I'm not going to tell my mom and dad, both in their mid sixties that they're just looking for an "easy fix" by opting for a bike with ABS. That's ridiculous.

I wish you wouldn't talk so much trash about "newbies" though. I don't care what your credentials are, you were a newbie once too. And you didn't arrive at your current level, whatever it is, without a lot of experience, gained over time. We should welcome the newbies into this slowly dying hobby and not cast insults at them, regardless of their opinions on ABS -- even if you think them uninformed. And however old you are, if you continue to ride, your skills and reaction time WILL degrade. It might be nice to have a feature that can offer some peace of mind when you aren't in your prime any more, even if you aren't a "newbie" and you'd rather not admit it might just save your bacon one day.

I'll let you have the last word, I'm done here.
 

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Nice reply. No need to leave. I do not disagree with most of what you say. A careful reading of my many posts, will show I support new riders most of the time.
I do not offer much support for new riders that must ride an R6 and tell the more experienced how things are done. I have watched comparison braking tests, and can not agree with the results of many. We all slow down, either from a scary event, a desire for self preservation, family obligations, or maybe we were just going a bit fast to start with.
Often I advise new riders to practice in the dirt, by applying too much brake, front and rear, to find out what happens. Often my opinions differ, because I have likely done more extreme braking than most. I got my license to thrill in 1961. Have had zero crashes on the public highways. Several at the paved tracks, and hundreds in the dirt.

I wondered if my reply above was a bit harsh. I wrote it late last night after coming home from darts. Re read it this morning and it did not look too bad, but I expected it would get a rise.

I thought newbie was more polite than squirrel or squid.

UK
 
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