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Offline jcmk

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Honda ABS put to the test!
« on: 22 March, 2006, 09:12:04 PM »
I recently went to a Honda promotional day where you could try out all their bikes on a race track, on road, and also try ABS on a very special car park. I thought it would be worth sharing my experience of the ABS tests as I was initially very sceptical about ABS on bikes…

As far as the ABS tests are concerned here's how it all works. There is a big flat car park with 3 tracks: One track of standard dry asphalt, another painted with very slippery paint (like in multi storey car parks) simulating the same grip as a wet road and a third track with a sand pit right in the middle (and very dirty sandy asphalt immediately after the sand pit).

First of all an instructor takes a CBF 600 WITHOUT ABS equipped with lateral stabilisers that extend approximately 1 metre off the side of the bike with little wheels about 10 cm off the ground when the bike is straight. The little wheels are of the type that rotate round an axis like on supermarket carts. The instructor arrives at 60 kph on the painted surface and slams on the brakes. Naturally the bike is all over the place with complete loss of control. Same thing for the sand pit. Without the stabilisers the chap would probably be in hospital.

Then Honda gave us CBF 600s with ABS (but without stabilisers). Our first run was on dry asphalt and driving straight for the instructor at 60 kph. When he waves his arms you have to slam the brakes on and stop. I initially thought I was going to run him over because he told me to brake so late however the bike stopped promptly about 5 metres before him. After a few tries of this you have to do the same thing on the slippery painted surface…

Slamming your brakes on at 60kph on a slippery painted surface is hardly intuitive when you’ve been riding bikes for a few years. However I figured that if I’d been told to do so and Honda probably didn’t want to loose a bike (and a potential customer) so things would probably go OK. Well it’s really impressive. Just brake as hard as possible on front and back with hand on the clutch and the bike just stops and very quickly too. Not even a slight skid, the bike just stopped dead without either of the wheels even locking up for a millisecond. The weird thing is that you hardly even feel the ABS is working for you (apparently the CBF 600 and 1000 have a “second generation” ABS).

Nobody in a sound state of mind would ever dream of slamming their brakes on at 60 kph in a sand pit however that’s what we were told to do. I wasn’t particularly reassured but figured once again that if that’s what we were told to do all would be OK. So immediately upon arriving in the sand pit at 60 kph I slammed on the brakes (as hard as I could back & front with hand on the clutch). The bike stays nice and straight, doesn’t skid, goes straight through the sand pit slowing down and as soon as I was back on the asphalt (which was smothered with gravel and sand a few mm think) the bike came to a prompt stop. Naturally, with no adherence in the deep sand the bike couldn’t stop completely but never once did the wheels lock up and the bike’s stability was never compromised. Very convincing indeed!

It was great to be able to test this stuff on somebody else’s bike (in this case courtesy of Honda France) and I’d encourage anybody given this opportunity to give it a try. You’d probably never be confident enough to try this stuff on your own bike and having tried it out once before I’d now feel much more confident to slam on the brakes on my future CBF 1000 ABS and let the system work for me.

If I’m ever given the option of buying a bike with or without ABS I’ll always go for the bike that has ABS. Even if you only ever use it once it’s worth it. On the CBF 1000 the price with ABS is 600 Euros more than that without. Worth noting is that when you buy the ABS version you also get the centre stand (worth 200 Euros) so the ABS is only really costing 400 Euros. A complete no-brainer. Compare this to BMW that charge 1000 Euros for ABS or Honda that still charge a 1000 Euro premium for ABS on some bikes (Varadero 1000 & others).

Regards to all,

JCMK

Offline The Doctor

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Re: Honda ABS put to the test!
« Reply #1 on: 23 March, 2006, 10:00:06 AM »
Hi JCMK!

Great report!

Would be great if Honda would organise something like this in Belgium too!

I bought the ABS for never having to use it (hopefully), like with most passive safety features.

Am quite convinced that in a panic situation, 9 out of 10 people would lock up the brakes which results in losing control of the bike (and falling eventually). This could be avoided by defensive driving attitude and in worst case the ABS can keep you out of trouble.

It's like with an umbrella: when you have it with you, it never rains, but one time you leave home without it, ..... (well you know).

Thks+rgds,

The Doctor.

Offline NBP

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Re: Honda ABS put to the test!
« Reply #2 on: 23 March, 2006, 03:05:47 PM »
Yes, good report that.
In my opinion it would be foolhardy not to go for the ABS version of this bike.
We all know that part of being a good rider is not to get yourself in to a situation where you have to panic brake. But we also know that in the real world with so many dozy car drivers about, it often happens.
I have been in this situation three times in the last five years or so. On each occasion the roads were dry, and I was able to stop in time. However, I did lock the rear wheel on each occasion, and it worries me that had the roads been wet I could have locked the front. The posible result doesn't bear thinking about.
A good friend of mine had to perform an emergency stop from 130 mph a few weeks ago on an old model Fazer 1000. He came over a crest in the road to find a horse box on it's side in the road. He locked the rear brake three times, and the front once. He ended up stopping about 60cm from the side of it!! (Yes, I agree, he was going way to fast)               
He tells me that he still can't believe he did not die. He also tells me that the next bike he buys will have ABS.
Now, ABS is no insurance against having an accident, and it won't protect you from your own stupidity, but it does improve your chances if the s**t hits the fan.
It's dangerous out there people, anything that improves your chances has to be good.
Only £300 extra for linked brakes, ABS, and a centre stand......Bargain.

 


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