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Looking to trade my speedmaster for a new thunderbird at some point in time. I have never had a bike with ABS before and would like to hear what everyone has to say about this in general and about Triumphs' ABS system. I know some things are personal choice but would like any input to help me decide which way to go. Thanks for any input. Mark
 

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:) My new Monster has ABS as standard. You'd never guess until that heart stopping moment when it kicks in (hasn't happened yet) then you'll be glad it's there. Anyway, if Triumph's system is similar to Ducati's system, you can always switch it off (!) if you don't want it. I certainly wouldn't see it as a deal breaker.
 

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I don’t think you can switch the Triumph system off, from memory.

I’ve got it on my Thunderbird. It’s probably not essential for a bike like that, as it doesn’t get ridden in an aggressive way. In fact I don’t think it’s been activated yet.

My view regarding ABS in general is, why not? Okay, it costs a little more but the resale price is correspondingly higher. And it only (potentially) has to work once to be worth the extra.
 

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I've been drivin two wheelers consistantly now for almost 50 years and have never owned or driven a motorcycle equiped with ABS until 16 months ago when I bought my brandy new Tbird SE which comes standard with ABS.I have driven it over 27,000 miles since buying it and have only had to panic stop one time,which did,infact, activate the ABS system.And all I can tell ya is that,unlike the ABS systems used in the automobile which pulses like he** when ya stand on the pedal and maybe stop ya in time,Triumph's ABS system does not pulse, but STOPS ya real quick and without loosing control of the machine.Now I am not an advocate of ABS on any vehicle, but even I was impressed with the ABS system used on Triumph's Thunder Bird.So IMO,if ya have the choice,go for it.If not,then if ya just use common sense when riding it,ya should be ok.ABS is NOT somethin that ya really need or can't drive without. Dave!!!
 

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I've been drivin two wheelers consistantly now for almost 50 years and have never owned or driven a motorcycle equiped with ABS until 16 months ago when I bought my brandy new Tbird SE which comes standard with ABS.I have driven it over 27,000 miles since buying it and have only had to panic stop one time,which did,infact, activate the ABS system.And all I can tell ya is that,unlike the ABS systems used in the automobile which pulses like he** when ya stand on the pedal and maybe stop ya in time,Triumph's ABS system does not pulse, but STOPS ya real quick and without loosing control of the machine.Now I am not an advocate of ABS on any vehicle, but even I was impressed with the ABS system used on Triumph's Thunder Bird.So IMO,if ya have the choice,go for it.If not,then if ya just use common sense when riding it,ya should be ok.ABS is NOT somethin that ya really need or can't drive without. Dave!!!
I have only gotten the rear to activate and it pulsed like hell!

If the front actually activated it might not pulse but I doubt it activated and I was very displeased with the fact that it cant be turned off.

If I had a choice when buying I would have saved my cash and opted for no ABS as it seems by the performance of the rear that it will only function as a method to prolong my stopping distance and not allow me to slide the rear out quickly and efectively when the stopping distance is not there and you have no choice but to lay it down!
 

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Ahhh ABS on motorcycles. One of my favorite topics of discussion. I have thought long and hard about this question ...

My Tbird does not have ABS.

It wasn't an easy decision. There is always a trade-off with technology: It works great and its also proven to make people just a little bit stupider.

There have been countless studies done on this phenomenon, popularized in the Freakonomics books and others. The bottom line is that safety technology subconsciously often leads human beings to take more risks.

All the studies show: Throw a helmet on an average person, and they will much more readily undertake a risk they normally wouldn't take. When the NFL brought in mandatory helmets, neck injuries increased because players started leading tackles with their heads.

And its not just about helmets: Safer ski boots have led to more knee injuries as novices tackle slopes with overconfidence. People go into unsafe areas of town more readily if they have a phone or are armed, because they think technology is protecting them, when if they didn't have those devices they probably would have made a wide detour around a bad spot and avoided trouble completely.

There are countless examples of this - rubberized children's playgrounds lead to more sprains and broken bones than the old fashioned steel and wood ones we grew up on because kids subconsciously think they can jump off from higher up.

When I started reading about and studying this phenomena, I was forced to admit that sometimes I too see this effect at play in my life.

I don't know about anyone else. I only know about myself.

I am SUPER, RIDICULOUSLY careful when riding on rainy roads. I cut the speed waaay down, I practice maximum power emergency stops EVERY SINGLE ride in the rain. I concentrate on being smooth and intentional in every aspect with the bike. I leave extra large gaps for myself on the roads. All this to say ... in the wet, I am a completely different rider. I'm freakin' paranoid, bordering on fanaticism, and so far it has paid off. I often watch other riders in the rain and think to myself 'that guy is nuts' when he's probably riding perfectly normally.

ABS is logically safer: There is no doubt that it stops a bike much faster in the rain. On dry pavement its debatable, but probably also better for the average rider.

But on close, HONEST self-reflection here's what I know: I'm a human being. That means that I'm probably going to act like one from time to time.

I have been riding for just under 25 years on dozens of different bikes. Its one of the great passions of my life - for me, nothing compares to motorcycling.

Back when bikes had horrible drum brakes we were taught 'avoidance braking'; to pick either the shoulder or the lane split every time you stopped ... because you knew the bike probably wouldn't. That's what I learned at age 16. And that's still my mentality.

My greatest fear on the road is not other drivers, or rain, or a flat tire. My greatest fear is that I'll slip mentally.

Without even consciously thinking about it, I might just be a *little* tempted to ease off on the positive (and yes, even fun) paranoia that has kept me riding all these years. I might just ride a wee tiny bit faster at night; after all - says the little voice in my head when I'm running late - I can stop faster, right? I might just narrow the gap by 1/3 of a second between me and the car in front.

I know the little voice in my head that shows up at the worst of times would tell me I might not feel the need to practice emergency braking EVERY time I ride ... I mean, isn't that a little paranoid anyway??!?!

Deep down, I know that THAT is the most dangerous thing that can happen to me as a rider - that I subconsciously start to believe that I'm "a little safer". I've lived long enough to know that mentally, I'm my own worst enemy.

I can already hear some people who are reading this saying "But that's stupid. I'm different. I don't take risks I normally wouldn't take because I put on a helmet. I would ride just as safe with ABS. I'd never be lulled into a false sense of security by technology - even temporarily."

If that's really true, well ... good for you. I mean that sincerely. You are an extraordinary person. I truly wish I enjoyed your level of mental and emotional acuity, awareness and self-control.

For now I've decided to stick with a non-ABS bike. The Thunderbird has the most effective, smooth and powerful brakes of any cruiser I've ever ridden. I'll not suffer because of a lack of braking power.

Might I get ABS some day? Sure! Nothing wrong with them! Like all technology, they offer some great advantages.

But for me, "know thyself" is the name of the game. I don't feel short-changed at all because I don't have ABS.
 

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My opinion is to get ABS AND practice emergency braking.

ABS in a car is good, but its even better on a bike. If I am driving down the road and a deer jumps in front of me (happened twice to me last year) I do what everyone instinctively does - I slam on the brakes. If you lock the brakes on a car, no big deal, but lock the front on a motorcycle and you have trouble.

Dave slammed on his ABS brakes and 1) maintained control and 2) did not hit the object in front of him (a car if I remember from his post on the subject).

Another member, Raptavio, had a car pull in front of him and he hit the brakes too hard, locked the front tire and went down. fortunately he wasn't hurt bad, but did require hospitalization. I haven't seen him post in over a year so he may have given up on riding, but had he had ABS, his wheel would not have locked.

You can search for that post. He didn;t hit the car and one member claims that is because he went down, i.e., stopped faster, but it doesn't work that way. Keeping your bike on the rubber will stop you faster, always, then putting it down. The experts that write about motorcycle safety will tell you that even if you are going to hit an object, keep you bike upright and scrub as much speed as possible and that's what ABS let you do.
 

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One of the reasons I went for the T-Bird over the Speedmaster/ America was for the ABS.

One panic stop on a wet road one day will more than pay for itself.

I'm old enough to realize that i don't have the riding skills of Casey Stoner so I'm glad to have it.

ABS is becoming more popular all the time, in ten years it will be hard to buy a new bike without it.

Chhers

Jase
 

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In my experience, ABS has the edge, especially on wet pavement. It can keep you from accidentally locking up the rear brake, and gives you a better chance of stopping while still vertical. Does not do a lot on dirt or loose gravel. If I could chose exactly one option on a bike from now on, it will be ABS brakes. I have ridden a lot of years without them, and some older bikes with only a rear wheel brake, and now one equipped with ABS. ABS does not cure stupid driving, but it will help you on panic stops, stops on wet or flooded pavement and even for that, is, in my opinion, sufficient to add ABS to the top of your list. Louder pipes, comfy seats, radios and SIRIUS are great, but stopping your bike under bad conditions is perhaps more important to me.
 

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Just my 2 cents i had in my valkyrie interstate loved it, i have a rocket 3t and wish i had it! on a big heavy bike it makes it more controlable,i miss it........sandman
 

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I got the ABS because the bike that was available at the time had it. But, my dealer did say that 3-5 years from now if I decide to sell the bike that by then most buyers will prefer an ABS bike. So, it will help resale. Who knows?
 

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I have to say I’m really impressed with the quality of argument both for and against ABS in this thread - particularly Draeger’s excellent post which goes contrary to my advice but with which I have a great amount of sympathy and largely agree.

I also ride a Honda ST1100 Pan European with a very sophisticated (ABS, linked and assisted) braking system. On a wet motorway in driving rain it’s reassuring to know it’s there, but it does involve putting a lot of trust in Honda’s technology. 30 years of riding experience means my natural tendency is like Draeger’s - in fact I think we’ve got much the same riding philosophy - but it’s still nice to know it’s there even if I don’t depend on it.
 

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Threads like these are what makes this a great forum. Thoughtful, reasoned, balanced discussions between experienced riders who want to contribute their oppinions so others can make informed decisions. Thanks guys - great postings.
 

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Engage is right. You always want to slow down as much as possible even if you can't avoid a collision, and anti-lock brakes can help achieve that. Once a wheel locks your stopping distance will increase. Also laying your bike down as paulfun suggests is never a good idea no matter what the scenario is. Laying the bike down will also increase your stopping distance.
 

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Engage is right. You always want to slow down as much as possible even if you can't avoid a collision, and anti-lock brakes can help achieve that. Once a wheel locks your stopping distance will increase. Also laying your bike down as paulfun suggests is never a good idea no matter what the scenario is. Laying the bike down will also increase your stopping distance.
How many accidents have you personally been involved in?
Every accident isnt by the book and the so called experts have proven themselves wrong before.

Now think about this- Stopping didtance is stopping distance. When you have it you can stop without impact correct, when you dont have enuff stopping distance you are gonna hit something one way or the other correct. So laying the bike down and hitting it in a differtent manner or laying it down and hitting something else like a gaurd rail or a retainer can also become a viable solution but in many cases you will stand a better chance of less to no injury by being behind the bike.

I have laid my bike down purpously on two occaisions in order to avoid doing more damage both physical to the other driver as well as myself and the vehicles involved. Both times I was able to simply get up and walk away and so were the other drivers.

My cousin is living with brain damage because a rider that should have laid his bike down didnt! The bike went into the cockpit of the car and messed him up bad. Looking at the accident the rider would have probably lived also, if he wasnt entangled with the Caddy by staying on the bike!

THe night I hit the brakes on the thunderbird the bike ended up in the intersection right in harms way! If I was on my kawasaki it would have been on the ground with me standing right outside of the intersection but both would have been out of harms way!!

Most people seem to rely heavily on the experts and what they say. I muist question what the experts decide the criteria is for thier decision? IS it in fact that "most accidents or ALL accidents" happen this way and this is what you need to do! I seriously dout it! In fact what they are telling you is that "IN our observations we have found that most accidents we investigated happen like this" Its a polaticians type solution and it does help many riders aviod injury but it does not cover all accidents or circumstances that we may encounter nor does it cover the varied ability of the different riders and their ability to make the bike do things that others cant or wont.

In my opinion Dreager has the right Idea and is very close to what I was tought by my driving instructor (My Father who also happend to be not only a professional instructor but a STate Police officer) I will quote one thing he said here "Dont rely on that technology as if it dosnt function properly or fails completely you are sure to get hurt"
This has also affected us personally and let me tell you tractor trailers will tear up a car when they connect with you!

I Personally witnessed a man have his head severed off by listening to the experts as he hit a tracktor trailor in the upright possition when in fact if he would have laid the bike down he would have went right under the truck and probably been able to walk away! Guess the experts didnt get that one right! SORRY!
 

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How many accidents have you personally been involved in?
I have been in 3. All back in the 70's while riding a small Yamaha. Two were where I was knocked off while stopped making a left turn. The third was head on by a drunk driver in a station wagon. Lucky for me I had all my gear on and wasn't killed. As for laying a bike down...I would never do it. But I can tell you this, when you have an accident it happens so fast all you have is your instincts to rely on. I have a difficult time believing people who say they saw the accident so they "had to lay it down". This has just been my experience.
 

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An expert is usually defined as someone who has a high degree of knowledge about a subject.
Sharing a personal oppinion about an experience, such as an accident, is very useful and may help others to avoid serious consequences. I would not, however, disregard outright what others have to say just because it's not consistent with my own experience.
On important matters such as safety I think it's useful to consiser and learn from as many sources as possible. There may not be "just one right answer". I've had a heart attack but don't consider myself particularly knowledgeabe about cardiology...
 
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