So, have there been any studies on technique improvements to be used with ABS?
Couple of things may interest you.
First I don't have a link for:
The Institute for Vehicle Safety in Munich has come up with some significant findings in its investigation "Braking as the Cause of Fatal Accidents" by Dr. Alexander Sporner (MOTORRAD, Vol. 13, June 9, 2000): In most cases, incorrect braking is the reason for dropping the bike.
In 93% of the cases analysed, a fall could have been avoided by ABS.
10% of all fatal motorcycling accidents could be avoided if ABS were a standard feature on all motorcycles.
Second, from a UK bike mag TWO, features a journalist and Jamie Whitham, a racer of some repute:
The bikes ... with ABS: Triumph Sprint ST / non ABS: Sprint ST with standard brakes.
Man v ABS To give us some baseline figures Whit braked from an indicated 80mph (a genuine 75) to stationary on both bikes as hard as he could, first using both front & rear, then only front, only rear... and finally using engine braking alone.
Test 1 - both brakes combined, 75mph to 0mph
ABS 4.18 sec, 227 feet
Non ABS 4.35 sec, 237 feet
With the ABS the rear's making a big difference. When you're braking hard the ABS kicks in and reduces the braking force on the front, which pushes weight onto the back as the forks decompress. I was holding both brakes hard so the back would then be working to stop the bike even harder for the time before the front recovered grip. It almost see-sawed back and forth as the ABS reduced then increased the braking. On the non-ABS bike I lost this bit of extra braking from the rear. I concentrated on the front's grip while keeping pressure on the rear constant.
Test 2 - Only using the front brake, 75mph to 0mph
ABS 4.75 sec, 265 feet
Non ABS 4.6 sec, 258 feet
Once I had the bike settled with some braking force, I only had to concentrate on what the tyre was doing. I can feel when the tyre is about to lock and release the brakes slightly. The thing with the non-ABS bike is I could reach a constant, near the limit of traction, and keep it there. With ABS you jam it on and when it thinks its going to lock it releases, then brakes again, releases etc which loses time.
Test 3 - Only using the rear brake, 75mph to 0mph
ABS 8.15 sec, 435 feet
Non ABS 7.8 sec, 409 feet
It doesn't so matter if the rear wheel locks. A 5m front wheel skid is bad, with the rear it isn't.Using just the rear I simply braked until it locked, then backed off a bit. I could be a bit rougher than the front because I wasn't worried about it locking, but I beat the rear ABS for the same reasons I beat the front: constant braking rather than on/off ABS.
Test 4 - Engine braking alone
28.8 sec, 905 feet
I never thought I'd bloodie stop!
Man v man v ABS - the Great Leveller
Although James did beat the ABS on two of the three tests, the ABS won when both brakes were applied together. But can ABS bring an average Joe's braking to a level close to James's?
Test 1 - James v John, 40mph to 0mph
The first test simulates probably the most common scenario for hard braking... the low speed SMIDSY or jay walker, braking from street speeds. Test was performed in the wet.
ABS James 2.25 sec, 71 feet
ABS John 2.25 sec, 71 feet
Non ABS James 2.28 sec, 71.9 feet
Non ABS John 2.42 sec, 77.2 feet
John: I simply put all my trust in the ABS - I was confident all I had to do was hit the brakes as hard as I could. With the non ABS bike I was terrified of locking the front and falling off... ~the ABS took away all the worry.
James: On the 75 - 0 test I could find a constant point and hold the brake there to beat it, but on this test the ABS was working faster than that... it reached a maximum point faster than I could and because the speeds were slower and the distances shorter it made the crucial milliseconds count.
Test 2 - James v John, 75mph to 55mph
A simulated m/way scenario was tested: traffic braking hard and slows suddenly, but without coming to a stop ... again its wet.
ABS James 1.04 sec, 102 feet
ABS John 1.17 sec, 111 feet
Non ABS James 1.1 sec, 104 feet
Non ABS John 1.22 sec, 118 feet
John: couldn't match James's times - 75mph [is very fast] when you want your right hand to grab as much a handful as possible. James, used to the extremes of racing, had the confidence to grab. He's also a bit a mad. Note the differences in James's times and distances between ABS & non ABS - only 2 feet and 0.06secs, but that could be the difference between hitting a car or avoiding it. The 7 foot difference in John's slowing distances is more significant - he'd hit the car much harder.
There's one major flaw in these tests: both riders were settled, comfortable, and ready to brake hard come an emergency - they knew what was about to happen. Real life aint like that, and that's where ABS can become a life saver.
As James says... the most dangerous part of e-braking is the initial bite... its the point you're most likely to lock up & crash. He may have been able to out perform ABS on a few occasions but given adrenalin, panic, and unforeseen circumstances the outcome could've been different.
The test does show, however, that an average rider's braking ability is enhanced by ABS as John did stop faster in both tests.
James: I was really impressed with Triumph's ABS system... but we were braking on a smooth, flat surface in a straight line. Add in a few bumps and ABS does start to show its limitations. I'd want a system that isn't there until I really need it. Then it would be a lifesaver.
John: In the dry I still wouldn't want it, but this test has highlighted the reasons for having it in the wet. It undoubtedly helped me stop quicker. Just a few feet can make a huge difference in an emergency situation.