ABS Brakes, Traction Systems, Ride Modes and Such

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Rednaxs60

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Atticka started a thread regarding adding ABS brakes to an older GW at viewtopic.php?f=9&t=8868

Interesting discussion on this topic, but ABS technology is only one aspect of what the motorcycling world is going forward with. There are traction systems, started out basic but now quite complex taking into account lean angle, weight, road conditions and such. Ride modes - sport, rain, economy, etc. ABS braking of course, clutchless shifting, suspension adjustments on the fly and a host of other new additions.

These are primarily designed and installed to enhance our riding enjoyment and safety. The systems are designed to keep the bike more planted on the road under all driving conditions.

I submit because of these new systems, that the optics are such that a person could think that these new systems will enable a skill set upgrade because the bike will adjust for our inadequacies. I will admit that these systems can assist us when we have gone a little beyond our abilities such as going into a corner hotter than we wanted to, but when this happens you still need a basic skill set that can get you out of trouble such as looking for the exit and not what is directly in front of you.

I was on a course in San Francisco on a Total Control course facilitated by Lee Parks. He mentioned that our motorcycles are designed to do just about everything you can think of and do it well, then we put us on the bike and all bets are off. I tend to agree with this philosophy.

I also submit that the only way to improve your riding skill set is to take continuous training no matter the level, and then practice the skills that you have used on the course. In doing this you refresh your riding skills because it is very easy to relax and just ride after a course. I have found that after a course, you have a more enhanced riding skill set, but that after a while this skill set diminishes, not to the point of before the course, but not at the level you were at the end of the course. To keep this level of expertise you need to practice what you learned, but also need another set of trained eyes to give improvement feedback so that you can adjust your riding skill set back to what it was at the end of the course.

Having mentioned all this, I know there are those out there who are truly purists. To many new fangled additions to the motorcycle and not for them. There are the middle of the road types, of which I am one, that if the bike has the systems already factory installed will use them to enhance the ride, then there are those that need these new/newer systems and want these on every bike they have regardless of what vintage it is.

I don't think anyone is wrong/incorrect in their thoughts, just personal preference. I'm more into creature comforts such as heated seats, reverse, ability to connect my heated clothing, and such like items. If the bike has more bells and whistles, great, if not good as well. My '85 1200 LTD has more bells and whistles than my ex-1800 and present 1500 - don't need a cell phone to be distracted while riding it. Mind you would have liked reverse and heated seats on it.

Had an '08 1800 with ABS and did several courses with it. Never activated the ABS during any emergency braking session - instructors were looking for that, but if you did they would only comment on it.

Thought I'd take the heat off Atticka and start a thread where we can rant about the good, bad or indifference regarding the new system on the modern motorcycle.

Thoughts anyone?

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Goldtop

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Not exactly goldwing related but my only experience with fuel Injection, which isn't mentioned is with a BMW K 100 RS.
I rode that in all weather's for two years and if I'm honest I really only realised I had adapted to the ABS brakes when I switched to a non ABS bike.
Like many I thought that the ABS could be heard working under heavy braking with a sort of judder when it kicked in. I'm sure that it also worked when I braked heavily as well .
Fuel Injection on a bike was very new then and it's the only one I've ridden in my life. I would happily say that this was a safety feature as well as its ability to accelerate out of trouble was better than any I've ridden since.
ABS to my mind didn't detract from brake feel and in would happily install on my old 1980 1100 if I could It would certainly make it feel a lot less like stopping a super tanker.




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Rednaxs60

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Honda has had fuel injection on its bikes since 1982 with the CX500 turbo and the '83 CX650 turbo. Next iteration was the '85 LTD and '86 SE-i, similar but without the turbo. Prefer fuel injection myself, but have a 1500 with carbs. Many have mentioned that a 1500 with fuel injection would have been magic. Honda discontinued fuel injection on its cruisers because of cost issues, quite expensive back then. Fuel injection came back and has never gone away since 2001 with the 1800. Pros and cons regarding fuel injection as it is more expensive to install and the electronics when not working properly can be a troubleshooting nightmare, so may components exhibit the same symptoms; however my preference is still fuel injection. There are quite a few threads on the various forums where a member is converting his/her bike to fuel injection, some more successful than others. My only concern with the fuel injection system on my '85 LTD is the ECU. These are quite robust units, but can fail and if so, replacement is not easy. I actively look for a suitable alternative such as the Megasquirt, but have not reconciled this unit to what is presently installed.

Another area that is quite common to modify/change is the front forks. Lots of changes reported and articulated in various threads. Mention this because the new 1800 front suspension is extremely good and is one of the most appealing aspects of the new 1800 for myself. Not enough to get me to buy one, but impressive. This type of suspension is not new, but on the 1800 quite radical.

I have installed a side stand safety switch on my '85 LTD. Finding the parts required was not too daunting, use what is installed on the 1500/1800 side stand and then wire it to work. These parts are also used on many other bikes. The wiring was the challenge. Where to connect into the system, and where to wire it so that it works just like that on the 1500/1800 - in my case the 1800 as I had an '08 1800 at the time of install on my 1200. This doesn't match the complexity of retrofitting an ABS brake system on a non-ABS bike, but is complex enough that most will never try this modification. It solicited comments from the purists that one should make putting the side stand up as part of their departure routine. Great advice until you have a senior's moment one day and you don't.

Ride modes are interesting. Have an acquaintance who has a 2018 800 Triumph Tiger with ride modes. He plays with this continuously. Have noticed him switching ride modes to suit the road conditions on a constant basis - he confirms this when we stop for a rest. Sees wet pavement switches to rain mode. Transitions to dry pavement and switches back to a touring/sport mode. Lots of items to keep him from concentrating on his ride.

Back to retrofitting ABS brakes. I would think the control unit and the sensors would be a complex install to get it right, something like replacing the ECU on my '85 LTD. Fitment of parts, wiring issues - not a lot of space on these bikes, where to install the sensors, and such. Would like to see a thread on an install, test and trials. Would not want it to be my daily ride, but if a person had a project bike, would be an interesting mod. Like a lot of mods, time and money can overcome many an obstacle.

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Goldtop

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Interesting that an ECU would be an issue if it fails as I have found that they are easily modified, remapped and rebuilt. turn around is about 48 hours but yes it can be expensive. I had a vw jetta which I did switch an ECU for a scrap one from a different make. Don't ask which as that is lost in the mists of time.
The retro fit if ABS brakes is way beyond every one I have come across as a diy mechanic. Not beyond a custom brake specialist but to be honest it's not something I would contemplate unless money was a bit free. I must admit that ABS was just a little worrying when I first rode the bike but I soon learnt to adapt. Can you still lock the front wheel and slide it. Well it's possible if you ride like a nutter.
If there were one cheap mod I could make on my own bike it would have to be bigger twin pot calipers and a bit larger disks. It's not making the bike a real hooligan it's a goldwings! no it's just to make it less butt clenching to stop that's all.
On the. subject of Fuel Injection I didn't work on the BMW myself as it didn't need maintenance but I did work on the VW jetta and that had mechanical engineering and as such was easier to fault find.


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Rednaxs60

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The ECU on the '85 and '86 fuel injected models is quite agricultural, and there is no connection to do any modifications or remapping. I did send an email to Honda Canada requesting any information on these units and have never heard back. I would imagine with a little thought and time, you could find a suitable replacement, and even a place to rebuild the ECU. The CX500/650 turbo forum has some information on the ECU for those bikes. Think it would be similar.
 
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