ABS vs No ABS
In a related thread: what do you want from Victory, I posted ABS on all Victory bikes. There was the usual reply from the faction that doesn't want ABS.
I have put 10k new miles on 3 bikes in a little over a year. I am 64 years old. I have taken Lee Parks Total Control One and Two, and his off road course; Streetmasters with Walt Fulton, and the Ride Like a Pro slow speed course; as well as Keith Code's California Superbike School.
I put most of the miles on an R1200R BMW (2007) with modern, integrated ABS. I have about a thousand miles on my new 2011 Victory Kingpin 8 Ball with no ABS. (Yes of course I kept both bikes.)
Here are the specs on my Victory:
Conventional brakes (non-ABS)
Front braking system 300mm floating rotor with 4-piston caliper
Rear braking system 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper
Here on the specs on my BMW:
Front:Twin disc, floating brake discs, 320 mm diameter, four-piston fixed calipers
Rear: Single disc brake, diameter 265 mm, double-piston floating caliper
The BMW has about twice the amount of brake on the front as the Victory and weighs about 200 lbs less.
This is what I'm talking about in terms of brakes.
Yes, please understand, this is all my own point of view. On the other hand even though I don't know anyone on this list personally, I want each one of you to have the safest ride possible.
Ok here's how the ABS system works. You pull on the front lever and you get full front and proportional rear ---at max effort, both go ABS.
If you just apply the rear, you only get rear, until you apply max and then the rear only goes ABS.
In practice the BMW brakes are nothing short of amazing. My Victory brakes don't come close. The brakes on the Victory require me to really think ahead about stopping. The rear brake will easily skid which is not a good thing.
Go to U-Tube and check the videos on ABS vs Non ABS motorcycles. Where the rubber meets the road a rider on an ABS equipped bike is 37% less likely to die than a rider on a non ABS bike.
I am writing this because another poster said he prefers to use the rear brake alone to settle the suspension in cornering. First off, he could still do that with the BMW or similar ABS set up; but, second, applying rear brake in a corner is pretty much a recipe for a high side, or a low side for that matter.
I've read most of the standard motorcycle riding books too. General rule is to kill the speed while vertical coming to the corner then apply throttle through the turn.
With ABS if I come in too hot, I kill speed instantly with an application of the front brake, actuating front and rears, while still vertical; then get into the turn.
Truthfully, both the BMW and the Victory are both very forgiving bikes and will suffer foolish rider behavior by permitting some braking in a turn, but no question it's better not to ever be braking in a turn. The books will tell you why.
Would I pay a grand more for a Victory with ABS. In a heart beat, yes. And, it might be a heart beat issue.
Victory will get there; some of the Victory bikes come with ABS. They could also come with a switch to defeat it. Generally, only place you'd ever want to turn it off would be on an off road bike doing down hill gravel and I'm never going there.
OK, your mileage may vary. This is my very personal view. Best to you all. Ride safely.
PS: I love my damn Victory.