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iABS question


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I read Affordable Beemer's less than flattering thoughts on the evolution of BMW motorcycles. http://www.affordablebeemerservices.com/bmwthoughts/


Unfortunately, it seems like his points are well founded regarding the corporate culture of BMW's motorcycle division and resulting quality control issues. And it sounds like he has a leg to stand on with his experience in the industry. I'm new to BMW as of 2010. I absolutely love my '04 R1150RT. I also read this forum just about every day and I do have my apprehensions about some of the much talked about known issues on these bikes; clutch spline failure, FD failure, ABS module failure to name a few of the more serious ones. My bike had 4000 miles on it when I bought it. I'm now approaching 20,000 trouble free miles.


I personally really like the iABS brakes on the bike. All throughout every riding season I practice low speed maneuvering and panic braking and have become very comfortable with the unique characteristics of this system. I like them better than my Wee's conventional brakes which feel kinda puny after riding the RT-as in it requires a lot more effort to get the same braking effect (and yes, the Wee's brakes are up to snuff). The most time consuming part of the brake flush maintenance is removing and reinstalling all the plastic but I've done that enough times now that I can have those panel off and back on in minutes. So I don't really see the added maintenance as a deal breaker. There are affordable options out there too, such as running take outs, the alleged rebuilding service recently talked about and the module bypass.


Anyhow, I do have a question here...the article alludes to what sounds like total brake failure if your ABS module craps out for some reason (including a open on the brake light circuit...really???) . I have not experienced this personally. I have experimented with shutting the ignition off while rolling and you still have braking, you just really have to grab a handful and I image that can be scary if it happens suddenly. I'm about to embark on a 5000 mile trip though the Rockies so the thought of losing "all" brakes is quite unsettling. What's the deal?

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Afternoon Hedgry


Don't believe all you read just because it is print.


For instance the tail/brake light bulb being out will not disable the ABS or power brake system. That will put the general warning light on but not disable the power brakes or ABS. But a defective switch circuit from either the hand lever or brake pedal can disable the power assist & therefore the ABS.


Same with a total loss of braking. I haven't EVER seen that happen on any of the I-ABS systems. The lever can travel a long ways but you should have some residual braking even if the ABS controller fails as there is a backup hydraulic link from the hand lever & foot brake pedal directly to the apply pistons. There will be no power assist with the pumps not operational but there should be some residual braking. (just a longer lever travel to contend with)


The big thing to keep in mind is (IF) you have power servo failure you really should set the brake lever adjuster to max out away form the handlebar. Maybe practice doing that while riding or if riding in a place where having sudden degraded braking will be a safety issue set the brake lever to max out before riding in that area.


In any case do practice stopping without he servo working so you won't be totally surprised if that should happen during a ride.




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