Infuence of ABS on rear-brake pedal usage
I'm a newbie who, after passing the MSF's Basic Rider Course last June, began learning to ride on a used, 2002 Honda CB750 Nighthawk. After logging ~5000 miles on the Honda last riding season, I custom-ordered a fully loaded 2007 K12GT last fall, and it finally arrived here a few weeks ago, but so far I've ridden the GT only 300 miles due to unusually bad weather here in Ohio.
That said, I'm now very curious as to how other riders who've also advanced from a previous bike without ABS, to a new bike with ABS, such as the K12GT with ABS II. My personal approach with the K12GT has been to continue practicing the braking techniques I was first taught in the Basic Rider Course, which is to always manually and appropriately apply both the front and rear brakes in most situations.
As partial integrated ABS systems become increasingly more widely available on modern motorcycles, it seems to me that ABS may be fostering a growing temptation among some riders to become overly complacent and overly reliant on using just the front brake lever, while simultaneously beginning to de-emphasize and even forget about also manually applying the rear brake with one's right foot.
In my humble opinion, I feel that in general, it's very unwise and unsafe to discontinue the simultaneous application of both the front and rear brakes (in most situations) when riding a bike equipped with partial integral ABS. The main reasons why I feel this way include (1) These highly sophisticated microprocessor-controlled and monitored ABS systems may either fail, or become temporarily disabled by the computer, at any time! If this happens, the brakes will likely revert to something akin to a fully manual mode of braking, and one must then be able to instantly and smoothly rely on one's earlier braking skills until the bike's ABS system can be diagnosed and fixed; (2) Even when the bike's ABS (and ASC) self-diagnostic checks indicate an "A-OK" message, I will never totally trust this, nor will I totally trust that the ABS computer will always "know" just how much braking force to apply to the rear wheel in certain situations if I rely on applying only the front brake! As "smart" as these computerized systems may appear to be at first blush, I feel that they should not be viewed as a mindless substitute for the intuitive human brain. My personal approach is to always assume that the ABS could go south at any moment (often at the worst times) and thus I will always at least lightly apply my right foot to the rear brake pedal, as if the bike doesn't have ABS in the first place; (3) In my opinion, ever allowing our rear-brake/right foot skills to become rusty and non-intuitive is just plain stupid and unsafe. For example, let's suppose one has been riding a bike with partial integrated ABS bike for a long time, and we've chosen to just forget about the rear brake pedal. What then if we suddenly find a situation where we must ride an older bike without ABS? If we've allowed our right foot/rear-brake skills to become little more than a non-intuitive, largely forgotten, dim memory, this is an invitation to disaster. And again, the same hold true if our ABS-equipped bike might suddenly lose its ABS!
In summary, I believe that if we allow partial integrated ABS (and even ASC) to lull us into complacency, laziness, and the fading away of our most basic, reflexive, and intuitive basic braking skills (and what really is more important than excellent braking skills on a motorcycle?) we are quite potentially setting ourselves up for having a very bad day.
I rest my case. As always, I welcome your thoughts.