"Grabby" or "jerky" brakes?
I bought my 2002 RTP from a private party five years ago. Never having ridden an R-bike with ABS brakes before, I assumed the "grabby/jerky" brakes were simply a quirk of the machine.
Over the next couple of months of riding, I learned that the "grabbiness/jerkiness" of the brakes could be eliminated by proper modulating of the front and rear brakes - and I've been employing that strategy for the last five years.
Last week, I was having my front tire changed. While the wheel was off the bike, I was carefully inspecting the rim and brake rotors. I noticed that my ABS sensor ring had a tiny dent, where two of the metal cut-outs in the sensor ring were pushed out perhaps by three millimeters. I pondered this situation for a moment, and theorized that perhaps the ABS sensor counts the spaces in the ring as it goes around, and these two spaces aren't "seen" by the sensor, so the ABS system thinks the wheel has locked up for a microsecond - and thus releases the brake pressure, causing the jerky stops.
I used a rubber mallet to gently tap the back of a screwdriver placed against the bent cogs on the sensor ring and slowly and gently pushed the cogs back into place. In a few moments, I had the spaces on the ring back in perfect order.
I was completely unprepared for what a completely different bike I now have. The brakes are now flawless - strong, smooth, linear and powerful. No more jerking to a stop. No more sudden foot stabs when the bike lurches to a stop a few feet prior to the anticipated stopping point. I had to take it out this past Sunday just to see how much better things are. I can now brake much cleaner through corners, and I'm much more confident maneuvering >5 mph.
I ride 12K miles a year, so it's not like I'm a rookie or anything. I simply never imagined that my problem - to which I had adapted my riding style - could so easily be rectified!
In the event that you find your ABS brakes behaving strangely, and if you in particular think your brakes are "grabby" or "jerky", I suggest a careful inspection of your ABS sensor rings. If the damage is minimal, the repair can be easy and the rewards amazing.
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