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Steering dampeners


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I was reading on Advrider about steering dampeners and how

much people liked them. Does anyone here use one and if so

how has it effected the performance of the bike on the road.


Did it make a big difference and would you recommend one

for an average aggressive rider. I ride a lot of highway and some

canyon riding.


I do like to farkel :dopeslap:

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Paul Mihalka

I had a '99 R1100RT for 175K miles, rode it hard, often at track schools. Never thought that a steering damper is needed or would do any good.

Just in case, some here might get on your case that what you want is a wet steering (dampener vs. damper). Don't heed them... :)

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I also read the stuff at ADV and wonder the same re. street riding. I have a theory, that on the street it "damps" or smoothes out the rider's steering inputs, and some from the surface (dips/bumps) possibly making for a sensation of more stability ("on rails") in the twisties....just as it smoothes out inputs from ruts and rocks on the dirt. Of course, if you are completely smooth already, you may not feel any improvement. Let us know if you try one......

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i have run steering dampeners/stabilizers on my dirt bikes and even a roadrace bike or two...the need for them stems from those bikes having fairly steep steering head angles to give them sharp handling.

The draw back to that sharp handling is that they get twitchy at high speeds or when you hit any roughness on the road/trail...the stabilizer slows down the quickness that the front wheel can snap left and right, so it diminshes the instability at high speeds or rough roads.


My bmw feels very stable at all speeds. I have had up to about 125 so far and am trying to hit 150 if i find the right spot to do it.

The steering head has a little more rake to the angle while adds the stability that the dampner is trying to synthesize...


IMHO they are NOT neccesary on the bmw. I dont actually like them too much even on the dirt or RR bikes, they make the steering feel very heavy and sluggish...i would personally rather just deal with the head shake and twitchyness by laying in on it and stayin on the gas....you can ride out head shake once you learn how....never had it on the beemer..

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I have a Ralle-Moto on my GSA. Makes a huge difference on gravel roads and mud ruts. Unlike a lot of dampers the RM allows you to customize from the seat the dampener. I have three settings and a range of 8 degrees of dampening in each setting.

On deep pea gravel a setting of 6 or so completely stabilizes the front end, keeping it from washing out as you transition from deep gravel to light and back again.

A setting of 8 puts so much dampening into play it is a tad scary.

Was very handy on the Dempster and Dalton Hwys this summer.


When it gets REALLY deep and loose, I just turn around. The GSA is just too heavy to play in that stuff and the damper doesn't help.


On the road it does dampen for wind but not as much of a difference. Helps quite a bit when you are riding torn up knobbies on pavement. At least keeps 'some' of the shake at bay.


I don't think it would have been of much value on my RT unless you plan on riding a lot of gravel roads which is a bad idea on an RT for many reasons.

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

I have a Scotts Damper on my KTM. It has an adjustable mechanism from "none" to "incredibly heavy steering." I put it on because the KTM, with it's heavy 7.5 gallon gas tank and steep rake preferred to plow in deep sand and gravel. The Scotts Damper dampens when the front wheel is pushed away from straight, but offers no resistance to the wheel coming back to center. Very nice. Not cheap.


The primary purpose of a steering damper is to control front wheel deflection when it hits things (like rocks) or when you're riding in deep soft earth which artificially changes the trail characteristic of your bike's steering by moving the contact patch forward. IMO, this is not something that would help a bike like the BMW RT (for most of us.)

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i liked my scotts on an old ktm, but on my 08 530 i used a GPR specifically because i wanted the dampening in both directions.


a year ago i had to have my left wrist permanently FUSED so it does not move up and down or left and right at all...i wanted to take any hit that i could out of the wrist, so i thought the multi direction dampening of the GPR would be better....it was just ok.


it would not turn all of the way off, but i dont think my scotts turned all the way off either....


anyway looks like all of us that have had a steering dampener see the value on lighter, off-road, or really fast twitchy bikes, but all agree so far, not neccesary on the street beemers.....maybe on a gs if it is ridden off road but not on a GT, RT, LT, rs.....



spend your farkle money on an extra road trip before winter...

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On one of my previous Japanese bikes I had a knob that tightened the steering head. It helped a lot on the highway by giving it extra stability. Probably not as effective as the little shock absorber on the Kaw Mach III.





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I put one(Scotts triple tree replacement) on my KTM 950 ADV before we went to AK. I think it kept us up right more than once on the Dempster Hwy.


On the street it makes the bike feel more stable.


I don't think it is necessary on all bike, but it helps on some of them.





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I use the stock hydraulic unit on my R90s all the time. Really settles down the front end on rough roads and especially at the track where some off camber turns (at Grattan Raceway) can really have that old chassis behaving quite badly.


I've ridden my '04 RT at the same track and never saw a need for one. On rough roads the bike still stays settled compared to my old R90s. The Telelever works so well (IMHO) that it appears to be not required.



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So, for 25 yrs I was convinced my /2 would have tank slappers and would wander all over the road without the hydraulic steering damper - STOCK, you know, back then.


Then one day long ago, I took it off and ever since would never want to use one since it compromises feel and responsiveness and makes the steering heavier. Bad feel - can't figure out why I liked it before.


Hydraulic dampers are reactances and so the resistance is keyed to frequency, strong against road jarring (high frequency) but low against human steering inputs (slow moves, at least compared to road jarring). That's the concept, eh.


Friction dampers on human-powered controls is a daft notion, for the same reason a ThrottleMeister (which adds friction to the frequent movements you must make with your throttle hand) makes little ergonomic sense. Of course, sometimes you need a kludgy fix for a more inept design (OK, ThrottleMeister is too unsound to consider except for those who love constant speed on superslabs).



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"OK, ThrottleMeister is too unsound to consider except for those who love constant speed on superslabs)"


Or crossing Kansas on I70... :)



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My bmw feels very stable at all speeds. I have had up to about 125 so far and am trying to hit 150 if i find the right spot to do it.

The steering head has a little more rake to the angle while adds the stability that the dampner is trying to synthesize...


You'll hit the rev limiter before you get anywhere near 150.

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