Steering Damper
Masking Handling Poblems?

Before you mount your steering damper, test your bike without one first. If you experience any handling problems like headshake, oversteer, understeer or stability problems, then something is wrong with your basic set up.

In South Africa we have almost unlimited riding possibilities. We cover a lot of ground during races. Even on an Enduro race there are flat out sections. In order to get my bike as low as possible (for my short legs) my forks where always totally pulled through the triple clamps. Obviously that created headshakes and other handling problems. And tweak tweak, a damper was on my bike. Why is it so important to test your bike first without the damper?

If your basic set up is wrong the damper will only mask that problem. It is not designed to fix or solve handling problems. It is a tool to aid the stability of an already properly set up bike. A bad set up bike with a high speed damper still handles much worse than a correctly set up bike without any damper at all.

If you haven’t done so yet then

When do I need it?

A damper can help in fast sections with lurkers, wash-aways or other hidden objects. It can also be good for high grass or sandy sections with rocks underneath where you hit something unexpectedly at high speed.

For high speed desert type races dampers can also be good. Especially on heavier bikes with large fuel tanks. As fuel empties so the bikes balance changes and stability problems can occur.

For technical enduro riding use the damper on its weakest damping setting. If you enter a fast straight line section only then turn the damping up to aid straight line stability.

Always mount the damper above the handle bar in order to avoid raising the bars and therefore loosing traction. For more info on that read the article on handlebars. One exception is this Oehlins damper that is so slim that it fits under the bar. It is also easily adjustable and a really good damper altogether.

In Europe where riding space is very limited and Enduro races are very tight and technical with minimal fast sections in between a steering damper is not necessary.

The ideal is a good set up in combination with an easily adjustable damper.

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