Seven Reasons Why You Need a Steering Damper
Author: Simone Cumming Date Posted:19 February 2016
What, How and Why MSC steering dampers improve your ride?
So you have seen the MSC Moto steering dampers and others to in your travels but still unsure as to why you should actually buy one? Or maybe you have asked around and got an answer along the lines of you don't need a steering damper?
Well first off here is a couple of questions to ask the anti steering damper brigade!
- Have you ever genuinely used a damper?
- Did you try the bike back to back with and without the damper?
- Which damper did you try? (Honda CRF standard damper does not count!)
The answers usually are something like this - "NO", "NO" and "NOT SURE"....... If this is the case then don't bother asking anymore, if they have a answer to each of them, listen then still ring us to here our feedback!
First off there are a number of reasons a steering damper (stabiliser/dampener/etc) is going to make a massive difference to you and your bike and this is not from any other opinion than a guy who was a big skeptic about dampers nearly 20 years ago, YES even Mark the owner of MSC MOTO was a skeptic at one stage but after doing 2 things:
A) Riding with one and
B)Riding back to back bikes with and without he was a convert!
If steering dampers were a gimmick teams like BDR KTM wouldn't worry about them!
HERE IS 7 EQUALLY IMPORTANT REASONS WHY A STEERING DAMPER IS FOR YOU!
- REDUCE HEADSHAKE - which is a given! We hear many times that a suspension guy can get rid of headshake but this is pretty much BS while trying to keep the perfect steering geometry you already like and are used to riding with. To get rid of headshake there will be a number of compromises you will need to make which usually end up with a bike that steers slower or suspension that is softer or harder than desired. Ask your suspension guy to get rid of your headshake without changing the dynamic of your bikes feel for less than $497.00 and see what they say? Yes some pro level riders dont use them but they also ride 6 days a week and train every other minute. They still get headshake they just deal with it. Honda HRC have seen the benefits and use a much better version of their OEM damper.
- REDUCE WHEEL DEFLECTION - This is actually a major factor steering dampers deal with without you knowing. It's like a little set of helping hands grabbing the bars for you when you hit something you did not and will not ever see! They only allow the oil to pass through the chamber at a maximum rate therefor the handlebars will not smash around to 47 degrees in a nano second and put you on your face. Even if you bike has no headshake this is the biggest benefit of all!
- WEAVING IN SAND - This something trail and adventure guys get but also many MX guys and desert racers. This is something that basically makes the bike feel like it has a mind of its own, its not a suspension thing is simply heavy sand with ruts that will pull the front wheel left and right and make you fight the bike every inch of the way.
- BETTER CORNER ENTRY - Ever come into a corner and had a rut grab the front wheel and pull it up the wall of the rut? Or how about on hard pack loose surface you had the front steer in to quick and tuck the front wheel? This is what the damper can all but eliminate for you by offering a precise control over the relationship between the ground the front wheel and the rider. It will allow you to point the steering where you want and then go in on that line and steering angle. Now this is not an auto pilot but its the next best thing!
- CREEK CROSSINGS - This is basically wheel deflections once again but I wanted to highlight that the damper makes you ride through creeks like a champ and this is a benefit most of our enduro and offroad customers rave about. The bike will stay on a more direct path through the creek and not want to deviate of line as much.
- LESS FATIGUE - Even if the damper does nothing else than save you on the last lap of the last race of the day its worth the coin. The cost of going to a race is a wast of time if you fade or crash at the end of the day because you will probably give away championship points or even days off work if you come to grief. This is most apparent in junior MX where the kids are still developing their upper body strength and adapting to a powerful bike. Also if you look at all the benefits listed above you will feel fresher naturally at the end of the day!
- NO DISADVANTAGE - We hear sometimes guys worried about the front end or the steering feeling heavy, this is simply untrue! The reason it feels heavy is because the damper is set on a high setting so turn it down. The damping rate is all relative to a number of factors like personal feel and strength, high or low speed tracks, rough or smooth surfaces and what result you are trying to achieve from your steering damper. If you want to make the bike less twitchy and a firmer feel on steering then run it on a higher setting but if you want it to still feel a little twitchy and quick steering and only have the damper there for some added security then run it on a lower setting thats why the Axis damper has 14 settings!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT????
As you can see above a steering damper is a genuine way to gain improvements to your bike without completely changing the way it feels over bumps and turns or in general riding except you will be able to ride with a lot more confidence and less fatigue.
YES YOU CAN RIDE WITHOUT A STEERING DAMPER BUT AS MY GRANDFATHER SAYS "We didn't need all that suspension travel we just added more foam to the seat"
Think about how it would be like with no suspension and someone saying just add foam? You would probably agree until you rode with long travel suspension!!
If you want any more questions answered give the guys who actually make the MSC MOTO steering damper a call on +61 2 4374 1655