Have you seen steering dampeners on dirt bikes and ever wondered what they are used for? We’ve got the answer.
A steering dampener on motocross and adventure bikes reduces the ‘grunt’ or feedback that comes with steering on offroad terrain, resulting in smoother turns for the rider. The forces are reduced and so riders feel less fatigue and are more control of their motorcycle with a steering dampener, otherwise known as a stabilizer, installed on their cross members.
Through adding resistance to the steering, it prevents the ‘shock’ to the bike and gives a more relaxed feel to turning corners.
An overview of Motorcycle Steering Dampeners
Let’s think of it this way: Have you ever closed a heavy office or commercial door and noticed how it closes slowly? This is because there likely is a control box that adds resistance to the door with a gas strut. The same concept can be easily applied to motorcycles.
Inside, they operate very easily including the big name brands such as Scotts.
By having a steering dampener installed, there is much less shock when you suddenly fall into a pothole and need to recover. Essentially, the handlebars are less likely to twitch quickly and uncontrollably like a mountain bike.
You won’t be able to turn a dirt bike side to side quickly if it has a dampener installed, but you wouldn’t want to. It may seem counterintuitive, but out on the track, it’s actually a much better experience. Manufacturers don’t install these stock as they are expensive and not all riders need them, but they are certainly the top of our bucket list when we buy a new bike for the stable.
It might seem annoying at first when you are stationary and need to do a hard turn up the side trail, but at speeds, it becomes so much easier and less fatiguing.
Benefits of a Steering Stablizer
A steering dampener can stop the ‘tank slapper’ feel but not eliminate it entirely. They certainly do reduce speed wobbles so riders feel more confident as the wheel is right where it is meant to be, instead of being thrown around.
Think of it like suspension but for your handlebar…but not really. Same concept but different functionality, but often leads to a much better outcome for the rider, and especially those who ride offroad.
Adventure motorcyclists and dirt bike riders especially prefer to have an aftermarket stabalizer installed to feel safer at speeds on the B-grade and C-grade roads. They are more effective at speeds at more than 30 miles per hour. For the tight technical tracks, they unfortunately can be a bit of work as more force is required from the rider to turn the hydralics which operate this system.
So then, should you get one? This really depends on your experience and style of riding. If you’re brand new to dirt bikes and have a limited budget, then leave this one on the back-burner for now and invest in quality riding gear and gain some experience.
You may want to spend your money on other parts first including better suspension and tyres.
For the intermediate or advanced rider, then we can higher recommend motorbike steering dampeners for riders both on-road and offroad. Look for quality brands that are stocked in stores as opposed to cheaper alternatives found on Amazon. These illegitimate knock-offs by Chinese sellers often don’t live up to expectations and nor do the manufacturers themselves even ride performance motorcycles.
Choose a model that has fine adjustment nobs as you’ll need to do some fine tuning to work out the ‘sweet spot’ for your bike, your weight and your riding terrain.