Strengths: It's the best mountain bike steering damper a person can buy. Or maybe it is the only mountain bike steering damper a person can buy. Regardless it is one nicely made little and lite technological marvel.
Weaknesses: Getting the cup to fit snugly and not move is a bit of a challenge but Tim Hopey has been a nice and responsive person to work with. He custom made a cup for me no charge. Excellent customer service!
Whether or not to use a steering damper is big question. Unless a person has used a properly functioning damper over a variety of terrain it would be best they keep their opinions to themselves. Try one THEN give an opinion. Otherwise it is the rant of an ignorant. For me it works and improves my riding experience.
Strengths: Stabalizing and smoothing steering, firms up the bike and handling
Weaknesses: NO numbers like on a Motorcycle to see what setting your on. Mounting it is a nightmare.
Tim at Hopey has horrible customer service and is very difficult to deal with. Makes many mistakes, does NOT do what he says he wil do and then doesnt remember.
I would like one but with all the mistakes and bad customer service with Tim at Hopey I am sending it back, to many mounting hasles and his UN willingness to work with me on it.
It was an awfull experience.
Not worth the trouble dealing with Tim and getting it mounted.
Really should have something to indicate what level of dampning you have it set at. Bad for on the fly becasue you have no frame of refference of the current setting.
Its to bad the service was so bad I feel that the idea is good.
Similar Products Used: Motorcycle dampers only GPR and Scotts. I like GPR better.
Bike Setup: all mountian 6" travel
from San Diego Ca
Date Reviewed: August 15, 2010
Strengths: Works like a champ, effective and adjustments are incrimental. No resistance back to zero which is great and light.
Been using one on and off for a couple of years nad if its nt needed turn the dial counter clockwise and its off. if its choppy and slamming around turn it on a bit till confortable and 2 things happen, 1 the trail smooths out and 2 you have alot less arm fatigue so you can shuttle/lift assit and ride more...
Strengths: Keeps you pointed straight with a lot less rider input. I have one on my Nomad, Vp Free, and V10, On the Nomad it makes it a better bike pedalling uphill and more stable for nasty downhill trails. This bike weighs 30 lbs and before putting the damper on it felt very squirrely compared to my Vp free and V10. On the V10 it has made it easier to ride slow speed technical fetures, as well as high speed rough terrain and and for me anyway has made me much faster in the corners.
Weaknesses: None so far
I really like the damper and I would not build a bike without having one on it.
Bike Setup: with this on 3 bikes it is too much to list, both the v10 and vp free are built so they weigh right at 40 lbs, the Nomad weighs exactly 30lbs.
a Cross Country Rider
from Tasmania, Australia
Date Reviewed: September 7, 2008
Strengths: Allows the steering to be slowed as desired.
Weaknesses: None stand out.
I'm very impressed with my Hopey. I think it's fair to say that it works exactly as it claims to. You just turn the adjuster knob and the resistance to turning the front wheel increases or decreases as expected. There is a large range from no resistance to, well, lots of resistance, but as it takes a couple of full rotations of the knob to cover the range it's pretty simple to get the exact setting you're after.
I think if there's any criticism to be made of the Hopey, it's that not all people would want it, not that doesn't do what it claims. Personally I've found throughout the years of owning mountain bikes that I frequently found the steering to be too loose. In fact I even impacted the bearings on one headset by over tightening it! So when I saw this product it sounded like it was made for me, and I bought one.
After getting it fitted, it took an hour or two to get used to the fact that it only resists turning away from centre, the return is undamped. But I immediately noticed that leaning through fast turns was so much easier, the front wheel seemed much smoother. It also made a big difference over angled roots and rocks, the front wheel really doesn't get knocked off line, and I'm still using a relatively low setting.
I couldn't be happier with my Hopey, it's a really well made, effective product.
Similar Products Used: I don't think there are any
Bike Setup: 2008 Marin Mount Vision
a Cross Country Rider
from orange county, ca
Date Reviewed: September 22, 2007
Strengths: Immediate, noticable impact on ride perfomance. Top-notch materials. Easy to install. Amazing difference over same trails. It works, and not jut for DH/AM/FR set!
This just may be the best kept secret in the industry. I've never installed a product that made such a huge difference in bike handling. I ride a cross country bike and trails and the benefit here is big. Turns and narrow singletrack are smoothed out - far fewer corrections required to stay on the line. Off-cambers too - the front and rear wheels stay in the same plane (almost like having two fixed rear wheels) and hold the line much better. And switchbacked, technical uphills - much less front wheel nervousness and correcting. Like others say here, ride with it on for 15 minutes, then turn it off and oh boy what a difference! I have it on "full" all the time, even for the tightest swtichbacks, awesome. Expensive, but beautifully crafted in the US, and so worth it.
I didn't know what to expect other than figured I'd give it a shot. I am amazed it will control the front end precisely through rockgardens at stupid fast speeds as well as can be used for freeride on nasty landings to keep the front from pitching. It can be dialed all the way off in a matter of 1/2 second or all the way on in the same speedy manor. You can set it for light flow, zero flow or stiff and they make a huge difference. I would recomend one hands down to anyone looking for the extra push. It also helps with climbing alot, I have a DH set up and it allows me to pedal up alot easier with all the squish going on.
Bike Setup: Canfield F1. 888WC, I-9 wheelset, hope mono 6ti, avalanche dhs ti spring etc...
a Cross Country Rider
from Western Australia
Date Reviewed: December 2, 2006
Strengths: Adds a feeling of improved stability in all conditions. Tim Hopey was very helpful when I was trying to order my unit.
Weaknesses: Locking nut inside steer tube has slipped twice during crashes. Easily fixed when finished the ride, but it means finishing the ride without the damper being operational (and you get used to using it, so any time without it feels just plain bad!)
The steering damper is the best upgrade I've ever had on a bike - and I've had a few upgrades!
I point the bike at the line I want to take and we go there. Rocks, gravel, mud, sand, up-hill and down-hill: the steering damper inspires rider confidence in all riding conditions.
I will always have one of these on my future mountain bikes.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 16, 2006
Strengths: Improves climbing enourmously.
Weaknesses: Don't think you can fit them if your bike has an integrated head set.
Interesting learning curve, first time out it takes a little getting used to but after a couple of miles didn't really notice it even turned right up hard. But if I turn it off the difference is extreme, steering feels very wobbly. Cleaned a difficult climb yesterday which I have never managed in one before. Sandy Soil, steep, very dusty and rutted. You don't really notice the effect the damper is having, you just pedal straighter. Find I'm not hanging on to the bars for grim death as much on fast downhills. Very impressed, will be fitting future bikes.
Bike Setup: Trek Fuel EX9 2006, changed front and rear shocks for Fox.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 21, 2006
Strengths: Easy setup, light weight, does exactly what it states it will.
Weaknesses: none found yet
This thing is awesome the only bad things about it is its taken me this long to find out about it, and sometime I catch myself a little out of control still no boom though, this thing would have saved me from at least 50% of my crashes, going down hill, roots, rocks, stop bumps, so what bomb down it using only a small amount of self restraint, up hill over root not a problem, right through sand and don’t have to worry about washing out the front. I literally knocked 15 minuets off my 6 mile loop time, the only think I feel I need to do is get my cross buddies to get one.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: March 1, 2006
Strengths: I recently irritated someone on this site by complaining that they ran an inappropriately controlled experiment trying to compare the efficiency of 26ers and 29ers. Perhaps I was a bit overboard with my insistence on good experimental technique and relevance of the results in light of accuracy limitations, but for any of you budding experimentalists out there here's an item (the Hopey damper) that is insanely easy to objectively test, at least for some of its effects. Coasting down a rocky track with and without the damper engaged (e.g. -- more or less back-to-back), I discern about a 3% decreased time to complete the run with the damper engaged on that particular route -- I suggest that's significant. I think the accuracy is there (watches are pretty reliable), and even the precision of my measurements wasn't bad…
There's lots of subjective stuff to include, and in no particular order: - While riding uphill on a 2-track that had been blown smooth, I switched the damper off and rode for a mile before getting into mud and snow. I turned back and rode down the way I came up. Like all outdoorsman, I like to look at tracks, be they animal or bicycle tracks, and try to determine the direction of travel, when they were made, species, sex, and what not. So of course I was checking out my tracks made coming up as I went down. You know how you can tell who is going uphill on a bike (wavering track) versus downhill (more or less straight running track)? Well, I could instantly pick out the place where I turned the damper off because my uphill track suddenly went from the standard wavering uphill track to a very straight track headed uphill, like the type you normally see running downhill. - Even though I'm riding a straighter and presumably bumpier line as I find myself spending less time dodging various rocks (and even seeking them out), I feel as if the ride is smoother with the damper engaged -- like there's suspension on the front (I have a fully firm bike). I suspect the perception of a smoother ride is due to less fighting with the bars, which allows me to keep my butt in the seat better and as a consequence I can pedal more efficiently. - One of my problems is losing "control" of my front wheel when I bump into the raised edge of a track (you know how many worn tracks have the U shape), which then causes my wheel to turn into and ride up the side of the berm. I then quickly end up over-correcting and slam over into the berm on the other side of the track, beginning a viscous cycle. With the damper engaged, I find myself steering down the middle of the track much more often and if I do drift over into the berm my wheel is not deflected and I can keep on moving down the track while effectively riding the side-hill of the berm. This is a huge plus for me, and might well help me in races in a place I usually lose time -- fast downhills. - I'm riding in Wyoming, so of course it involves dealing with the wind. You just get used to being continually pummeled by wind, with the odd-gust that threatens to knock you down and at the least blows you off-line. Well, the odd gust just doesn't do the damage it once did -- not only does the damper protect your front wheel from deflections on the ground but also from wind and your own inappropriate inputs into the bars. - The damper is great when you're out of the saddle. Sure the bike goes straight when you're in the saddle, but it's even more noticeable when you're up out of it and cranking hard up a hill (I'm set up as a single speed at the moment). - At Sparrow's suggestion, I have been playing with riding a section with the damper off and then on. Well, I was grunting up hill with the damper off whining to myself how I wish I could turn the damper back on (I had promised myself I'd get to a certain point and then backtrack and do it again with the damper on), when I realized I had just figured it out -- if I was asking for it, it must be a crutch worth having, so I turned it back on and left it that way for the rest of the ride.
Weaknesses: - It's much harder for me to ride no-handed with the damper engaged. At least for me, riding no-handed works best with a responsive front-end, one that can respond to thighs pressed against the seat. If the damper is engaged and I get a bit off-line, it's much harder to "right the ship" with just body-english. But that only matters on smooth surfaces and I've never really ridden no-handed much off-road anyway...
It's worth the cost, and it's not just for the downhill/freeride set. It's just one of those things that gives rise to the "Oh my, where have you been all my life?" comment...
Strengths: Allows the bike to rail thru rough and loose terrain.
Weaknesses: High $$$
Works so well, I want to add one to my other bikes, but can't afford it.
Amazing difference! Feels weird at first, but boy does it improve handling when it counts. Has already saved me a few times, just like I remember knowing suspension saving me when I first installed a fork way back.
Why has this thing been forgotten already? It was given props in the mags a few years ago, but never really caught on - yet it really seems as significant an improvement as the first suspension forks were back in the day.
I rode my trail bike for the first time since installing the Hopey on my pig, and could barely control the thing. Now I have to buy another steering dampner!
Strengths: It works as advertised (imagine that -- a product that does what it says it will)! The steering damper makes a huge difference in all types of terrain. The adjustability (on the fly) allows you to dial-in just the right feel as you go. It's relatively light weight and looks cool. On top of all that, the customer service is first rate.
Weaknesses: The only one I can think of is price, although it's not that bad, especially for what you're getting.
I'm one of those people who only tends to review things that I love or I hate. Rarely do I feel compelled to write about a product ... usually there are plenty of other people that have already done so. But the Hopey Steering damper has been so great that I just have to write about it.
I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about the steering damper when I first heard about it. The more I thought about it, though, the better the idea sounded. When I built up this bike a couple months ago, I found that the tall single crown fork was great, but that it made the steering feel a little sloppy. This was obvious in rocky terrain and sand -- I had a hard time holding my lines. So I finally gave in and figured it was worth a try.
I called Hopey directly to place the order. Right off the bat, the customer service was excellent. They helped me order the right kit for my bike and got it in the mail right away. When I tried to install it, I ran into a problem -- the Marzocchi fork has a tapered steer tube, meaning the supplied bolt didn't fit. I got in touch with Hopey and they sent out a new bolt for my application, no charge. As soon as the new bolt arrived I was able to complete the install. I can't stress enough how great the customer service was throughout the process. Tim Hopey and his crew shine where so many others can't be bothered.
Okay, on to the good stuff. The first ride with the new damper was simply amazing. It honestly felt like I was riding a different bike. I still had six inches of travel front and rear with a very tall front end, but the steering felt controlled. The bike didn't wander on me. When I hit big rocks, the damper helped the front wheel come back to the center. On technical and fast-paced descents, I held my lines with ease. The damper also made a big difference in two other areas: climbing and loose terrain. When climbing it helped prevent the front wheel from wandering. Again, this helped me keep my line and made my climbing better. Through sand and loose terrain, the damper kept the front wheel from getting away. Some of the trails I ride have a ton of sand and if you hit it the wrong way, your bike can get sideways in a hurry. The same happens with some of the loose dirt (dust) we have around here. The damper kept the front wheel from going far, even in some deep sand. I felt much more in control of the bike at all times.
Before I end this, I want to mention that the steering damper obviously shines on downhill and freeride bikes. But it can also make a big difference on trail bikes and even cross country bikes. It serves the same purpose on those bikes and can make you a much better rider. I found that it really did improve my riding in multiple ways. I never thought I'd get one for my XC bike, but after my experience to this point I think there's a good chance I'll have one on there soon.
Bike Setup: 2001 Rocky Mountain DH TO (Downhill Team Only) with PUSH rear shock, Marzocchi Z150 FR SL fork, 2002 XTR cranks, 2004 XTR rear derailleur, 2004 XTR combo shifters / brake levers, Avid Mechanical brakes, XT front derailleur, DeeMax wheels, Maxxis Minion tires, Easton carbon bar, ODI lock-on grips, King headset, Thomson stem and post, custom Rocky Mountain red maple leaf saddle.
Date Reviewed: July 9, 2003
Strengths: Follow up review from earlier
Weaknesses: Price.....and see below
Just a quick follow up from my review earlier. Still love the thing. It has helped my handling a ton. I recommend it for just about anything. Most notably preforms well on technical fast downhills and I have loved the thing on really steep technical up hills!
The only down side to this product was discovered by a friend of mine that bought one. You can not use this product with the new Rock Shox SID world up (or any other fork that has a carbon steerer). The new SID W/C has a solid carbon plug at the the bottom of the steerer and as such, you can not mount the hopey through the steerer. So if your running the SID w/c, your out of luck!
Bike Setup: 2002 Trek STP 400 with all the bells and wistles
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 4, 2003
Strengths: Does damp steering jitter and the adjustability is awesome.
Weaknesses: Can't afford a crash where the steering whips around and stem contacts torque rod.
As a product, this is superb design and craftsmanship. But as a solution, its not night and day. The jury is still out on whether the damper is really helpful in xc riding. I switch between a hardtail and my FS and for climbing, have not noticed the damper helping dramatically in technical. Perhaps, a new rider who had problems keeping the front wheel straight would benefit more than a conditioned rider who has the muscle response developed for technical riding.
Now for the extreme downhill, this may add a little more stability, and one of the reasons i got it was for the extreme fall lines where you have to be so far back, you can't keep your arms steady. However, For me personally, I had a couple spills where the steering wacked the damper off center and had to re-install it when I got home. This maintenance is bothersome and who doesn't crash? If you don't crash, you don't ride hard enough to need a steering damper anyway!! Of course a double crown fork will eliminate this problem.
So my ratings below reflect my opinion on how much I believe this product helps. Not that is a bad product, but I don't think it's a solution that is so dramatic, its going to change your riding completely--unless you are a beginner.