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life is a barrel o'fun
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Okay, we're talking about platform pedals, bar ends, ham radios, and pets, why not steering dampers?

A couple of my riding buddies swear by 'em. While riding in VT last weekend, one guy said he had trouble climbing the steep hills without it..........or should I say, he climbed better with it on.

The way I see it, when I'm climbing something steep and going as slow as possible before falling over, I turn the wheel back/forth to help give me a little leverage. Not sure how I'd work it if there was.......dampness? :rolleyes:

Discuss.
 

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The idea is that you're in control of your steering, not the terrain. The damper won't prevent you from making corrections, it will simply filter them so that they are methodical, not sporadic.

I'll be installing one on my wife's bike soon (maybe I'll get to it today). Partly due to lack of confidence, partly due to upper body strength, and partly due to panic, a small, unassuming rut took her out last weekend resulting in a helmet-cracking fall.

She's ok, and while I didn't witness this particular accident, I've watched her overcorrect in similar situations which she managed to ride out of. I truly believe that a Hopey damper would have prevented (or at least helped "managed") this occurance, just like a Rancho damper used to keep my steering wheel from being spun out of my hands in my old 4x4.

I'm doing a disservice to bicycle steering dampers by insinuating they're good for my relatively inexperienced wife, but not good enough for me. Fact is, I'd love one, but I had a tough enough time stomaching the cash I coughed up for hers on eBay -- and in the short term, anyway, I think she'll get a lot more benefit from it than I will.
 

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Hopey damper helps me place my weight correctly on

the bike. When I am using the damper it is easier to climb because my weight does not need to be forward only for the purpose of controlling the front wheel. I can place my attention to my balance on the bike. Before the damper, I had no idea how much energy I was using to keep the front wheel straight.

Christine said:
Okay, we're talking about platform pedals, bar ends, ham radios, and pets, why not steering dampers?

A couple of my riding buddies swear by 'em. While riding in VT last weekend, one guy said he had trouble climbing the steep hills without it..........or should I say, he climbed better with it on.

The way I see it, when I'm climbing something steep and going as slow as possible before falling over, I turn the wheel back/forth to help give me a little leverage. Not sure how I'd work it if there was.......dampness? :rolleyes:

Discuss.
 

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life is a barrel o'fun
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What are we talkin' price-wise for a damper? They don't look like much, but they sound pricey (if they're expensive on eBay!)
 

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kneecap
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Christine said:
Okay, we're talking about platform pedals, bar ends, ham radios, and pets, why not steering dampers?

A couple of my riding buddies swear by 'em. While riding in VT last weekend, one guy said he had trouble climbing the steep hills without it..........or should I say, he climbed better with it on.

The way I see it, when I'm climbing something steep and going as slow as possible before falling over, I turn the wheel back/forth to help give me a little leverage. Not sure how I'd work it if there was.......dampness? :rolleyes:

Discuss.
Christine, I have "Hopey" dampers on both my bikes, wouldn't ride without them.
They help bikes track through ruts, rock gardens, & assist with climbing efforts as well. They resist impacts from centerline out, & bars return to center without any resistance. The amount of dampening is adjustable from almost none, to almost fully locked out.
I've used similar steering dampers on my ohv dirt bikes for years, & they've saved my butt on more than once (bikes & dirt bikes).
If you can demo one of your buddies, give it a try, ride your own bike again & see what you think.
I have 3 buddies using them based on my experiences, They wouldn't go back either.
 

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Speedub.Anne's initial impressions...

"Steering dampers are for retards."

Not an actual quote, but pretty close to her words when I've suggested a damper in the past and again when she saw what I had done to her bike before yesterday's ride.

She went into yesterdays inaugural Hopey-equipped ride with a pretty negative attitude, considering the damper as "punishment" for her fall the previous week.

Poor ride planning on my part meant we began yesterday with a short but steep 1/8 mile climb, followed by a steep 1/2 mile fireroad descent that is fairly smooth, but always freaks her out. This allowed practically zero time up-front to get used to the new feel of the damped steering, or to play with its range of adjustment.

On the initial climb, she reported her bike "felt heavy" and the high damper setting may have contributed to her having a difficult time getting started on the climb. Definitely lighter settings are better for slow speed climbing, but the difference between light and heavy damping is as little as a quarter twist of the adjuster.

The second climb (this a real one), came after a mile or so of warm-up, and has a few sections of root and/or rock outcroppings that have managed to batter her front wheel around the past two times she's ridden them. This ride she steered a steady course and cleaned the first section without batting an eye.

I was impressed because the first time we visited this spot, we took half an hour and a few tears (honest) to work through it, and her second time she just got off and walked. She may have been in "f*** him" mode yesterday when she barreled through it, but she did so unflinchingly.

Similar attack plan on some of the upper sections, but she didn't have her legs yet to power all the way through, so each ended in a dismount. Absent was the erratic steering that typically precedes her stall point.

Those were the only two tough climbs on our 16 mile route. She rode her descents overly-conservative, probably as a result of her spill, so not a lot of good feedback there.

I took her bike for a short spin on some flat sections and was impressed with how little input the front wheel needs to remain on a straight course through heavy ruts and sand. The difference between light and heavy damping is extreme, but easily changeable through small changes of the dial that resides approximately where the headset top cap used to. The lighter settings still allow me to "talk" to the bike while still providing a notable amount of rock-deflecting resistance.

Again, she's very down on this "experiment", thinking a damper is a crutch for a weak rider (she's read a few threads on the subject but those haven't swayed her opinion). Reading what I have of the various Hopey posts & reviews, I don't expect that Anne is going to have much positive to say about it... until a few weeks from now, when I completely dial it out to almost zero damping. At that point, if she doesn't notice it missing, I might just steal it and install it on my bike.
 

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Speedub.Nate said:
I was impressed because the first time we visited this spot, we took half an hour and a few tears (honest) to work through it, and her second time she just got off and walked. She may have been in "f*** him" mode yesterday when she barreled through it, but she did so unflinchingly.
Okay, the rest of the post looked like this to me: "La la la la lala..." but the above quote caught my attention because it was too close to home, not with my wife, but with past girlfriends. Man, nothing more taxing than an emotion ride. Just riding along, bouncing off rocks, then next thing you know I'm getting cried at and yelled at. Could you imagine having trouble cleaning a tech section then suddenly bursting into tears? Wahhhh!
 

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The weird thing about.......

a steering damper is it doesn't seem to be doing anything when you are riding, but you can really see and feel what it does when you turn it off and your front wheel starts dancing all over the trail. I got mine for my K2 and it was much needed. It tamed a real twitchy front end on climbs. I recently bought a Turner Burner and it doesn't seem to need the damper, it tracks very true. In my case I think the difference is the 3/4" longer top tube of the Turner.

bill
 

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The Ancient One
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Speedub.Nate said:
Definitely lighter settings are better for slow speed climbing.
Nate, I use mine in the heaviest setting all the time. It's best to start out with a light setting though, and as you gradually get used to it, keep increasing it. I've used mine for several years.

As to the purpose of the damper, it's not just to reduce deflections of the front wheel from outside forces like rocks, etc, but to reduce the oscillations of the steering from the rider's constant over corrections. And it's not as though only poor riders make constant over corrections. Lance A. and Geoff K. do it too and a steering damper would reduce the problem for them too.
 
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