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Re: Steering damper [Re: brianpankow] #757353 11/28/18 12:20 am
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koncretekid Offline
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At some racing venues, such as land speed racing, a steering damper is mandatory at least on bikes over 175mph. I've only been involved for 9 years, so I don't know when the rule was implemented, but most rule changes or additions are made as a result of accidents. Although I am a fan of steering dampers, I do not like the idea of the old friction dampers. I realize that some on this forum say they work well, but my concern is that a well set-up bike, with axles, steering and swing arm adjusted properly, will naturally try to correct itself in reaction to bumps and steering inputs by the rider. If steering stem bearings are too tight, or a friction damper is too tight, the bike can't quickly realign itself as it is designed to do. A major bump could initiate an oscillation of the front wheel which a hydraulic damper might mitigate, but a friction damper may exacerbate because the return to neutral would be restricted.

During high performance riding school, we were taught that in case of a speed wobble, we should relax our grip on the bars and grip the tank with our knees. The bike knows how to correct itself, and steering inputs by the rider could prevent that self correction.

Just my opinion, but on the other hand, through about 10 year of amateur road racing and another 9 years of land speed racing up to 150 mph, I have not experienced a speed wobble. To some extent, I attribute this lack of speed wobbles to attention to keeping the fasteners tight and the steering adjusted properly. I do have a hydraulic damper fitted to all my road race bikes and land speed bikes and adjust them to about half of their effective resistance.

Tom


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Re: Steering damper [Re: brianpankow] #757355 11/28/18 12:52 am
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Quote
If steering stem bearings are too tigh
Many bikes have loose steering bearings..There's a fine line between preload and over tightened...Many modern bikes with tapered roller bearings such as 90's Buells have a pre load of 5 pounds when the unloaded from end is pulled to one side with a scale attached to the fork...Do that on a Triumph OIF (tapered rollers) and the "funny" steering response will be noticeable immediately...But less preload works well and you can feel when right...Fore sure loose bearings can induce a wobble..I aolso believe some types of tires are more prone to cause a wobble....


79 T140D, 96 900M Ducati ....On a bike you can out run the demons..
Re: Steering damper [Re: brianpankow] #757358 11/28/18 1:04 am
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My only experience with friction steering dampers was when I had a shot on my friends BSA trials goldie, I took it back complaining that the tyres were too soft, "Oh, that will be the steering damper" came the reply , once backed off the bike was rideable. There only for decoration on a solo.


71 Devimead A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
MZ TS 250
The poster formerly known as Pod
Re: Steering damper [Re: brianpankow] #757657 11/30/18 7:29 pm
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OK, I got the steering damper on the '72 T150v. I assume that this bike still has the loose balls for steering bearings.
This Winter I plan to swap this conical front end with the disc front end on my OIF A65, which has roller bearings.
Should I remove the damper when fitted to roller bearings?


Stepping on others doesn't make you stand tall.

71 A65L "Zelda"
92 BMW K100rs "Gustav"
72 T120V cafe project "Mr. Jim"
72 T150V "Wotan"
Re: Steering damper [Re: brianpankow] #757669 11/30/18 9:27 pm
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edunham Offline
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David,
I did something similar 30 years ago when I replaced the front end on my '71 triple after a collision. The later disc brake triple tree stem was not drilled for a damper, so the old damper went into a box. I do recall that it took me awhile to realize that the taper roller bearings need a pre-load, and just how much. Until I figured that out, the steering felt funny.

Ed from NJ

Re: Steering damper [Re: koncretekid] #757672 11/30/18 10:43 pm
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jon powers Offline
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Originally Posted by koncretekid
At some racing venues, such as land speed racing, a steering damper is mandatory ....

During high performance riding school, we were taught that in case of a speed wobble, we should relax our grip on the bars and grip the tank with our knees. The bike knows how to correct itself, and steering inputs by the rider could prevent that self correction.


Tom


I have been riding on the street for several years with the hydraulic steering damper on my 1971 TR6R with no bad effects.

This advice reminds me of pilot induced oscillation (PIO) when the pilot inputs the exact wrong control chasing the reduction of the divergence and builds up the oscillation.

On my motocross bike hitting a rock at speed can induce some major head shake and the above advice is the only way to stay rubber side down.

Jon

Re: Steering damper [Re: brianpankow] #757676 11/30/18 11:38 pm
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Relaxing the grip on the bars when you're in a speed wobble? That's so counter-intuitive....it would be very hard to overcome the urge to hang on tight.

Some PO put 1 1/2 inch longer shocks on my Commando when I first go it. That thing would go into a wobble going down the road in a straight line. If you're having speed wobble problems, a little more trail might do the trick. I put a hydraulic steering damper on it and shorter shocks. Problem solved.

Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Re: Steering damper [Re: edunham] #757687 12/01/18 1:07 am
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Taper rollers don't need pre-load any more than conventional steering head bearings. They merely need to be adjusted the same, such as there is no discernible play at the steering head. However this is a difficult judgement, and because many people will gauge play by yanking the forks (which includes various bush clearances), the steering head bearings will often be over-tightened. This will kill ball bearings, tapers have just a little more tolerance, but not much.
Adjust them to zero play at the steering head, I would recommend.

Re: Steering damper [Re: edunham] #757709 12/01/18 6:41 am
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DavidP Offline
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Originally Posted by edunham
David,
I did something similar 30 years ago when I replaced the front end on my '71 triple after a collision. The later disc brake triple tree stem was not drilled for a damper, so the old damper went into a box. I do recall that it took me awhile to realize that the taper roller bearings need a pre-load, and just how much. Until I figured that out, the steering felt funny.

Ed from NJ

Thanks Ed,
I was just wondering if I should keep the damper on the conical front end once it's on the BSA.
I'll be converting the Trident to roller bearings when I swap the front ends.


Stepping on others doesn't make you stand tall.

71 A65L "Zelda"
92 BMW K100rs "Gustav"
72 T120V cafe project "Mr. Jim"
72 T150V "Wotan"
Re: Steering damper [Re: HawaiianTiger] #757726 12/01/18 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by HawaiianTiger
Relaxing the grip on the bars when you're in a speed wobble? That's so counter-intuitive....it would be very hard to overcome the urge to hang on tight.

Some PO put 1 1/2 inch longer shocks on my Commando when I first go it. That thing would go into a wobble going down the road in a straight line. If you're having speed wobble problems, a little more trail might do the trick. I put a hydraulic steering damper on it and shorter shocks. Problem solved.

Cheers,
Bill


When the Bonnie gets kind of 'squirrely' on very loose gravel (like where a road grader has passed recently), I find handling much better with a relaxed grip, even with the damper off. As long as I keep my gaze where I want to go, the Bonnie seems to know the way, even as she dances around.. Saves a lot of stress and fatigue on the arms and even the brain.


Bruce Miller
aka The Hermit
The Bonnie Ref: https://www.hermit.cc/tmc/om/manual.htm
Re: Steering damper [Re: brianpankow] #757728 12/01/18 2:16 pm
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My old Bonnie always found it's way home, even when I was so drunk i could hardly see the road.
That was fifty years ago. I doubt things would go that well today.

Re: Steering damper [Re: brianpankow] #757742 12/01/18 6:05 pm
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R Moulding Offline
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Years ago when I used to mountain bike the only way to stay in control on rocky down hill sections was to relax the hands and hold on with the your thighs. That allowed the front off the bike to wobble all over the place but generally kept you in a straight line. Once you tried to grip tight with your hands the front wheel would try and chuck you off. I guess the same applies during a tank slap?

Rod


So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
Re: Steering damper [Re: brianpankow] #757768 12/01/18 10:03 pm
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J. Charles Smith Offline
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I'm a big believer in steering dampers, but only the hydraulic variety. Their advantage, besides being more precisely adjustable, is that they are speed sensitive. So when you turn the bars, like when backing the bike into a parking space, they offer little resistance, but if you hit a bump in a curve, they resist that rapid shaking of the bars. Friction steering dampers are as old-tech as friction damped shock absorbers. But correct, of course.

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