One of the biggest misconceptions with steering stabilizers is that some riders bolt them on to their bike as a means to try and fix bad suspension or geometry. It doesn’t work that way. You can hide some of the deflective traits, but a damper cannot fix incorrect spring rates, triple clamp offset or compression and rebound valving. The best way to appreciate a damper is to have your suspension completely dialled in first. In reality, a properly set up bike does not need a damper at all … so why would you use one?
There’s one reason why any of the top riders in off-road use steering dampers and that’s to reduce fatigue. In a cross country situation or on really rough tracks where your body is taking a lot of impacts, a damper helps redudce the fatigue that comes with fighting to keep your bike going in the direction you want it to. Some riders dial in too much damping to stop their bike deflecting off rocks or surprise hits, but this can make the bike more cumbersome to steer. Here lies the beauty of the SCOTTS damper, which is one of the only on the market to incorporate Hi and Low speed damping as well as range adjustment from centre, meaning you can cancel the damping effect the closer your bars turn to full lock. The low speed damping is in constant effect, which I have set quite low to keep the steering free for a natural cornering feel. It’s the Hi-speed damping that is your best friend because it only kicks in when the bars are shunted violently (like when you smack a diagonal tree root or hidden rock). This is where you really notice the damper working in your favor because it neutralises the blow and helps you centre the steering, instead of over correcting into a series of tank slaps.
As for installation, the whole kit comes with an easy to read step by step diagram. You simply remove the top triple clamp, then replace the top nut with a special bearing cased nut and damper post, which all slots into place as if it were a genuine Yamaha part. The rest is a matter of aligning to your desired bar clamp position. So far so good, but check back later for the full review after I’ve done some serious testing with Hi and Low speed, as well as the damping range.
Designed by the suspension specialists Ohlins, the SCOTT steering stabilizer is the most advanced unit on the market. All units and mounting kits are available at www.dirtbike.com.au