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Well, I've read through the steering stabilizer threads and it seems like there are two schools of thought:

(1) I would not ride without one, worth every penny
(2) Never had one, never needed one, expensive, can't see the point

It's hard to reconcile these two sets of opinions. I've read Greywolf's account of a high speed tank slapper without a stabilizer. I presume (but don't know for sure) that a stabilizer would have prevented that. However I'm not likely to be doing 110mph with a full load of luggage and experience aerodynamically induced instability.

Has anyone experienced a tank slapper induced by riding over a road imperfection at more moderate speeds (say up to 80 mph)? Has anyone had a road incident at lower speed that they think a stabilizer might have prevented? Running over potholes, small furry critters, rocks? Not necessarily a tank slapper, but a situation where the incident resulted in an unexpected rapid steering input which resulted in an accident?

Even off road there seem to be the same diverse opinions from "they're great" to "I'd never use one". I'm not likely to do any serious off road riding. Maybe some stretches of gravel, but I'm not inclinded to ride over rocks or through mudholes.

$450 is a serious chunk of change. Insignificant if it saves your life or prevents serious injury of course, but then you can say the same about an airbag jacket, full body armor and ABS. I have ABS and a fork stabilizer, I don't have an airbag jacket or a steering stabilizer. I think I'd rather spend the money on keeping the bike upright than hitting the ground softer if/when it does go down, but it's certainly a toss up as which might be of more value in the long run.

The trouble with the stabilizer is that you never know when it worked. Just because you didn't have a tank slapper or other steering related incident with one, doesn't mean you would have without one. If you drop the bike or highside without one, you don't know that you wouldn't have had the same result with one.

On a racing bike that is often unstable at high speed you may be tell the difference when you add a stabilizer because it clearly becomes more stable. However with the Wee you're adding it to cope with a rare incident, not something that happens every time you ride without one, so there's always a question of whether it's actually doing anything.

You can say that anything that improves safety is worth whatever it costs, but where does that end? You'd need 4 pot brake calipers, upgraded suspension, the best tires money can buy, full leathers with full armor, air bags, crash bars, traction control, ABS and so on. Where is a steering stabilizer on that list?
 

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"Armor 1. Crashbars 2. ABS 3. Steering Damper 4."

And the armour is transferable from bike to bike, in a manner of speaking.
In a less convenient way, the steering damper is also transferable (or can be sold on to a wide range of bike-owners).

Once had a real tankslapper (not just a moderate head-shake) at 90 mph on a Ducati - a bike known for its relatively high stability at that time.
GreyWolf's experience was certainly at the sharp edge of the wedge - but the V-Strom has long been known as having less-than-rock-steady imperturbability in some situations. Especially carrying luggage.

And the steering damper offers benefits on loose surfaces, too.
.
 

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The priority list for me on the Wee would be somewhat similar: Armour 1, ABS 2, Fork Brace 3, Crashbars (Pat Walsh) 4, Lower Front End 1/2" 5, Scotts Damper 6, Normal Highway Speeds < 80MPH.

As has been said, the Wee does not have the best reputation for high speed stability, particularly when heavily loaded. My riding is primarily long distance touring and camping trips. I'm always heavily loaded (I recently weighed 880#, full of fuel and me on the bike) with much of the weight behind me.

These things make the bike safer for me while I'm riding it. For the removable ones (ie, 1, 3, 4, 6), they can either go with me to the next bike or be sold for something like 50% of the original price. I look at that cost as reasonably low cost insurance.
 

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I *was* a cynic as well.

The Oz $ got so high that it was worth spending the money.

O.K. small improvements on seal - my bike was stable up to it's top speed (loaded), so, the only OBVIOUS differences there come down to comfort.

Off the seal "Oh yeah baby". Good dirt roads became like smooth seal, braking is still a problem, but the bike just goes where I point it, and surfaces that were insanely nasty (deep coarse sand on a clay base) went from "OhShitOhShitI'mGoingToDie" to "Um - that was unpleasant", the bike is way more stable and doesn't try to swap ends. The front end digs in, but just applying a bit of throttle solves that - the bike stays straight - big gains.

On seal - yes, noticeable, motorways are the big gain, it's like riding a Goldwing without the supertanker problems a heavy bike has. Wind, passing big trucks, no problems.

Twisties - corner entry speed is now up with sports bikes - a lot faster, perhaps 20kph on the back roads around here (which is nice but since I used to be faster coming out than the sports bikes ... multiple corners become a problem) and I found out that I can now also drift the DL (both wheels sliding) though corners (see previous comment)

So , provided you don't go mad, a big gain to your safety margins, the bike will be a lot more stable and you have much more leeway when things go wrong.

One thing that did surprise me, the front and rear suspension now work much better together - I can't think of any other way to describe that.

Fork brace FIRST though I suspect. Without that the front is so flexy that the brace will make only a moderate improvement,

Pete
 

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Well, I've read through the steering stabilizer threads and it seems like there are two schools of thought:

(1) I would not ride without one, worth every penny
(2) Never had one, never needed one, expensive, can't see the point

It's hard to reconcile these two sets of opinions.[...]

You can say that anything that improves safety is worth whatever it costs, but where does that end? You'd need 4 pot brake calipers, upgraded suspension, the best tires money can buy, full leathers with full armor, air bags, crash bars, traction control, ABS and so on. Where is a steering stabilizer on that list?
It's hard to reconcile them because they are opinions.
How about some facts:
- The Strom has not been designed to be a tankslapper and the phenomenon is therefore an indication of something wrong somewhere.
- A properly maintained/loaded bike driven responsibly (given its design) will not slap your bars around the tank.

I don't care about (or for) the cost of a stabilizer, but I know one is not needed unless one desires to mask some other problem with the bike rather than fixing it (possibly due to stabilizer hype spread by people with poor understanding and great fear of the tankslapper). I spent 2 years riding a bike that would go into a tankslapper if you closed the throttle at tthe wrong time or hit a bump in a curve (It never ejected me or put me down; I only had to trust momentum and gently roll on the gas to get it back to normal, and simply got used to riding it that way).
I think everyone will agree that there was something horribly wrong with my bike (possibly something to do with wheels of the wrong size - front tire was 16" instead of 19" - and forks of the wrong length)
A steering stabilizer can be useful, but you usually only need one when your suspension is on its way out.
In my experience, wobbles/tankslappers are usually due to the following:
- too low a front end responding differently on each side of the tire to some abrupt weight transfer on to the forks.
- too high a front end responding differently on each side of the tire to some abrupt weight transfer away from the forks. (much rarer)

I'd be more worried about a stabilizer jamming than about my bike slapping the bars; I can somewhat deal with a tankslapper but I don't know what to do if my handlebars lock.
Definitely make sure you buy a brand new top-shelf item if you decide to get one.
 

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If I wasn't so cheap I would get one. Maybe I'm just not convinced that it will do much for me. With that said, I noticed a big difference when I added my fork brace and may notice a greater difference if I was to add a stabilizer.
Yes, they are pricey.
 

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For sport bikes and dirt bikes I absolutely swear by steering dampers, and wouldn't ride without one. I have a Scotts I swap between my DRZ and CRF as needed. On a sport bike, it's like insurance... you hope you won't need it, but it's there if you do. OTOH, it's a night & day difference on a dirt bike, and I wondered how I ever rode without one kind of thing.

That said, I haven't really felt a need for one on my Strom. It doesn't have the aggressive steering angle & short wheelbase that makes sport bikes slap at speed, and it doesn't go fast like sport bikes, so hard to imagine it needing one on the street. I think a fork brace is a better mod (and way cheaper!) for adding a little stability. While I do take my Strom offroad, I don't go down single track with lots of loose rocks, ruts, roots, etc etc where a steering damper really shines.

However, if you are taking your Strom well offroad and into some rougher/looser terrain, you would benefit from running a damper. But you indicated you weren't going for the hardcore terrain, more just gravel roads & such. You'll be fine without one, IMO.
 

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From what I gather from input from folks here that have them, I think the key points are:

- big different in the dirt.
- small difference on the road if the bike isn't loaded down with luggage.
- potentially big difference on the road if you're carrying lots of luggage.

Is this about right? I installed fork brace and it made a big difference in the bike's performance in cross-winds (unladen). I just ordered Givi side cases and a top case, so now that I may be carrying more weight in the rear, I may end up going with a Scotts.
 

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well I wish I had some when I did my trans labadour trip few weeks back. the plan was to have them but as you said, they are pricey. the cash never came together in time.

but near end of day 1 and 2 full on tank slappers in, and a bunch of front end wobble I was really wishing I had them. Hit a long section of road getting to lab city that was all just crazy sand with a sprinkling of stones on top. I did not drop the bike as goosing the bike got me out of all these issues. but if I had to have hit washboards, a turn or anything else when in these situations I was going to the dirt.

So yes its not required, never needed it on ash fault at all upto 150kph. But on dirt, o man give me it. and it would still be nice insurance on the street.
 

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get the fork brace.... roller steering head bearings, you will be fine... these are not MotoGP bikes
 

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Do you ride on washboard roads? Here a steering damper can be very useful.

Trail keeps the bike running straight. Trail is the distance between the extension of the steering stem axis and the front tire's contact patch. Trail needs to be positive--the contact patch behind the steering axis extension. If a bump is hit where the contact point is ahead of the steering axis extension, the bike's steering is immediately unstable due to negative trail. A series of bumps on a washboard road with just the wrong distance between them makes things very unstable. The steering damper can be a big help here.



More: Motorcycle Safety Site

I have a used Scotts Steering Stabilizer without the mount available. Anyone interested can PM me.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the explanation about washboard roads. Makes sense.

PM sent about the Scotts.
 

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Hi, I can tell you that I have shipped the Scotts Stabilizers for Wee and Vee riders in many countries around the world, and I can tell you that I have also shipped them for Sport Bikes, Off Road Bikes, MotoCross and Enduro bikes all over is well,

Here is the common thread of all the responses, "I never thought that adding the Steering Damper would make such a difference in how the bike handles",

If is in your budget, order one for your bike, You will be glad you did and your bike will thank you, If you decide you want one I do have them in stock for our bikes,

BTW: Great explanation PT,

Enjoy the ride, and best regards,
Blair
 

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From what I gather from input from folks here that have them, I think the key points are:

- big different in the dirt.
- small difference on the road if the bike isn't loaded down with luggage.
- potentially big difference on the road if you're carrying lots of luggage.

Is this about right? I installed fork brace and it made a big difference in the bike's performance in cross-winds (unladen). I just ordered Givi side cases and a top case, so now that I may be carrying more weight in the rear, I may end up going with a Scotts.
- big different in the dirt.

For sure, that's why I got one. Not that the DL was unridable on dirt, but I had burning shoulders for 3 days after a several hours of nasty dirt roads and decided I was too old to put up with that shit anymore.

- small difference on the road if the bike isn't loaded down with luggage.

IF you occasionally ride like a maniac and like embarrassing sports bike riders, then it's
a definite plus even unloaded.
IF you ride on the slab a lot and want a less wearing ride over long distances it's also a win, the physical effort needed to keep the bike on line is a lot less.

- potentially big difference on the road if you're carrying lots of luggage.

Possibly saves tank slappers, so yes, though my bike has never done that at speed, but on the other hand - as the Duck pointed out above - with good setup and good bearings it shouldn't happen anyway. Definitely *has* happened to riders on this forum though.

- I'd also add the increase in margins is pretty dramatic all round
You can corner faster, you can brake harder and the bike remains stable. You can lock up a wheel and the bike stays relatively stable.
If you ride in areas where the roads are bad and unexpected shit happens, worth considering for that reason as well.

Pete
 

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Fork brace! it's cheap and it does the job.
 

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Well, I've read through the steering stabilizer threads and it seems like there are two schools of thought:

(1) I would not ride without one, worth every penny
(2) Never had one, never needed one, expensive, can't see the point
Whilst (1) is purely someone's opinion, (2) does not even qualify as an opinion as he/she never tried one. - it's like someone saying: never had a bike, never needed one, freaking dangerous, it's just crazy.

You see my point.

For the record, Fork brace does something entirely differently - and i recommend you getting one if u havent got one to help with stability and riding pleasure.

But Scotts is a a farkle well worth having for road and dirt.

Going over bumps on a lean - no twitch no nothing stable as hell.

I bought that originally to make up for some of my lack of ability in dirt and couldnt believe how well it works on the road even for spirited under 100km/hr riding.

Trust me get it if u can.
 

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Once was enough

I was riding my Wee on a gravel road that was rutted from recent rains. The front wheel entered a smooth bottom rut that looked like a better place to be. The bottom of the rut collapsed and the rut jerked the bars out of my hands so fast I couldn't respond with more grip or a throttle roll on. Got dumped ignominiously on the ground. ATGATT worked.

A damper would have slowed or stopped that movement. I ordered one from SVRacing the next day. I had one on an R1 track bike and I knew it worked when the front got light rolling on throttle out of a turn AND applying heavy braking at the end of a straight. How did I know? I didn't get a tank slapper but I saw others get them riding the same bike in the same circumstances. Am I a better rider? Nice try. I credit the damper.

Cost? S**T!! I've got $2,000 in pannier racks and boxes on the damn bike and that's just to keep my clothes dry and my tire repair kit handy. The damper keeps ME safe.:yesnod:
 

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Barely qualified, but here's my 2¢...

I just rode my newly acquired 07 dl650 (with worn to the wear bars Conti TKC80s) on some very sandy roads. This was very fine grained dry sand. I was with a friend who was on his KLR650 with Anakee tires. The first road I had the stabilizer dialed out 8 clicks from the stop as the instructions say should be a starting point, and thought I'd lose it before we got a few hundred yards, so turned around and went back to the pavement. My friend has decades of riding experience on and off road and he didn't have much trouble.

The next unpaved turn off looked nicer. I tightened the stabilizer two clicks before venturing in, and when this road turned into even deeper fine sand and the KLR was having trouble, the wee kept right on going with no feeling like the front was going to wash out. I found that instead of the first reaction to back off the throttle, I goosed it just a tiny bit and it would straighten out and go nicely. I got way ahead of my friend, who definitely was having more problems with the Anakee's.

In order to not dig in to get going, I started so soft I killed the wee 3 times and the battery sounded like it was gone and might not go for a 4th, so I blasted through the soft stuff. The Anakees kept spinning and digging but didn't want to go, but the TKC80s showed their side lugs (tires are worn flat from pavement) made a big difference.

Following the KLR at a slower pace was a bit more difficult than the speed the wee seemed happy at going in (was leading then).

This may be dull to you experienced riders, but might contain useful info just the same. The stabilizer made a huge difference to this noob, as did finding the speed the bike was more stable at.

I hope these observations help some one. I'm glad the prior owner(s) saw fit to install the stabilizer, it likely kept me from dropping the wee. It will follow me to the next bike as well. I'm keeping it!

Steve
 

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Scotts Stabilizer

Hi, I can tell you that I have shipped the Scotts Stabilizers for Wee and Vee riders in many countries around the world, and I can tell you that I have also shipped them for Sport Bikes, Off Road Bikes, MotoCross and Enduro bikes all over is well,

Here is the common thread of all the responses, "I never thought that adding the Steering Damper would make such a difference in how the bike handles",

If is in your budget, order one for your bike, You will be glad you did and your bike will thank you, If you decide you want one I do have them in stock for our bikes,

BTW: Great explanation PT,

Enjoy the ride, and best regards,
Blair

I have a fork brace and one up one back GenMar bar risers. Will the stabizer work with this set up? What is involved with the installation and what problems may arise while installing?
 
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