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The Evolution of the Motorcycle Steering Stabilizer?


ThumperTalk

The motorcycle steering stabilizer has remained relatively unchanged since its introduction in the 70s. Few things remain unchanged forever and George Athanasiou, owner of Precision Racing Products (PRP) believes that he’s created the next level of off-road motorcycle steering stabilizers with his Parabolic Damper. PRP began with steering dampers for ATV racing where they racked up countless wins. Building upon this success, they set their sights on off-road motorcycle racing.

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Precision Racing Products Parabolic Motorcycle Steering Damper

The most obvious and unique feature of the PRP Parabolic Damper is its mounting system which clamps to the center of the handlebars, avoiding the impact hazard of top mounts and the handling & ergonomic considerations of sub-mount systems that raise the handlebar. But, there is a lot more to a good steering stabilizer than its mounting location, so is this where the story begins and ends with PRP’s Parabolic Damper? We spent some time talking with George about his product, peeling the onion back a bit more.

TT:  Are there any notable motorcycle riders or race teams using your damper in competition and what’s been their feedback?
PRP: Before it was even for sale Factory KTM Racing and Factory Husqvarna Racing were already racing with it.  Since then, Factory Beta-USA Racing, Honda and Kawasaki support off-road teams have gone to it. The racers love it!  They have expressed that they had no idea that a steering damper could work so well. The KTM Crew Chief stated, “It's years ahead of anything we've tried.” It's great to have validation from riders at this level.
 

TT:  A lot of time & effort went into the design of the frame bracket, linkage & damper arm. What do you want riders to know about this?
PRP: We have been going to National races for 15 years and in talking to racers, they expressed that they didn't want a damper that raises their handlebars or one that mounts on top of their bars, possibly causing injuries.  After years of experiments and testing, the Parabolic damper was born, which is a damper that mounts at an angle to the steering stem and uses geometry with sealed and greased linkage to provide perfect ratios.


TT: The Parabolic Damper has a thermal expansion reservoir. Is this unique to your design and where does it benefit a rider?
PRP: This is a very unique system that we developed on our second generation of ATV stabilizers.  It basically works like a piggyback reservoir on a rear shock giving the oil a place to go as it heats up and expands.  Otherwise,just parking your bike in the sun can cause internal pressures of over 1500-psi which will bend covers or housings, causing fading or seizing.
 

TT: From center to steering stop and back, what are the dampening characteristics of the Parabolic Damper and why did you set it up that way?
PRP:  A flat bell curve best describes it with slightly more damping in the center and slightly less on the sides.  This helps you steer easier in the tight stuff while giving you more stability in the faster straight stuff. With a smooth transition between both, there is no sudden drop off like some dampers have. 

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TT: The Parabolic Damper has 20 low speed settings, but also an adjustable high speed circuit. How does the rider go about setting these two in relation to one another for the conditions they ride?
PRP:  Low speed is your normal steering speed and high speed is anything faster than you can turn the bars (has nothing to do with the speed of the bike). With the bike on a stand, set the low speed to the setting you like the feel of.  Now, turn the low speed up two clicks to set the high speed. You want to feel the high speed start to grab as you turn the bars at full speed. Now, turn the low speed back down to where you liked it. You will be able to turn your bars as fast as you like without the high speed hitting, but if you hit anything that moves you bars quicker than that, such as roots, ruts, rocks, cross rutts, trees, etc.,  the high speed will catch you.
 

TT: What sort of maintenance does the Parabolic Damper need and is it DIY or does it need to come back to PRP?
PRP:  Maintenance is super easy.  You don’t need to open the damper for an oil change.  Just remove the two fill plugs squeeze fresh oil in one hole until clean oil comes out the other hole, then reinstall the plugs. Greasing the linkage is also super easy and the linkage is wear adjustable.
 

TT: The floor is yours George, what else do you want riders to know about the Parabolic Damper that we’ve not covered?
PRP:  I think most people understand that a steering stabilizer will help them with high speed head shake (death wobble).  What a lot of folks don’t realize is what this damper will do to control the rear of the bike. The way our damper is designed, the back end wants to stay behind the front end through whoops, breaking bumps and in muddy or slippery conditions. This allows you to stay on the pegs while others are on their seat trying to keep the backend behind them.

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The Precision Racing Products Parabolic Motorcycle Steering Damper is very light weight.
 

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Burly linkage arm w/ multi-faceted connection point to damper body eliminates deflection & play
for a smooth, transitionless steering feel.
 

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Precision Racing Products Parabolic Motorcycle Steering Damper ready to go racing!

 

Have questions?  Hit @George @ Precision Racing in the comments section below! 👇

 

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So nice to see something new for once and something that accounts for the issues I've discovered with other dampers. I have an Ohlins on my GSXR1000 and would have bought one for my Enduro bikes had they not pulled out. I had a Scotts on my Husaberg TE300 and loved it at 1st but wasn't long before I grew to hate it and its issues. It needed service after 6 months and nobody up here was able to bleed / service the thing. I sent it to Cali to Scotts who ended up losing it in their pile of unwanted returns. After months of waiting and hounding them to step up, they "found" it and rebuilt it free of charge. They also asked me what type of riding I do and upon watching some of my videos admitted their damper wasn't suitable to my terrain in stock form??? So they changed the need out for a "street" needle for reasons that I still don't really understand but it worked OK. Sold the bike with the damper and moved on. Had a buddy with YZ250 with a GRP and it leaked as well. Bought a Husky FX350 and got the Husky damper for it to try...what a total POS. After only 30 some odd hours the unit was leaking and now does not work. It just sits atop my bars as a reminder never to buy junk ever again. It had very poor adjustment qualities, basically unusable above setting #3. So now I'm in the market for something new/better/outside the box and I believe I've found it. Sadly it is going to be a bit expensive for me to get up here into Canada at $700 USD but I'll see what I can do. Love to give it a shot up here in the PNW gnar. 

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On 1/28/2021 at 7:28 AM, Borthwick203 said:

are these out of stock for yamaha yz125 2017?

 

20 minutes ago, NMdesertRacer said:

How does it hold up in a crash with clamps that have rubber inserts?

@Borthwick203  We have redesigned the mount for the Yamaha YZ 125 / 250 to work with the IMS oversized tank.  Lots of the riders with these bikes have larger tanks so we needed to address it.  The mount is designed and fitted to the bike, but is not in production yet do to high demand of the dampers.  We are scheduled to start machining them in February 2021  

@NMdesertRacer Great question.  You clearly know that the rubber conned handlebar clamps will allow twist on the handlebar during a crash.  On the KTM Husqvarna we replace those rubber cones with aluminum cones with viton inserts that kill more vibration then the KTM rubber cones and greatly reduce the chance of a twist during a crash (see photo).  We have also designed the damper to slip on the handlebar during a crash to greatly reduce damage to the damper. For even more protection we have designed a one piece top handlebar clamp that will cage the damper and also increase the handlebar grip.  The new top clamps is scheduled to go into production in March.  It will be an optional accessory that can be added to new and existing parabolic dampers already in use. 

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I've had a Scotts on my 96 CR500 since it was almost new. I had a 60mph headshake on a killer offroad straight away. My Scotts cured it. No way I'd change it out.

 

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13 hours ago, damytzeus said:

if\how will this work with xcgear mako 360 bar clamps? 

if\how will it work with bar risers?

The Parabolic damper works fine with risers.  It will work with stock clamps, PHDS, Shock & Vibe, and BRP clamps as well as Flexx bars.  It will not work with Mako 360.

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