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Steering Stabilizer--why am i just now looking at one of these??

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At my first harescramble, one of the things i noticed (besides that i was slow!), was the pro's had the "gold box" on their handlebars. Well it didn't take too many more rocks before i figured out that they weren't taking the beating i was, or at least it didn't appear that way.

So my question is: Are they worth it, and exactly how do they work. Is it just suspension in a lateral direction? Why have i been riding so long and not noticed these or thought about it (okay i guess only i can answer that one 👍).

Seems like if they work they would be invaluable.

I have read a few posts about them. Mostly the debate of who's is better. I was just wanting a more in-depth answer.

I have checked out Scotts website, but they really didn't seem informative.

Thanks for any help

EDIT---2nd question. I have plain old renthal bars and some bark busters. Will i need a whole new set of bars or a new triple clamp?

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They do work similarly to your suspension:

Basically, it is just a piston and valve in oil, kinda like an ultra-simple front fork w/o a spring. It works similarly to a fork as well- smooth movements are allowed with little to no resistence. Quick movements (such as induced by headshake or hitting ruts/roots/rocks/bumps at speed) are dampened or nearly stopped b/c the oil will only move through the valve so fast.

That's the simple definition. Look at something fancy like Scott's and the internals are more complex, but the principle and action are the same. They just offer the ability to let the valve flow more oil for less resistence (low setting), or flow less oil for more resistence to motion (high setting).

Basically, they dampen/stop high speed movement of the bars side to side.

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M3R nailed a majority of the advantages. i would like to expand on one thing...

> Basically, they dampen/stop high speed movement of the bars side to side.

at first this sounds scary -- for example "what if i have to turn the bars real fast to avoid a tree?". but after riding with one you soon discover two things. for one, you really never turn the bars fast enough to notice the stabilizer; and two, (on the scotts unit at least) the sweep of the resistance is adjustable such that the stabilizer allows the bars to turn freely after a set number of degrees from center. this prevents arm pump in slow speed trail riding and makes it easier to maneuver the bike at low speeds.

one way to think about the advantage of a stabilizer is as follows...

suppose your front wheel hits a rock or a log at an oblique angle while at a moderate pace. obviously the wheel and the obstruction can't occupy the same space at the same time, so one or the other has to move. assume the rock or log isn't going to move for you. two things now happen simultaneously: first, your front suspension compresses somewhat, accounting for part of the movement. second, the bars turn such that the front wheel takes the least resistive path forward. this happens faster than you can react. in extreme cases you'll feel the bars nearly ripped from your hands just prior to going down from being off balance.

enter the stabilizer. the stabilizer increases the dynamic resistance to the bars turning. that is, they turn very easily at slow rates but when tried to turn violently there is great resistance. this is due to the hydraulic effects explained in the post above.

let's go back to our rock/log situation. with the stabilizer attached, the bars can't turn as fast -- and since inertia is still carrying the bike forward (that is, something has to give), the front suspension must compress more in order to accomodate the obstruction. so you trade the jolting twist of the bars for the more progressive action of the front forks (which are able to deal with the obstruction much better than your hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders, by the way). what this means is that instead of steering deflection induced by rocks, logs, and roots, you instead take advantage of the bike's suspension travel. the net result is that you keep going straight vs being banged around left to right with each rock/log you hit.

and, although there is an immediate benefit on the rock or log you just crossed over, over the course of the long day out on the trail you'll find that your upper body is saved from a lot of stress.

jim aka the wrooster

'01 wr250f

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M3R nailed a majority of the advantages. i would like to expand on one thing...

> Basically, they dampen/stop high speed movement of the bars side to side.

at first this sounds scary -- for example "what if i have to turn the bars real fast to avoid a tree?". but after riding with one you soon discover two things. for one, you really never turn the bars fast enough to notice the stabilizer; and two, (on the scotts unit at least) the sweep of the resistance is adjustable such that the stabilizer allows the bars to turn freely after a set number of degrees from center. this prevents arm pump is slow speed trail riding and makes it easier to maneuver the bike at low speeds.

one way to think about the advantage of a stabilizer is as follows...

suppose your front wheel hits a rock or a log at an oblique angle while at a moderate pace. obviously the wheel and the obstruction can't occupy the same space at the same time, so one or the other has to move. assume the rock or log isn't going to move for you. two things now happen simultaneously: first, your front suspension compresses somewhat, accounting for part of the movement. second, the bars turn such that the front wheel takes the least resistive path forward. this happens faster than you can react. in extreme cases you'll feel the bars nearly ripped from your hands just prior to going down from being off balance.

enter the stabilizer. the stabilzer increases the dynamic resistance to the bars turning. that is, they turn very easily at slow rates but when tried to turn violently there is great resistance. this is due to the hydraulic effects explained in the post above.

let's go back to our rock/log situation. with the stabilizer attached, the bars can't turn as fast -- and since inertia is still carrying the bike forward (that is, something has to give), the front suspension must compress more in order to accomodate the obstruction. so you trade the jolting twist of the bars for the more progressive action of the front forks (which are able to deal with the obstruction much better than your hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders, by the way). what this means is that instead of steering deflection induced by rocks, logs, and roots, you instead take advantage of the bike's suspension travel. the net result is that you keep going straight vs being banged around left to right with each rock/log you hit.

and, although there is an immediate benefit on the rock or log you just crossed over, over the course of the long day out on the trail you'll find that your upper body is saved from a lot of stress.

jim aka the wrooster

'01 wr250f

WOW! 👍:awww:🤣

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I love my scotts...

The big benefits of Scotts over others is:

1) The dead zone in the center (small corrections are undamped)

2) The difference between the highspeed and low speed dampening...

On point two, the scotts dampener has different resistence to high and low speed inputs. In my actual riding I have yet to steer into the high speed dampening but the high speed kicks in when you hit a rock or root or a rut (the three killer Rs). I could feel it minimze the steering movement. With the Scotts you can turn the lowspeed dampening way down and turn up the high speed.

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Question: So is the stabilizer most beneficial at high speed or low speed impact?

I assume there are settings for each but where I want the most benefit is the 1rst and 2nd gear trails with lots of rocks and roots. I got pounded to a pulp this past weekend with a double header (Could hardly hold a pen to sign up for Sundays race :awww:). First race was mostly roots and second race was mostly rocks. My suspension needs work also. I looked into the stabilzers a bit yesterday and man, quite expensive here in Canada (about $1100 for a Scott's with all needed).

Wrooster: Do you run with a stabilizer?

Any more info on net benefit for slow but very rough trail riding would be great. Thanks. 👍

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The speed I'm talking about isn't speed relative to the ground but speed of steering input. If you hit one of the three Rs your front wheel reacts quickly. On a Scotts that is handeled by the highspeed dampening. If you push or pull the bars while riding that is low speed. It really isn't effected by how fast you are riding (as far a MPH). Many many woods guys like the scotts with the lowspped dampening turned down so they can steer "quickly" with out working hard. They keep the high speed turned up so that the 3 Rs have less effect on the front end.

For the riding your are talking about you should run a scotts with the lowspeed dampening turned down and the high speed turned up.

Most steering dampener don't have high speed vs low speed (Scotts had a pantent that they won't license) so on most dampeners you only have one setting.

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That sounds like a definite positive for the Scotts then as I definitely don't want to have a "sluggish" steering feel. The sluggish feel was a comment from a local die-hard trail rider as to why he doesn't run one. Most guys I see at the races (Masters or A to AA riders) seem to be running the Scotts. I figured they used stabilizers primarily due to the fact they ride so much faster than a B rider but it is likely another step towards allowing them more opportunity to win for themselves and sponsors. I am concentrating on suspension and overall ridability of the bike before money on more power. I need to stay on the trail to improve. 👍

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A note on dampeners-

Yes, the Scotts has low speed adjustment, the others don't. But it isn't a big deal. I personally can't think of a situation other than maybe flying across the desert where you'd want low speed dampening. Other stabilizers, such as GPR, only adjust highspeed, which, IMO, is all that matters.

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there is so much printed above that is just plain WRONG i must say something:

1) OHLINS (as in the fork/shock swedish company that is owned by Yamaha) is the inventors. Scotts improved on it slightly and is ALLOWED to build them in the USA under license by Ohlins.

2) the big wheel on the GPR is LOW speed, the funky knob on a WER is LOW speed too. high speed is internally fixed on a GPR.

3) the Scotts does not dampen back to center, the GPR does.

4) the GPR is serviced for free any place the GPR truck shows up. the Scotts takes cash.

5) the Scotts has NO "dead zone". you adjust anywhere from 17 degrees from center to 39 degrees from center of damping.

says page 9 of the manual.

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But MOST riders will agree that dampening "back to center" is undesirable. Many who have dampers that do that (like the GPR) complain of the "slow as mollasas" feel. That is because dampening in both directions really cuts down on the responsiveness. There are applications where dampening "back to center" is beneficial like street bikes or Desert Racers. But not for riding in the woods or riding MX.

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there is so much printed above that is just plain WRONG i must say something:

1) OHLINS (as in the fork/shock swedish company that is owned by Yamaha) is the inventors. Scotts improved on it slightly and is ALLOWED to build them in the USA under license by Ohlins.

2) the big wheel on the GPR is LOW speed, the funky knob on a WER is LOW speed too. high speed is internally fixed on a GPR.

3) the Scotts does not dampen back to center, the GPR does.

4) the GPR is serviced for free any place the GPR truck shows up. the Scotts takes cash.

5) the Scotts has NO "dead zone". you adjust anywhere from 17 degrees from center to 39 degrees from center of damping.

says page 9 of the manual.

So...

Which one do YOU recommend for HS/woods riding and why? 👍

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Does anyone show a concern for that large hunk of metal sticking up above your bars??? Meaning, if you run a stabilizer, is there any concern, in the event that a nasty get-off does occurr, that you could impact and injure yourself on the stabilizer? I only ask this as 1 1/2 years ago, I crushed my throat/neck from impacting the handlebar cross-bar. I can only imagine what the damage would be if I ran one of these dampners during my accident? Has anyone come up with method to protect one-self from this potential?

Having said that, I am looking forward to Emig racing products new dampner which is located between the triple clamp and the bars. It is based on the Scott model from what I hear, with free back to center, only more streamline (I am sure riser clamps will be needed for additional room.) I also like the RTT dampner, which is integrated with the triple clamp and controlled with thumb action.

Thoughts....

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I plan on moving my scotts to the front of my bike at the junction between the front plate and the front fender. Scotts introduced a kit for it. It does require welding on the YZ250F though.

This makes it unadjustable while riding but for me that isn't an issue. I have mine set where I like it and don't change it often.

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Both...

I don't know that I "need" it on MX, I rarely go across ruts on the MX track, but its still there and when on trails I know I've hit things and not had my wheel kick just because of the Scotts. It makes trail riding much easier.

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Does anyone show a concern for that large hunk of metal sticking up above your bars???

The way that I run the Scotts is with a conventional 7/8" handlebar with crossbar and I even run the bar pad. The stabilizer mounts backwards so that there is more clearance for the cross bar. I have mine mounted regular this year but you have to turn the stablizer arm around to mount it backwards unless you have a high bend handlebar. The bar pad is carved out on the bottom to allow room for the stabilizer but it is full thickness on the top. I think it provides adequate protection for me and my "little gold box". 👍:awww:

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2) the big wheel on the GPR is LOW speed, the funky knob on a WER is LOW speed too. high speed is internally fixed on a GPR.

Well, normally I'm not one to argue with SUnruh, but, either

1) you're wrong

2) this write-up is wrong (It is on street bikes, but according to GPR's site, there is no difference b/t the dirt and street unit aside from fluid weight)

GPR Stabilizer sent us one of their slick-looking anodized aluminum dampers for the ZX, a small rotary design (similar in concept with Scotts but with a separate patent) that bolted onto the upper triple clamp in minutes. Compared to the Scotts damper, GPR's is a lot simpler. It has just one moving part and, hence, needs less maintenance. It lacks the Scotts' separate circuits for adjusting high-speed and low-speed damping, but GPR says there's virtually no need for low-speed damping on a stabilizer because the movements that need control are all of the high-speed variety. Six numbers are on its adjustable damping dial, but GPR claims there's 120 incremental setting over its sweep. And at $395, the GPR retails for a cheaper price than its rival.

From: http://www.motorcycleusa.com/Article_Page.aspx?ArticleID=837&Page=6

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