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Scotts/Ohlins steering dampner

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G'Day Joe,

I have been in contact with MSC in Gosford to try and get a damper solution for the DR. Vaughn said they are working on one at the moment, but perhaps a bit more interest would help speed up the the R & D process. I have an MSC damper on my 400 and it works brilliantly so I am sure a local solution for the DR would be a good one.

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I went the Scott's route and it's possible to mount it two ways that I know of. The first is to get the universal kit that they recommend and buy the handlebars that have a bowed crossbar that allows the damper to fit in between them. I didn't like this because it put the damper really high up on the spacers they provide. I went with the universal kit but got the shortest spacers they offer so that I could raise the handlebars with risers from www.roxspeedracing.com and it fit underneath them. It looks like it will flex on the mounts less with the spacers being shorter. If you email Scott's and tell them it's for a DR650, they will probably know what you will need since I went directly to their shop and we walked through possbile setups. They are really helpful. Here is mine:

damper01.jpg

Edit: Here is the handlebar website after their apparent change of address http://www.roxspeedfx.com/

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I went the Scott's route and it's possible to mount it two ways that I know of. The first is to get the universal kit that they recommend and buy the handlebars that have a bowed crossbar that allows the damper to fit in between them. I didn't like this because it put the damper really high up on the spacers they provide. I went with the universal kit but got the shortest spacers they offer so that I could raise the handlebars with risers from www.roxspeedracing.com and it fit underneath them. It looks like it will flex on the mounts less with the spacers being shorter. If you email Scott's and tell them it's for a DR650, they will probably know what you will need since I went directly to their shop and we walked through possbile setups. They are really helpful. Here is mine:

damper01.jpg

That's very nice. Great job! I'm getting my forks and shock rebuilt by Race Tech which I am hoping will solve most of the DR's instability issues. If not, a steering damper will be my next mod. Do you mind telling us how much the damper and mounts cost?? Do you know if they make a similar mount for Fat Bars? Were all your cables long enough?

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Thanks I really like how it came out too. I guess Rox has a new web address, it's http://www.roxspeedfx.com/ , not the one I posted and here is the direct link http://www.roxspeedfx.com/cgi-bin/cart/showitems.cgi?subcat_id=268. They make them for both 7/8" and 1 1/8" handlebars and mine are the 2" risers. They also make anti-vibe risers. They were ~$70 but worth it because it also brought the bars up to a comfortable level. The cables will reach at 2" but it starts becoming a stretch so I wouldn't recommend any taller unless you get cable extensions.

The damper and bracket must have been around $400 but it's been a year so I don't remember exactly. I did all the welding and installation so that was free. At that price people probably cringe but if I could go back and do only one mod to my bike, that would be the one. It made all the difference on and off-road. I'm an off-road newbie so maybe for an experinced rider it wouldn't do much, but I felt like I was fighting the bike alot less in soft terrain and kept quick, sharp jerks of the front fork to a minimum when hitting stuff. Even if you are good off-road all ready, you will notice the improvement on road. It gives so much stability, especially the elimination of the rain-groove wobble on the highways that got really scary ~70mph before I installed it. Now I have done just shy of 100 without a bit of flutter. It's hard to describe exactly how it rides but I will never go back and any bike I get in the future I will find some way to mount one of these things. Sorry for the ramble but it made riding so much more enjoyable that I had to mention everything since it cost so much :censored:

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I know what you mean. I have the GPR unit on my dirtbike, and it makes riding offroad a lot safer and therefore more enjoyable. A damper on a dirtbike for woods riding is an absolute must.

My priorities were to address the suspension first, since the DR is seriously lacking in that department. The way I look at it, there are two reasons you would need a damper on a dual sport bike - to prevent high speed headshake, and to control an inadequate suspension. The suspension (lack of) is the cause of the DR's instability off road, and a steering damper without suspension work is just a band-aid. With proper suspension adjustments, the instability issues go away. The damper however will address the other issue, high speed headshake caused by knobby tires and the dirtbike-style geometry. The damper will also be a big help if you don't have a lot of experience riding off road or in deep sand.

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I know what you mean. I have the GPR unit on my dirtbike, and it make riding offroad a lot safer and therefore more enjoyable. A damper on a dirtbike for woods riding is an absolute must.

My priorities were to address the suspension first since the DR is seriously lacking in that department. The way I look at it, there are two reasons you would need a damper on a dual sport bike - to prevent high speed headshake, and to control a inadequate suspension. The suspension (lack of) is the cause of the DR's instability off road, and a steering damper without suspension work is just a band-aid. With proper suspension adjustments, the instability issues go away. The damper however will address the other issue, high speed headshake cause by knobby tires and the dirtbike-style geometry. The damper will also be a big help if you don't have a lot of experience riding off road or in deep sand.

Of all the bikes I own the Dr650 needs a damper the LEAST.

The dampers help bikes with too ridged and stiff suspension handle rock hits at high speeds and headshake at high speeds in the sand. My Yamaha likes the steering damper because of this, it it rather stiff in the chassis and the suspension

The DR on the other hand flexes enough to absorb rock hits and I never really ride it blazing fast in the sand anyway.

Once you get your suspension sorted out I doubt you will need one.

I'd save the $$ and the weight and spend it on a lighter exhaust for the DR.

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So far I haven't needed one. What helps me most on sandy or worn out rocky or hard pack trails is to grip the bike with my knees. This has eased down all nervousness so far.

I can imagine though that a lighter bike with a more aggressive geometry needs one. Or a lighter rider with a more aggressive riding style (riders mass seems to calm things down?).

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Well I can see using high cost as a reason not to get one, but weight? The brackets and unit can't weigh more than 2lbs, which is less than .5% of the weight of the bike/rider combo. Take a dump before riding if its that much of a concern. And in terms of need, no bike really "needs" anything. The DR works on and off-road in stock form, it's just that the additions make it that much more enjoyable. And I agree with the weight thing that MaxKool was talking about. The larger rider mass makes sudden changes more difficult than with a lighter person, which probably explains why I have the squirlly problems (I'm 150lbs) while they seem to be doing fine (200+lbs).

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I have a question for you, PBRLife. How well does the damper control high-speed stability at 75 + mph? I like to use knobby tires but they tend to cause instability at over 75 mph.

I am a believer in steering dampers regardless of the type of bike you put them on. A damper can save your butt in many situations. If having a damper prevents a serious crash, it has paid for itself. The medical bills and bike damage from my last "get off" have cost me over $600, and fortunately, I did not need surgery.

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Like I mentioned in the other post, it has made a huge difference. When I had my semi-knobbies and the original trailwings things got sketchy above 70mph. It seems like it really wanted to track the rain grooves of the freeway. Not only that but even on pavement without grooves the front wanted to wobble at even the slightest movement at high speeds, either from hitting a bump or a wind gust. The oscillations made me almost crap my pants a few times because it didn't seem to want to stop and I had to slow way down before it did. Once I got the damper, I haven't had that happen at all. It takes a really strong side wind to make the front feel weird and even then it still feels much more manageable than it did. As I said before, even if it didn't cause any improvement in the dirt it was still worth it to me just to have the high speed stability. I have been over 90mph without it feeling like it use to at 70mph.

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once you have used a dampener, there really is no going back, I have put them on everything from XR400's, DRZ400's KTM640 Adventure, KTM950 Adventure and even made my Ohilns fit my BMW Dakar.... I wouldn't ride with out it. I sold my Ohlins with my KTM950 so I am searching for a new dampener solution for my DR650. No one seems to have an off the shelf solution, so like the BMW, I will get something to fit...

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....... even if it didn't cause any improvement in the dirt it was still worth it to me .....

I'm sure it was a big improvement in the dirt. If you question that, just turn the damper to it's lowest setting and go off road. You'll notice the difference right away. You tend to not notice what the damper is doing for you until you ride without it once.

I didn't notice that I had turned the GPR damper on my dirtbike to 0 one day. Within the first 2 miles of trail, I crashed 3 or 4 times and couldn't understand why. :ride: Then I noticed the damper setting, readjusted to # 3 setting, and rode the rest of the trail upright.:censored:

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(riders mass seems to calm things down?).

yes, i agree max. i got PLENTY of mass and even with the stock suspension, (:censored: eibach), i never had more than a very slight wobble at WFO and that was generally from pavement irregularities or air turbulance from the cages i was passing. i do recommend that one keeps at least one hand on the bars at speed... just in case. :ride:

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I would have to agree with Max as well, I am right at 200 lbs and believe that head shake is directly related to the weighting of the front end. My KTM had a head shake around 90 that was worse than the DR by quite a bit. I would have to agree with PBR that it will make your manly equipment look for a hiding place the first time you experience it. I have ridden a friends KTM with a stabilizer and it is decidedly different. Its all about what you're comfortable with IMHO. Anytime I'm on the freeway here I usually run about 75-80 and occasionally faster when riding with friends on the way to the mountains for a few twisties.:censored: When the head shake rears its ugly head slight pressure on one side of the bars calms it right down. I do ride with Pirelli Scorpions though and not DOT knobbies so they are much smoother on the street.

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Im hoping someone came up with an answer in the end???

 

I have a Scotts on my KTM 450 SXF and I want to be able to swap it from bike to bike...

 

Have not decided on what ADV bike to get as yet but the DR 650 keeps coming up roses and the price is hard to beat.

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I would call Scotts directly, they do list a damper setup for the DR650 but like many riders have already posted it really doesn't need one.  Then again, if your really hauling the mail through some rugged terrain then "yes" it needs one.  But for fire access & gravel roads it's not going to do much.

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I just rode the 4wd roads in the San Juan mountains of southwest Colorado. If you've ever ridden off-road in Colorado,you know why they are called the Rocky Mountains. Steering dampers make a huge difference, had on on my KTM 300XC. Definitely need one on the DR,wont do another ride on those type of roads again without one. For easy smooth off roading no problem,ruts and rocks, without a doubt getting one.

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