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I'm curious about steering dampers on bicycles. Does steering damper really helps on rough terrain. What brands and types of dampers exist on market(in EU)? Does damper requires maintenance of any kind? Does anyone have steering damper? If yes, please share your experince.

After a little bit of googling I found this steering damper. So is this only steering damper that exists on market? Does anyone have it?

I'm interested for dampers because I hate when I ride on rough terrain and handlebar twists and I lose balance because of pothole or gap on macadam road.

  • Do you mean a suspension fork? Googling for "bicycle steerer damper" gives some weird results, e.g.: images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/… – Grigory Rechistov Jan 6 at 6:54
  • Whoa, I never knew these existed, there are even old threads on MTBR about Hopey dampers, with glowing reviews. – Klaster_1 Jan 6 at 6:55
  • Looks like a neat bit of kit that never took off. MTB riders use wider and wider bars as time went on, with some bikes now having 700+mm wide handlebars. That's a lot of leverage. So restraining a wayward front wheel is easier with longer bars. Plus it looks more... something. – Criggie Jan 7 at 18:16
  • @Criggie A) That should be an answer. B) The trend for wider bars shows no signs of slowing down - even 720mm is considered narrow now. – Andy P Jan 8 at 9:32
  • @AndyP it doesn't really address OP's questions about steering dampers, so its an alternative. Could be an answer, feel free to flesh it out with pics and details if you have the time. – Criggie Jan 8 at 10:24
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As you have found out there only seems to be one true steering damper currently on the market, and it's a speciality product for downhill MTB racing or dealing with cross winds on time trial bikes. This is not a product for the problem you are experiencing - losing control when the front wheel hits a bump.

It actually sounds like you have balance and stability problems, I doubt a steering damper would actually help you and would even hinder you as it would resist steering inputs from the handlebars as well as forces on the front wheel.

A possible way forward for you would be to learn how to deal with road irregularities better - taking weight off saddle and onto pedals through legs, shifting weight backwards, avoiding potholes entirely.

  • I thought damper will prevent that.. Thanks a lot – SilvioCro Jan 6 at 14:56
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(This answers the original question that was only about usefulness of steering dampers without details)

The purpose of steering damper on motorcycles is to prevent steering oscillation, also known as speed wobble. They are generally not needed on bicycles, because the masses and speeds involved are low enough that the rider can stop the oscillation by just changing position, tightening or loosening grip on handlebar or touching top tube with a leg.

The spring or elastomer thing that is sometimes sold as steering damper is actually intended to keep the handlebars from turning when bike is parked on kickstand or against a wall. It is not supposed to affect riding.

As already mentioned in comments and updated question, true steering dampers exist but are not common. It is probably not a coincidence that these are marketed for downhill and time trial, the two cycling subcultures that are most focused on equipment.

  • As a recreational rider on macadam road, is it Worth to invest in one damper? Btw I edited question – SilvioCro Jan 6 at 10:59
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    Depends. Are you buying one to solve some problem or just to get a new toy? If your goal is to have the most expensive bike, then one helps but just for riding I doubt one does anything. – ojs Jan 6 at 11:57
  • If it solves problem, I'll buy it... – SilvioCro Jan 6 at 12:12
  • Do you have a problem you think could solved by one? – ojs Jan 6 at 12:19
  • Yes I have but I'm not sure does damper really solves that problem. That's reason why I posted this question – SilvioCro Jan 6 at 12:35
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The first mention I saw of them, and still the only recommendation, was for use with a baby seat and rear rack (specifically one to carry a folded pushchair at the very back of the bike) combined. This leads to twitchy steering, especially at the low speeds typical of riding with a baby and rather heavy and high load.

I never tried one myself, as I only rode with the pushchair rack a few times.

Looking now I see they're also recommended with heavy front loads but I don't feel the lack of one on my tourer even with front panniers and a bar bag. That link suggests both spring and elastomer types are available.

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    The link says the "damper" is not supposed to affect riding at all but to keep front wheel in place when the bike is parked. It is useful only when parking heavily loaded bikes on kickstand or leaning against wall. – ojs Jan 6 at 9:17
  • @ojs I thought I linked the right product (same place I got the pushchair rack from) but apparently not – Chris H Jan 6 at 10:16

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