What happens when your motorcycle’s equilibrium is off? The front end to be exact. You feel a wobble, or abrupt shakes from your front wheels all the way up to your head. This annoying motion can be caused by an array of factors, but the most common one would be uneven road conditions. Either way, it’s uncomfortable, and can be hazardous at times. So you need to get it fixed - and a great fix is to install a steering damper
But first, you need to understand what a steering damper or stabilizer is. A steering damper is a mechanism that absorbs (energy from) the unnecessary, uncontrollable movement in the front of the motorcycle, making it more manageable by the rider. It works similar to a shock absorber, but as a more compact version and for movement in the axis perpendicular to your shocks. However, is it essential to your riding? Here are a few points of benefits to consider before answering that question.
It grants better overall control of your motorcycle. A steering damper is basically a shock absorber for your handlebars. You get to ride more comfortably, fatigue from long rides is drastically reduced, and you have better control of your motorcycle when riding - especially at high speeds and sharp corners. A steering stabilizer will without a doubt give you a better chance at coming out of an unwanted loss of control scenario safer.
You know the vibration and wobbling you feel when riding at high speeds, and the lightness of handling that makes you wonder if you still have control of your bike? Well, a steering damper is not going to magically make it all better, but it does make handling your bike a lot easier and safer. Speed demons will really appreciate how much the twisting of their handlebars is drastically reduced with a steering damper. The reduced twisting keeps your wheel in place, and ensures that you have the right traction to not lose control. It really is added safety.
For those of you who like to ride on rougher terrains or go off-road, we would consider a steering stabilizer a must. It will work wonders for you. Uneven terrain is usually uncomfortable and can be rough on your forks, causing unnecessary twisting and possible damage. A steering damper reduces the tendency for that, and gives you the upperhand in controlling your bike. Besides that, riders too can suffer from fatigue of continuous twisting motions due to uneven surfaces. Ride more comfortably with a steering damper.
A common question we get about steering dampers is, “will it make turning my handlebar more difficult?” The answer is no. Similar to shock absorbers and other conventional oil-controlled dampers, the resistance in motion is only present with acute force. You try to forcefully turn your handlebar in a quick motion, you will feel resistance. Regular turning is not affected. However, if you are taking a sharp corner and there is a kick-back, the steering damper will help prevent that and keep your wheel in place.
So in conclusion, we’re not going to say that it is absolutely necessary, but it definitely is an enhancement for your ride. Consider it an upgrade to your handling, with no repercussions. Most higher end motorcycles come with a steering damper, especially the newer ones. In fact, some track races make it a safety requirement to have a steering damper installed on your motorcycle. So, think about it. Some things are worth the investment.