Ducati Monster Motorcycle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Could someone please tell me exactly what a steering damper is/ what is it for/ pros/ cons. Would somebody like me have need for one? I am a fairly newby with a Monster 620. Been riding for about 6 months. Thanks to all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
461 Posts
A steering damper is a kluge for a badly set up chassis and/or suspension.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Uh.... Thanks D.... Damn dude you need to get out more! ;)
Seriously though, thank you. That answers my question... (and every other question I was gonna put on the board within the next 4 months!)

-Cody
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
461 Posts
Cody,

I get out way too much sometimes, but never pass up a chance to use lots and lots of big impressive words. Shows my magisterial erudition don't you know?

-Don
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,931 Posts
Good explanation, Don.

Dampers can add to high (bike) speed instability often referred to as either "weave" or "wobble" (I've already forgotten which is which), where the bike oscillates at a rate of about 3 per second.

Steering dampers can help you recover from a "tank slapper", where the front end oscillates to the extremes so that the steering rapidly goes from full lock on one side to full lock on the other. Several of us Monster riders have experienced them with no previous hints that they were about to occur and no way to recover once they happened. It usually results in a trip to the hospital (in the case of Thomas Alberti), or at least a visit to the emergency room (in my case), and a totalled bike.

I now highly recommend the addition of a steering damper for all Monsters.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
413 Posts
Several of us Monster riders have experienced them with no previous hints that they were about to occur and no way to recover once they happened. It usually results in a trip to the hospital (in the case of Thomas Alberti), or at least a visit to the emergency room (in my case), and a totalled bike.

I now highly recommend the addition of a steering damper for all Monsters.
I've heard that this has been discussed quite a bit in the past, but seems pretty important. Scott, do you think that monsters are more susceptable to tank slappers than other nakeds ? Any idea why ? Was it hard to adjust to steering after putting on a damper ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
849 Posts
Monsters have a very steep rake which is why they handle so well (makes them "flickable"). Unfortunately, that also promotes instability and headshake.

I'm with D., I think dampers to be a nice piece of luxury equipment, but I don't think they're mandatory. A damper would be about the last thing I'd buy when modding a street bike/ building a race bike (and I've had and lived through them all - headshakes, wobbles, tankslappers...). I'd spend money on myself first (racing schools, track days), then on suspension and body work, then on performance mods, and finally a steering damper.

A common newbie mistake when getting a damper is to immediately crank it up to its maximum setting. Then they tip over in the driveway because the bike doesn't steer anymore. Or, a club-racer favorite, they pull off the track only to fall over in the pits ;D My S4 came with a damper when I bough it and the second and third clicks from the softest setting (out of 19) are about right for the street. On the track, I've had it up to about the fourth or fifth click.

-R.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,931 Posts
I've heard that this has been discussed quite a bit in the past, but seems pretty important. Scott, do you think that monsters are more susceptable to tank slappers than other nakeds? Any idea why? Was it hard to adjust to steering after putting on a damper?
Apparently Monsters are a bit more likely to have tank slappers because of the steep steering angle.

I've never adjusted to the steering after putting on a damper because I wrecked my bike.

However, I temporarily owned another M900 a few years ago with a damper and I didn't really notice it. You don't have to crank up the damping much to save you from what caused me to crash. You just want something to prevent the rapid lock to lock oscillations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,755 Posts
Only this summer did I begin riding the Monster hard enough to sample a variety of head-shake conditions. Hard driving out of a turn, coupled with a road irregularity is a pretty good recipe.

Still, none of the shakes I've had were at all worrying. I was relaxed on the bars, weight far forward and somewhat inside, and they damped out after a few cycles. So my tendency would be to proclaim my bike, in that setup, as stable.

But then there's Scott's misshap and the growing realization that it takes only one setup change or somewhat different road condition to put it outside the stable envelope.

I got the same fork upgrade that Scott did back in September, so it's a different bike than the one I rode through the shakes with in the summer.

Ya never know.....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,305 Posts
Hey D "magisterial erudition" Not quite sure if that's legal in public!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
743 Posts
I appreciate the explanation Don, but any advice that ends with a dismissal of a particular step taken before taking all others, without specifying what those might be is not very helpful, IMO.

A steering damper is a kluge for a badly set up chassis and/or suspension [...] Race bikes are set up close to the oscillation threshhold that some have headshake coming out of corners when the forks extend.
If race bikes are examples of badly set up bikes, then apparently there's not much point discussing those highly refined steps all of us riders need to take before putting on a steering damper. If we want the aggressive steering that comes with the bike (and I haven't heard it being a negative point with anyone yet), then it would be foolish not to at least compensate for it, using the appropriate means, which is the steering damper. If some riders mistake a safety feature for bling that still doesn't undermine its usefulness. The reality is that Monsters are prone to tank slappers. Unfortunately, inducing tank slappers for the purpose of deriving the correct suspension settings is not feasible. Unless you can demonstrate that steering dampers cause more harm than good, or that there is a chassis formula that escaped Ducati's attention, then the point is moot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
461 Posts
The reality is that Monsters are prone to tank slappers. - sivan

Seems to me that someone should sue Ducati then.

(I've owned fourteen motorcycles and every one of them would headshake under some conditions.)

Respectfully submitted,
Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,755 Posts
The reality is that Monsters are prone to tank slappers. - sivan

(I've owned fourteen motorcycles and every one of them would headshake under some conditions.)

Respectfully submitted,
Don
As on another thread, I refer readers to the November '03 issue of "Bike." The issue featured an article on tank slappers. The article supports Don's statement above (regarding modern sportbikes).

But let's all be clear here in the difference between "head shakes" and "tankslappers." As I said a few posts up, I've had head shakes, some pretty high amplitude, without worries. That's because the chassis (without a damper) naturally damped them out. If, on the other hand, they were to resonate with the chassis, it would be a whole different thing!

The question is not whether Monsters are prone to head shakes, but rather are they unusually succeptable to resonant tank slappers.

We all know that Monsters can go into uncontrollable slappers. It's happened to esteemed members of this forum. But those are individual examples, not statistics. Each of us is assessing the probability that it will happen to US! If we feel it's high, we get a damper. If we feel it's low enough, we don't.

Right now, it appears that Don feels that his Monster is no more succeptable to slappers than any other bike and that, with proper setup, he's comfortable without a damper. Scott espoused the same position a few months ago and didn't get beat up for it!
 
G

·
Hrm just curious but has anyone had a tank slapper here that the steering damper saved their bacon?

I'm thinking a damper is a good idea and cheap insurance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,755 Posts
A steering damper isn't intended to "save a tankslapper." it's supposed to keep one from happening in the first place.

A tankslapper happens with the chassis is "tweeked" and the movement of the fork is resonant with the chassis. Then the back and forth motion of the bars gains energy and the amplitide builds up and up until the bars are going lock to lock.

The damper introduces some resistance into the steering motion so that the energy is not able to build up to that uncontrollable level. When you hit a bump with the front unloaded, you'll get a kick that knocks the bars to one side, but the rotation will get smaller and smaller as the bike settles down.

That's part of the problem here: if you have a steering damper and never have a tank slapper, you can't really know whether you WOULD have had one without the damper!

If you DO get a slapper, you'll say "damn, I should have dialed in some more damping."
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
739 Posts
"Re: What is a steering damper?

That's part of the problem here: if you have a steering damper and never have a tank slapper, you can't really know whether you WOULD have had one without the damper!

If you DO get a slapper, you'll say "damn, I should have dialed in some more damping."
Ok! I was "blessed" to experience one dandy tank slapper this weekend on ACH without a steering damper, thought for sure I was going to crash, but the motorcycle gods looked favorably on me and my fabu monster recovered, quite nicely. Still it was enough to scare the you know what out of me and the folks in the car behind me!! A lovely Arrow Steering Damper has now been ordered. Will let you know if it makes a difference! I have also heard from many different sources that Monsters are "prone" to tank slappers. And yes, my suspension is set up very well, just one of those flukes that happens.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,755 Posts
Yeah,

the Arrow Ti is the one I want too. Mmmmm :)

Maybe for Christmas. Problem is my wife will NOT buy me m/c stuff :'(
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top