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Ohlins Steering Damper Kits



So you want to go fast, young moto-jedi? There's a whole hell of a lot of riding skills to master but, on top of that, your equipment needs to align with your riding style and your bike has to be dialed-in. A few shiny new parts won't hurt things, either.

Given a choice, I'd rather have a smooth ride than a wobbly one so I can ride confidently (and quickly). Most riders would undoubtedly answer the same, but for some reason, many don't know that one of the secrets to having their bike react the way they'd like is hidden within the parts they can by for their motorcycle. Specifically, the steering damper serves the express purpose of countering uncontrolled movements (wobble) while riding. Oh, and they're also often called steering stabilizers.

I know, I know, another article about how you can ride your motorcycle faster buy spending more money on aftermarket parts but hear me out! Many riders jump straight for the exhaust and other visual upgrades when the secret-sauce to being at the head of the pack (for us performance junkies) is usually in the less flashy upgrades. I'm talking about going straight to upgrading your motorcycle's suspension in order to go fast. Steering dampers fall under that very same category and are really a must-have for those hitting the track or riding aggressively on the weekends.

What Makes Steering Dampers Great For Sport Bikes?

Sport bikes are tuned for precision and performance. They maximize factors like acceleration, speed and braking ability. It's what they live for and also why we are so attracted to them. They embody beautiful lines, danger and require a high level of skill to properly manage. In many cases, they also have shorter wheel bases and a tendency to be more difficult to control. For these kinds of bikes, dampers are going to get you the stability and riding confidence riders are looking for.

If your bike feels loose and sloppy, you aren't going to be quick and you're most likely to push the limits of the bike in a not-so-safe-manner. That's not good for anyone.

The stabilizer/damper attaches to the motorcycle and works by reducing the amount of shock transferred to the motorcycle bars (and arms). This lessens an effect known as oscillation, making the bike easier to control. It reduces lateral (horizontal) movements, much in the same way that the suspension on your bike corrects for vertical movements.

This equates to less energy expended trying to hold the bike steady, and less fatigue as a result. Additionally, the likelihood losing control of the bike while performing tricky maneuvers, such as a tight turn or a wheelie, is greatly reduced.

What About Ohlins Steering Dampers?

Sometimes, bikes will come with steering dampers. Many riders that want a higher-quality ride, however, will turn to various motorcycle parts stores for high-end aftermarket motorcycle parts for exacting specifications. Ohlins is one such brand, a company with a deep history in world-championship racing that you can trace back to the 1970s. Ohlins produces a rather well-regarded piston-style damper that sport bike enthusiasts have come to trust and love.

If you haven't been living under a rock for the past-forever, Ohlins is a name synonymous with incredible suspension performance and racing pedigree and...you should take notice. They're pricey additions but well worth the entry price if your goal is to take your riding to a new level and discover increase feel and feedback. Ohlins shocks are generally the best selling item from their catalog.

Rotary Style or Piston Style?

In contrast to rotary-style dampers like a Scotts steering stabilizer, piston-style dampers from Ohlins can mount in the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) location on most bikes, where they install with ease. There's no need to worry about them much afterward once they are dialed-in. Rotary-styles are almost always top-mount devices, which makes taking the tank off more difficult -- something track bike owners may frequently be doing during competition.

Some feel that piston-style dampers are more difficult to adjust on the fly and might sustain more damage during an impact, but, with some practice, adjusting settings becomes nearly as easy as it would be with a rotary device. It's really a matter of choice.

Best Place To Buy a Damper

There's a host of options when it comes to motorcycle suspension in general. When shopping online, a reputable online motorcycle parts & accessories store is your best bet but we always urge riders to hit up motorcycle events, ask riding buddies and search/chat on online forums in order to find the best combination for their particular bike. You can also shop for Ohlins steering dampers on our website.

Installation

Let's lightly cover installation as it's a big part of motorcycle tuning culture whether you're a DIY magician or prefer to take your bike down to the street to a trusted shop. More often than not, steering dampers and stabilizers are bolt-on parts that aren't terribly difficult to install. However, certain models may require drilling mount points. Seek a qualified mechanic to be safe if you're not comfortable working on your bike or have an installation party with your buddies - you'd be surprised how many are down to wrench in a garage and talk shop!

Continue reading about the benefits of upgrading motorcycle suspension to see if you can benefit from an Ohlins Shock.

By Daniel Relich

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