On a motorcycle, a steering damper helps to prevent wobbling and is helpful on bikes where rapid acceleration lifts the front wheel off the ground, causing the bike to move erratically.
The typical damper for a road bike looks like a shock absorber, long and thin, and is mounted to the bike’s frame and the fork. There is also a more technical damper available, although it is more often installed on dirt bikes, which is mounted onto the handlebars and has settings that can be changed on the fly. It is possible for you to install the damper yourself, saving yourself the cost of dealer installation fees. Below, find step-by-step instructions how to install a motorcycle steering damper.
Although your motorcycle might look like the next person’s, there are subtle ways each bike varies. The installation instructions below will cover the basic way you install the damper on a generic bike. It is handy to have your bike manual handy for the location of parts and the installation instructions that accompanied the damper for any specifics relating to your bike. There are torque settings and location settings of which to be mindful.
The bolt-on-damper is like a shock absorber and acts in a similar fashion and is the standard for road bikes. If you wish to use the more technical type which is attached to the handlebars, see dirt-bike installation. Be sure that when installing your steering damper, you place it in a location that does not interfere with the bike’s safe operation.
Step 1 - Attach Fittings to the Frame
There will be a clamp that will bolt onto the frame. You will locate this on the frame, just to the front of the gas tank. Bolt this into position onto the frame of your motorcycle. Onto this clamp will go the arm. You will need to consult with the instructions to determine the proper torque for your bike. Use your torque wrench to tighten.
Step 2 - Attach Fittings to the Fork
Locate the triple clamp on the fork. Remove the center nut and the washer using a socket wrench.
Step 3 - Install the Fork Bracket
The fork bracket gets attached to where you just removed the nut. Place the bracket here along with the washer and tighten the nut back, again, using the proper settings on your torque wrench.
Step 4 - Install the Steering Damper
The steering damper will slide onto the fork bracket. There is only one direction that you can install it. Tighten down. Next, the damper needs to be positioned onto the frame. Refer again to the instructions for your bike’s specifics. Tighten down.
Step 5 - Adjust and Test
Test to see that the handlebars still move correctly. Move from lock to lock. If they do not move correctly, they bind, or hit something, your damper is not installed in the proper location. You will need to refer to the instructions to see that the damper is positioned correctly for your bike.
The damper itself is adjustable, usually with a knob, to fit your ride desires. You may need to test ride it a few times, readjusting as you go, to find where you are most comfortable.