Steering dampers can help on bumpy roads

Bikes are designed to have very different handling characteristics, from slow, lazy steering and high stability on customs and out-and-out tourers, to fast steering, agile sports bikes.

Those sports bikes accelerate hard and their suspension settings are based on race bikes.

But a racetrack is a very smooth environment compared to our potholed roads, and on the public highway those holes and bumps can often unsettle a bike, making the bars flap from side to side in a ‘tankslapper’.

To counteract this many sports bikes have steering dampers fitted between the bike’s yoke and frame. They work like a shock absorber with oil being forced through a hole in a piston.

If you think your bike needs an aftermarket one, it’s best to get one with a range of adjustment so you can change the weight of the steering, otherwise you’ll have to heave really hard on the bars at low speed.

Prices start at about £80, but go up to £400 plus for a top brand. 

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