Steering Damper Need Help!! Advice!! - Honda Motorcycles - FireBlades.org
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-30-2016, 8:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Steering Damper Need Help!! Advice!!

Guys, I'm new to riding these bikes, I ride everyday rain or shine on my BMW and sorry but I love the thing. When I get on the blade the front end seems to go where ever it wants on me. I need help choosing a steering damper of some kind I guess. At low speed the Beemer is so nice and goes straight no hands if need be, you don't turn the steering at all and I mean at all! I get on the blade and low speed I have to turn it, I'm afraid of getting tank slap. Any suggestions here?? I guess its just a big big geometry change for me. I mean I commute everyday on the BMW, take it shopping, ride in the rain, all the time. I get on the blade and it takes so long to get used to it then I'm on the way home!!!. For me its like going from a semi to a VW. There are so many dampers out there and no, I dont want to drop 500 on an Ohlins. I don't race or anything just go out with either the 94 or 95 once in a while, although the 95 is torn down right now. And yes, I just started on a sport bike this year when I picked these 2 up. Maybe its just me?

Thanks
Paul
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-31-2016, 2:55 AM
 
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Re: Steering Damper Need Help!! Advice!!

Take it you've already checked the obvious items first; such as front tire air pressure (tread OK as well?), loose steering head bearings (stem nut too), etc ?

Since you are new to sportbikes (which kind of BMW bike are you coming from btw?) maybe the low speed handling of these bikes will take some time to get used to if you are coming from a very different style of bike (hopefully we're not talking about an excessive amount of front wheel "wander" here).

Have you tried to test ride a friend's (or demo ride at a dealership?) sportbike to see how its low speed handling compares to your sportbikes?

I personally likes Scotts Steering Stabilizers, YMMV & g'luck !

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post #3 of 8 Old 05-31-2016, 9:54 AM
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Re: Steering Damper Need Help!! Advice!!

The 16" front wheel does make them turn in reasonably quickly, but the older Fireblades should be very stable if set up correctly.

Check tyre pressures are correct, tyres not worn (if the rear tyre has gone square in the middle it can make the bike feel quite twitchy), steering head bearings are correctly set up and not notchy, and front and rear suspension are set correctly for preload and damping. Are the forks set to the normal height in the yokes?

If it's really feeling unstable then there's probably something wrong which needs to be fixed rather than masking it with a damper.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-31-2016, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Steering Damper Need Help!! Advice!!

A BMW K-75 which I do ride almost everyday rain or shine. You can imagine what a difference it is to get on the blade for me. It never seems to need more than a few degrees of turning the bars to take a turn, unless it's a low speed U-turn. Also, it's weird having the speedo stay straight when I turn the bars. Maybe it's all in my head. I will check the manual and go over the front end as the one I'm on now does have high miles on it. I'm thinking I will invest a few bucks in a Scott or Ohlins top mount as I like them better than the linear and they seem easier to fit to this year bike which only has one tank bolt in the front. I just did a complete rebuild on the front forks and even took the bottom oil lock piece out. I'm only 150 lbs. soaking wet so I just looked at the stock suspension settings and tried to gauge it for a lighter rider as I think they figure 180 is about average weight.

Thanks!!
Paul
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-31-2016, 11:43 AM
 
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Re: Steering Damper Need Help!! Advice!!

Actually they usually set up the suspensions (factory) for a little Japanese guy... I think 140lbs is the normal "ideal" rider for a stock suspension- so you are just about right =)

I would worry about something in the steering head or wheel bearings if it is just "going wherever it wants"..... if you are holding the "bars" straight and steady it should go straight and steady.... I would think wheel bearings in the front are allowing excess play/wobble in the front wheel and allowing it to turn without any rider input.

For what it's worth, I have an Ohlins damper and it is awesome. But- they all do a good job if they are decently made. I know plenty of other people using GPR and Scotts (I have ridden a couple of theirs too) and honestly can't tell a difference without getting into a hairy situation.. not going to risk that on someone else's bike =)

Look into the front first, but a damper is a good investment regardless. The typical concern is coming out of a turn at high speed and having the front lift then touch back down, or even during regular acceleration. This can cause the front to "slap" back into it's neutral position.. but the momentum forces it all the way to the bumps, then reverses, etc etc etc. This is a tank slapper... and very scary =) Usually best to accelerate out of it... only way I have every found that works 100% of the time (for me - so far...)

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post #6 of 8 Old 05-31-2016, 4:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Steering Damper Need Help!! Advice!!

Great Advice!!! I checked the head bearings and they are shot as well as the wheel bearing on the one side is binding slightly. Gonna replace them of course and go from there. Thanks a million guys, I was starting to think that I wasn't gonna like these bikes and I have a lot of time in this one already Don't get me wrong the power is awesome, I'm just used to cruising all over town!!!


Paul
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-31-2016, 5:57 PM
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Re: Steering Damper Need Help!! Advice!!

A well set up early Blade should not really need a steering damper, I agree about the 16" front wheel, I rode my friends '96 bike and felt it was very nervous compared with my '94 on a 17" front wheel.

However I agree with previous comments, good fresh tyres, correct pressures, good head and wheel bearings and it should be a fairly relaxed easy going ride even without a damper, you shouldn't really be hanging on for dear life!
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-02-2016, 10:27 PM
 
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Re: Steering Damper Need Help!! Advice!!

I like the Ohlins because (at least on the 954) it is low and out of the way, but admirably performs its duties =)
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