(Steering) Damper - motorcycle dictionary definitions
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In motorcycling, (Steering) Damper can be defined as:
A steering damper, stabilizer or spirit damper is a controlling device designed to inhibit an undesirable, uncontrolled movement / vibration of a motorcycle steering mechanism.
Steering dampers are also fitted to off road motorcycles (i.e. motocross). A steering damper will help the motorcycle negotiate various types of terrain such as sand, mud, rocks, and also aid the rider in controlling the motorcycle over jumps. An added benefit in racing is rider fatigue is reduced as less strength is needed to control the handlebars.
On standard motorcycles, the steering damper is fitted at one end to the steering yoke and at the other to the motorcycle frame.
Steering dampers fall into two main categories - linear and rotary. Linear steering dampers resemble a telescoping shock absorber and operate in a similar way. They are aligned either longitudinally to one side of the steering mechanism, or across the motorcycle itself. Rotary steering dampers resemble small boxes attached to the center of the steering yolk (the steering head) and operate via a rotating pivot.
An additional point - for motorcycles fitted with sidecars the use of a steering damper is especially useful as in many cases low speed wobble occurs at slow speeds (less than 20mph)