GS with 21" Front Wheel - Need a steering damper?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by MANXMAN, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. MANXMAN

    MANXMAN Overlander

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,550
    Location:
    BRITISH Columbia
    Having finally made the plunge for a 21" front wheel and "higher clearance" lower triple clamp, I was hoping to hear from anyone who has a 21" front wheel on their GS if they think a steering damper would be advisable.

    Thanks
    #1
  2. Motomochila

    Motomochila Mad Scientist

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,344
    Location:
    N 34 22.573' W 118 34.328'
    Seriously considering that conversion myself. Absolutely add the steering stabilizer. Even without the 21" wheel you will notice a major difference on dirt roads. Scotts Performance is finally saying they might have a kit this year. Go with that or a GPR. Much cheaper than the Rally-moto with exactly the same performance.

    What clamps did you buy? Pics??
    #2
  3. El Gato

    El Gato Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    813
    Location:
    Los Gatos, CA
    They told me the same thing last year ("It's in development"). After waiting for them for 6 months I finally bought the GorillaZilla mount - fantastic kit. No reason to wait for Scotts.
    #3
  4. FlyingFinn

    FlyingFinn Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,261
    Location:
    Los Gatos, CA
    If you're going to use a more aggressive knobby, I'd seriously recommend a damper.
    The more 50/50 tires (like TKC. T63 etc.) are stable at speed on pavement but D908, Scorpion Rally etc. with very tall knobs and open thread pattern can be quite squirmy. To the point of getting unstable.
    I'm talking about 75MPH+speeds on pavement.

    I wouldn't run an aggressive tire without a damper.

    Obviously the damper is nice also on loose / rocky offroad surface.

    --
    Mikko
    #4
  5. bzrider

    bzrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,639
    Location:
    p cola
    i have been running a 21 for 35000 miles highway and extreme offroad at high speeds lots of sand and loaded interstate trips . I have never needed nor wanted a damper on a gs.
    #5
  6. MANXMAN

    MANXMAN Overlander

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,550
    Location:
    BRITISH Columbia
    Thanks for your reply. It's The Ralle-Moto version. I don't have a picture but it's on their site.

    I have been running the TKC80s but I'm looking forward to trying something more aggressive now.

    Of the two GSs I have ridden with the 21" front wheels, I never had any problems but each ride was short so I never got to try all types of terrain. Of the two owners, one felt it was needed but didn't want to spend the money and the other never thought it had been a problem not to have one. It seems that there is a real split about it's necessity.
    #6
  7. Beefeater Steve

    Beefeater Steve Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    197
    Location:
    Viva LV
    I ran the stock 21" front wheel on my 800GS and never used a damper. Not sure if the extra weight of the 1200 would make a difference though.

    aside: I'm not that aggressive of a rider, but I did go off-road a lot.
    #7
  8. MANXMAN

    MANXMAN Overlander

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,550
    Location:
    BRITISH Columbia
    Not having much luck on the net finding the Gorilla Zilla mount. The referrals to their website seem to be a dead end. :dunno
    #8
  9. El Gato

    El Gato Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    813
    Location:
    Los Gatos, CA
    Very strange. I tried the URL I had, [FONT=&quot](www.gorillazillaproducts.com) and I'm also getting an 'access denied' error. Their website may be temporarily down.

    I had traded e-mails with Dave Schmulow at GorillaZilla to place my order. You can try sending him an e-mail at:

    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]<dave@gorillazillaproducts.com>[/FONT]
    #9
  10. MANXMAN

    MANXMAN Overlander

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,550
    Location:
    BRITISH Columbia
    Thanks
    #10
  11. blaster11

    blaster11 Challenge X-cepted

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,991
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    Yep....I never thought I needed a steering damper either until I got one and those long days off road sure are much easier now. It has saved my bacon several times and now it is always high on the farkle list of any bike I buy. My shoulders don't get near the workout and my Rally Moto has an adjustable setting for those big hits where you can almost get the bars wrenched out of your hands...nice!
    #11
  12. Treadless

    Treadless Long timer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,602
    Location:
    above the soil's surface
    I wonder if the need for a damper some folks feel has to do with improper suspension set up. I say this because I hear complaints about the 12 having problems tires cupping and being twitchy both of which can be cured or greatly alleviated with suspension set up.

    On my 12 with the 21" and running TKCs I never had thoughts of wanting/needing a damper whether the bike was empty or in full touring/camp mode. Although the 21" TKC slowed me down a fair amount in the twisties. Those little blocks are nowhere near as stable as the larger blocks on the 19". :eek1 :lol3
    #12
  13. GapRunr

    GapRunr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    552
    Location:
    East TN / Smokies
    Does it *need* a damper? Probably not.

    Do you *need* knobbies to ride off road? Probably not.

    Do these things help? Sure.

    I put the fork mounted HyperPro on my GS a while ago, and it has saved me more than once when I caught a knob on a rut. The bike is also more stable on the road, regardless of what tires I am running. It's really noticeable when I am passing a semi at highway speeds.
    #13
  14. blaster11

    blaster11 Challenge X-cepted

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,991
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    Running Ohlins F/R which have been properly set up so not really a suspension problem.

    :nod
    #14
  15. MANXMAN

    MANXMAN Overlander

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,550
    Location:
    BRITISH Columbia
    I am ok with having to take it easier in the twisties with the 21" and knobbies installed. The advantage off pavement is worth riding a little saner when I have to ride on pavement.

    I have a spare set of wheels with Anakees mounted that I can put on if I want to do a ride with lots of pavement but that really is not much interest to me at this time.

    As far as the steering damper goes, still on the fence about what to do so will probably go for a few rides this spring and see how she feels with the 21" wheel before deciding.

    Thanks for the input, it's good to hear from those who have experienced the GS with the larger front wheel.
    #15