If you’re heavy into dirt riding, you’ve probably messed with the suspension to set your bike up just right for you, installed new tires, and checked or replaced your steering head bearings. Have you installed a steering damper, though? Do you need one?
Separate schools of thought on steering dampers for motorcycles say different things. On the street, if you think your modern bike needs a steering damper, you probably need to set up the suspension better, put new tires on, check your steering head bearings, etc. But on a dirtbike? If you’re finding that the terrain you ride through is often wrenching the bars out of your hands, perhaps a damper can help.
Two New Dirt Bike Steering Dampers
MSC Moto has introduced two new steering dampers. The Australian firm designed the Axis Series for Enduro, Trail, and Motocross dirtbike applications. Their VectorMX line is more MX, Enduro and Desert Racing specific. The Vector has a low profile, and raises the bars less than 10mm.
If you are only familiar with steering dampers on street motorcycles, you might be interested to see how a dirt bike steering damper is mounted and how it fucntions. Here’s an enlightening installation video.
Think about all the times your bars went sideways on trails over rocks, in sand, or while crossing murky water. Humans can only react so quickly. If you’re a new or fast rider, a damper might help give you an extra second of reaction time. These units are adjustable without tools, so you can dial them in to the terrain you’re facing on the fly.
Think about how much less exhausting a ride over “baby head” rocks could be. A damper can help your bars stay straight(ish), instead of having to do all that work yourself. Maybe your next water crossing will be a little less stressful, knowing you have some “sideways suspension” to help you out. I don’t think these will help you when a sapling catches your barkbuster, but they can’t deprive you of all the fun.