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What’s A Scotts Steering Damper, And Do You Need One?

If you’ve been looking at purchasing a steering damper for your dirt bike, there’s one name that’s likely to pop up time and time again; Scotts Performance.

Scotts steering dampers are among the most popular on the market and the only brand that comes close, is GPR.

Scotts stabilizers have got rave reviews in the likes of Motocross Action, Dirt Bike Magazine and Dirt Rider. And, they’re endorsed by top offroad racers such as Ty Davis, Mike Lafferty and Scott Plessinger.

Basically, if you do need a steering damper, Scotts is where you need to be looking.

What Is A Scotts Steering Damper?

A steering stabilizer will help to reduce head shake on your dirt bike. Much like your forks and rear shock absorb impacts and strain in an up and down motion, a steering damper acts as suspension for your handlebars, from left to right.

More importantly, the Scotts steering damper is located on the headstock, so it’s easy to access and fully adjustable (check out the adjustment on the images here).

And, that’s going to make it the perfect upgrade if you’re on long trail rides or offroad races where the terrain changes from fast to slow, or smooth to choppy – you can easily adjust the dampening on the fly.

Scotts started making steering stabilizers back in 1987. Let’s face it – companies that focus on such a small market don’t keep going this long, unless they’re pumping out the best products that money can buy.

How Does A Scotts Stabilizer Help A Rider?

It goes without saying that the sudden thrust of head shake, hitting roots or rocks, can sometimes lead to a crash; that’s the main thing that the Scotts stabilizer helps you to avoid.

However, every time the bars snap from your hands, precious energy is being used to control your dirt bike. So, as a by-product, a damper like this one is going to help reduce fatigue, pulled muscles and more importantly; arm-pump.

Who Should Buy One?

If you’re struggling with head shake at speed, but also the bike’s bars snapping at low speed when hitting roots, ruts and rocks, a Scotts stabilizer is going to be a huge help. Simply adjust for less dampening as you head into the woods, and increase it when you hit rocky patches or high speed sections of the track.

Even motocross riders riding a short track that’s typically consistent in terms of “roughness” of terrain are going to benefit. The reduction in input from the rider is going to mean less chance of arm-pump, and more chance of been able to maintain a consistent pace throughout a moto.

However, offroad racers or trail riders that ride a long circuit where terrain constantly changes are going to benefit much more. And, that’s because they’ll be able to make the most out of the fact that the steering damper is fully adjustable.

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Who Shouldn’t Buy A Steering Damper?

A steering damper isn’t a substitute for proper suspension setup. If you’ve not set your sag, got the correct springs and heavy/light enough fork oil, tried setting the forks in a different position in the clamps to reduce head shake, or had the suspension re-valved by a specialist – there’s a good chance that’s where you should start.

If you don’t setup your suspension correctly first, you won’t be able to maximize the potential from your forks and shock, but you also won’t be able to maximize the benefits of a steering damper.

Essentially, your steering damper should be used to:

  • Improve your bikes overall stability, based on the optimum suspension setup
  • Adjust the bikes stability through different types of terrain.

Fitting a steering damper isn’t the equivalent of setting up your suspension, they’re two completely different things.

The great thing about a steering damper is that instead of setting up your bike in a middle-ground to suit all types of terrain, you can set it up to suit your riding style.

You can then adjust the steering damper based on the terrain your riding, or from track to track, meaning there’s no compromise on your bikes handling.

How Much Does A Dirt Bike Steering Stabilizer Cost?

The cost of your steering stabilizer is going to be determined firstly, by what bike you have. The cost of the kit is also going to vary depending on the type of mount you need.

Typically, you can get a brand new Scotts stabilizer kit for somewhere in the region of $500-600.

No doubt, that sounds expensive. But, how many people do you see with aftermarket exhausts on their bikes, and not blinking at the $700-1,000 they cost? Probably more the majority of riders you see at your local track, trail or races.

Let’s bear in mind that without jetting a bike properly, these aftermarket exhausts add little or no performance. Even when jetted properly, the bike might gain 1bhp or so, and a little throttle response (which could have been achieved with proper jetting anyway).

On the flip side, getting your suspension setup correctly and adding a steering damper is going to make riding more fun, with less fatigue and reduced arm pump, not to mention less time on the ground!

If you’re looking to make riding more fun, increase your speed and reduce fatigue, I know where I’d be spending my cash. You can find one for your bike here.

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What’s Next?

Thanks for reading our guide to Scotts steering dampers.

Like what you’ve read? I’m a motorcycle junkie, so bookmark this page and pop back soon – I’m always posting up new content.

And, if you’re into dirt bike gear, you can read our guide to the best dirt bike goggles and dirt bike boots here.

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