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Steering Damper

Bracker1

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VOC Member
Does anyone know the details of fitting an aftermarket steering damper to the C Shadow? I've noticed that some of the Vincents used in vintage racing have what looks like modern dampers attached from the girdraulics to the engine. Are they a good idea for regular street use? Thanks, Dan
 

johncrispin

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VOC Member
damper

The parts are relatively simple. I have a kawasaki damper as sold by M&P (about £30) and I have made an alloy bracket and plate to a pattern which fits in place of the oe damper mounting. The plate goes under the steering stem and bolted via the two holes in the lower link on the stem. The damper then acts transversely bolted from this on to an angle bracket spanning the front cylinder head lh nuts over the head/ufm bracket, and the original handwheel and the shallow cup underneath can be rebolted so it looks fine. I have made three of these now and fitted two and they seem to be OK. I can send a picture if you want one, just send a PM or contact me off list.
.

atb John C
 

Tom Gaynor

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VOC Member
John: yours sounds exactly like mine, c/w Kaw damper at £40 from M & P. Of course the damper with an identical part number, £150 from my local Kaw dealer, is probably a special works item........
What damper setting do you normally run on? I seem to have chosen a radius from damper eye to steering centreline (by a scientific process known as "sheer blind luck") that allows the damper to be on max setting 1) while avoiding the dreaded "slow roll" at walking pace, and 2) still making it very hard work to turn the bars far and fast. Which of course is exactly the requirement.
I think I've figured out what I accidentally did, but knowing what your setting and radius are would clinch it.

There are sketches in ATY from Reg Bolton. Mine differs from his only in detail. My steering head plate is much simpler to make, cut from 1/8" dural plate. Near enough is good enough.....
Tools needed: 1/4 BSW taps (and 3/16" tapping drill), hacksaw, 1/2" drill (for head bolts), file, hacksaw. There are even two blind bosses on the girdraulics which, once drilled and tapped, are the perfect location for anchor screws.
 

bmetcalf

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VOC Member
Hyd Damper

See page 289 of 40YO. It describes a technique for making sure that the limit stops control the extent of travel of the yokes, rather than the damper. This article, along with the Reg Bolton article, was very helpful when I made my setup.
 
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johncrispin

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VOC Member
damper setting

TOM
Being a bit of a chancer and not having any great love of the slow roll characteristic I normally use it on two clicks. I heard that one of the IOM prangs had a similar set up.( perhaps the works kwacka one should sort that)
I never go all that fast on it so when I do, I will put it at three clicks ( if i remember) cheers J
 
Damper.

I have the same damper on my Shadow and it was set on three clicks for the IOM lap. Talked to Peter Bell after his off and he said that his had been on the bike for a long time. Mine is still on three clicks just to be safe, after all I have had one tank slapper and that is enough for me.

Russ
 

Nulli Secundus

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VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
I usually set my damper (an attractively finned aluminium bodied one that cost £ 89 in the early 1990s) midway through the range of settings and mark it with a red line of paint on the knurled knob. Bystanders like to fiddle!! But I believe dampers must get tired. Mine has not leaked any oil, but had to be set at maximum for the IOM lap. It still didn't feel completely adequate to me, so I had to resort to a bit more assistance from the standard friction damper. Like Russ, one big off is more than enough, and so I'm going to buy a replacement that has the requisite stroke.

:)
 

Tom Gaynor

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Steering dampers, further thoughts

The Kaw damper has an initial "no damping" stroke, then it bites. (You need to spend a lot more than £40 to get "instant damping".) I've set (by accident) the radius of mine so that this undamped movement is big enough to obviate slow roll (so the normal minute corrections when running straight are undamped), but it bites as soon as a sudden movement is made.
If it is moved slowly enough, any damper, on any setting, offers little resistance. The metering device only kicks in if you try to move it fast. (There are oil drilling tools that work on the same principle, which is where my knowledge comes from.)
In my experience, tank-slappers start with a large, violent movement, and that first one is the one you have to stop. Hence my damper is set on max, but is unnoticeable in everyday use.
The identical one on my Petty Norton is at a much bigger radius, about 6 or 7" and even one click is noticeable at low speed. What that suggests to me is that the bigger the radius, the more sensitive the damping: there must be an optimum.
I'm by no means certain that I've got this right, although obviously the radius of action AND the stiffness of the damping must be significant, but the speed of movement is also important.
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Dampers

"If it is moved slowly enough, any damper, on any setting, offers little resistance. The metering device only kicks in if you try to move it fast."

That is why they are used. The spring offers resistance proportional to the distance moved and a hydraulic damper offers resistance proportional to the velocity of the movement. Mass resists proportional to the acceleration.:eek:
 

stumpy lord

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VOC Member
dampers

Hi all,
When using Kawasaki dampers you are wll advised to fit penny washers above and below the eye end of the damper,as the rubber bush has been known to work its way out of its housing .If this should happen on your machine, the eye end can then drop off its mounting bolt with potentialy disasterous results. Allso when attaching the said eye end to its mounting bolt, use two plain nuts instead of a nylock nut, due to the fact the eye end needs to be able to turn on its mounting bolt you can not fully tighten down a nylock nut
AS far as I know this kind off damper is filled with grease,not oil, I may of course be wrong, but Roger and I have been using them now for many years with no sign off a leak.
cheers stumpy.
 
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Nulli Secundus

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VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
Dampers

Not sure if it was because of what I said earlier that prompted comments like "If it is moved slowly enough, any damper, on any setting, offers little resistance. The metering device only kicks in if you try to move it fast", but just to confirm that was the precise qualities I was looking for when I fitted a hydraulic damper many moons ago. :)
 

johncrispin

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
stumpys damper

In due deference to Stumpy, it is his design we are on about, once again many thanks Norm.
Anyone interested I can send some pics (easier to email your own address)
 

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