Steering damper / stabilizer

27 replies to this topic
  • wapner

Posted December 06, 2001 - 08:38 AM


Hello guys, I just want to start by saying that ThumperTalk has been a great resource to learn more about my bike and other 4 strokes out there. Keep up the good work!

I have a '99 YZ400 that I love and want to improve a few things on it. It has more power than I can resonably use under most circumstances so I was thinking of buying a stabilizer to help with the high speed riding that I like to do in the desert sometimes. My bike is basically stock except for some (now bent) Renthal bars. Since I was going to upgrade to some Pro Taper type bars I was thinking about just going all out and getting a new upper triple clamp and the whole deal at once.

I was debating on the Scott's or the GPR, they both cost about the same and would love to hear from anybody on the pros and cons of such a setup.

Thanks in advance for the input.

  • EMARacing

Posted December 06, 2001 - 08:51 AM


I don't think one is better than the other. If you want the whole set-up I would go with the GPR package only because you can get it for $499 from MX South. Save yourself a $100.

I personally run the Scott's, but that is only because my local dealer couldn't get the GPR and cut me a great deal on the Scott's.

  • Merfman

Posted December 06, 2001 - 09:18 AM


I too run a Scotts. I have no experience with the GPR.
I consider a steering damper safety equipment though.
I just checked and they advertise
a whole setup:clamp, stabilizer, mount, bars, etc for $599.
I bought the bolt-on mount and have had zero problems
with either the mount or my SS. FWIW, my SS is on it's
2nd bike and I've never had any problems.


  • Guest_Guest_*

Posted December 06, 2001 - 10:00 PM


I use the scotts.
I would have to say do not ride a bike with one if you can't afford to buy one! It is like night and day. I never really noticed the diff til' the first rock i clobbered at 70mph! Then again after i took it off to mx! what a diff!
I see in dirt rider the scotts/protaper/triple clamp combo 499bucks!!!!!
crap i paid 400buck just for the little magic box!
That would be my recommendation

  • wapner

Posted December 06, 2001 - 10:19 PM


Thanks for the speedy input. Just a side question did you guys get the weld on or the bolt on mounts? Is there any advantage to the weld on? I

would like to reuse the damper on another machine in the future if I will like it as much as I think I will.

  • Merfman

Posted December 06, 2001 - 10:47 PM


I bought the bolt-on. It looked to me like welding the mount on a
426 would be a semi-messy proposition. The bolt-on is trey sano.


  • DaveJ

Posted December 06, 2001 - 10:55 PM


Well this is going to be hard to explain, and I'm sure somewhat controversial, but after riding with a Scott's unit for about a year, I'm now seeing the need to remove it.

My initial reaction to the unit was all-positive. I enjoyed the elimination of the bars moving about at high speeds and under rocky conditions. I felt safer and worked less both physically and mentally to keep the bike in line. Very pleased.

However, I learned with every reaction is an opposing action. The first and most obvious is that the bike is not as fluid in some areas as it needs to be for a given condition.

For example, zipping down a fire road at high speed, the device is in its environment. Stop the bike to do some very tight and quick maneuvers through a series of woods and drop offs, and it makes the bike cumbersome.

One of the ways around this with the Scott's unit is to dial out the low speed inputs, and keep or add in the high compression.

In some cases, however, this can still yield a stiffening in the movement of the bike, causing it to ride out in the opposing direction in which you want the bike to go. In other words, the bike fights you. Something you have to feel for yourself to fully understand.

On the track, as in SuperCross stuff, I have found the unit has little to no application. I can assume some cases where the unit would apply, but it just doesn't happen. And in any SuperCross tracks, quick and rapid reactions are key. And sometimes, you want the wheel and bars to move verses it taking a hit and transmitting the reaction into the machine. This perhaps helps to explain why nearly all riders don't use these things.

Lastly, the bolt on unit of the Scott's damper does not allow the primary seal under the triple clamp to reside as designed. To me, this is a major oversight by Scott and a contributor to why I removed. My last head service exposed the importance of this seal.

So, if you are a weekend warrior doing a lot of aggressive fire roads and general rousting of the local riding park, it's a good thing to have. As noted, a piece of protection.

The best application? Desert racing.

Trials and tight woods work, leave it home.

SuperCross - optional, but the better your riding skills, the less you'll want it. Kind of like a training safety device.

FMX - Most likely not, unless it's all about going far and landing fast.

SuperMotard - Probably a must have.

I think that's about it. I may sell the unit I have unless I decide to transfer it over to one of my road machine. Time will tell.

Hope this helps.


  • padykman

Posted December 06, 2001 - 11:51 AM


I just picked up (had shipped to me) a GPR package directly from GPR. I spent $520 and got a new triple clamp from BRP, GPR +7mm front +10 mm height, stem mount (gpr), magura sx high bend fatty bars plus the gpr anti vibration device that goes in the bar ends. The anti-vibe thinggy is supose to help carpel-tunnel syndrome. I broke my wrist at the JackPot 100 mile 26 so I am looking for any help I can. I also go about 100 GPR stickers.

Other things that I considered when I was buying:

GPR has a 1 yr. warranty vs. scotts 90 day.
GPR free maintenence for a year if needed vs. scotts min. $20.
GPR 5 moving parts vs. scotts ~20
GPR on the fly min to max adjustment (1-6 or 6-1) unknown spot on the scotts
GPR 15 degree's off center dampening with no center lock feel. That means in the corners there is no dampening.
GPR made in the USA scotts made by ohlins in Sweeden.
GPR less then one week shipping vs. scotts un-known
GPR has an anodized casing vs platted aluminum

I haven't put all of this stuff on my DRZ-e yet because my wife is giving it to me for Christmas. After the lights are on the house it's going on.

I am in no way an expert on this stuff but the price, workings and warranty sold me on the GPR over the cut your plastic non-adjust on the fly wer and also over the scotts.

My contact at GPR was Randy at 1-619-422-5771. Good Luck.

  • wapner

Posted December 06, 2001 - 12:48 PM


So it looks like the GPR may be a bit better. This may be a dumb question but can I use any companies triple clamp with one of these set ups? I like the adjustibility of the Oberg triple clamp plus it looks cool. :) Thanks again for the great info.....

  • padykman

Posted December 06, 2001 - 01:58 PM


GPR is not locked into any one triple clamp and they can get almost any that you want at near cost. The problem with the adjustibility of the Oberg triple clamp is that the damper needs to be directly over the center - 5mm (i think to avoid the scotts patent) and that is mounted on the bridge of the bar clamp. Once you set the offset of the bar to this center you have to have the bar clamp that matches the damper the bar offset. The height of the bars is not as big of issue.

Call Randy and find out.

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed
  • Shawn_Jackson

Posted December 06, 2001 - 05:16 PM


I have a GPR steering dampner with Dave Hamels DH1 Blue anodized tripple clamps and have been more than happy with there stuff. The dampner works awesome, so good u almost forget to hold on, and the tripple clamps can be put into 4 different positions and look super trick on the line. You can either get a bolt on or weld on post as well. And if you are a racer Dave Hamel will usually hook you up pretty good. I bought one of GPR's very first editions of there dampner and after a year of trouble free use I sent it back to get it seviced and they litterally boxed up a brand new dampner and sent it to me free of charge. i guess they came up with a lotta new internal and external improvements and I got a whole new unit. Talk about a warranty. Plus if you use stock or just about any tripple clamps they have a top clamp that will mount a dampner to your bike. Check out or they have some really cool stuff.

  • Guest_Guest_*

Posted December 06, 2001 - 05:29 PM


I absolutely LOVE my scotts :)
I have never had to do any maint. in 2 +yrs
It has about 25 diff. low speed pos.
you MUST use the scotts trpl clmp which is incl in the price.
Like I said b4 , dirt rider page 59 nov01 issue....protaper/top trpl/1pc billet bar clamp/stab./mntng hrdwr........I thing it was 499
818 248 6747
I got mine from a cat company for 400 for bar clamp and stab! so this is a great deal!
Very easy to adj on the fly!
here is a pic.
Posted Image

  • crazyadam

Posted December 07, 2001 - 05:13 AM


I have not seen a GPR up close.. so I know little about it. I have a Scotts and won't trade bikes with any one, cause they don't need to be spoiled! :) I BROKE MY WRIST BAD, Dr. said NO BIKING, motortized or not. (up yours Dr.) with the scotts i can ride, and ride fast, and feel safe. tight woods, mx, fast woods, fire roads, power lines, plowed fields.... I do adjust on the fly for more or less dampening when needed. no problem. over a year of use, and I'll service it this winter.
I love it.
also I have a TOPAR adj. top clamp, and the bolt on kit, with no interferance of the top seal.
the stock top clamp needs to be ground down to allow free swing of the bars past the post, but can be used if you choose. (go for an adjustable clampif your tall) unfortunatly, you need a different bar clamp for different bar positions.

  • MX_Tuner

Posted December 07, 2001 - 08:40 AM


Gee, talk about a few misconceptions. The Scotts damper can be used with virtually any triple clamp. The Scotts has a 14 position low speed damping adjustment. The high speed doesn't have detents but is extremely adjustable. On my Scotts, to eliminate the feel DaveJ was talking about, I have the low speed damping turned almost off (12 out) and the high speed turned stiffer 1/2 turn. This gives all the benefits without the heavy feeling steering. Desert conditions are best done with the low speed turned up, and in some high speed instances, to full stiff.

The Scotts is extremely reliable. A warranty shouldn't be an issue with either damper. Either damper can be damaged if not installed properly. The damper cannot!!! be the steering stop. The stock stops must be the travel limiting device. Some bikes require welding the stock stops to guarantee the damper doesn't take the force. If this isn't done, your damper may be damaged. The installation instructions are very specific about this but it is still the most overlooked aspect of damper installation I've seen.

The Scotts is anodized aluminum inside and out. This is one way to help determine a damaged/bent vein, by seeing the anodizing worn off the inside at any point. The more moving parts in teh Scotts is due to the better adjustability. The Scotts also dampens away from center only and in a certain amount of sweep which is also independently adjustable. Rebuilding the Scotts is very easy. I do keep some spare screws on hand since the samll allen heads can get rounded if they have been tightened too much previously. The top comes off in one assembly, rinse the guts out with aerosol brake cleaner and reassemble. There are two screws in the back of the unit which is where it is bled from. Some people have found it easiest to submerge the damper in oil and work the arm back and forth util air bubbles quit appearing.

Basically, the Scotts is the standard all others are judged by. I've heard the GPR is nice and I have no doubts about that. But to say it is better than the Scotts simply isn't true in any aspect. If I want a cheap damper, I'll buy a WER.

  • Tommy_Gun

Posted December 07, 2001 - 09:06 AM


Hi guys,
I'm new to this list. Great site and educational info for the mighty YZF.

MX Tuner is correct in that the Scott's dampens 'away' from center, whereas the GPR (formerly known as GP Stabilizer) dampens both ways. This is a critical feature. Currently only two dampeners dampen away from center: Scotts and WER. I run the WER on my 426 and run the Scotts on my XR650 (and previously 600). For what it's worth, "my" opinion is that these are the only two dampeners to consider due to this feature, otherwise armpump and sluggish response is present. I have used the GPR before and, though it is also a high-quality product, it dampens both ways only.

As far as dampeners only being useful for the desert, this is a complete myth. Woods racers like me and others consider a good dampener an unfair advantage in the woods, specifically in the rocks and root sections.

Between the Scotts and the WER, I consider them to be equal in performance, whereas the Scotts is probably better for desert (due to its quick and easy adjustments). The WER is just one setting, but that is fine with me.

My .02,

  • DaveJ

Posted December 07, 2001 - 10:58 PM


My point is that a moto is essentially divided into two halves, hinged horizontally at the neck of the bike, (no hinge for the vertical plane).

For example, when the rear of the bike likes to come around on us, it's usually the result of the front half of the bike slowing faster than the rear half. Say at the conclusion of a fast downhill.

A vertical example of this would be the issues of jumping flat, (or not). When the bike rides high either on the front or rear, one end of the bike is again moving faster than the other.

This takes a bit of thought because we always assumed the bike was a single piece of machine, right? When in fact it's really two, (actually it more like 4, but that's a different story).

Once you understand this, you begin to realize that the headset is a hinge point or axis, and any mechanical input into this axis point effects both the front and rear of the machine. Hence the ability to maneuver your bike.

Another way of looking at this, is that the left and right movements of the front wheel are also a form of suspension, or a process in which the bike absorbs impact or maintains control.

When you modify the rate in which this suspension arm moves, (your handlebars) you will change the characteristics of how the bike handles.

In my little brain, I believe that a steering damper, under given conditions, causes the mid point of the bike to want to shift out or move at a forward angle other the intended direction of what the rider wants. It’s something you have to be sensitive to in order to feel the difference. Or you can just crank down on the adjustment and you’ll see what I mean.

Does this mean you shouldn’t get one? Can’t say, because obviously there are many benefits to using these things that out-weight any problems they introduce.

So just think about it, or let me know and I’ll loan you mine for a while to play with.


  • Hick

Posted December 07, 2001 - 04:37 PM


Originally posted by padykman:

GPR on the fly min to max adjustment (1-6 or 6-1) unknown spot on the scotts
GPR 15 degree's off center dampening with no center lock feel. That means in the corners there is no dampening.
GPR made in the USA scotts made by ohlins in Sweeden.
GPR less then one week shipping vs. scotts un-known

Scotts large, adjustable arrow on low speed knob makes it easy to see the current setting.
Scotts has adjustable sweep, you can choose from 17, 22, 27, & 39 degrees
Scotts is a seasoned product made by a premier suspension company.
Scotts has shipped both dampers I purchased to my door w/in one week via UPS ground.

padykman, looks like you based your choice on some one-sided information.

  • John_H

Posted December 07, 2001 - 04:37 PM


Originally posted by MX Tuner:
Either damper can be damaged if not installed properly. The damper cannot!!! be the steering stop. The stock stops must be the travel limiting device. Some bikes require welding the stock stops to guarantee the damper doesn't take the force. If this isn't done, your damper may be damaged.

Hey MX Tuner,
I read your post on the WR side a while back so I checked my clearance. It's just barely. I figure it wouldn't hurt to weld the stops just to be sure I don't have a problem from a hard crash. Just wondering exactly what you do when you do this. Do you just tack a bead on the stop or do you weld a piece of metal on the stop?

  • Hick

Posted December 07, 2001 - 04:46 PM


Originally posted by MX Tuner:
The Scotts also dampens away from center only...

Hey Tuner,

I also thought that the GPR damped in both directions until I heard second hand (from a GPR sponsored friend of mine :D ) that it now, after a design update, operates like the Scotts in that regard. So now I’m a little unsure if this is true. I rode this guy’s XR 650 with one installed but just briefly and didn’t think to verify what he said.

But if it damps both ways wapner then IMO that is a deal killer, at speed over rough terrain the “it steers itself” sensation this feature creates is what I like best about my Scotts, and I would think not having it would also tend to tire the rider.

In addition to being more adjustable (sweep & high/low speed damping) the Scotts is smaller and reversible (look at the setup on the yellow YZ on this page) although on their web site GPR does show one fitting under a crossbar, which surprised me, it is noticeably larger when seen in person.


I think that for tight stuff reducing the sweep in addition to running less low speed damping helps. I admit I don’t ride much in the trees, but on a few occassions I’ve clipped a tree that I’m sure would have caused a face plant without my Scotts. The places I do ride where there are trees are also littered with rocks and roots which are sometimes hidden. I can’t think of better reasons than that for running a damper other than a high speed sand wash. :)

But I’ll take your word for what you say about them on a track in your second post, I haven’t been on my bike in a while but I think I recognize the sensation you describe there.

  • YZ400Court

Posted December 07, 2001 - 06:34 PM


I have the Scotts setup on my '98 with the 5mm offset clamps, pro tapers and bolt on tower. If you can afford it go for the 5mm offset clamps, they make the bike turn sooo much better. As for the difference between Scotts and GPR, I believe GPR has better customer relations bacause they have too. They are the new kid on the block, and are trying hard to take market share from the big dog. Both products are of high quality. I have used both and can tell no difference. As for the super adjustability of the Scotts, I'm sure I'd screw it up if I adjusted anything other than the main knob. GPR did update to dampen only away from center, and it is pretty idiot proof. GPR also does free rebuilds at the track, and they update the unit at no charge if improvements have been made since yours was built.

When I bought mine there was no GPR (or I had not heard of them), so I have the Scotts. If I had to buy today I'd go GPR. Scotts people are great, and their product is very good, I just think the better value is GPR.

Related Content


Snake pit oct 30th by The Anvil

Dirt Bike   Dirt Bike Regional Discussion   California
  • Hot  293 replies

Is it worth it? (Cam and High compression piston) by macgi77

Dirt Bike   Make / Model Specific   Honda   CRF 150/230 F/L
  • Hot  36 replies

Should I buy this bike? help....... by Numsa Hul

Dirt Bike   General Dirt Bike Forums   What bike should I buy?
  • * * * * *
  • 10 replies
WR Camshaft Swap Info - last post by jamesm113

WR Camshaft Swap Info

  • 0 replies

The "going back to the other darkside" adventure... by Monk

Dirt Bike   Make / Model Specific   KTM   250/350/450/505 SX-F & XC-F (4-Strokes)
  • Hot  113 replies

Join Our Community!

Even if you don't want to post, registered members get access to tools that make finding & following the good stuff easier.

If you enjoyed reading about "" here in the ThumperTalk archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join ThumperTalk today!

The views and opinions expressed on this page are strictly those of the author, and have not been reviewed or approved by ThumperTalk.