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And now, something completely different

Old 02-16-18, 01:22 PM
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Leisesturm
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And now, something completely different

Hokay, got a tough one for you all. Need to get completely outside the box for this one, I think. I've got a remote steered SWB Highracer recumbent that I can ride, but not well. I believe I could ride it much better if it had damping in the steering. I have fitted a commercially available 'steering damper', but it does not really provide any damping. It does return to 'center' the bars (weakly) but otherwise does little to improve the handling of the bike. I think this could work. The price, however, is completely unacceptable. And even if I could, I do not know if it could work with my zero stack headset. So, my questions(s). Are there other steering dampers commercially available? I can't find any. Two, if I were going to DIY something, where should I begin? Where best to introduce some friction into the headset bearings or assembly, to slow down the steering so the bike isn't so twitchy? Thanks for any suggestions.

SAKI 26"
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Old 02-16-18, 05:09 PM
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looking at that it looks like the linkage is pretty robust and does not have a lot of play, possibly tightening down on the linkage to increase friction?

How much time do you have riding this? is it possible you just need more time to get comfortable? I can pretty much guess i would.
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Old 02-16-18, 05:37 PM
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They make steering dampers for motorcycles as well as many other things. Never seen one for a bicycle, but have never looked. Possible they make a damper for RC controlled planes and boats that might be a more appropriate size for bicycle use.

I'd be hard pressed to want to tighten linkages and bearings. If by tightening it was meant to take the slack out, that's okay, IMO.

This is a dutch site that they show a lot of video on their products. One looked small enough for something your size.
https://hyperpro.com/about-us/

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Old 02-16-18, 05:42 PM
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I don't know if it is practical, or even possible, to change the steering geometry but increasing the "trail" would slow down the steering responsiveness and increase straight line stability. A larger front tire might help too.
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Old 02-16-18, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
I don't know if it is practical, or even possible, to change the steering geometry but increasing the "trail" would slow down the steering responsiveness and increase straight line stability. A larger front tire might help too.
Yeah a larger front tire (or smaller rear tire) would increase the trail. Fairly cheap experiment.
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Old 02-16-18, 06:22 PM
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The number one best bang for the buck way to dampen steering, and improve tracking is to lower the pressure in the front tire. Try this before doing anything else for the simple reason that it's FREE and easily reversible.

However, I suspect that the only thing needed is more time on the bike. Bike steering is done below the level of consciousness and part of a learned motion control and balance system. There are a number of inputs needed, lean or counter steer, maintaining a track with turning and vertical forces balanced, and so on.

Once the necessary pattern is established, it's honed in by repetition and eventually reaches the point of being 100% smooth and seamless with zero conscious input.

It's learning to walk, first you manage to stand, then some wobbly steps, and with practice walking and running automatically.

The bars are in a new position, and the input ratios are very different than what your used to. Plus they don't have the return to center that the stem's extension provides. So, go to a parking lot and practice until it feels OK, and then ride. Soon enough you'll be riding the bike like you were born to it.
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Old 02-16-18, 06:45 PM
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A worn out gas charged hood/trunk/back glass strut or similar.

https://www.asraymond.com/mechanical-struts.html
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Old 02-16-18, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
The number one best bang for the buck way to dampen steering, and improve tracking is to lower the pressure in the front tire. Try this before doing anything else for the simple reason that it's FREE and easily reversible.

However, I suspect that the only thing needed is more time on the bike. Bike steering is done below the level of consciousness and part of a learned motion control and balance system. There are a number of inputs needed, lean or counter steer, maintaining a track with turning and vertical forces balanced, and so on.

Once the necessary pattern is established, it's honed in by repetition and eventually reaches the point of being 100% smooth and seamless with zero conscious input.

It's learning to walk, first you manage to stand, then some wobbly steps, and with practice walking and running automatically.

The bars are in a new position, and the input ratios are very different than what your used to. Plus they don't have the return to center that the stem's extension provides. So, go to a parking lot and practice until it feels OK, and then ride. Soon enough you'll be riding the bike like you were born to it.
We prefer technological solutions over learning new skills.
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Old 02-16-18, 07:29 PM
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As @FBinNY stated, I’d try lowering the front tire pressure. It’s free, reversible, quick, etc. Give yourself a fair chance rpracticing like this though.

Not sure if this contributes at all, but I have to remind myself to relax, especially my upper back and shoulders when my bike gets squirrelly. Will be interested to hear what you do and if/how it works.
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Old 02-18-18, 12:27 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
We prefer technological solutions over learning new skills.
I don't know, you say that kind of like that's a bad thing...
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Old 02-18-18, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
A worn out gas charged hood/trunk/back glass strut or similar.

https://www.asraymond.com/mechanical-struts.html
I like this idea! The AS Raymond site is fantastic. I found a solution there for another project (not bike related) that I was stymied on. I don't suppose you would have any idea (or even a WAG) as to what degree of damping force would be appropriate? Buying a new strut seems preferable. A worn out one might be too worn out, or not enough worn out. The AS ones come calibrated to any force that you want, as long as you know what that is. And one certainly cannot quibble about spending $30 for a new AS Raymond damper vs $230 for the Hopey damper.
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Old 02-18-18, 06:31 AM
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Not sure this applys to your bike. But have u seen the new damping system on the specialized tarmac not sure they even sell it for other bikes but test rode one and a very nice bike ride
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Old 02-18-18, 07:24 AM
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Get the stiffest damper strut available

you want so much damping that it takes conscious effort and physical exertion to turn the handlebars
so leaning the bike will have absolutely no feedback onto the steering

yeah, that should make it easy and intuitive to ride
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Old 02-18-18, 07:47 AM
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YOu could try a spring scale on the bike and see at what # you think "feels right"

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...d_i=4989332011
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Old 02-18-18, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I don't know, you say that kind of like that's a bad thing...
This is bikeforums, not bikeridingforums.
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Old 02-18-18, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
Get the stiffest damper strut available

you want so much damping that it takes conscious effort and physical exertion to turn the handlebars
so leaning the bike will have absolutely no feedback onto the steering
Thank you, but no, I don't think I want that... why are some people threatened by the desire for other people to take the road less traveled? Just saying, that Hopey guy. I'll bet he sells a bunch o' those dampers to folks whose bikes did not come with them stock. And those guys have the right to buy and use them even if others on their team want to wear the hair shirt and get the bragging rights that come from doing it the hard way. I'm just a 60 year old who has paid his dues on a variety of two wheeled riding craft. I don't have anything (more) to prove to anyone, or myself. If a damper can help, so be it.
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Old 02-18-18, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
... why are some people threatened by the desire for other people to take the road less traveled?
Sometimes it's because we love you so much, we don't want to see you get hurt or suffer through the same learning process we went through.

And of course my (our) way is always the better way. Right?

But maybe it is mostly because we are afraid you'll have something better than us!
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Old 02-18-18, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Thank you, but no, I don't think I want that... why are some people threatened by the desire for other people to take the road less traveled? Just saying, that Hopey guy. I'll bet he sells a bunch o' those dampers to folks whose bikes did not come with them stock. And those guys have the right to buy and use them even if others on their team want to wear the hair shirt and get the bragging rights that come from doing it the hard way. I'm just a 60 year old who has paid his dues on a variety of two wheeled riding craft. I don't have anything (more) to prove to anyone, or myself. If a damper can help, so be it.

It's my sarcastic way of illustrating, that you already had a pretty good idea what kind of damper you wanted.
IE, not the stiffest.
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Old 02-18-18, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Thank you, but no, I don't think I want that... why are some people threatened by the desire for other people to take the road less traveled? ......
This cuts both ways.

Someone posts asking for advice, suggestions or sources (if he's already decided). He has to be open minded and receptive to WHATEVER comes back. Certainly he's not obligated to use the advice, but he has to accept it in the spirit it was offered --- ie. a sincere effort to help someone who asked --- rather than throw it back with a ""why are you threatened.....? attitude.

I, not knowing you but having seen your posts here over years, consider you an experienced rider fully able to decide for yourself. However, you asked about dampening on a bike that's new to you,and I sincerely believed that it was more a question of adapting to something different, and muscle learning more than a long term issue. That's also consistent to my general philosophy of seeking simple (free) solutions, and demonstrating that more is needed before actually spending on something that may not solve the problem.

If someone new to something asks me for advice, he gets very a different response than someone who says, "I've been riding xxx for a while and have a problem. I tried yyy and zzz, and nothing's solved it, so I'm considering.....and wonder what you think."

In any case, I'm not invested in what or how anybody else rides, nor in whether, after asking my advice, they actually take it. They don't even have to be grateful, but I do care if they're ungrateful, or argue about advice that was only offered because they asked.
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Old 02-19-18, 03:27 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
In any case, I'm not invested in what or how anybody else rides, nor in whether, after asking my advice, they actually take it. They don't even have to be grateful, but I do care if they're ungrateful, or argue about advice that was only offered because they asked.
The reason I wrote that post you are responding to had nothing to do with your post in this thread. It should be clear to which thread I was responding, and if you believe that I have to accept sarcasm or snark as the price of soliciting information in open forum... well I don't agree. But, to your advice and your opinions: I have owned the recumbent for some months. I could find the invoice and tell you exactly, but sometime around late August, early September should be about right. I could not even ride it for the first two weeks. Then I could coast down an incline and finally I could steer and get underway from a standing start on even a moderate incline.

I do in fact practice in a parking lot and over the months have met a variety of security personnel, most of whom ignore or provide active encouragement for my efforts but also a couple who threaten me with trespassing summons and in any case cut my practice session short. I always arrive at the lot at daybreak, and usually leave an hour later or when the barricades to allow vehicles to enter the lot go down. Clearly I am wearing out my welcome in any case and I am far from ready to mix it up with motor traffic.

Re: tire pressure. I am running the tires at 60psi. 20psi below max inflation. I was doing this for ride quality purposes. I don't dare go any lower. If anything I think going higher would make the front tire more stable and provide more secure handling. I would probably need a bigger section tire if I were going to lower the pressure any further and a new tire (pair?) and a steering damper look to be about the same in price. And with tires taken out of the handling equation, in the future even tires like I use on other bikes (Schwalbe Marathon) with even higher max inflation (100psi) become realistic as I also plan to use elastomer mounts for the hardshell seat to provide the shock absorbing vs lowering tire pressure and risking pinch flats once out on the road.
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Old 02-19-18, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
The reason I wrote that post you are responding to had nothing to do with your post in this thread. It should be clear to which thread I was responding, and if you believe that I have to accept sarcasm or snark as the price of soliciting information in open forum... well I don't agree.

No sweat, I didn't take it personally. My point was simply that you have to expect plenty of chaff along with the wheat,m and even though some may seem snarky, they may still be posting in good faith to help you. That said, I agree that some people are too invested in their opinions and have trouble accepting that other opinions may be equally (or god forbid, more) valid. And, BTW my reference to ingratitude likewise wasn't directed at you, but an expression of my general feelings about folks who ask for and get free advice.


Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
But, to your advice and your opinions: I have owned the recumbent for some months. I could find the invoice and tell you exactly, but sometime around late August, early September should be about right. I could not even ride it for the first two weeks. Then I could coast down an incline and finally I could steer and get underway from a standing start on even a moderate incline.
It seems that you should be past the muscle memory training stage, so I agree that you need to consider mechanical factors, or accept that maybe the geometry is such that steering will always be twitchy without a damper.

Is there a user forum for that particular bike, or have you asked the manufacturer if there are reports of a need for damping? If so, that's the way to go. If not, you might look for a reason that's specific to your bike. Since the steering is indirect, I'm sure you checked for play in the linkage, but may want to check that again.

Other than that, I wish you the best in getting this bike to where you can enjoy riding it in confidence of reliable response to your steering inputs. Hopefully, it'll reach the point where you simply think and it goes there without help. Whether you get there with a damper, some adjustment, or simply practice doesn't matter as long as you get there.
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Old 02-20-18, 04:42 AM
  #22  
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relating to the suggestion of reducing tire pressure:
how about a larger tire?

in addition to being lower PSI, the larger diameter raises the front end
-slacker headtube angle
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Old 02-20-18, 08:50 AM
  #23  
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I have inadvertently damped steering with a rubber loop tied around the head tube and the fork at the crown. It has potential as a DIY idea. I'm not sure that I'd experiment with it unless I was already comfortable with the bike's handling.
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