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Replacement steering damper for Lemans version


BramF
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Hi all,

Whilst performing some maintenance on the V11 LeMans I noticed the Bitubo steering damper weeping oil. As I’m overhauling the suspension (front shocks ->  Andreani Misano Evo, rear shock -> Hyperpro) I figured I might as well find a good replacement for the steering damper.

After browsing the forum and searching all over the internet I've not found an alternative to the less than ideal Bitubo steering damper. The Shindy 17-001 seems to be unavailable in Europe and the guys at Hyperpro can’t confirm that their steering damper will fit as they only tested it on a V11 Sport.

Have any of you found a good replacement that is still available?

 

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G'day

I have a Hyperpro damper on my 01 V11 Sport but can't comment on it fitting a LeMans though mate.

All I can say is that it is way better than the crap Bitubo std unit eh.

Anyone else got one on a LeMans...?

Cheers Guzzler

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My '97 Sport came to me with an empty leaking Bitubo. I have a WP and an Ohlins damper on the shelf, neither of which could be made to fit the MG. Being a cheapskate and easily annoyed, I took the end cap off the Bitubo, cleaned the seals and internals, refilled with power steering fluid (with leakstop) and it's been righteous ever since- ~15k miles. (Edit-on review, I took the PS fluid out after a bit and gave it Motul fork oil) Smooth, great adjustability, and leak/weep free. Costs nothing to try. If you do, be sure to get all of your cleaner out and run the shaft up and down a few times in the oil with the cap off to release any bubbles. Then fill to top and let the excess run out while you thread the cap on. Clean up and go.

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15 hours ago, guzzler said:

G'day

I have a Hyperpro damper on my 01 V11 Sport but can't comment on it fitting a LeMans though mate.

All I can say is that it is way better than the crap Bitubo std unit eh.

Anyone else got one on a LeMans...?

Cheers Guzzler

Have a Hyperpro on my 2000 V11, & haven't looked back.  The BiTubo's drooling was just too much. 

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I saw that @WitchCityBallabio put a Hyperpro on his Ballabio, but still don't see any confirmation on LeMans fitment.

I just cannot see why it would not work. There is no difference in dampers/mounting between the LeMans variants and "Sport" variants otherwise.

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Yep, I tend to think the same mate... ie it should fit.

Cheers Guzzler

Ps then again it is a  Guzzi and  Italian so there may be some arcane ritual to be performed prior to installation...?

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41 minutes ago, guzzler said:

Yep, I tend to think the same mate... ie it should fit.

Cheers Guzzler

Ps then again it is a  Guzzi and  Italian so there may be some arcane ritual to be performed prior to installation...?

Our V11 is a "modern" Guzzi, the ritual is to post copiously on V11Lemans.com, with images, and post back with the outcome.

Modernity largely reveals itself digitally.

In the arcane days, it was all about the roadside . . . :luigi:

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Thanks for all the replies!

 

In order to find out for sure and provide a bit of additional knowledge to the forum I decided to bite the bullet and order the Hyperpro damper.

Should be here in a few days and I will report back to you with my findings;)

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I will add my two cents, not so much for the OP as simply for future people reading this, and because I feel the need to be part of the discussion. The wife's V11 had the stock Biturbo damper on it from new. Years later we started having stability issues with the V11. It did not want to go straight. The steering damper was not leaking, but inspection revealed that it was binding. The damper would resist moving until it let go and then it would move freely. That is really a bad thing in a steering damper. What it would do is make it resist handlebar inputs until sufficient force was applied to overcome that resistance. It would then move freely so the additional force applied was more than required and you would overshoot the desired outcome. The result was the bike would weave instead of track straight. To confirm that was the problem, I removed the steering damper and we rode it. We found it steered better without any steering damper (an early red frame V11, one of the ones that has less trail so it is supposedly less stable). So we just left the steering damper off and have run it that way ever since. The V11 does not have overly aggressive geometry, and really shouldn't need a steering damper. If you prefer the heavier, slower, steering that a steering damper provides running one will give you that. But the wife decided she prefers the lighter quicker steering it has without a steering damper. She really doesn't need a 500 lb motorcycle to feel even heavier.

Now, insert the standard disclaimer, your mileage may vary.

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13 minutes ago, GuzziMoto said:

... We found it steered better without any steering damper (an early red frame V11, one of the ones that has less trail so it is supposedly less stable). So we just left the steering damper off and have run it that way ever since. The V11 does not have overly aggressive geometry, and really shouldn't need a steering damper. If you prefer the heavier, slower, steering that a steering damper provides running one will give you that. But the wife decided she prefers the lighter quicker steering it has without a steering damper. She really doesn't need a 500 lb motorcycle to feel even heavier.

Now, insert the standard disclaimer, your mileage may vary.

I'd wondered about that myself. My '97 Sport has never given even the slightest sign that it needs a damper of any sort, not on rough 2-lane nor 90mph sweepers. I hit some sort of diagonal groove coming down the mountains of Idaho on the way to Spokane in a very fast, very leaned-over sweeper and was dead certain it was the end. I felt a single boomp, the bars never twitched, and I rode on from then with the certainty that I could trust it always to be so. I can't imagine what situation could produce a tankslapper on this bike, and I've not even put it back together since I discovered that the steering head was loose on the bearings giving a suspicious and anxiety-producing 'clunk' occasionally. Although my rebuilt Bitubo is capable of tightening to land-speed strength, the lightest setting is hardly noticeable and I keep it there. 

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I have ridden motorcycles with aggressive steering geometry that needed steering dampers. I used to race a TZ250, and that bike was near impossible to ride without a steering damper. It had something like 22 degrees of rake. I also had an FZR400, and that really needed a steering damper, but it did not come with one stock. You could ride it without one, but It wasn't nearly as stable feeling as a V11 is without one. To race it you really needed a steering damper. That bike met its demise in a tankslapper. I also raced a TL1000R a few times. That bike had a steering damper and yet still met its demise in a tankslapper. It seemed like that thing wanted to kill me. On the other side, I had a Buell X1 Lightning, it had aggressive geometry and yet did not need a steering damper. I even raced it and didn't need a steering damper in spite of having something like 23 degrees of rake. Only one degree more than the TZ. That was a well engineered bike handling wise. It shows that steep steering angle alone doesn't mean it needs a steering damper.

Anyway, different strokes for different folks. But the V11 is just not very aggressive geometry wise. If someone likes the heavier feel a steering damper provides, run one. But anyone interested in making their V11 feel lighter may want to try running it without the steering damper. If nothing else it will show them what sort of difference the steering damper is making. You don't know until you try.

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53 minutes ago, GuzziMoto said:

I have ridden motorcycles with aggressive steering geometry that needed steering dampers. I used to race a TZ250, and that bike was near impossible to ride without a steering damper. It had something like 22 degrees of rake. I also had an FZR400, and that really needed a steering damper, but it did not come with one stock. You could ride it without one, but It wasn't nearly as stable feeling as a V11 is without one. To race it you really needed a steering damper. That bike met its demise in a tankslapper. I also raced a TL1000R a few times. That bike had a steering damper and yet still met its demise in a tankslapper. It seemed like that thing wanted to kill me. On the other side, I had a Buell X1 Lightning, it had aggressive geometry and yet did not need a steering damper. I even raced it and didn't need a steering damper in spite of having something like 23 degrees of rake. Only one degree more than the TZ. That was a well engineered bike handling wise. It shows that steep steering angle alone doesn't mean it needs a steering damper.

 

There must be some nuance that makes certain bikes deadly and others Sublime. The worst bike I ever rode for regular tankslappers was a '75 Kawi 500 triple; no surprise there, and I still have the lump on my collarbone to remind me. I put 2 dampers on it, though the factory dampers were...weak. I raced an FZ400 chassis with a 600 motor in it in a 4 hour endurance race, probably had a damper but I don't recall any trouble; was at E. St. Louis, not a particularly fast track tho. 
The absolute worst tankslappers, though, were on H-D 883 Sportsters. They were dead stable and slow handling- until the front end went to Mars. We put high-end dampers on them and if you couldn't do 3 sets of 50 pushups you could barely wrestle them around a track. Loose (or neutral) steering head bearings were a lurking suicide. I raced a tube-frame Buell for half a season, never had a stability issue but the front end had zero feedback and tucked in every corner unless you had the throttle on. I didn't get a chance to drop the rear enough to discover if it would help. <shrug> I'm sure smart guys have the answers, and I'm equally certain they don't publicize them conspicuously.

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Just finished the installation of the Hyperpro, it fits perfectly fine. Just have to make sure the adjuster knob is pointed as far upward as possible.

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