"the big red train"
Anybody running a Hopey steering damper?
I've been wondering about this for a while and want to know if anybody is running a Hopey steering damper on their tandem? If so I sure would like some feedback. Any info would be helpful. We've been riding a lot of trails lately with switchbacks and my upper body is getting worked. I'm thinking that a steering damper may help. Is there any issues or problems that I need to watch out for? I guess I could just go to the gym and work out? I tried to do a search but I didn't find anything about Hopeys & tandems, sorry if this has already been discussed.
A while back, I bought a Hopey for my DH bike. I use a Scott's damper on my desert motorcycle, so I thought the Hopey would be nice. However, before I installed it, I found many, many reports about the reliability of the Hopey as well as how often it needed to be serviced. I also concluded that the dynamics of the Hopey on a bicycle are different than a damper on a motorcycle (you don't have the rear wheel over driving the front on a bicycle). I sold it.
What I don't remember is the direction of damping. The better offroad moto dampers, such as the Scotts, only have damping going away from center, but no damping returning to center. I can't recall how the Hopey works, but that may be something to check into, if you go that route. There are some installation challenges with the Hopey on some frames and forks, so you may want to see if there are any for yours.
With my very limited tandem experience, I'm guessing what you're trying to fix is the steering wheel flop at low speeds. Unfortunately, my tandem has a much slacker head angle than I originally planned, so my flop is a little worse than I'd like. Your taller fork makes it worse, but...the fork you chose has a lot of rake, which should make it better than say, a Fox 36 like I have that has very little rake (I'm working on lowering a newer 66 for mine to get the rake). The greater rake will make the trail figure better. But you can only do so much to compensate the trail because of a slack head angle. Just for kicks, you may want to try a shorter/lower travel fork and see if that improves what you may be trying to fix.
In my case, I need to work on my strength AND tandem handling skills!
May the air be filled with tires!
I have a Hopey on my tandem and it resists away from center but not when returning. I had my doubts about these things in the past but after running the Kami at Mammoth and nearly tank slapping out of a turn I decided to get one. The difference for me is noticeable but I don't feel any unwanted resistance. Don't know how much help it will be at lower speeds but I like mine.
DW-DHR,VPX,SLX,SX,Stump Jumper ht.,Specialist, Bicycle Fabrications DH Tandem,Gravity Bike,Bamboo 29rs,Profile Uni,Renovo R4.
I too run a Scotts (Ohlins) on my KTM woods bike. FWIW, the moto dampers for off road are damped away from center. The same dampers for road motorcycles damp in both directions.
As mentioned, fork trail, and head angle play a large factor in how the bike feels and also in how well the tire gets side grip in a turn.
While a Hopey may help take out headshake, I doubt it will help reduce the effort needed to stand the bike upright exiting corners or even lighten general loads felt through the bars. Be certain your stoker is not watching the trail ahead by looking over your shoulder. That weight shift is one you will feel.
MTB Tandem Nut
I have not used one, but we've installed a few for customers, and they have liked them. They appear to slow down the "sawing" effect of balancing at slow speeds, and reportedly help the captain maintain control better. One customer that lives in the Southwest desert area said it made riding on soft surfaces much easier. These I refer to were installed on Ventana el Conquistadors, so geometry wasn't slack at the time of install or use.
I may still have one here if anyone's interested.
I think he's onto something here...
Originally Posted by PMK
Been there. Done that. Practiced. Got better.
I don't know your tandem experience level but an interesting practice technique, which my wife dislikes but other new stokers have appreciated is to have them put their hands on your shoulders for awhile while you ride some nice, easy curves. For some reason, when you're actually connected, the stoker seems to almost instantly learn the timing/rhythm of turning. No peeking - or, if so, the stoker is at least then sneaky about it.
My wife has also learned to throw her weight when needed, but sometimes when even I'm not sure what we're doing, she makes herself into a fixed part of the bike until I get it sorted out - that way we're not compensating/over-compensating for eachother. Proud to say she learned that without any help from me (out of practicality or survival I'm not sure).