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  1. #1
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    Steering Damping

    I've done a search but either it hasn't been asked or my forum search abilities are poor.

    Rather than hijack mikesee's "Testing, One, Two" thread I thought I'd start a new one. In that thread or one of his blog posts linked from it he mentioned the Hopey Steering Damper as a means of improving bike handling in snow. But also from this post Big Wheel Building: End of an era--for me. he mentions: "
    In practice it works incredibly well--I swear by them for snow (and only snow) use. Also in practice? They aren't very reliable, ..." (I've omitted the bit about the company owner
    )

    That analysis obviously is from 2013 so possibly relates to a earlier version.

    Last weekend I was racing in northern Finland and by the end my shoulders felt like I'd spent the time wrestling a 200kg gorilla. Trail conditions were continuously tricky and the bars often felt like they were being wrenched from you. It wasn't just me - a friend who is a much better rider than me (and who podiumed) noted the same.

    Remembering the above discussion I did a bit of searching and came across three "solutions". The first, a spring between downtube and fork crown looks naff* and not very practical for a loaded fat bike so we'll ignore that.

    Next there's the Hopey at something like $250 for the unit and bracket. There's the cost of getting one in the UK so probably make that £250 or $400 The damping effect can be turned on or off or anywhere in between

    Finally there's the Cane Creek Viscoset which was developed to stop handlebar vibration in e-bikes. UK/EU price is somewhere around the $100 equivalent mark. Looks very neat being just a replacement headset. From the description it looks like it offers constant resistance both against deflection and returning the bars to the neutral position.

    So. Questions.

    1. Has the Hopey's reliability improved?
    2. Has anyone used the Viscoset on a fat bike in snow?
    3. If anyone has used both, which is better and/or is the Hopey worth the extra?
    4. Any downsides to either?

    *British expression for something that isn't very good. Not quite as bad as "piece of crap".

  2. #2
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    Another potential solution https://fasstmtb.com/

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by coke View Post
    Another potential solution https://fasstmtb.com/
    How would they work with my Jones Loop bars? Sorry, perhaps I should have mentioned my setup.

    Those look like they are for reducing trail vibration rather than oversteer, i.e. the damping is fore-aft rather than rotational. Interesting bars though.

  4. #4
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    The Viscoset appears to be for reducing higher frequency vibrations vs the large hits that the Hopey seems to damp.

  5. #5
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    Would a shorter stem not be better?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Would a shorter stem not be better?
    Maybe, maybe not. Resisting the torque generated by the front wheel wanting to twist the steerer is a function of the distance of one's hands to the steerer. The greater the distance, the bigger the lever to resist the twist. With sweeping bars like Jones, a shorter stem might increase the distance between the hands and the steerer. With a straight bar it would actually decrease the distance. One would really need to look at the geometry of the bars. I would not sacrifice fit for a little additional leverage.

  7. #7
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    I use both the Hopey and the Viscoset. Both set at max damping most of the time. For me, where I live and ride, that's still not quite enough damping -- I'd take another ~50% if I could get it.

    If I had to pick just one I'd pick the Hopey -- it has more damping, and it is able to be turned off in seconds.

    Learning to pack your bulk but not weight under the bars makes a big difference. Keeping crap off the fork legs also makes a big difference.

  8. #8
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    I'd sleeping bag and mat mounted up front, maybe 2.5kg with harness and bag, nothing on the (carbon) forks.

    Another question: at a rough guess how much more damping does the Hopey have than the Viscoset?

    Another factor to consider might be tyres and tyre pressure - I was running Vanhelgas with the rear pretty low, using the wrinkle test I'd two wrinkles in it, temperatures dropped about 15C during the event by which time I needed to put air into it. The front tyre was probably in the 5psi range as there were ploughed road sections where too low on the front would have seriously affected handling there. As ever - compromises.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    Resisting the torque generated by the front wheel wanting to twist the steerer is a function of the distance of one's hands to the steerer.
    Plus the distance they are in front of it. Never fitted a shorter stem and not experienced an increase in stability on rough ground.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_w View Post
    I'd sleeping bag and mat mounted up front, maybe 2.5kg with harness and bag, nothing on the (carbon) forks.

    Another question: at a rough guess how much more damping does the Hopey have than the Viscoset?

    It's all relative, but 2.5kg is a lot -- and especially if the bundle was wide enough to be felt as swing weight.

    Hopey has ~double the damping of the Viscoset.

    Viscoset is worth doing if they make one that fits your frame. Just don't expect a bolt-from-the-blue change. More incremental.

    You'll have better luck by transferring that load to a rear rack or bag, and putting something both lighter and narrower under your bars. And *then* add the Viscoset.

  11. #11
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    The sleeping bag is just too bulky for any of the saddle bags I have, I had hoped to have it out back but in the end went for what I could fit it into and could fit it back into when out on the trail if I had to use it.

    I wasn't expecting miracles, more something akin to moving from a 2.3" front tyre to a 2.6" one. Definitely plusher and soaks up more trail chatter but it's not like suddenly jumping to a 4" tyre.

    The biggest problem really is that in the UK we just don't get the amount of snow to get practiced at it, we've had lying snow for maybe four days this winter for example . The only "grooming" of any trails would be the farmer heading out on his tractor to feed livestock Thus when we do head abroad it's a very quick learning curve and you don't get too many chances to test things out.

    Thanks for the input.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_w View Post
    The sleeping bag is just too bulky for any of the saddle bags I have

    Yep. In order to have enough loft for real winter temps you end up with a lotta bulk. I love seat bags in summer but for winter trips, especially multi-day or when it's very cold, I always use a rear rack.

    I hate the way it looks but you just can't argue with the functionality. So much easier to pack -- which becomes important when your hands have already been numb for ~30 minutes.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Plus the distance they are in front of it. Never fitted a shorter stem and not experienced an increase in stability on rough ground.
    Forget the stem for a minute. Pull a string from the steerer to your hand position. That is the distance that matters. How you get there does not matter from a leverage point of view. If you have a 130 mm stem and bars that sweep back 70mm and put your hands in the same position as a 60 stem and straight bars the leverage to resist twisting is the same.

    The stability is likely because turning the bars with a short stem does not move your body as much. A longer stem does require your body to be pulled to one side or the other.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Yep. In order to have enough loft for real winter temps you end up with a lotta bulk. I love seat bags in summer but for winter trips, especially multi-day or when it's very cold, I always use a rear rack.

    I hate the way it looks but you just can't argue with the functionality. So much easier to pack -- which becomes important when your hands have already been numb for ~30 minutes.
    Slight hijack--sorry-
    FWIW I have recently moved to a drybag on top of a rack system instead of the higher COG, constant wagging, and less room for body english 'issues' of the now standard seat bags. Despite 'uncool' rack look, its better in every way so far. Mid trip variability is nice if you need to load up on water for a certain section, also the dry bag comes off much quicker if you need to bring valuables with you, etc...

  15. #15
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    Wanted to chime back in to this to say that I recently ordered a new Hopey damper. Communication with Hopey over the past few years has been spotty -- sometimes they respond, more often they do not.

    Their site took my $$$, an hour or two later I got an email confirmation, and a ~week later the damper arrived.

    So, as long as you're actually spending $$$, it seems Hopey is still in business.

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  17. #17
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    bottom cog wobble

    I investigated Hopey after too frequently falling over
    while trying to climb sand dunes in lowest cogs,
    supposing that handlebar resistance might help steady me,
    but Lauf's Carbonara fork seems incompatible with Hopey..

    I wonder whether a ViscoSet Heavy Tune could be tweaked enough
    to dampen low speed wobbling.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by blekenbleu View Post
    I wonder whether a ViscoSet Heavy Tune could be tweaked enough to dampen low speed wobbling.
    It helps for sure, but it's nowhere near as effective as the Hopey. For some riders and some surfaces that's good -- the Hopey is *too strong* on dirt, IMO.

    For the riding you've described it might be ideal.

    Also: Big Wheel Building: Viscoset.

  19. #19
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    Iím thinking of trying a ViscoSet on my Wednesday to help a bit with the 24 pack rack. Rides great with more weight on it but without a load it flops a bit. Any thoughts if it would help? Also, mid or heavy tune?

  20. #20
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    Old school damper...I used on motorcycles back in the 60s. Increase the preload on your headset bearings so there is increased drag.

    It gives you a friction damper...which provides a constant damping force where a fluid damper provides a force equivalent to the velocity of movement squared.

    Your headset can handle a LOT more load than you think it can. Think about the force/load on the bearings when you hit bumps.

    You may think I am crazy but don't judge until you try it .

  21. #21
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    I've considered the Viscoset for my ECR. Has anyone experimented with different damping lubricants to increase damping (if desired)? I was wondering if something more viscous or something that has friction additives might be helpful? My plan would be to try it stock but based on user comments it'd be nice to think I could increase damping if needed.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferrstein View Post
    I've considered the Viscoset for my ECR. Has anyone experimented with different damping lubricants to increase damping (if desired)? I was wondering if something more viscous or something that has friction additives might be helpful? My plan would be to try it stock but based on user comments it'd be nice to think I could increase damping if needed.

    Call Cane Creek and see what they say.

  23. #23
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    Wanted to circle back and add a data point to this.

    Winter/snow is back and I've been on my Meriwether a few times in the past week. Noted immediately that the Viscoset on this bike had much more damping than the one on my daily driver MTB. Knew that I had them both set at max damping, so dug deeper to find out what was causing the difference. Turns out the friction paste on the damping plates of the Viscoset can be compromised by too much handling or excessive use. Basically it gets wiped off incrementally every time you touch the plates. Some of it must simply get pushed off the plates just by use -- similar to grease on hub ratchets.

    So I emailed Cane Creek tech support and asked where I could get more grease. Got a sort of surprising answer -- that the grease is so spendy that they couldn't really send me any, that it'd be cheaper to buy a new Viscoset.

    I wasn't super stoked on that answer, and said so.

    Eventually they agreed to send me a dab to refresh my current unit. Given that I have these on 4 bikes, I'm sort of inclined to figure out an alternate source of damping paste/grease going forward, but also way out of my element in understanding where to look.

    Any ideas/leads appreciated.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    I'm sort of inclined to figure out an alternate source of damping paste/grease going forward, but also way out of my element in understanding where to look.

    Any ideas/leads appreciated.
    Cane Creek's website describes "a fluorocarbon gel". One source for those is Nye Lubricants:
    https://www.nyelubricants.com/stuff/...t_brochure.pdf

    Their alternative NyoGelģ 774 Series is described to "resist displacement fromplastic or metal surfaces", sort of implying that their Fluorocarbon Gel 868 series may be more liable to the issue that you have experienced, but has automotive applications: DaimlerChrysler: MS-10359, GM: 9986205
    https://shop.newgatesimms.com/wp-con..._Gel_868VH.pdf

  25. #25
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    Thanks for that.

    The chart in this link gives some verbal distinctions between their products:

    https://nyelubricants.newfangled.com/nyogel

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    ... I'm sort of inclined to figure out an alternate source of damping paste/grease going forward...
    Here it comes. The DIY Damping-Paste thread.

    Quite the interesting thing. Viscosity under variable load, speed and temperatures.

    Everything I can think of would eventually seize.

    Hmmm. Only thing that might work, is Permatex Brake Cylinder 'grease'. It sure resists movement once it's dried/oxidized.
    Crazy on this ship of fools...

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Thanks for that.

    The chart in this link gives some verbal distinctions between their products:

    https://nyelubricants.newfangled.com/nyogel
    I looked at this a while back. I have two Viscosets (both on Surly ECRs), and wanted to increase damping. I was looking at the 774VH but not knowing what the original lube is I wasn't sure if it would be thicker or not. The MDS for this shows it as a "tan to light brown, smooth" grease. What is the appearance of the stuff CC sent you? https://cmsimg01.71360.com/data/site...3381172964.pdf

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    I am/was about to call my local shop to put a viscoset on my gorilla monsoon and wanted to see if you guys still recommend them? It is my daily ride and I donít want to have to replace it every year or so! Let me know if you guys still think they are worth it!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFrahm View Post
    I am/was about to call my local shop to put a viscoset on my gorilla monsoon and wanted to see if you guys still recommend them? It is my daily ride and I donít want to have to replace it every year or so! Let me know if you guys still think they are worth it!

    I have 4 bikes, including my commuter. I have a Viscoset on 3 of them, including my commuter.

    The only reason I don't have a Viscoset on the 4th is because it's a carbon frame with a drop-in bearing that won't accept a Viscoset.

    I think they are the bees knees.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    I have 4 bikes, including my commuter. I have a Viscoset on 3 of them, including my commuter.

    The only reason I don't have a Viscoset on the 4th is because it's a carbon frame with a drop-in bearing that won't accept a Viscoset.

    I think they are the bees knees.
    Appreciate it, itís what Iíve been missing on every bike Iíve had, in my opinion. Made such a difference on my dirt bikes. Since I got back into bicycles theyíve all felt twitchy to me!

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    Steering Damping

    ...
    Last edited by attaboy; 1 Week Ago at 09:49 AM. Reason: Premature question without having read first

  32. #32
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    Cane Creek customer support responded a few minutes ago to tell me that the damping paste they sent to refresh my Viscoset plates:

    "is listed as Nye's Fluorocarbon Gel 868H which I don't see on their website for sale".

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