I was looking for a steering damper for my 2017 BMW R1200GS Rallye to make getting through the tough sand of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens just a bit easier along with reducing some light wobble on the highway at higher speeds.
I looked at all sorts of triple tree mounted and fork mounted dampers until I narrowed down to the Touratech and HyperPro dampers.
The next consideration was RSC or CSC. RSC, offering a progressively increased amount of dampening as more pressure or quickness of pressure is applied; and CSC, offering a linear dampening regardless of the amount or quickness of that pressure.
I spoke to Kraus at EPM Performance, the US HyperPro importer and service center, who advised me that the TT dampers are made by HyperPro, and only CSC is made for R1200GS's. He further explained that if the bike were to hit something hard suddenly with the RSC damper, the dampening could be too progressive leading to bend or damage something on the bike. That kind of made sense to me but there seems to be no RSC on the market for my bike anyhow and my research showed RSC to be popular only for street bikes, not off-road.
After further research, I decided on the HyperPro. Its lightweight, machined billet aluminum, its fully adjustable with 24 points of adjustability, and fully rebuildable if it ever fails. Kraus was exceptionally helpful and knowledgable about every facet of suspension.
Installing was much easier than I expected. I tried to cheat by installing it without removing the front wheel but there was no shot. Once the front wheel was off, it fit perfectly in the location of the stock damper with just a couple of screws and it was all set. I expect to post some installation tips in the near future, stay tuned.
Not 2 days later I got on the highway and headed down to the infamous Pine Barrens. Initially I had the damper set at 6, which gave me a minimal improvement on the highway. We made a stop along the way so I tuned it up to 8, and I started to feel a small but noticeable sense of overall stability. Im not one to ride with no hands but I took my hands off the bars to to stretch out my back with a new sense of confidence. The bike felt more stable and stuck to the pavement than ever before.
We finally hit some dirt and uneven roads after an hour of pavement. Every bump or hole in the road felt more and more stable but it wasn’t dampening the ride, only the way my handlebars reacted to bumps, rocks, holes, and everything else. The bike has such great stock suspension and can handle anything you throw at it so now it would just roll through everything without too much undesired movement.
When we hit sand, a big smile came across my face… instead of the typical loose front end, I was able to plow right through it in a way I never thought was possible. No more tank slappers, no more constantly reminding myself to be loose with the grips, just a nice firm and fun ride through sand!
As my ride progressed, I turned the dial to 12 to help wade through some of the toughest of the Pine Barrens sand. I probably should have tuned it up even more but it did its job amazingly! We got stuck in some hellish sand towards the end of the day and I forgot to tune it up but without it, I may not have made it out of the Pines that night.
After getting back to pavement on 12, I learned that slow speed tight turns end up requiring a bit more work but that really didnt bother me at all so I rode the rest of the way home as is.
In retrospect, I should have started my day at 12 and worked my way up/down until I get to my sweet spot for off-road, then just tune in down a bit for street.
My next ride started out at 16 clicks and it was absolutely perfect. Sand felt like light dirt my tires and my bike would just glide through it. Even deep sand at high speed became effortless.
Ill be honest, it felt a bit like cheating. My ability improved several fold while my skill level stayed the same. A friend compared this to tuning up your race car on an x-box game to get to the next level and he’s right.; Thats exactly what it is! A few bucks and less than an hour of installation for a product that drastically improved my game immediately.
Over all, with less than an hour install, not too expensive, really adjustable, and a significant improvement, I suggest anyone who is riding in sand or feels a light front end on the highway to get steering damper right away!