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Steering Damper

Colin Smith2021-07-25 23:23:15
I was wondering if anybody has heard of fitting a steering damper.  My wife and myself are new to the art of tandem riding, my wife is severely sight impaired (Tunnel vision). I'm guessing her vision (or lack of it!) causes her to keep moving her weight around. I was thinking a damper on the front forks may help me steer in a straighter line. Any sensible suggestions please.
Matthew Stephens 2021-07-26 01:14:05

You don't need a damper. 

You need experience & to keep communicating. 

It's difficult for a non VI stoker as their view is impeded by the pilot, but obviously worse for VI stoker. 

You as pilot will need to fill her in on what she can't see. She will need to put her trust in you & 'go with the flow' on the bike. She will need to try to remain neutrally balanced & particularly avoid pulling on the bars or trying to fight the direction of the tandem, or she will produce 'rear steering'.

Both try to relax & most importantly enjoy it! Happy miles....

Martyn Aldis2021-07-26 10:04:22
A damper is unlikely to help unless you are trying to reduce a wobbly instability in the machine's response to inputs. Many older frames do flex a lot so it just might help although It might make the rapid small steering corrections needed on a tandem harder. Not all tandems are equally influenced by lean steer. Our M/S Made in USA Cannondale RT2 had very high trail (72mm) as sold and was very sensitive to lean steer. I've just changed the forks to get the trail to about 52mm. Cannondale modified the forks for the Taiwan made RT to give all sizes more sensible trail values. With lower trail I now have to make more little corrections to travel in a straight line but as this is what happens on our Thorn touring tandems it is better than the previous "in the rails" feel of the long trail set up and we don't end up wandering badly when the stoker moves a little. Unless your bike has unusual steering geometry like our Cannondale or there is a problem with head set bearing adjustment or condition, working in as a crew is probably the answer as Matthew writes.
Peter Hallowell2021-07-27 16:07:03
Your best solution will probably be to ask your wife to put her hands on your waist rather than on the handlebars.  This will eliminate any rear steering effect.  Once your wife is more confident and more accustomed to tandem riding she should start using the bars as normal.
Jill and Eifion Francis2021-10-02 09:15:50
Dawes Galaxy Twin 1993: Can anyone tell me the exact specification of the headset bearings please, and how/where to get hold of them? not just the ball-bearings, the cups as well. I think mine need to be replaced. Thanks. Eifion Francis
Pippa and John Hand2021-10-03 09:52:26

Hi Jill and Eifion,  I used to sell Dawes tandems, it would be helpful to see a close-up photograph of your tandem headset and fork crown.  Dawes used a number of different headsets, the original ones were Tange chrome, however, would expect yours to be of a later design which can affect the overall stack height.  May still have spares should yours match the ones we sold in the shop.

Let us know.

Pippa and John (Nottingham)