How Important are Steering Dampers?

It all depends what kind of riding your doing. Do you absolutely need steering damper for your motorcycle on a weekend cruise, of course not. That's why most stock motorcycles don't come with them. That being said, I am extremely nervous when riding without one on a motorcycle. Steering dampers are very important when pushing a motorcycle towards its limits. When I started track riding on was on a budget and a steering damper wasn't at the top of the list on things I thought I needed. I was at the track and I had the biggest scare I've ever had on a motorcycle.

Coming out of a turn onto the front straight at high speed, I start pulling on the handlebar to get the motorcycle from full lean to straight up and down and as I was doing that the front tire was losing traction over a few small bumps. Well that's all it took to put me in a violent tank slapper.
I managed to get it under control after a couple scary seconds, regroup myself and got back on the throttle to head into the first turn. I get to the point to brake, I pull in the front brake and nothing... I had no brake! Lever just pulled to the handlebar. Just then I realized what happened. The tank slapper was so violent, so fast that it actually pushed the pistons in into the caliper and away from the brake pad. So I actually had to pump my brake to regain pressure. If I had a steering damper this would have never happened. So if you are riding your motorcycle fast, aggressively, at any type of limit, then yes, a steering damper is extremely important.

What if I was at a track that didn't have run off. Or worse on the street and that happened. Like I always say, if you can't afford it, know you don't have it and don't go past that limit. Also if you ever do experience a violent tank slapper, remember to pump your brakes...
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