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Hopey Steering Damper Review

Hopey Steering Damper $237 for the Superlite version. This is around £130 plus shipping from the US.

The Hopey steering damper is designed to help keep your bike on course when the going gets rough.

Review Hopey Steering Damper
Great, another expensive widget you don't need, making your bike feel heavier. Just hold on a minute though, this could be the upgrade you need to move your bikes performance to the next level. First off, the damper will add 125g of weight to your front end and when you ride your bike it will feel like your headset has partially seized. We've had the damper on test for over six months, so now for the good stuff, the sophisticated damping circuit inside your steerer will help keep your bike on the trail when the going gets tough. 

If bumps in the trail only made the bike go up and down, suspension would just be for comfort. Aside from throwing you over the bars the worst effect of a bump is a sudden turning of the front wheel. At best this will throw you off course, at worst it will make you crash. At speed suddenly turning the front wheel is always a bad idea, which is where the damper comes in. Finish is what you would expect at this price level, very pretty.

How does it work?
The Hopey steering damper replaces your Aheadset star fangled nut, top cap and bolt. It also attaches beneath your headset cups, so is best fitted by the mechanic at your local bike shop. The Hopey slows sudden turning of the bar away from centre. It allows the bar to be turned smoothly with some extra force to left and right but offers no resistance after 25 degrees or as the bar is returned. Downhill and Freeride bikes probably don't need a Hopey damper. Their long, forwards sloping forks place the axle well ahead of the headset which results in a natural tendency to self centre. However this slows the turning performance of the bike and makes climbing steep inclines rather difficult. With a steeper head angle and the damper fitted, the centring effect is easily adjusted whilst riding. So will this damper suit your bike and the way you ride? I think almost any tough trail or extreme rider could benefit from fitting one. Because it's effect is similar to increased trail, long travel cross country bikes would benefit the most. Turn up the damping for downhill, down for tight singletrack and yes you can do this 'on the fly'. Personally I don't, after a few hours riding the only direction I wanted to turn the dial was up. To be honest the feeling of muscling the bars in to tight turns takes some getting used to but the benefits fully outweigh the short learning curve involved.

Who shouldn't buy one?
Anorexic weight freaks who strip their bodies and bikes to the bone. Budget class fork owners who should upgrade their forks first.

Who should buy one?
Long travel Enduro/trail bike owners who want to descend like downhillers. The best habitat for a Hopey equipped bike would be the narrow, off-camber trails of Coed y Brenin or Afan Argoed Forest Park. That infamous Pink Heifer downhill "The Edge" with it's long, narrow off-camber section, embedded rocks and left hand death-drop will make you glad you fitted one. At one point the trail has a short off-camber climb which is studded with green boulders. With the Hopey taking care of miss-directions you can just ride straight up it, leaving friends dabbing frantically.
Being able to hold your line is the difference between pleasure and pain: glory and gory. Find somewhere else to trim a third of a pound off your bike, titanium shock spring anyone?

Who agrees I should buy one?
MTB Review

Where can I buy one?
From the USA on the Hopey online store:

Who pays you to say I should buy one?
I paid full whack for the Hopey, we don't as usual receive any money either directly, or to our knowledge, indirectly from interested parties.

Adjusting the damping is as simple as turning the knob on top.

The clamp which protrudes from the back of your stem stays in line with the frame. It doesn't swing round and stick out endangering your knees. Despite my expectations, I haven't banged my knee once on the damper.

It is easier to push your bike uphill with the damper on a high setting. It's also easier to ride no-handed and perform those essential jacket/sunglasses/backpack adjustments without veering off the trail. Lastly on this your bike is easier to prop up against a wall, it won't fall over so easily, the same is true on the trail.


You must be able to fit a 13mm socket wrench up your forks steerer tube, some Alu steerers are thicker at the bottom!
This didn't present a problem on the steerer tube of my Rockshox Psylo despite it's 'thicker at the bottom' design. Note: you must not try to hammer a star fangled nut down through this type of steerer, as it will get stuck. Whilst you're at it, don't use one at all on aluminium steerers, there are plenty of better alternatives.

You should apply Loctite to the threads of the locking nuts. Failure to do this will cause the nut to work loose and you could lose the nut and/or the metal teeth which lock the Hopey in place. This will not ruin your ride or cause you to crash but the damper stops working if either locknut comes loose.

The Hopey is not compatible with Mavericks fork, due to it's long steerer tube bolt (shame!).

Print Text! the whole review in text only form.


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