Monday, 31 January 2011

Nexus 8 DIY Steering Stabiliser (Part 8)

Steering Stabilisers are available from Hebie or come fitted to some Dutch & other utility bikes. They serve two purposes mainly. First they stop the front wheel from flopping to one side when the bike is parked on it's kickstand. Second they provide a slight dampening to the steering when the bike is in motion, which in theory makes it easier to hold a straight line & cruise for long distances.

I can't remember when the idea first came to my attention, but I liked the look of them and they seemed like something that should be fairly easy to bodge together a DIY version to see what happens. A bit of research turned up the various designs - some shown below. The general design is a spring suspended in tension between the back of the forks and a fixing of somekind on the downtube. All easy enough. The trickier part would be making the spring adjustable, but that could wait until I'd had it fitted and tested for a while.
The spring I used came from an old angle-poise lamp. It's quite a strong one, certainly stronger than the same springs on a newer lamp I have from Ikea. Once fitted it's obvious that the springs needed for this have to be quite powerful springs if they are to take the weight of the front wheel.

I made a small bracket from a piece of plate steel (powder coated orange helpfully) and bent it to a right angle. The idea being that this would fix behind the nut on my mudgaurd mount and provide a fixing point for one end of the spring.

For the time being I just held the other end of the spring onto the downtube with a cable tie.

It's pretty effective at keeping the front wheel from flopping to the side when parked and you can feel a difference when moving. Trouble is this was all about 3 months ago and much the same as with the chainglider, I've gotten so used to it just being there that I don't notice it doing it's job anymore. So it's still in it's cable-tied half made state :) in fact I'm not sure if I'll even bother finishing it because it does the job just fine as it is.

On a side note, whilst looking into steering stabilisers I came across 'flickstands' which are purely for keeping the wheel from flopping and look like they are more suited to sportier bikes without mudgaurds.
I'm afraid I saved these examples so long ago that I've no idea where I got them from so can't credit them. I do know the top right stabiliser is the Hebie retrofit version that's available from SJS or Velorution for about £15.

Edit: The bottom left seems to be a Hebie as well - from Practical cycles. 


  1. Sorry to put a dampener on things (unintentional pun), but isn't that spring going to fret against your beautiful paint on your downtube?

  2. Hi Ameoba, thanks for visiting :-) It doesn't twang around and touch the downtube. It might have rubbed a bit under the cable tie - I haven't looked. But the rest of the bike has plenty of scrapes and scratches from general use that I'm really not bothered if the spring does rub.

    It's only a cheap frame with cheap paint, nothing to 'fret' about ;-)

  3. Top right is the Hebie 695, bottom right is the more expensive 696. About £10 and £15 respectively from Roseversand in Germany.

  4. wow, thanks for the idea, I shall make one of these after work this evening for pennies. I didn't fancy paying £20 for a hebie for my wife's Sparta re-build. I think the adjustment can be made with a wingnut threaded onto a pierced bolt.