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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone use or recomend them. I had a scare whacking the power on coming out of a corner on my brothers '89 GSXR1100. I hit some loose stuff while I was starting to straighten up and the rear just fished out about six times but the front stayed rock steady. He said the steering damper saved me.

2002 Green 636 ..Beep,Beep..
 

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The steering damper didn't save you, sheer luck and decent reflexes saved you. You need to becareful when riding an unfamiliar bike. Some bikes you can whack away at the throttle, and the bike won't even flinch. Your brother's 1100 demands respect, and a smooth transition from one extrteme to the other.

BC.
 

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Article in some magazine, forgive me I forget where, where a test rider is testing the new zx6rr for '03 with the factory race kit... he comments that they took the steering damper OFF the kitted bike and actually found the bike was a lot better handling with NO noticable loss of straight line stability... I honestly believe too many people are putting them on bikes that are engineered to be very stable WITHOUT the damper and are just adding 'em for an expensive gimmick...
 

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I've got a Sprint damper on my bike. I can't say if it has made a positive difference or not, but it makes me feel more confident about pushing the bike to the limit of my abilities.
The latest edition of RiDE magazine (UK) has an article on tank slappers. They basically say no-one has the answers, but steering dampers, not being tense while riding the bike, weight distribution and judicious use of the rear brake can all make them less likely to happen.
 

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For anyone who say a steering damper is not useful has obviously not used one. Required? Maybe not, but it's how you like the bike set up.

I have one and I can say I'll probably always have one now. The difference is like night and day. Hit a nasty bump under hard acceleration with a damper, and then hit it again w/o one. If you can't tell a difference you sholdn't even be on a bike.

It eats up so much of that crap so it never shakes the bars on you. And they're adjustable, I don't like them on the high settings, but on low it's great. You still have all your front end feedback, but the nasty stuff gets removed. I can definatly go quicker through bumpy roads with it. And track days would be a lot better too. So you decide. It can definatly save you from a nasty scare, or even a slapper situation.

The only reason I bought one was b/c I toasted my tires at a track weekend. After that they hated bumps I had to go so slow over some of the same roads I used to be able to go somewhat faster on. I was stubborn though, as the tires still had good mielage left in 'em. I rode a friends bike with a damper over the same roads and what a diff. There were 2 bikes way back (w/o dampers) and 2 way ahead (with dampers). So I looked around and found an amazing deal on a Matris. So I snatched it up and LOVE it. With new tires I will probably just turn it down a notch.

Here's a suggestion, and I mean this honestly, I'm not being sarcastic. If you have not tired one on your bike to compare the before and fater results, then you probably shouldn't steer someone away from them. Even if you tried another bike other than yours that had one, you really can't grasp what it means. And a lot of OEM ones are not good. And you have to set them to your settings, not someone elses.

Take for example the GSXR600. Great track tool, as everyone would agree right? Well it's the ONLY 600cc bike (from 2002) that came from the factory with a steering damper.

To suggest that people are only doing it for a cool factor is kind of silly IMO. In fact I think most people I've ever run into (in person or the web) that do have them tend to be some of the best riders or most knowledgable, or non-squid ;) (I'm not including myself in that group :) )



Edited by - Grunt_99 on 12/26/2002 17:19:48
 

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Nah, I didn't say that everybody who puts one on is doing it for fashion. I think there are bikes out there that should have them fitted. If you've tried one and endorse it, great, you're not one of the people I'm referring to, and maybe there's not many out there. But I've met people who put 'em on their bike for the same reason they add fender eliminators and flush mounts. I personally feel that the '98 6R I had was slower steering (and more stable) than my previous bikes (R6 and GSXR600) and less radical in the steering geometry, and that adding a steering damper would have only amplified this and numbed the feedback... but everybody has a different riding style and preference.
And so you know, I HAVE ridden bikes with them. If I had kept my R6, I likely would have one on it today...

As for my new bike, I have read some reviews on this topic... like:
"The 6R was impressively stable, too, sometimes twitching slightly up the hill out of that slow left-hander, but showing no signs of needing a steering damper."
- Motorcyclist Feb 2003

There was another comment somewhere in a review of the 2003 zx6rr I read where a tester took OFF the damper and found it handled sharper, "with NO discernable loss of stability". Sorry I can't seem to locate it right now but I'm sure I will...

Didn't mean to offend, just honestly believe there's people out there who don't understand what dampers do and whether they would honestly benefit from having one, just that they seem to be "hip"... wasn't referring to you or many others who do.

Lemme ask you a question... should the fact that the GSX-R600 is the only 600 sportbike to have one and is a "great track tool" influence whether I put one on a totally different bike with different steering geometry? I don't think so.

Edited by - dj dunzie on 12/26/2002 19:38:12
 

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There has been 3 or 4 times on my 00 ZX6R where i've felt i wish i had a damper. I've gone over some rough pavement or train tracks and have had a fair bit of bar shakes.

Kevin V
00 ZX6R
 

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apparently the fact that the steering damper is more saftey than steering quickness aid. the reason the bike steered quicker is because a steering damper makes makes steering heavier, especially at slow speeds. all it takes is for a you to come over a hill and the front end to go light and land with the tire slightly off center to be screwed.

as i said above, i choose the damper.
 

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DJ, no prob. I guess I read your post wrong <img src=icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle> . I thought you were trying to say they were a waste of time for a 600 bike, but specifically for the 6R.

As for the 03 kawi 600's (& 636) I dunno. But they do have a more extreme front-end balance. And if there are poeple out there that are adding them for a purely cosmetic reason than yeah, that is pretty frickin' dumb.

But in all honesty, and maybe I didn't make that clear, I want mine for street use. Not downtown puttering around, but for backroad twisties etc. You guys in central Canada probably have better roads than us poor sods on the East coast. We've got potholes that pop up from the frost etc that could steal tourists away from the grand canyon.

And at the same time, it may be nice on the track too, but that's sort of just a bonus to me...not really why I bought it. My bike only got squirrly on public roads (after the track tire abuse).

To answer your question about the gixxer...I was just trying to point out that they were not overkill for a 600cc bike. Manufacturers don't like to go to unnecessary expense. Anyone who's got the rear-end raised, or gone with a bigger rear sproket (or done the front) of their 2002 or earlier 6R could have the geometry or wheelbase close to that of the stock gixxer. 2003 kawi's are probably already there.

One thing about the dampers on the track, with my damper (and/or the setting I have it on), I don't know it's there unless I hit/do something nasty. So if I removed mine, it would still feel just as stable...until I needed it.

I think a lot of the OEM dampers also do not have a damping selection. It's preset to a particular level and you live with it. Usually it's a hard setting. With mine on high, it's VERY noticable. I couldn't just have it on high and let a stranger ride my boke, they'd crash the first time the tried to turn if they weren't prepeared for it...it's that hard. Turn-in takes a considerable amount of effort.

But the plus side is rock solid stability. A tactial nuke couldn't move that sucker. But I don't set it that high. In fact, the setting I use I honestly don't even feel it (until I need it). For that reason I love them.

Anyway, what I was getting at, is maybe the OEM race-kit kawi damper is of the one setting type that has a high damping rate, thus robbing turn-in. A good quality damper can be set as the pilot sees fit. But touche! A good place to do research on dampers is a CBR 954 website. Now there's a bike that NEEDS one (not talking from personal experience).
 

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LOL excellent case in point the 954... funny because I ride with a guy who hopped off a RC51 last year and picked up a brand spankin' 954. He's a fast rider who knows his bikes (has worked in a bike shop for years) and after his initial few rides was QUICKLY convinced to buy an aftermarket damper... sounds a lot like yours (adjustable)...

Point is, he was tempted to trade the bike back to the dealer for his RC51 until he got the new damper put on and tweaked and realized the 954 is a pretty sweet handler. (Surprisingly light too btw!)

I also ride with a guy with a TL1000R which is another prime case, he still runs the factory damper, but I can't imagine that bike without one.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh well, guess I'll be putting the money towards a radiator guard seeing as Kawasaki couldn't be bothered.

2002 Green 636 ..Beep,Beep..
 

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I had an ohlins on my 00 6r track bike and it worked flawlessly.generally the steeper you make the rake the quicker the bike will steer, at the sacrifice of stability. I think I heard the new 6r is coming with a more relaxed geometry which may be why the damper seemed unecesary
 
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