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Thoughts on steering dampners?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by livingstonest, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. Been riding a z750 for awhile now and due to its wide bars or non-aggressive angle of steering i've not had any problems with tank slappers.

    Now i'm thinking of getting a gsxr750 2007 and apparently these don't have steering dampners.

    Don't shoot me i've never had a big faired sportsbike. Should this be a concern at all? From what i've seen most new sport bikes have them....daytona 675/honda cbr600 and cbr1000 and even the new gsxrs.

    I do road riding up twisty roads and want to start doing track days.

    Thanks for any comments.
  2. I'd only get one if it needs it. A lot can likely be done with simple suspension adustment.

    Having said that, the Honda HESD solution is a good one technically - it doesn't interfere at low speeds, and dials itself up electronically and automatically as the speed rises.
  3. you dont need to worry about the gsxr mate they come with one. a mate has one. good luck with it all
  4. Really? Cool!

    I searched the features/specs for 07 gsxrs and it didn't mention anything.

  5. Yep, factory fitted standard item on any K7.
  6. Steering dampers are only for bikes that are either not set up properly or not designed right in the first place. A band aid solution for a larger problem.
  7. Right, so all those pro racers just have their bikes set up wrong. Maybe you should go tell them to take their steering dampers off.

    Watch some IOM TT races then maybe you'll re-think that idea.
  8. Bikes with short wheelbase and aggressive geometry are more prone to tank slappers. Suspension also play a part.

    For some bikes, it is a band aid solution, for other bikes, it is part of the design.
  9. 'dampers' - like the foodstuff

    They're there to allow the trade-off between quick and agile steering versus stability to be made in a way that favours agility without leading to unacceptable danger. They're good on the bikes they're meant for.
  10. I tend to disagree, I have tried many machines, with many set-ups, as with many other settings on a bike, there has to be a 'compromize' in the settings & design of the points that effect tank-slappers.

    Sure a bike can be designed to not ever tank-slap but I wouldn't want to ride a bike with such minimal front tyre traction and slow steering/cornering response in a sporting environment.
  11. I agree with you JO as far as full on race bikes go, but why bring these to the street. Eric Buell seems to be on to something don't you think?
  12. +1 Johny

    For sure it helps, but not necessary. Big fistfuls of throttle on anything but great surfaced roads sees my blade get rather frisky. Can be countered with some serious leaning over the tank but still not perfect. The suspension has been setup professionally, but no idea how well, and no idea how long since last fork oil change so getting that done soon..
  13. I reckon most manufacturers do it for legal reasons.

    I remember when Suzuki released their TL1000S without a steering damper. I rode one. The thing was stable as and would take a king hit to get it to slap, and yet in the UK one wanker who wrote for a magazine managed to tie himself in knots and claimed that it was all down to the bike tank-slapping him into the bushes. I personally suspect that it was due to pulling a wheelie and landing it crossed up, which is what will tank slap almost anything on two wheels.

    No other country really had a problem with the TL1000S as I recall, but there was a huge fall-out in the UK with all these people there crashing the TLS's, and claiming it was due to no steering damper. Suzuki recalled the TLS's and retro-fitted damper units and it seems that since then almost all makers of sporting bikes have slapped a damper unit on "just in case".

    The Triumph Daytona 675 has a damper unit fitted as stock. I've removed the stock unit, it's non-adjustable, but offers about as much damping force as some blu-tak stuck to the steering head pivot (ie. effectively none). To me, this just re-inforces my opinion that most stock dampers are there for legal reasons only.
  14. Not really legal you're describing? More safety, political and economic reasons. The manufacturer isn't responsible for the bike shaking a bit when you full throttle on a bumpy road, or land a bad wheelie.

    I think its the retarded TL rear shock that was more an issue than the wheelbase, chasis, etc. I'd really like a TL-S, I wish they didn't stop making them (and yes I know there is the SV thou but just isn't as seksy or powerful).

    Most bikes probably don't need them, but it seems the general trend in sportsbikes is shorter wheelbase and more power - seemingly every year. So makes sense to slap them on, at least if they work well, eg. I've heard great things about the honda electronic ones.
  15. He's onto something there. I had tankslaps on my bike because the suspension was waaaaaaaaaaaaayy to soft. Going into corners there'd be too much dive in the front under brakes which would change the geometrey, sharpen the steering and lead to awful awful tank slappers.

    Putting a steering damper on, in my case, would have simply been hiding the consequences, not dealing with the initial problem of shithouse suspension set up.
  16. I just have a little trouble understanding the logic involved. The manufacturer says "lets make a bike with nice light sharp precise steering, and then throw on a device that nullifies all those lovely traits we built into it" :? :?
  17. As I was saying, I think that you'll find that most manufacturer fitted steering dampers offer very little in the way of any actual damping effect, at least in comparison to what a proper aftermarket racing damper unit can provide.

    The stock damper unit on the 675 offers maybe 1/4 of the damping effect of an aftermarket race damper unit set to the lightest setting, that's how piss-weak it is.

    The HESD units fitted to Honda's are basically turned off completely below 100kph, and then only kick in at higher speeds when required.
  18. I know what you're getting at :wink:
  19. :wink:
  20. I think that's because steering THIS light, sharp and precise is an asset in hands of professional on a race track, but actually turns out to be more of a liability on the roads and in hands of Joe Average... It's the same as the current trend of producing bikes with XXX horsepower then equipping them with switches to cut down all that power to manageable level.
    Needs of race track riders are one thing. Needs of marketing departments are another. And real road requirements are something entirely else again.