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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ive read a few complaints and had a few minor wobbles myself but today is it. I love my Gen 5 10r but This Damper sucks ass!!! Found a clear stretch to get through a few gears and from 2nd thru 4th accelerating hard the front end would not stabilize...nothing like lock to lock of course but a moderate enough wobble that one would be stupid to shut the throttle down and load up the front end even more, coulda got ugly quick...eventually accelerated out of it upper 4th gear but it was just stupid, the front end would not stabilize. Granted the freeway isnt in new condition where it occurred but it should not have been this extreme a wobble.. it reminded me of trying to keep the old 1986 Ninja 600r in a straight line on the race track back in the days with that lil 16 inch front wheel slapping all around.
Ive seen some posts about rebuilding the stock and others just getting a new Damper. Please give me some feedback here to help me with deciding the best route here...what are you guys doing bout this ? Thanks :)
 

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unbelievable that Kawi have been fitting crap dampers for years to such a high performance motorcycle. Doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Some say the're worried about people having it set too stiff, I think they should be more worried it doesn't actually work when it needs to :angryfire:
 

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I agree, although from a legal standpoint, mother kawi can fend off lawsuits a whole lot easier from a nutered system over a plaintiff who claims he/she could not turn the handlebar and caused an accident.

Sadly, this is the world we live in, it's controlled by lawyers and bureaucrats.
 

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I agree, although from a legal standpoint, mother kawi can fend off lawsuits a whole lot easier from a nutered system over a plaintiff who claims he/she could not turn the handlebar and caused an accident.

Sadly, this is the world we live in, it's controlled by lawyers and bureaucrats.
It's also full of guys who think they should buy a literbike to learn on so they won't have to trade up.:crackup:

Which statement would suggest that lawyers and bureaucrats have not entirely taken over.:crackup:

That said, yeah, the damper needs to be a lot stiffer in the upper range as this bike like any literbike is prone to headshake. Had some incidents recently, similar to what the OP related. Without the reflash it's not so bad, I guess, but I would never have the flash done without a steering damper solution. Ohlins SCU would go along with the flash for me. Meanwhile I just respect the bike.
 

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I've done both. I have a 2014 I put a race SCU in and a 2016 that I replaced the damper with a revalved manual damper. Both work well.
 

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'16 ZX-10R KRT
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Orrrr, you can get your suspension and geometry adjusted properly so your not masking handling issues by putting an overly stiff bandaid on it. That's step number one.:wink:

You can't rebuild the ESD to make it stiffer. You need the race SCU or replace it with a full manual one.
 
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I agree 100%. Having owned (and setup) 4 ZX10's with factory Ohlins dampers, it's clear that it's for "looks" and nothing more. I agree that a damper will mask geometry and suspension issues, but the fact remains. The factory damper is a JOKE. Always has been.

In the first rendition, 06-07 we either added heavier oil, re-valved it or replaced it completely. In this situation with the 2016, call me crazy... but I've got a chinese CNC damper sitting on the shelf. I'm about to mount it and see how it holds up. Pretty sure it will do the job that the factory damper cannot.
 

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Geometry and suspension setup is important but it doesn't eliminate the need for a good damper that actually works.

Absolutely correct. But most people buying these bikes aren't running then at the pace required to need a good damper. Most people don't touch the suspension when they take delivery from the dealer. And then most people bitch about the damper not being sufficient when they get a tiny wiggle in the front end. Most of the handling issues can be addressed with the suspension and geometry changes BEFORE figuring out if the damper needs an upgrade.:ayyy:
 

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I've heard lots of complaints about the oem dampers, but I've yet to experience any problems with mine after 3 years on a gen 4 with Manuel damper. Not discounting anyone's experience with them, just curious why I haven't had a problem. Maybe because I'm heavier (220 pounds in my boxers) and not able to accelerate as hard as some of you? Maybe my suspension geometry isn't as aggressive as some of yours? But I've done a bunch of drag races at the strip, roll races, and a handful of track days without a problem . Only time I ever had a wobble issue was when my rear tire was very out of balance. The bars would start to oscillate @ about 130-140 mph, but I don't blame the damper as there was an underlying problem with the bike.
 

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From the factory the bike comes with significant trail (nanny settings) which would reduce the chance of a wobble. Getting the bike set up for better turn in will reduce stability making a good damper even more important. Maybe they figure sending out a weak damper to match the poochy geometry is the way to go? Just speculating... but it still makes no sense to me. I don't buy into the worries that they'll get sued because people will complain they can't turn the bike when the damper is set stiff enough to do any good. The bike turns fine with the race SCU installed. It can't be a money thing because Kawi isn't profiting from people upgrading their dampers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I appreciate all the feedback. I have spent many years roadracing on the track, and have been away for awhile, but I have felt enough with this stock damper to identify potential worse hazards when I take her to the track. Its certainly not a "little wobble then a whine"... definitely need to look closer at the suspension set-up as well. Ive reached out to several ol race buddies that are still active in the scene and am getting the support needed to address that. I do weigh 240 now, not exactly in my prime years racing weight....lol.,,, and ya my buddy Dave Lanigan said I definitely should look closer at dialing in the suspension so your feedback here has confirmed this that its more than just a steering damper issue. You are all appreciated , thank you.
 

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From the factory the bike comes with significant trail (nanny settings) which would reduce the chance of a wobble. Getting the bike set up for better turn in will reduce stability making a good damper even more important. Maybe they figure sending out a weak damper to match the poochy geometry is the way to go? Just speculating... but it still makes no sense to me. I don't buy into the worries that they'll get sued because people will complain they can't turn the bike when the damper is set stiff enough to do any good. The bike turns fine with the race SCU installed. It can't be a money thing because Kawi isn't profiting from people upgrading their dampers.
So much is how you ride. The stock damper is adequate for any kind of reasonable street use, if you really whack it open, like to wheelie, all this kind of stuff, then it's limp. But then that kind of riding has other risks too so at that point on the street, it is compounded.

For street riding I would not replace the stock damper based on my experience so far. I've certainly set the bike up to handle much better than stock, raised the rear ride height, and increased front preload and damping all round quite a bit.

Setup is key as is managing the power.
 

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I told this story in here years ago, but here it is again. In 2006, one of my closest friends was killed when his 05' 636 hit a steel street pole and he broke his neck. This was the result of a massive head shake that went really, really bad. He could not get the bike under control and it veered off the road. To me, steering dampers are a must. I've had plenty of moments on the street and track where a damper kept the front end from going ape shit. One time specifically, I crossed a seam at Heartland Park in turn 3. It's a huge carousel where you carry 90+ mph. I normally never go outside past the apex in this turn, but I was making a pass. I crossed the seam and it gave me a huge wag, nearly ejecting me off the seat. I guarantee the GPR damper saved my ass. I was on my knee and then some!
 
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I never had any issues with the stock damper on my CBR600RR, and so far haven't had any problems with the stock damper on my ZX-10R. I actually get a bit of a thrill from small speed wobbles, so I don't mind them so much... I don't catch them often out here, though.

Having said that, I don't track my bike (yet) and use it for commutes and long weekend trips... so my priorities and standards are probably different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
yes...totally agree, thats why Im disappointed in this stock damper because I understand the importance of a quality steering damper but it is what it is, thats why I reached out to other owners to see what the resolution is they went with. Im sorry to here of your buddys death. I lost my best friend in 92, it was at SIR in Washington State. I also lost a few other friends through he years both fellow racers and on the street. Its a tough reality of this hobby for sure. Thanks for your share !
 

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No damper needed on this bike. I ride mega crappy stuff hard and np at all unless I go too slow when around cattle and deer and pigs and jackrabbits and whatever.
 

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Consider yourselves lucky yours even turns on. My damper hasn't even turned on for nearly 6 weeks. The shop, and the Kawasaki techs have no idea what's going wrong with it. Their diagnostics tools have failed to find the problem, and we are waiting on some more fancy diagnostic software to be sent out or some crap.
They won't start replacing parts until they know what's playing up.
Even when they do go ahead to change something, I've been told Ohlins refuses to send a replacement part out until the original has been received on their end. So after nearly two months of having no damper, I might be in a spot where the bike is sitting there for weeks on end waiting for Ohlins to send the part.

I'm not fucking happy. Front is sloppy and feels like shit under hard riding at the moment.
 

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I told this story in here years ago, but here it is again. In 2006, one of my closest friends was killed when his 05' 636 hit a steel street pole and he broke his neck. This was the result of a massive head shake that went really, really bad. He could not get the bike under control and it veered off the road. To me, steering dampers are a must. I've had plenty of moments on the street and track where a damper kept the front end from going ape shit. One time specifically, I crossed a seam at Heartland Park in turn 3. It's a huge carousel where you carry 90+ mph. I normally never go outside past the apex in this turn, but I was making a pass. I crossed the seam and it gave me a huge wag, nearly ejecting me off the seat. I guarantee the GPR damper saved my ass. I was on my knee and then some!
I love the carousel at HPT! Hope they get that thing repaved and back open!
 
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