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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"The suspension king" says a steering damper might just hide the real problem.
Do you agree?
Do you have a steering damper on your gen 1? - Did you just hide a problem?
Have anyone in here dialed in their gen 1 so it just does not need a steering damper?

(Iam wondering if I just buy one, just live with it being quite alive up front. Or try to dial in the bike more
I have set the SAG to 30 front and rear, compression and dampening is stock right now)
https://youtu.be/LmHU-gtlOKo
 

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I view the damper as back up. The better the set up the less a damper needs work. A generalisation is the more work your damper is doing the slower you will be. Out on the roads a damper helps with environmental buffeting as well as road surface. Out on track no matter who you are or what your budget is dampers are used they are on every championship winning bike no matter the level. A damper can make it harder to identify a better set up is how I interpret " the suspension king"
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow Michael, thanks a lot! - A lot I did not know there!
I think I will buy a damper, and then maybe just try to setup the bike well before, and run it on a low setting if trying to adjust the bike further down the road.
 

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As usual, I agree with michael on this topic. The damper is last line of defense. It can help provide some extra safety margin. If you've gone through all the set up and geometry of the bike and are still having issues with stability in certain settings then a damper might be something to look into. But the damper is really more of an emotional crutch these days IMO. Too many people think that they don't really need to worry about those other setup things if they just bolt on a damper. That's where it can start masking the other issues. There is a fine line between a fast bike and an unstable one as a stable bike is not as fast. The Gen 1 got a bad wrap since it came out. It's a little more prone to instability than some of the later models, but that doesn't mean it can't be managed correctly.
 

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Hey look at it this way, All dampers have clickers....Done. You dial it up or down, but at least its there to give you the option. I personally ride a quite aggressive geometry on the street. If I give any un necessary feedback to the bars it "could" trigger a wobble/slapper. Sometimes you hit a nasty bump and it forces one hand to put more input than desired, in that case I would ALWAYS prefer to have a damper. I prefer not to ride a performance oriented bike without one for that reason, aggressive or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you've gone through all the set up and geometry of the bike
I don't know much about setting up motorcycles.
Could you please tell me how one go through "all the setup and geometry of the bike"? - It sure sounds like a big thing to do. So maybe it's not something one can tell over text.
So if it's long, feel free to just write some good headlines in bullet form hehe :)
 

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I don't know much about setting up motorcycles.
Could you please tell me how one go through "all the setup and geometry of the bike"? - It sure sounds like a big thing to do. So maybe it's not something one can tell over text.
So if it's long, feel free to just write some good headlines in bullet form hehe :)
That has more to do with personal preference than anything else. There isn't a list of things specifically to do. You have to adjust the suspension sag, compression, and rebound to make the bike work the way you want it to. This includes modifying the geometry some times by raising or lowering the front or rear end. If the stock components don't have enough adjustment for you and the way you want to ride it, then you'll have to replace shock and fork springs and valving. It's a process and it doesn't happen overnight.
 

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Gen 1 was always twitchy due to the front end geometry. It had very quick response to steering input but the trade off was that it was unstable. Kawasaki didn't want their new flagship sportbike to get the dreaded "wheelbarrow" nickname that had been pinned on many litre bikes. Gen 2 wasn't much better. Gen 3 was much more tame. A new frame, slower front end geometry, a different engine location and more power meant that the bike could handle better without being twitchy. The steering damper on the Gen 3 actually comes from Kawasaki valved so that it isn't much more than eye candy. After a couple of aggressive track days on the Streets of Willow Springs, I realized I needed my damper to actually be functional, though. Was it my setup that caused the head shake? No, it was the mauled up track in certain places. So, I had it re-valved and the problem was solved. Do I run it on anything higher than 1 (or maybe 2) on the street? No, there is no need, I had my suspension rebuilt and upgraded by Race Tech in LA and it is smooth and accurate as can be.
Find a shop that can do the setup for you(or go to a trackday near you, you don't have to ride on the track, just go to the pit area and there are usually one or two shops that will be doing basic setups for a few bucks), they typically will teach you as they do it and they will tell you what needs to be repaired or replaced. Feel free to pick their brains. The steering head bearings don't last long on the early ZX-10R, they go dry and wear out. The stock spring will give up the ghost before 10k, the shock will go not long afterwards. As others have said, your suspension must be in good working order for any adjustments to be meaningful.
As an example of suspension health's affect on handling, I have a 77 KZ1000, notorious for poor handling and mine was no exception. It felt like it had a hinge in the middle of the frame. Where the ZX-10R only needed very small inputs from me and was lightning quick and laser sharp, the handling on the KZ was more of an extended negotiation between me and the bike. I thought about getting a damper for it but I knew it would be more of a band aid so I tore it all down and replaced every bearing and bushing with new, modern bearings, progressive springs up front, heavier fork oil, and new, tunable rear shocks. The difference is like day and night. That old bike's handling is now smooth and responsive with no wobbles, waggles, or fork dive.
Please excuse the long response, I just felt like talking about motorcycles.😁
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the very fine reply.
I actually say a YouTube video the other day where a fellow. Showed like 3-4 tests one could do to test the bearings.
Think I will go trough that to see if the stealing head bearing is worn.
And then If I can find some good ceramic bearings buy that :)
 

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can't compare a pro bike damper, with 220 hp, racer with our street 160 hp g4, etc, designed to ride for hours per week; plus, some pros ride way tight, influencing the bike negative, so damper needed; making riding style a factor; I'm not judging a pro rider that rides tight, as watched many in this genre able to ride the race well with that style because of simply being in outstanding physical shape. Old timer Kenny Roberts had to ride tight just to control the stupid bikes of that era. Whereas, Rossi's one calm racer. Like to see what he thinks about damper on his racer.

g4 damper, both the manual on the '11 and the electronic on the '13 work well and are not needed; I just went as loose as possible. Some may find this interesting. The top of the triple post, looking at the triple post nut, the electronic damper wore that post down to the nut on the '13 g4. Bike has between 108k but might be 110k miles. Not sure at what mile point the damper caused post wear (damper slapping the post) began. No wear on that post on the g4' '11 at 50k miles.

Always liked the our dampers look.
 
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