SUZUKI GSX-R750 SRAD
Scott Redmond puts a damper on his frame woes!
It’s often the case in life that solving one problem will in time lead to the creation of another. Let’s hold this notion and see how I’ve been getting on with my GSX-R750WT SRAD. The previous owner cured the problem of a flighty front end by fitting a steering damper. Makes you wonder why Suzuki didn’t bless the carb-fed SRAD with one from new? However, they did slip an afterthought of a damper to the fuelinjected WX-WW SRAD models. If you’ve ever owned a GSX-R750/1100 slingshot you’ll be fully aware that the original equipment dampers were pretty poor, and often leaked within no time. There’s no end of aftermarket parts out there for the SRAD; steering dampers are one of those rare bolt-ons that can offer something to your riding pleasure and not just look trick. There are two types of
damper options – one is what’s commonly referred to as the 916 type, which sit above the top yoke, horizontally, just like they did on the 1990s Bologna beauty. It’s an elegant solution to how a steering damper should be fitted. The more common type is the sidemounted type. Seen on bikes for decades, this is what the previous custodian of my SRAD had opted for when looking for a solution to shave vital tenths of a second from his track day lap times – or to just hang on for dear life. Unfortunately, it seems that it all went a bit pear-shaped and after running out of talent he ditched the GSX-R. The sturdylooking frame mount wreaked havoc, and the basics of physics meant that the tougher steel bracket transferred its kinetic energy into the softer alloy frame spar. Boo hoo, but so often this is the case. I was fully aware of all this before agreeing to buy the bike. I’m old enough to remember the craze for carbon fibre frame covers, which were nothing more than a mask to hide what mostly looked like superficial damage. I’ve bought, sold and broken plenty of alloy-framed Japanese sports bikes over the decades, and if the price was right and reflected the damage I’ve never been put off by a few dings to an alloy frame spar. That’s until now! I have decided to go all in and strip the SRAD right down. Here’s the stupid bit – the spares package with my purchase included what looked like a decent used frame, but for reasons that escape me now I sold it on! What a plonker! On the plus side, prices for SRAD frames are ridiculously cheap. It wasn’t too long ago that a slabby and slingshot frame were also trading hands for not much cash, that’s changed over the last few years. A decent slabside frame makes at least £300, although I spotted one at Newark in June that was carrying a price tag of £550. Thankfully a good clean SRAD frame with a V5 can be plucked from that auction site for a paltry £50. Asking prices do vary, but cheapie SRAD frames are plentiful at the moment. Having stripped mine down to a bare frame, I have no desire to use it again. If matey hadn’t fitted the steering damper maybe the frame would still be in good shape, but if I open that can of worms up who’s to say he’d have sold it in the first place? The dents to my frame are pretty nasty, and yes I could’ve found some carbon frame covers – the only problem with that is that I don’t actually like carbon goodies. I do have the number of not one but two people who could probably work their magic and remove the dents, but that will take more effort than it is actually worth. I have a few SRAD frames in my ebay watch list and it’s only a matter of time before I login and treat myself. Like I said at the top of this piece, one job can potentially lead to another, and that’s where I am at now. Let’s just hope I buy myself a good ‘un, and no, I won’t be buying a steering damper.
An ‘across the frame’ 916-style steering damper.
An on-the-frame damper.