Scott Red­mond puts a damper on his frame woes!

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS -

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.

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