cliffy's 1999 yzf-r6
cost: $399 + self install (.2 hrs labor)
purchased from: hyperpro / dynojet (702) 399-1423
well, this little addition was long in coming. why the r1 and r6 don't come with dampers from the factory is beyond me! headshake that wanna turn into tank slappers when i'd come wide open out of a curve became so commonplace that i almost didn't buy the thing. however, after hearing many stories (of the horror variety) i decided that if i was gonna be spending money on my bike, i should really get a damper. i have heard good things about both hyperpro and ohlins. honestly, when it came right down to it, i went with the hyperpro due to its looks. on the other hand, chuck graves recommends it so maybe its best for yamahas.
this was a piece of cake. it took me, at most, a half hour but that was because i was taking pictures to document the whole process. first, i unpacked everything to see what i had [a]. after i took a quick glance at the instructions, i gathered up my tools and took the kit out to my bike [b]. first thing i put on was the stationary frame bracket adapter that mounts to the front fuel tank bolt holes [c],[d]. then i mounted the triple clamp adapter by removing the main steering nut using the emergency kit box wrench. afterwards the damper clamp was bolted on [e],[f]. finally, the damper was mounted to the clamp and the frame adapter [g]. after ensuring that the damper was centered (>5mm clearance at full steering lock on each side) and that everything was tight, it was time to test it out!
[a] [b] [c] [d] [e] [f] [g]
oh my god! everything hyperpro says about their damper is true! i intially set it with a lot of damping at about 8 clicks in (there are 11 soft detents but it is infinitely adjustable in between). pulling out of my parking spot, i couldn't even tell the thing was there!
so i took it down the street and did a quick wheelie. the shake i was used to feeling when i brought it down wasn't there!
next i tried a little user induced shake (quick left to right -- the girls love this one) but i couldn't do it! ok, i could, but it required a lot of effort and it wasn't as snappy. i turned the damper all the way out and tryed again. i could do it at that setting. whew, had me worried for a second!
this led me to worry about the flickability of the bike so i went up to the mountain to try it. simply incredible! the initial steering input felt exactly the same (as long as it was a controlled progressive turn in). what really impressed me was the bike in and coming out of the turn. it felt like the thing was on rails! i'm used to coming out of this 20mph turn at 80-90 but with some managable head shake. this time, nothing! once i put that thing on the line, it let me pull right through it. the confidence that the damper brings is amazing. next time, i might just let go and let the bike ride up the mountain itself!
no modification comes without a compromise, somewhere. the only thing that this damper takes away is the ease of direction changes. depending on the damper setting, it takes more effort to move the bike in the tight twisties where the direction changes are large and often. in this environment, a light setting would be best. however in the larger and faster turns, the damper should be set a little heavier and the reward for having it is quickly apparent. turns become smoother and worries of headshake or a tank slapper are things of the past.
overall, it gets 4.5 stars. it looks great and feels great. i highly recommend it! the price may drive many away but if you ride like i do and feel what i felt, its peanuts compared to the alternative.