This test was done with the Help of Kyle Racing engines
Dan supplied the dampers for me to test at my leisure &
as time & weather permitted.

Kyle Racing Engines 831-394-1330

The goal of the test was to basically determine the best available steering Damper for the RC51. Everything was tested as is directly from the manufacturers & while I believe the tests were a great excercise the results will not yield any information about product durability or longevity. I performed all the tests one after the other on the exact same roads over & over again, some of which are well known in this area for inducing head shake at speed. I would be lying if I said I didn't leave a couple skidmarks in my shorts once or twice during this process, but I wanted to be thorough & you can't test a steering damper without subjecting it to the kind of riding that necessitates the need for a damper to begin with.

I am no expert in this area & lack the knowledge of exactly how these things work internally so my testing is simply based on how well it works on the bike. I have nearly 2 decades worth of riding sportbikes & racing & know all to well what can happen when a tank slapper goes wrong. I have an excellent understanding & feel for my RC51 & what type of movements/road conditions induce headshake. Having said that I feel that I successfully & equally tested all the units individually to get the results below. Let me stress that all these dampers are good choices while some are noticeably better than others they all help to prevent headshake/tankslappers to acceptable levels & I have really had to nit-pick them over to discern differences in the way they install & function.

I am still trying to source an Arrow/Matris damper for testing & if successful will update this page with that review as well



Ohlins Damper & Mount

Range of adjustment = 19 clicks


Very user friendly, it's so good you don't even think about it!
Heavy duty & well built
Easiest use of adjustability as all the settings you will ever need are within a couple clicks of each other so you don't end up constantly adjusting your damper for different conditions & speeds
Excellent instructions
Comes with cool Ohlins stickers

Supplied fairing stay bracket requires a little muscle to get it to line up.

Comments: Not a whole lot to say about this unit as it just basically does exactly what it should do. In terms of functionality it is nothing less than I would expect from a world leading company in suspension components. The most important aspect of it is that it requires very little adjustment at the knob as one setting can encompass a wide range of riding conditions. It handles slow speed manuevers, high speed manuevers & high speed handlebar jerks like when you hit a pothole etc... all equally well without having to really change settings. (I want one!)


Street & Comp Mount for Ohlins Damper

Ohlins Damper (by itself)


Same excellent function of the Ohlins Damper mentioned above
Simple to install mount
Simple instructions

Rubs the fairing stay at full right lock

Comments: In spite of the price tag this mount just seems on the cheaper side to me. The actual bracket that clamps the damper assembly has a lot of play in it that allows the bracket head to move around a lot. Now this may be the way it is designed, but it doesn't seem real sturdy or precise to me & the fact that it re-uses existing stem nut (which is not threaded all the way) instead of coming with it's own fully threaded one doesn't sit well with me either even though it does appear to be ample threading, however the Ohlins Damper still functions superbly. Personally if I were going to buy an Ohlins Damper I would spring for the extra $15 & just get the full Ohlins kit.


Street & Comp Mount with Sprint Damper

Range of adjustment = 14 clicks


Simple to install mount
Simple instructions

Insufficient range per setting on the adjuster knob (I'll try to explain below)

Comments: Again as was the case with the Street & Comp mount from above this mount just seems cheap to me, but it is functional. The damper unit itself however doesn't work as well as I would like it too. It reminds of the dampers from 10 years ago on the GSXR's where you had either too much damping or not enough & you constantly had to adjust it to make it useable. The knob is kinda hard to turn too (in comparison to the others). It just seems that no matter where I adjust it, it just doesn't do what it is supposed to as if the range of one setting doesn't overlap far enough to compensate for both low speed & high speed riding. I'm not talking about parking lot speeds versus canyon speeds I'm talking about actual riding conditions like going from slow first gear corners hard on the gas with the front wheel skimming the ground versus 100mph flip it over to the other side, hit some rough pavement & watch out for the tank slapper type riding. It just plain doesn't work as well as the Scott's or the Ohlins overall.

Kind of trivial but it is also available in a wide range of colors


HyperPro Damper & Mount

Range of adjustment = 11 clicks


Explicit instructions & illustrations with numbered parts inventory

Insufficient high speed damping
Way too many parts
Extremely tedious to install
Seems big & bulky compared to the others tested

Comments: This isn't a damper, this is a metal jigsaw puzzle. Chances are you will give up on it before you get it installed or at the very least decide to get some sleep & try it again in the morning... If you do succeed in getting it installed you will be mad at the world for the rest of the day after wrestling with tiny allen wrenches in tight spots while trying to grow an extra hand to hold parts together in awkward positions & find washers & o-rings as they try to slip away from you & get lost somewhere under the fuel tank. Ok yes that was a bit overboard in the way of facetious, but due to the fact I had forgotten to take a pic of when I first installed it on my bike I had to mount it a 2nd time & really can't convey how bad this mount design is...

The Damper itself is ok up to about 8/10 pace (7/10 if you are running a more radical geometry as many of us are), but as I started pushing closer to the limit & when I really needed it the most the damping effect wasn't sufficient to quell the headshake & I had to back off until the front end settled down. Increasing the tension only made it harder to steer with no obvious effect on the highspeed damping.


Scotts Damper & mount kit

Range of adjustment = 15 clicks from full hard
(even though it will go more clicks they are out of the adjustment range)

Pic courtesy of Fast Eddy


Seperate high & low speed adjustablility!
Adjustable sweep of damping effect
Excellent instructions
Very crashworthy due to its out of the way mount location
Lots of adjustability

Somewhat tedious to install (not real difficult, but takes longer than most the others)
Takes a little time to warm up before it operates properly
Lots of adjustability (nope this is not a typo it's both good & bad as it can overwhelm inexperienced users if they get it out of adjustment & can't figure out how to get it back)

Comments: This is the one I have the most experience with as I have been using one on my personal bike for over a season & I love it. I usually have the low speed turned way down & just leave the factory preset highspeed setting alone & it sufficiently does it's job of ironing out high speed wobbles & headshakes although there have been some times that I thought it could have done it a little better (faster), but then again if I had adjusted the high speed damping then I may have been able to improve the response time. Overall I think this is a pretty high quality damper with a wide range of adjustability & function, but in truth it's more like a "set it & forget it" type which is a good thing. For most street riders & canyon carvers I think it is one of the top choices.

BTW If you have more than one bike all you need is the mount kit for the 2nd bike & you can swap your Scotts damper from one bike to the other in about 20 seconds.