Redelk's Muzzy Steering Damper Repost

Though a tad on the "pricey" side when compared to other dampers, there are several aspects and features that make the Muzzy damper a product that one should seriously consider when damper shopping for their 12R.

INSTALLATION

Probably the most outstanding feature is it's remarkable ease of installation. Not only can it be installed in less that an hour, even an idiot like myself can install it without any help! Installation requires less that a handful of tools and there is no drilling involved. The part that I liked the most is that the only part of the bike I had to remove was the windscreen. When I installed the M Toby on my '97 7R, I had to lower one of the fork tubes for one of the damper brackets. The Muzzy fork bracket is a two piece configuration that was very straight forward in it's design and a no brainer to install.



I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back a bit and talk about the instructions that come with the Muzzy damper. In an e-mail, Doug Meyer said, "The instructions are awesomely complete (if I do say so myself).". One thing he failed to mention was how simple they were. I think I spent 10 minutes looking for an additional sheets of instructions. There were none.

The instructions come with step by step pictures (not as good as mine) that make it so simple, you almost don't have to read the instructions at all. NOTE: This is something I would NOT recommend. Not that there are any "hidden surprises" to the installation process, it's just that it's always wise to completely read all of the instructions BEFORE adding something to one's pride and joy. Not only that, but it could save time too.

Anyway, the first step is to remove the two bolts at the base of the instrument cluster bracket. Using the nuts and bolts provided by Muzzy, I installed what I call the "base mounts" for the damper's side brackets. This is my crappiest picture, but it does show one of the "base mounts" in place.



The groove at the center left of the pic is where the bolt for the side bracket will go through. In other words, there's only ONE WAY the side brackets will go on. The side brackets are nothing short of a work of art. The design of these brackets addresses every detailed shape of it's surrounding environment. It was as if my bike was part of the mold use to make them. These brackets easily slide over the "base mounts" and are held in place with a single bolt (each).

A zip tie is provided for each bracket. Again, even the design of the location of the holes where each zip tie runs though, was well thought out. The zip ties are use to very neatly hold the wiring harnesses out of harm's way and keeps them from getting bound up or pinched. The thought of using conventional zip ties (no "custom made" ties) to do this sounds "cheap" at first, but there is a method to their madness. Not only do they protect the harnesses from getting caught on anything, but if any form of maintenance is needed in this area, the ties can easily be cut and replaced. Neat idea.





As shown above, the part that the actual damper mounts to goes in between these two brackets. It too is designed to fit in a very tight area with no clearance problems. As a matter of fact, there is no question of any clearance problems with the whole unit.




The set up is very simple, clean and looks as if it's was "poured" onto the bike. It fits that well.

PERFORMANCE

Though the Muzzy damper is manufactured by HyperPro (with Muzzy specific valving), it's location on the bike is slightly different the HyperPro's. I have a bigger problem with the hardware of the HyperPro mount, then I do with the appearance of the Scotts. Before riding a 12R with a Scotts damper, my biggest complaint was it's almost "Star Trek" appearance. Now that I have rode a 12R with a Scotts, I will have to admit that they are nice and would be an good investment. Still, my dislike for it's appearance still stands. Just a personal opinion.

Ah, but the appearance is not the main purpose of a damper. Both units have their advantages and disadvantages. There is not doubt that the Scotts damper has more features and depending on what kind of dealer you can work out with your parts guy, very similar in price.

Here's a list of some of the Scotts' features (gotta be fair):

Base Valve - adjusts the amount of dampening (resistance) you feel at low or medium speeds.

High Speed Valve - designed to help absorb large, unexpected hits.

Sweep Control Valves - controls the distance of dampening force (or sweep) from the center line out to either side (left or right) until it releases. The damper is then free to move to the steering stop and back to center.

Copied (without permission) from the website of hardracing.com

One of Scotts' claims is that it is that is "infinitely adjustable so you can set it to absorb any range or size of energy impact". I guess this means two things. One, not having settings determined by pronounced "clicks" (like the bike's suspension), means it's "infinitely adjustable". Two, you are always aware of the "range or size of energy impact"... BEFORE you encounter them. That might apply to a race track environment, but unless you ride the same rode and only that same road, everytime you go riding, this aspect seems kinda silly to me.

Yes, I understand that it's promoting the Scotts' ability to be adjusted on the fly. Of course, the Muzzy (and just about every other brand of damper) can do that as well. This is why I prefer the way Muzzy over the Scotts (or HyperPro) in how Muzzy addressed this aspect. While riding, I personally found it much easier to adjust the Muzzy. The adjustment knob is located on the left side of the damper. The Scotts is a knob on the unit which is located at the center of the triple clamp.

When adjusting the Muzzy, it's a very short distance from the left handle bar to the adjuster and my hand and arm remain in a very natural riding position. This allows me to get my hand back to the handle bar quicker (in case of an "emergency encounter", like road kill, cagers, UFOs, etc.). Also, this is where I find the well defined clicks better that being "infinitely adjustable". I feel more confident when I'm sure of exactly how much of a change I'm making. Sure, the Scotts has a "pointer" on it's knob. For me, the would just help me "guess" better on the level of damping.

The actual overall amount of damping is also very close between the two. Being spoiled by my M Toby and it's 25 positions (the Muzzy has 10), I felt that both of them could have had more dampening. The differences between "all the way off" and "all the way on" were too little on both of them. The M Toby could be adjusted from no damping to damn near locking the handle bars and each of it's 25 adjustments made a noticeable difference. Now that's no to say that neither the Muzzy or Scotts dampers could be turn up to the point where it was difficult to even turn the bars. No, not by any means. It's just that for me personally, I would like to have had more.

I never got to spend enough time riding the 12R with the Scotts (it was Lucky's and I was scared shitless of it anyway) and I never really felt the difference between the base and high speed adjustments. I'm sure that there is a difference, but I really didn't notice any and thus wonder if it's any big deal. Feel free to argue the point and you'd probably be right, but it still wouldn't change my opinion of that feature.

I could kinda tell the effects of the sweep controls on the Scotts. A very nifty feature. Still, I'd probably be using the settings of 3 o'clock (54° sweep) or 6 o'clock (the full sweep of 78°). The 33° and 44° would likely be too narrow of a sweep for my tastes. Again, I didn't ride it long enough to confirm this.

Still, at the full sweep setting, it would be like I wasn't using the feature at all. Like I said, it's a nifty feature, but not enough to sway me from one brand to another. Even the ease of installation would not sway me. Some are hesitant about the Scotts because it requires drilling a hole in the frame. Pshaw! With the M Toby, I had to drill a hole about a 1/2" IN SIZE, to mount it to the frame of my 7R. Why the 7R P series doesn't come with a damper mounting point (like the 6R & 9R) beats the hell outta me. Drilling a hole in the frame doesn't really scare me... that much.

So, even though appearance and ease of installation are important factors, it's the ease of use that I feel is most important. I do feel that the Muzzy is far easier to adjust with confidence, then the Scotts. If your like me though, this point could also be moot. On both the Scotts and the Muzzy, I had them cranked up all the way and was wanting more. For those that are more realistic in their demands they place on their damper, either one would work well.

I haven't had it on long enough (less then 1000 miles) to completely develop an opinion of the Muzzy damper, but this is what I've determined so far... If it's the ability to make very minor adjustments to various aspects of the damper, I'd recommend the Scotts. If it's ease of use (especially while riding), the Muzzy takes it hands down. For me, that's why I bought a damper in the first place... to USE it. I realize that dampers are like tires and oil, everyone has a personal prefrence and can argue with very valid points on why their choice is a good one.

Still, after all that being said, I have absolutely NO REGRETS in getting the Muzzy over the Scotts and would recommend this damper to anyone. It's apperance, the ease of installation, it's comparable performance and it's "on the fly" adjustablity, all reassure me that I made the right choice... for me.

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