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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I never really considered a damper, until three things came together. Having experienced a serious tank slapper. Loosing confidence in the little Ninja. And the thought that someone took the time to design damper mounting holes into the frame manufacture process. Obviously they are there for a reason, and not just to tie down my tank bag.

Related threads;
https://www.ninja400riders.com/forum/163-ninja-400-complaints-issues-problems/3507-head-shake.html

https://www.ninja400riders.com/forum/11-suspension-brakes/1391-wobble-deceleration.html

The install looks super easy, but the tank does need to be moved or removed to access the factory mounting holes. We don't have the greedy shop fees here so I let the shop do the work.
 

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Is that a chinese steering damper? I've seen them on ebay and might just try one cause it looks trick lmao.

When was the tank slapper? on decel the bars can wobble, especially if the rear tire has squared off. I have experienced this on the 400, as well as a ninja 500 with old tires. Put new tires on the 500 and it went away. I am sure it has to do with the steering geometry. Ever notice most 600s and some 1000s come stock with a steering damper? If you get a bad head shake, tighten up on the tank with your legs an take pressure off the bars. More pressure on the bars causes a worse head shake.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Is that a chinese steering damper? I've seen them on ebay and might just try one cause it looks trick lmao.

When was the tank slapper? on decel the bars can wobble, especially if the rear tire has squared off. I have experienced this on the 400, as well as a ninja 500 with old tires. Put new tires on the 500 and it went away. I am sure it has to do with the steering geometry. Ever notice most 600s and some 1000s come stock with a steering damper? If you get a bad head shake, tighten up on the tank with your legs an take pressure off the bars. More pressure on the bars causes a worse head shake.
Definitely not a Ebay Chinese knock-off. I thought about getting a cheap damper, for a few seconds, then ordered one from YSS.

I am sure it has to do with the steering geometry.

I totally agree. The damper is just a bandaid for poorly designed steering geometry.
With the 650's and 1000's running a damper, it definitely can't hurt putting one on the 400.
I downsized from 40 years on European bikes. My own option obviously, but never had a tank slapper on a Triumph or BMW, it's a bit of an experience for my first and hopefully last. My mistake, i just thought that the Japanese had their stuff together by now.
To this point; i've the preload adjusters on the forks. new YSS shock and YSS damper and the little girl rides like a new machine.
J5s
 

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Definitely not a Ebay Chinese knock-off. I thought about getting a cheap damper, for a few seconds, then ordered one from YSS.

I am sure it has to do with the steering geometry.

I totally agree. The damper is just a bandaid for poorly designed steering geometry.
With the 650's and 1000's running a damper, it definitely can't hurt putting one on the 400.
I downsized from 40 years on European bikes. My own option obviously, but never had a tank slapper on a Triumph or BMW, it's a bit of an experience for my first and hopefully last. My mistake, i just thought that the Japanese had their stuff together by now.
To this point; i've the preload adjusters on the forks. new YSS shock and YSS damper and the little girl rides like a new machine.
J5s
I'd be careful blaming the Japanese for poor engineering... What bikes did you come off of specifically? My guess is nothing that has had as aggressive steering head geometry. They MAKE THEM THAT WAY on purpose for excellent steering response. Look at all the supersports/superbikes. Almost all come with a steering damper, and all have very narrow steering geometry. It's one reason they turn so well on a dime. My first tank slapper was on a Triumph, 675 to be exact. And it didn't have a damper. The OE's decide what they can get away with/cost. But it's not that the 400 was incorrectly engineered. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
careful blaming the Japanese for poor engineering...
Whoa, who mentioned engineering? The engineers I've known were the greatest people in the plant. They were to 'go to' guys who had all the answers. Would love to see the inner workings of a EX400 factory race bike, to see what Kawasaki engineering created before it was cut to the production model we got.
Mechanics will bch and complain about everything that isn't just so. Usually the same things that the engineers fought for during production and lost. The same things that keep the aftermarket industry and custom/repair shops in business. Life is what it is, there is no blame, it just is. We deal with. That's what we're here to talk about.

They MAKE THEM THAT WAY on purpose for excellent steering response. Look at all the supersports/superbikes. Almost all come with a steering damper,
Totally agree. And why my N400 sports a new damper.

My first tank slapper was on a Triumph, 675 to be exact.
I'm not a fan of the Hinckley era triumphs for that very reason. When John Bloor bought the Triumph name in 1983, he didn't get the Triumph motorcycle or the design. Some might say Triumph motorcycles had already died a decade earlier in 1971. I prefer the '64-'70, 650 Bonneville. It was old tech, the suspension was horrible, and mine was stripped to under 150 kg for canyon racing. Spec say, 45hp, but nobody ran a stock engine. Not exactly the pinnacle of dependable, but they could handle the twisties better than most production bikes for decades to follow. Maybe I still hold that memory as a benchmark to the way all bikes should handle. Maybe I'm just old.

The OE's decide what they can get away with/cost.
'what they can get away' is an excellent way to put it. Imagine the compromises Kawasaki must go though to keep a budget bike like the N400 within cost and spec. Hence the dilemma we deal with and the mods we make to 'improve' each bike to our individual preferences.
 

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I never really considered a damper, until three things came together. Having experienced a serious tank slapper. Loosing confidence in the little Ninja. And the thought that someone took the time to design damper mounting holes into the frame manufacture process. Obviously they are there for a reason, and not just to tie down my tank bag.

Related threads;
Head shake

Wobble on deceleration

The install looks super easy, but the tank does need to be moved or removed to access the factory mounting holes. We don't have the greedy shop fees here so I let the shop do the work.
Hi! Would you happen to have the length of the damper?
I got one, but it seems to be a bit too long for the Ninja 400. It's at 341mm :(
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Would you happen to have the length of the damper?
Sorry, I have no idea what the overall length is. The bike was sold before leaving Thailand.
All I have is the pic, the part number on the damper in the pic and some memories.

Don't know if it helps, but the mechanic did have to raise the damper in the mount with some spacers to get it to fit properly.
 

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For all those brave souls who want to try out the Chinese steering damper, I noticed it rubs against the tank. Pushed it as far forward as possible then I used a cut rubber vacuum line on the lip of the tank. Hopefully it'll stop the clinking noise. I'll update once I do another canyon run.
20200726_171707.jpg 20200726_165530.jpg 20200726_165509.jpg 20200726_170103.jpg
 

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For all those brave souls who want to try out the Chinese steering damper, I noticed it rubs against the tank. Pushed it as far forward as possible then I used a cut rubber vacuum line on the lip of the tank. Hopefully it'll stop the clinking noise. I'll update once I do another canyon run.
View attachment 14540 View attachment 14541 View attachment 14542 View attachment 14543
Nice find, I have one on my sons bike. The bike has an odd rattle/vibration that I can not source out up front so I will give this a look and use your fix if that is the source of the noise or if it is rubbing.
 

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Update, got around to taking the bike out. Didn't hear anymore weird noises. Tried to do a canyon run early Saturday morning to azusa, but it was closed due to brush fire. Had to settle for turnbull road.
 
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