Öhlins Steering dampers
The difference between OEM and R&T...
Some factual and interesting information for all you Öhlins steering damper owners...
There is no such thing as a race spec re-valve per-se and as you will read below, the difference is between the needle fitted to some oem bikes and the needle in the R&T dampers.
OEM Fitted steering dampers, or at least some of them, are fitted with a needle which has a bleed. This means that no matter how much you turn in the adjuster to stiffen the action of the damper the ported needle will act as a safety device and will not allow you to adjust the damper too stiff.
Ultimately if you do Track or Race duties on your bike then the damper will not be suitable as the damping will be insufficient, however this is easily solved and you do not require to purchase an after market unit.
When you move the adjuster to make damping stiffer you are moving the needle further into the seat and effectively making the hole smaller, when you move the adjuster to make damping softer you are moving the needle out of the seat and thus making the hole bigger, this is the principle behind orifice damping.
The OEM needle contains a hole on the side of the needle and on the very tip (as seen pictured below). These holes or bleeds are what cause all the problems with the OEM damper. When the needle is sitting all the way in the seat oil can still flow through those holes and you will never be able to adjust the damper too stiff!
The fix for this is to have the needle replaced with a Genuine Öhlins solid needle, Do not do the quick fix of using solder to plug the holes, your asking for trouble as if this quick fix fails who knows what may happen..! 2 OEM manufacturers known for using this needle are the Kawasaki and the Aprilia...
Contact us for further details as we can convert dampers to the solid needle for Track and Race use.