Questions On Rear-End Squat, BMW/KTM Neck Brace And More - Answers - MC Garage

Ask The Pro
Q. I just bought a 2007 Suzuki GSX-R750, which has both high- and low-speed compression damping. The bike tends to squat under acceleration, and I was wondering which I would adjust on the shock to reduce that?

I figured it was low-speed, but I've heard race tuners say it's high-speed, which compensates for the sudden chain pull.
Jeff Eron
Gilroy, CA

A. "Squat is a low-speed phenomenon and so would be affected by a change in low-speed compression damping. Some low-speed adjusters don't do much at all. Also, depending on the specific configuration, the high-speed adjuster could affect low-speed as well, particularly if the low-speed adjuster is nearly closed.

"Damping is not the preferred way of dealing with squat. It is far more effective to deal with squat via swingarm angle (more swingarm angle/higher rear ride height/stiffer rear spring) and sprocket sizes (smaller countershaft or bigger rear sprocket). These are relatively independent of damping characteristics. A stiffer spring rate not only holds up the rear, it maintains a greater swingarm angle/anti-squat angle. Remember, however, that a change in swingarm angle has multiple effects and will change front-end rake and trail as well."

Gray-Market Red Bike**
I would like to know if you could help me with my dilemma. In 2005 I purchased a 2003 Ducati ST4s in Germany. I love the bike, toured Europe with it and intended to keep it there for my future European tours. Since then I have lost my storage space and truly want my bike here in Texas. What would I need to do to import it?
P.S. I attached a pic of my baby at Mt. Etna, Sicily.
Paris Velardo
Via e-mail

According to Ducati North America it can be done, but changing the bike to meet DOT and EPA specifications will cost a small fortune. That's after you find a company willing to do the conversion and wade through the morass of paperwork.

The easier solution would be to sell the bike in Europe and buy another one here. That doesn't do much for your separation anxiety, but it's a whole lot more logical.

Banzai Ninja
I recently totaled my Kawasaki ZX-6R while canyon carving on the fantastic roads surrounding San Diego. Fortunately, I was wearing full leathers, gloves, boots, back protector and a great helmet, which I credit with saving my life (I hit headfirst). Unfortunately, I still managed to fracture two vertebrae in my back and herniated a disc in my neck, which required surgery. Even though I am still recovering, I am rabidly perusing magazines and Web sites for my next bike (Ducati 1098 perhaps!) and new gear. While online, I discovered the Leatt Neck Brace developed by a neurologist from South Africa that could have prevented my neck injury and also learned that BMW and KTM are developing a similar device. Has any of your staff tested these devices? Do you have any information on similar products or know when BMW/KTM's will be available for purchase?
Rob Lewis
Chula Vista, CA

Dr. Chris Leatt went to work on the idea after watching an enduro rider die of neck injuries-he figured there had to be a better way. What he came up with is essentially a device that routes impact forces around your intricate, fragile neck structure rather than through it. BMW Motorrad has tested Leatt's work extensively and has been selling its version in Europe and elsewhere since March. KTM provided vital technical input as well, and a KTM-branded equivalent has been on sale in Europe for nearly two years. Since fit is critical, Leatt is presently forming a list of enlightened U.S. dealers. Dial 800.691.3314 to find one who'll explain the whole story.