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AS riders we all tend to be suckers for new gadgets that promise to make our bikes better – and Yamaha's latest idea could be the start of a whole new generation of tuning products.
The firm's new “Power Beam” which goes on sale in April, is an after-market damper designed not for the suspension but for the chassis. Initially, it's only going to be offered for the T-Max scooter, but the idea could be applied to other bikes too; Yamaha experimented with a similar idea on a radical YZR-M1 prototype back during pre-season testing in 2003. It was never raced, but it seems the firm hasn't dropped the concept.
The idea is that rather than creating ever-stiffer frames to totally eliminate flex – which many riders suggest is vital to getting good feedback – putting a damper at a key point on the chassis can cut out certain frequencies while leaving a slower, more controlled movement.
The firm says:
“Normally, there is a small degree of flexing that takes place in the frame of a motorcycle when in motion. The metal frame of a motorcycle is in fact an elastic body with little damping capacity with regard to this flexing, so it fully receives the external forces that cause flexing (distortion) and then releases them in cycles of flexing that occur at specific frequencies.
“The new Yamaha Power Beam adds damping capacity at one point on the frame to absorb the energy of these flex-inducing external forces and release it as heat energy. This inhibits the otherwise extremely high-speed flexing of the frame to provide a more comfortable ride and a greater sense of stability.”