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CRF250L Suspension/Handling Upgrade Thread

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The lack of traction in gravel riding two up wouldn't really surprise me.  You are adding a lot more weight on the rear of the bike that the rear shock probably? isn't setup for.  The only time I've ever ridden two up on my 250L was bringing my father down off a mountain after he broke his leg.  The front end was super sketchy on the gravel roads with essentially two of me on the back of the bike.

If it's that bad with just you, perhaps check the rear sag with all your gear on you and the bike?  What kind of tires?  Do you carry a lot of luggage?

As far as the bottoming, I'm not sure.  I haven't hit anything big since the upgrade but I've gotten at least a couple feet off the ground jumping down steps and small jumps.  Those same jumps bottomed before RT.  I also had some hard hits with square edged rocks on the trails.  Those kinda hurt but I don't think it bottomed.

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Besides changing the amount of fork oil, you can also try changing the viscosity. ATF is about 7 weight. AW32 hydraulic oil is about 10W.

Edited by seedy

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9 hours ago, jstephens999 said:

Hey guys, I did the full front and rear racetech upgrade earlier this year. I'm very happy with the rear racetech shock, but the front forks with the gold valves and spring upgrade still aren't the way I'd like them to be. It's definitely better than stock.

I just had my front forks done and I couldn't be more disappointed. I was expecting a HUGE difference with the RT over stock and it feels about the same to me. Everyone here on the forums made such a big deal about the RT front end and I can't figure out what they are talking about. Both on pavement and dirt it feels very close to stock.

Frankly if a mechanic snuck over to my house and did the job while I slept and didn't tell me I don't think I would have noticed the difference. Colossal waste of money. RT messed up my order so I have not received the rear shock yet but I'm expecting that to be night and day over the stock.

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11 hours ago, Kompact said:

I just had my front forks done and I couldn't be more disappointed. I was expecting a HUGE difference with the RT over stock and it feels about the same to me. Everyone here on the forums made such a big deal about the RT front end and I can't figure out what they are talking about. Both on pavement and dirt it feels very close to stock.

Frankly if a mechanic snuck over to my house and did the job while I slept and didn't tell me I don't think I would have noticed the difference. Colossal waste of money. RT messed up my order so I have not received the rear shock yet but I'm expecting that to be night and day over the stock.

This seems to be the same story I've heard from everyone that has had a shop do their front forks with the RT upgrade ( other than Gnath)

i did mine myself, even tho I had never had a fork part before. I researched for weeks until I "thought" I could do It. It was actually very easy, and I felt it was a HUGE upgrade from the factory setup. Less brake dive on the street, and smoother. In the dirt /on trails, it just floats over bumps, if you are going fast enough. At slower speeds in the dirt it is still a bit rough tho.

Either RT has changed something with the gold valves, or The shops are doing something wrong.

You did do the 2 stage valve setup with the shim stacks didn't you, and add the spring to the left fork ? Everyone that has done the single stage setup has commented that it was way to harsh, and when they went to the 2 stage setup it was perfect.

 

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7 minutes ago, Force0321 said:

I've heard from everyone that has had a shop do their front forks with the RT upgrade ( other than Gnath)

I sent mine in to Race Tech for them to do .... also, I kind of lied to them about how I would ride the bike and my skill level on purpose. 

My forks are strong and I have never bottemed them out. I have the single stage setup for a b class rider on a vintage style MX track and it is like you say .... going slow off road it is a little rough or stiff not sure I can go as far as to say it is harsh tho. Riding at a moderate pace the thing just seems to absorb it all up and ride fairly smooth. On the street it is a firm ride.

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12 hours ago, Kompact said:

I just had my front forks done and I couldn't be more disappointed.

Dang Dude .... you just keep getting jacked ... :banghead:    

I can say with 100% certainty that something just aint right. Either your spring rate is off or it was not valved correctly. The good news is I believe you can re-stack it yourself or take it back to the shop that did the work. 

You can tell by all the comments from other people that something must be off with your setup. 

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I've done a few forks with gold valve and spring kits in the past on other bikes, so kinda knew what to expect when I did mine on the L.  The spring change is a HUGE difference alone, going from a 40 lb/in stock spring rate to 70 lb/in, almost doubling it, took my sag from about 50% to 25% adding a lot of travel to the compression side.  This would definitely be noticeable by most riders, they also have only the .5kg/mm spring kit for this bike, no other spring kit rates, so lighter folks should notice an even larger difference, if they don't I'd question weither the spring kit was actually installed.  The spring and gold valve kits work together, more that the gold valve is needed to control the increased rebound from the spring kit.  When I did mine, I went a step stiffer in secondary/high speed compression than called for, and like it.  Compared to stock my low speed dampening felt a bit softer, although probably because the suspension sits higher, but once you do hit something a bit harder, the 2nd stage/mid-high speed comes on abruptly, has much more of a 2 stage feel than stock.  It's good to keep control over surface irregularities with a quick moving wheel, but hit something hard, or jump and the stiff 2nd stage helps prevent bottoming.  I might add another low speed shim, and a larger crossover to stiffen it up on the road a bit, but it's pretty good as is.   Of course like anything it's not perfect, and they had to work in the confines of an upgrade kit to stock forks, not a replacement fork, there is a lot of "adjustment" with the stack configuration, but no external adjustment to fine tune it, so you probably can get it where you want it, but takes an hour and a quart of expensive fork oil each time.

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17 hours ago, SoftwareDevJason said:

If it's that bad with just you, perhaps check the rear sag with all your gear on you and the bike?  What kind of tires?  Do you carry a lot of luggage?

It's not great with just me, and the rear suspension does great with only myself and with a passenger, the place where I'd like more improvement is only in the front now. So far, I haven't carried any gear other than a tank and tail bag, and it's got brand new TKC80 tires. I'll be carrying some gear on an upcoming trip though. The oem forks would bottom very easily, but now only occasionally, but I'd rather it not happen at all. 

1 hour ago, Force0321 said:

i did mine myself, even tho I had never had a fork part before. I researched for weeks until I "thought" I could do It. It was actually very easy, and I felt it was a HUGE upgrade from the factory setup. Less brake dive on the street, and smoother. In the dirt /on trails, it just floats over bumps, if you are going fast enough. At slower speeds in the dirt it is still a bit rough tho.

Either RT has changed something with the gold valves, or The shops are doing something wrong.

You did do the 2 stage valve setup with the shim stacks didn't you, and add the spring to the left fork ? Everyone that has done the single stage setup has commented that it was way to harsh, and when they went to the 2 stage setup it was perfect.

I also did mine myself, took my time and triple checked that everything was exactly the way it's supposed to be. It's a definite improvement, but I had hoped it would be more of an improvement. Definitely less brake dive, but just feels a bit more harsh and harder to control compared to all the bikes I grew up on or am used to. Maybe it could use a slightly tweaked shim stack to help smooth it out a bit more and more oil and/or a spacer beneath the spring to keep from bottoming again, and even then, maybe I'm just used to more plush forks with more travel and am hoping for too much. I don't regret doing the upgrades, I'd just like a bit more control on rough stuff at slower speeds and to just feel smoother in general. Also, on small jumps, the rear racetech shock does great but the front feels like it slams down too hard, and I have never experienced that with another bike.

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I don't have an issue with the front bottoming out or even feeling harsh. My issue is that it feels very very close to the stock setup. After the CAD to USD conversion, import and shipping fees plus shop labor the front end cost me close to $600. I was expecting a drastic difference. It really just feels slightly stiffer. I found the front stock to be pretty soft and the new setup is only a bit firmer.

Yesterday we went for a good ride with a nice mix of fire roads, twisty double and some pretty tight and gnarly single track with all the expected tree roots and so on. On a positive note my new Shinko cheater performs like a champ, on the negative side though my front suspension felt just like it always did, only a bit stiffer.

It's the rear shock that I'm really looking forward to. With the stock shock I feel like I'm on a squirly pogo stick.

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So what would you guys say the consensus might be as to why the low speed stack might feel a bit rough to a number of us? Because the low speed compression stack set up for our weight is a bit too stiff, or is it the opposite, that it's too soft and the forks move through it too easily on the slow, rough stuff and hitting the high speed stack? Or is it just the geometry and weight of this bike with forks that are a bit on the small side and I'm hoping for too much? I'm sure I can fix the bottoming issue, but would like to tweak the shim stack a bit, I just don't have time to test it out right now, as I'm leaving for a long trip next week and have a whole lot of other things to get done before I'm ready.  

 

23 hours ago, Kompact said:

Thanks for the feedback guys. I don't have an issue with the front bottoming out or even feeling harsh. My issue is that it feels very very close to the stock setup. After the CAD to USD conversion, import and shipping fees plus shop labor the front end cost me close to $600. I was expecting a drastic difference. It really just feels slightly stiffer. I found the front stock to be pretty soft and the new setup is only a bit firmer.

I don't know how much free time or what tools you might have, but if you have some decent tools and a free weekend sometime, you might read up on the gold valve installation thread here and read all you can about it on the race tech website and then open up your fork and have a look at the stacks and first, be sure it looks like it's set up according to the instructions and that you have the 2 stage stack, then, if it looks right, consider experimenting with firming up one or two of the stacks and testing again on the same terrain to see how it feels. The original gold valve literature explains the stacks and shows what would be the next step firmer or softer once you know which stack you already have in. Ultimately, I guess that's what I need to do, I just don't have the time to do it right now. My forks are definitely different and better than oem, I had just hoped for more improvement. I know you did too, especially spending that much on it. 

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Ok, so I opened the forks up today just to add a bit of oil and an extra spacer beneath the spring, and the oil in the side with the gold valves was very dark. I opened up the other side with the oem spring just to see and the oil itself looked about the color I expected but had little dark colored ribbons of stuff in it. I dumped the oil from each fork into a clean container. The oil in the first photo is from the fork with the oem spring and the oil in the second photo came from the side with the race tech spring and gold valves. This oil has maybe 500 miles on it, with probably 3/4 of that being on the road. I don't know how many hours that would be, but maybe 30-50. I just wasn't expecting it to look like that this quickly. When the race tech upgrade was done, this was fresh, synthetic oil put in and all metal parts including the fork tubes were cleaned spotless before being reinstalled. Fork seals were brand new as well. There was not a drop of old oil or any garbage in there. Is this normal?

IMG_6488.JPG

IMG_6489.JPG

Edited by jstephens999

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28 minutes ago, Force0321 said:

Did they use RT oil in the left side ?

let me look when I get home from work tonight, but I seem to remember the RT oil I put in mine as being dark colored. 

No, I used Motul 100% synthetic 5w oil in both sides. It was very light colored when I put it in back around February. I googled it and they say that can happen quickly with light weight oils in forks used on trails, so maybe it's not that big of a deal, it just really surprised me. I've got to get this back together immediately and don't have enough fluid to change both sides, but I may just filter the oil from the oem spring side and then add new oil to the side with the gold valves. 

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Just pulled the trigger on full RaceTech suspension, ordered through RMR Suspensions in Abbotsford BC. I went through them and paid a bit of a premium but I know they will set up the bike properly. All IN $2050 cdn. I know If I am not happy with something Rod will make it right, so its a tad bit of insurance.

Edited by Cyclic
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41 minutes ago, Cyclic said:

Just pulled the trigger on full RaceTech suspension, ordered through RMR Suspensions in Abbotsford BC. I went through them and paid a bit of a premium but I know they will set up the bike properly. All IN $2050 cdn. I know If I am not happy with something Rod will make it right, so its a tad bit of insurance.

Honda Canada MSRP $5599.00 Your $2050 is 36.6% Here' s hoping you are very happy it.

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7 minutes ago, seedy said:

Honda Canada MSRP $5599.00 Your $2050 is 36.6% Here' s hoping you are very happy it.

I look at what I would have had to spend on a Yamaha and its almost even. :) 

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On 6/21/2017 at 8:39 AM, Kompact said:

I don't have an issue with the front bottoming out ..

I was able to take the bike for a really good ride in a variety of terrain. From light easy jumps to dried puddles on logging roads my front end is bottoming out.

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I was able to take the bike for a really good ride in a variety of terrain. From light easy jumps to dried puddles on logging roads my front end is bottoming out.


Must be better though? My front end bottoms out just going up a rock face and hitting it in first gear right now. So imagine with the second spring it would be better, when do you get your rear shock?

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Add me to the list , mine is in at RMR suspensions in Abbotsford for full race tech upgrade, pick it up Friday , ride Sunday

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12 hours ago, Cyclic said:

Add me to the list , mine is in at RMR suspensions in Abbotsford for full race tech upgrade, pick it up Friday , ride Sunday

The you'll be doing things like this ....  :banana:

 

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