Can her handling manners be improved?

Here's my dilemma....I'm getting old..(49) ha! Can you help? Seriously, I've built up my 03 CR 250 to fit me. It's got plenty of power, Z-Start Pro, off road suspension mods and other goodies. My problem is that she's light as a feather, which I love, but squirley and a fair more work to ride as compared to my 525 EXC. and the kicker is I'm faster on the big heavy bike which just isn't right! I get worn out hanging onto the smoker and wondered if the addition of a steering damper is the cure all...? I've snugged the headset as much as safe. I've also put 08 CRF 450R forks on it. The bike is well maintained and tight as could be. One comment from a young pro that I know keeps haunting me - " my 300 XC has more power but my 350 XCF is easier to ride." I've read the posts comparing 2T's to 4T's and don't want to start down that path. Just wondering if your CR handles like a stroker but with that fun Braaaaap factor.

Well I would first start with making sure the suspension is dialed to your weight. I think 450 forks would be stiffer and thats not always better. You can change expansion champers for different power band ranges. Other than that, no I don't think mine handles like a 4 stroke. The reason for such a massive shift to four stokes is a more controllable range of power. Never tried a steering damper but hear they do make a difference. And I think the brap factor is the primary reason 2t don't handle the same.

My theory is that if you were to set up a 2t and 4t of the same class to your weight, they should handle bumps relatively the same. Controlling that power band threw them may be a little more exhausting and come with a longer learning curve.

I think a flywheel weight would be the way to go. I think the punch of that smoker is what is wearing you out. You can also port it for bottom end power and not so much hit when it comes on the pipe.

I'm 47 and love my cr250, it works really well for the woods, it's powerful and far more nimble to toss around than a 450. I don't know what kind of riding you do, or what the terrain looks like, but for more open type of riding I could see where a bike like the 525 might make for an easier day.

That said if the CR is bouncing off everything in it's path (based on your comment it's hard to hold onto), you could fix that with a suspension revalve and the right spring rates. The valving is a bit harsh for offroad work from the factory, but can be made to be pretty darn plush. If you feel like it needs a dampener, there's a good chance you need to try some suspension setting changes, fork height, bar adjustment and most importantly, race sag. That stuff can completely change the personality of any bike. Might be worth finding a good local suspension guy that can help you realize the potential of your CR.

i agree. first thing you should do is have your suspension revalved for woods and sprung for your weight, also a 10oz flywheel weight should help you out.

Oops I forgot to mention I do have a flywheel weight on it. As for the suspension, I acquired it with stock moto suspension and had similar results after swapping the suspension from my 08 R which was valved and sprung for off road. I could try a lil stiffer setup but I'd like to hear from someone that may say a damper will give big results. My feeling is the lightness and power of the CR are what make it more work than the bigger thumpers. Kinda weird saying that as I'd assume differently. Most of my riding is single track with some whooped out sections that become brutal after a time. When I get her in the woods, it's all love!

If you are strictly enduro and cross country, install the biggest flywheel weight you can get. Steahly makes a 12oz.

The 02-07 CR250's are some of the best handling bikes on the planet, but the stock suspension is valved for mx. You'll need a re-spring and re-valve if you are heavier than 185 and running off-road. Just remember that suspension is a compromise. You can set it up for tight stuff or you can set it up for whoops, but they are mutually exclusive. If you want to blaze the whoops, you'll need more compression and rebound damping in each end, slide the forks down in the triples and increase the rear sag to about 105mm. Rider technique is just as important as suspension set-up in the whoops.

Edited by CamP

Oops I forgot to mention I do have a flywheel weight on it. As for the suspension, I acquired it with stock moto suspension and had similar results after swapping the suspension from my 08 R which was valved and sprung for off road. I could try a lil stiffer setup but I'd like to hear from someone that may say a damper will give big results. My feeling is the lightness and power of the CR are what make it more work than the bigger thumpers. Kinda weird saying that as I'd assume differently. Most of my riding is single track with some whooped out sections that become brutal after a time. When I get her in the woods, it's all love!

As CamP said, your CR is considered to be a good handling bike. I agree but when you want to go from good to great - find a good suspension tuner. I felt my bike was a good handler but then rode Brap424's bike. I realized that my wheels hunt and peck around for traction whereas 424's just carved, cut, sliced, and hung onto anything for traction unlike mine. Way more confidence and ability to just really go fast because the bike responds with total precision. But like you say, your 450 already was re-valved but perhaps it was set for a different off road terrain than what you have now?

I had one tuner setup my old YZ and results were good but the tuner that setup 424's just produced excellent results. They're not all the same. :busted:

Edited by shrubitup

yeah i like my suspension a lot. for anyone in washingtonlooking to have there suspension done. give dick at dirtworks a call in tacoma. does a great job.

Thanks for the feedback. It looks like I'll be buying my 08 450R back from my son so I'll swap the suspension back to the bikes it belongs on and start fresh with the setup. :-) still nobody running a damper..?? Interesting..

Thanks for the feedback. It looks like I'll be buying my 08 450R back from my son so I'll swap the suspension back to the bikes it belongs on and start fresh with the setup. :-) still nobody running a damper..?? Interesting..

I have read the thread and still not sure what you are looking for with the damper. But I will say that I use one on my 01 CR250 and really would not like to ride it without one. I ride offroad only, zero mx. I have been on CR250s since my '86 and have used a damper since my '93. The bikes are very light and "twitchy" even with good susp mods in any woods setting. I also have an XR4 I use primarily for DS but occasionally take to the trails just for fun. Even though it is also a quick handling chassis it is still far more calm than the CR. I think 4stks as a complete pkg will always be a more "planted" ride. I am a sr rider also and my next race bike will be a 4stk, for me its time. Edited by YHGEORGE

Yeah I don't know what I'm looking for either cept the "quick fix" answer to the handling. Ha! I've got another ride coming up next weekend and plan on a real comparison between the 525 on Saturday and the CR on Sunday. But I think I already know the outcome. Thanks!

Yeah I don't know what I'm looking for either cept the "quick fix" answer to the handling. Ha! I've got another ride coming up next weekend and plan on a real comparison between the 525 on Saturday and the CR on Sunday. But I think I already know the outcome. Thanks!

22.5 offset clamps could be attempted.

Have you tried running the rear wheel most of the way back with a longer chain? lowering the forks 5 or 10mm? A touch more sag? I run 108mm. All of those things are ways to make it less twitchy and more stable. Having the suspension in good working order and set for you of course is more important than the adjustments above. That's all stuff I do when going from wanting good turning to sand riding for instance.

The stabilzer will remove headshake and deflection issues. Is that the problem?

Dropping a tooth on the rear say from a 50 to 49 will mellow the hit and make it less squirrely.

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