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Thoroughly Confused on What to do with Front End

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I am new to dirt riding but not at all new to riding in general. I used to do track days on a Honda Hawk GT but got out of street bikes in favor of the trails now that I have a child. I'm not a motocrosser in the making, AT ALL: I like trails.

 

I purchased a nearly new 2013 CRF230F for a great price and have been having a TON of fun on it. If there's one thing I've learned about riding though, it's that suspension makes the bike. I am not afraid of spending some bucks but don't want to waste money if I can avoid it. I like to shop around for a bargain but don't want to put bargain parts on the bike. I also have a full machine shop and am capable of doing what I need to do for the mods.

 

I'm planning on a Fox shock for the rear. I've read about re-working the stock shock but that's not worth it to me. I'd rather spend a few hundred more and get something adjustable and designed from the ground up to work well.

 

For the front end, I'm considering throwing in some emulators for now to get me by. But long term I'm looking into a fork swap. I only weigh 135lbs without gear and I think a CR85 swap may be the best bet. I have the capability of machining parts or re-working things and I'm trying to figure out what I can do on my own for this swap.

 

For example, the lower triple modification seems simple enough. Reger presses the steering stem out 1/4", that doesn't seem hard? Is there anything special about this or will it be simple enough once the parts are in-hand?

 

From what I've seen I'll need a CR80/85 big wheel:

 

Forks, full triple assembly (lower, upper, stem), and axle. 

 

Is this all? Can the CRF230f axle be modded to fit?

 

Anyway, just looking to learn more about this mod. 

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Also, it appears that the Reger top triple is a pretty good deal at $180. I like the way it preserves the stock CRF230f ignition switch, etc. To me the best bet is to pick up CR85 forks, axle, and lower triple+stem. Am I correct that all I would need after that is to:

 

1) modify the lower triple/stem

2) purchase the Reger upper triple

3) purchase the reger brake adapter or machine my own

 

Thank you!

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The OE forks can be made to work very well with Emulators and different springs.  There are currently a couple of folks waiting on new springs from Cannon RaceCraft so we will find out if the rate they choose will work well.  At you weight, the OE springs may work or maybe even some straight rate .40kg/mm springs, possibly .38kg/mm.  Once you hit puberty and gain some weight, you may have to go up in spring rate.  Ok, just kidding, sorry.

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The OE forks can be made to work very well with Emulators and different springs.  There are currently a couple of folks waiting on new springs from Cannon RaceCraft so we will find out if the rate they choose will work well.  At you weight, the OE springs may work or maybe even some straight rate .40kg/mm springs, possibly .38kg/mm.  Once you hit puberty and gain some weight, you may have to go up in spring rate.  Ok, just kidding, sorry.

 

lol, nice ;)

 

One nice thing about being a feather weight (aside from schooling everyone in karts) is most of the springs equipped stock on the Japanese bikes I've owned are good enough for my weight. 

 

Emulators are definitely in my future at $160 for a set. I think I'll be fine with the stock springs. But, I would still like to know about the future options should I outride the emulators.

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I did a CR80/85 conversion on a 90 XR200R and a CRF150R conversion on a 01 XR200R.  Since the CRF230F is next gen XR200 most issues are the same. 

96+ CR80/85 and CRF150R forks are Showa 37 USDs.

 

All use the same stem bearings as the CRF230.

 

The CRs have 12mm axles, the 150R 15mm axles, but the fork bottoms are the same, just different size axle holes. 

 

Damper parts changed thru the years; 7 different base valves, and 11 different damper rod/pistons thru the years.

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The OE forks can be made to work very well with Emulators and different springs.  There are currently a couple of folks waiting on new springs from Cannon RaceCraft so we will find out if the rate they choose will work well.  At you weight, the OE springs may work or maybe even some straight rate .40kg/mm springs, possibly .38kg/mm.  Once you hit puberty and gain some weight, you may have to go up in spring rate.  Ok, just kidding, sorry.

 

I agree.  Start with cheap and simple modifications first as they work very well.  If you continue to like the bike AND the forks become the weak point then upgrade them.

A lot of people really end up liking the CRF230 and a lot of people end up hating the CRF230.  I happen to be one of those who really likes it.  I've ridden the newer high-tech grenades and I don't care for them.  You may end up being one of those riders who prefers the slower steering, longer wheelbase, and high-strung engine of a bike like the WR250.

Take your time and spend your money wisely as you will only get a fraction of it back if you sell the bike later.  You will really like the Fox Podium X but you will also like the Hagon.  Because you're so light, however, the Fox is a better choice.

 

Have you jetted your new bike yet?  How about a good set of tires?  Both modifications are mandatory.

Edited by VortecCPI
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I did a CR80/85 conversion on a 90 XR200R and a CRF150R conversion on a 01 XR200R.  Since the CRF230F is next gen XR200 most issues are the same. 

96+ CR80/85 and CRF150R forks are Showa 37 USDs.

 

All use the same stem bearings as the CRF230.

 

The CRs have 12mm axles, the 150R 15mm axles, but the fork bottoms are the same, just different size axle holes. 

 

Damper parts changed thru the years; 7 different base valves, and 11 different damper rod/pistons thru the years.

 

Chuck's got this exactly right, if you get 150r forks you won't need the Reger axle adapter (not avail anymore?) to run the stock 230f front wheel, however, to run that stock 230f front wheel and brake you would also need the Reger brake caliper adapter (not avail anymore?) to use the 230f's larger rotor and powerful twin piston caliper. You could just use a 150r front wheel and brake and count on a little extra stopping space :-O ?

 

One minor detail brought to my attention by TT Ochster, the cr85/150r forks are a little bit short for the 230f (fine for the 150f), so it will steepen the already quick steering of your bike plus tire may hit fender? I've got cr85 forks on our 150f already. I'd agree the .38 to .40 springs might be right on for you. I've got .40 Cannon/Racecraft straight rate springs in the 150f usd's and it's great for my 155 lbs of crazy has been MX'er, but the 150f is a lighter bike...As for the rear spring, I'm still searching for the RIGHT rate, the 7.4 kg spring they had in stock is too soft but higher springs are custom wound so each 'guess' is more expensive. 

 

On his suggestion, I'm about to swap a set of 43 mm Ktm 85 WP forks onto my 230f that are stouter and longer than the cr85/150r 37mm. I've got to use the entire Ktm front end, re-lace the wheel, but it has a twin piston caliper and a big rotor already.....

 

Btw, just to clarify: the cr85/150r triple mod is fairly simple: press the stock steer stem OUT THE BOTTOM of the clamp, then machine the inner step .25" deeper so you can press the stem .25" deeper. I also had to lathe turn the .25" new stem stickin' out down to the I.D. of the lower steering bearing so it would fit flush down it was all good. 

 

You can easily fab an alum steering stop to bolt onto the coil mounts on the front of the frame's head tube (relocate coil under tank). Some guys weld on a real steel steer stop instead cuz the coil mounts sheer off in hairy crashes.

 

Why do we go thru all this? Not because it's totally better than fixed up stock forks, but because it's fun! For resale, keep your stock forks, shock, put them back on when you sell, and sell the good stuff here on TT to someone that doesn't want to go thru all this hassle.  

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Thank you very much for the detailed replies. I agree with the general sentiment that we do this because we can and because we enjoy it. I'll likely start with the emulators because you just can't go wrong with them for $150. But I'll keep my eyes open for a set of CR85/CRF150R forks as well.

 

I'm especially thankful that I now know how simple the lower triple mod is for the steering stem. This will be no problem. Ditto for the larger axle of the CR85, I can just turn this down to fit the CRF230F fork lower. 

 

As for the top triple, does the Reger custom triple allow you to bolt all the stock plastics and ignition key right up? If so, that's worth $180 to me. Would I still have to re-locate the coils to under the tank if I purchase the Reger custom triple?

 

Thanks to all

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Ditto for the larger axle of the CR85, I can just turn this down to fit the CRF230F fork lower.

 

That is incorrect; the CR85 axle has a smaller od than the 150R/230F axles, which are the same.

 

Thus, to use the CR85 forks, you need a front wheel sleeve for the 230F wheel.

No such sleeve is needed when using the 150R forks.

 

 

Picture of Reger upper, note key switch mount:

 

RegerKit3.jpg

 

:ride:

Edited by ramz
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That is incorrect; the CR85 axle has a smaller od than the 150R/230F axles, which are the same.

 

Thus, to use the CR85 forks, you need a front wheel sleeve for the 230F wheel.

No such sleeve is needed when using the 150R forks.

 

 

Picture of Reger upper, note key switch mount:

 

RegerKit3.jpg

 

:ride:

 

Thank you, Rick. I read a lot of your website when I owned a CRF250L and now I own a 230f so I've been reading even more. Appreciate all that you do.

 

Does anyone know the differences in diameter between the CR85 and CRF230f axles? is it as easy as just machining a sleeve to adapt the CR85 axle to the CRF230 wheel or am I best boring out the fork slider on the CR85 and then mounting using the CRF230f axle?

 

I ask because it appears that most of the forks that are available on ebay are off of the CR85 versus the CRF150R.

 

T

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I loved my CRF230. Then I blew it up. Since I love it, I am rebuilding it bigger and better. More torque, same bike. Should be lots of fun.

But before I'd look at buying a new front end, I suggest looking carefully at what its going to cost. IMHO, a CRF230 is never going to be "worth" more than $1500 or so as a used bike, even if you put $1000 in the engine and $1000 in new suspension.

I just bought a used KTM 250XCF while my 230 is being remachined. The KTM is a lot taller (very nearly too tall for me to ride), with parts that are much more expensive, but the suspension is worlds better than the 230. For my woods riding, I"m sure that the air cooled CRF will be easier to toss around than the water cooled, dual overhead cam KTM, even if its not technically lighter. But for more open riding, if you want a KTM suspension, just go buy a KTM. IMHO, YMMV, no hate mail, please.

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I loved my CRF230. Then I blew it up. Since I love it, I am rebuilding it bigger and better. More torque, same bike. Should be lots of fun.

But before I'd look at buying a new front end, I suggest looking carefully at what its going to cost. IMHO, a CRF230 is never going to be "worth" more than $1500 or so as a used bike, even if you put $1000 in the engine and $1000 in new suspension.

I just bought a used KTM 250XCF while my 230 is being remachined. The KTM is a lot taller (very nearly too tall for me to ride), with parts that are much more expensive, but the suspension is worlds better than the 230. For my woods riding, I"m sure that the air cooled CRF will be easier to toss around than the water cooled, dual overhead cam KTM, even if its not technically lighter. But for more open riding, if you want a KTM suspension, just go buy a KTM. IMHO, YMMV, no hate mail, please.

Agree, that the resale value on our bikes is limited, and if you sell it with all your upgrades,.you'll get pennies on the dollar compared to what you paid. So I save the stock parts so most mods will be reversible.

I came from much more sophisticated mx race bikes that cost a fortune to fix if something happens like happened to you Pat.

The cool thing about our crf's is that they're fun as heck, durable, comparatively inexpensive to fix and downright affordable if u fix em yourself. There aren't many choices out there for budget riding. I wish ktm made an air cooled thumper in a 'middy' size chassis! Even a super torquey two stroke mill would fit the bill. Kawa KDX? They're far from 'middy'.

So build up your motor Pat and enjoy it! Build up the suspension, but keep the stock stuff nearby or don't go whole hog.....

Ride ON!

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Does anyone know the differences in diameter between the CR85 and CRF230f axles?

From "Chuck." post above:

The CRs have 12mm axles, the 150R 15mm axles, but the fork bottoms are the same, just different size axle holes.

And from my post:

That is incorrect; the CR85 axle has a smaller od than the 150R/230F axles, which are the same.

So, the CR85 axle is smaller OD (12 mm, 11.9 actual) and the 230F and 150R axles are larger OD and the same size (15 mm, 14.9 actual).

 

is it as easy as just machining a sleeve to adapt the CR85 axle to the CRF230 wheel or am I best boring out the fork slider on the CR85 and then mounting using the CRF230f axle?

Boring will work, but requires some skill and a lathe.

A sleeve will be easier, all things considered.

Reger uses an unusual sleeve; check it out on his site:

http://www.regerengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_28_33&products_id=21

The ends of the wheel "Center Support" are machined to fit the 230F wheel bearings. A simple machined sleeve might be too thin-walled to withstand the recommended front axle nut torque. The Reger design has a thicker side wall except for the part within the wheel bearing, said bearing taking the torque load in this area.

 

 

I ask because it appears that most of the forks that are available on ebay are off of the CR85 versus the CRF150R.

If you're heavy (like me), hold out for a 150R fork.  It is designed to carry the heavier load of a 150R (vs CR85) and will better handle the heavier 230F plus heavy rider.  The CR85 and 150R fork uppers and lowers are the same size externally, but internals differ.  I also opted for .40 front springs instead of the stockers.

Here's a picture showing:

Left side

-----------

Honda CR85 axle, washer, and nut.

Axle size 12 mm, actual 11.9 mm.

M12 washer and nut.

Reger "Wheel Spacers and Center Support" kit.

The smaller machined ends of the Center Support fit inside the stock CRF230F wheel bearings, one of which must be removed to install the Center Support into the wheel hub.  I replaced the bearing.

Center

---------

Honda CRF230F axle.

Axle size is 15 mm, actual 14.9 mm.

No nut is used.

Large end of axle is 20mm, clamped by fork lower.

CRF230F axle distance collar and wheel spacers.

Right

-------

Honda CRF150R axle, washer, and nut plus wheel spacers.

Axle size is 15 mm, actual 14.9 mm.

M14  washer and nut.

Note the nut/axle set differences; no two are alike.

Axles_CR85_CRF230F_CRF150R.jpg

:ride:

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Can't thank you enough, Rick. It seems the easiest route is to re-create what Reger has already done. Fwiw if I were to open up the CR85 fork slider bore to accept the CRF230f axle, it would be done on a mill versus on a lathe. You would indicate it into center and then bore from there.

 

I am around 135lbs without gear so not a heavy person at all. I would prefer to not have to re-valve/re-spring the forks after purchasing them so I'm kind of thinking stock CRF150R forks would be the most ideal for me given my weight and that I'm trail riding. What do you think?

 

Thank you!

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Fwiw if I were to open up the CR85 fork slider bore to accept the CRF230f axle

 

You would use the 150R axle... the 230F axle is stepped and will only work with the stock 230F forks.

 

 

I am around 135lbs without gear so not a heavy person at all. I would prefer to not have to re-valve/re-spring the forks after purchasing them so I'm kind of thinking stock CRF150R forks would be the most ideal for me given my weight and that I'm trail riding. What do you think?

 

I think either CR85 or 150R fork would work for you.

 

:ride:

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I'd second what Rick said but at 135 lbs AND the extra weight of the 230f those stock cr/crf springs will likely make the front end want to dive. Getting the right springs on my 150f cr85 forks made all the diff - I did .40 springs from Cannon/RaceCraft for 155 rider and I think it's a little light for aggressive mx riding but kids sometimes ride my bike. So a .38 spring on a heavier 230f may be spot-on. (Consider that cr/crfr usd forks are a little tiny bit short for a 230f and you see more weight transferred to front end). Even stock 150r springs may be .30 or close to that, far too light even for 135 lbs.

If u need the machine specs of that Reger sleeve adapter pm me if/when u get to that point, I've got one on my bench.

One last thing, on the 150f, the front brake hose ends up being a little short. Non issue if u use the cr85/150r front wheel - that whole front end (19" wheel) was 5.25 lbs lighter than my 150f front parts, more savings over 230f.

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Apologize, coming in on this a tad late....Also running into some confusion with Tina at Reger.
 
My wife will not let go of her 230 for a 250X, she's just doesn't like the feel. So, followed Rick's site and purchased a "brand new" set of complete 150R forks on Ebay for $500 :( Only paid $600 for her bike. But the forks really were new. Anyway, forks came with upper/lower triples, stem, axle, wheel spacers, fork guards, unused stock bearings/races and dust covers. Shipped Tina the lower triple with a new Pivot Works lower bearing and dust cover, just in case. Spoke with her on the phone today and there was confusion on exactly what I needed. Sent a letter in the box with the lower triple stating that I needed the following: (I was year and model specific, 2003 CRF 230F fork conversion to 2009 CR 150R)
 
machine mod lower triple, repress with included bearing.
brake adapter--told her I didn't need spacers because the 150R axle is the same size as the 230's, and new forks came with spacers and axle seal cover.
steering stop
extended brake line
Helicoil will be DIY
 
Tina told me that she understood the lower triple mod, no issue. However, she told me that I don't need the extended brake line, but would need the spacer kit that sells separately from the brake adapter.
So my question is...can someone please break down the parts list from REGER so I know exactly what to purchase. Thanks in advance for your help.

https://www.dropbox.com/sc/1rcg4k5bc7ud34c/AABWXmKMjQVwO5AmFlAYAECya

Edited by Jdwg1972

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When you use the 150R forks, you do not need the Center Support that goes inside the hub that fits the CR85 axle; use the 150R axle and CRF230F wheel.

 

 

From my previous post:

 

Reger uses an unusual sleeve; check it out on his site:

 

http://www.regerengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_28_33&products_id=21

The ends of the wheel "Center Support" are machined to fit the 230F wheel bearings. A simple machined sleeve might be too thin-walled to withstand the recommended front axle nut torque. The Reger design has a thicker side wall except for the part within the wheel bearing, said bearing taking the torque load in this area.

 

:ride:

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Sorry Rick, having a heck of a time with Reger. They are out of stock on most parts?????? Apparently, the fork set I purchased on Ebay had a stem that had already been machined for a different bike. So, I'm forced to purchase another lower clamp and stock stem so that Jim can do the mod from stock stem dimensions. Spoke with Tina again today and she and Jim, the machinist, cannot agree on what parts to send me. However, contrary to what you stated above, they're both telling me that I need to purchase the following for the conversion to work: 1. spacer kit 2. brake adapter 3. steering stop and 4. extended brake line. I'm not sure who to listen to.

 

So that I understand you correctly, JUST use the 150R axle and 230 wheel, period!? NO wheel spacers whatsoever are required? I have, exactly, what you pictured above in the axle comparison. I've seen the spacer/sleeve kit which you speak of...this is what they are telling me I need.

 

Not sure what you mean by the statement below....are you suggesting that I need some type of different spacer?

 

"The ends of the wheel "Center Support" are machined to fit the 230F wheel bearings. A simple machined sleeve might be too thin-walled to withstand the recommended front axle nut torque. The Reger design has a thicker side wall except for the part within the wheel bearing, said bearing taking the torque load in this area."

 

Thanks for your help.

Edited by Jdwg1972

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