2001 XR200 with 1986 XR250 parts?

To all the gurus out there (Chuck, Dwight, Qucikdraw and others) I have a question that has been discussed to death, what parts fit the XR200?

I have a 2001 XR200 that I purchased about 6 months ago ... and now it's time for mods. I am a fairly intermediate rider who is 6'2" and around 205 lbs. I love the little 200 as it seems to have just the right power for my single track riding, but as it stands now, the bike is a little small with a couple weak points. I have just tracked down a 1986 XR250 rolling chasis for $150 and plan to pick it up this weekend. I know some of the parts will fit ie. Swing arm, rear wheel, and front end?? But am not 100% sure about the rear shock. In some discussions I have read the 1986-91 xr200 will fit, and in a couple I have seen 1986-91 xr200/250?? If I use the front end I imagine it will raise the bike a couple inches, but would the rear shock fit and raise the bike the same amount?

Like I mentioned, I would like the bike to be raised a few inches, but want to know if the rear shock would fit? or if the XR250 rear shock is simply too big (or needs to be choped down to fit).

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I plan to pick up the bike this weekend.



Just buy a xr250 lol

Just buy a xr250 lol

In the back of my mind I also want to mod my bike to get under 200 lbs. ... something the xr250 will never be.

All of the 86 XR250R suspension will bolt on except for the shock and linkage (shock is way too long).

Best bolt on easy to find shock is the 84-85 XR200R/250R and 86-91 XR200R, but you will need a bracket for the reservoir.  The above components will raise your bike at least 2".


Using the XR250 18" rear wheel will raise the back a bit more.


The linkage ratio is about 4:1 at full extension so a one inch change in static height only requires a 1/4" change in extended shock length.  For technical trail riding a low seat is a bonus. 


The XR200 has a full size cockpit, larger than the CRF230F, and with a few mods can be adjusted to suit your riding. There is a thread in the CRF230 forum about cockpit sizes on different bikes and mods to increase size.


Max traction for technical trail riding will be with a radial ply Trials tire, Dunlop D803 (4.00R18) is probably the easiest to find and cheapest.  Also consider a Trials tire for the front.

Thanks for the info, so does that mean that I cannot swap the front end untilI I have found another linkage/shock for the rear? Or can I sawp the front end with the '86 xr250 and the rear wheel and have the bike be balanced enough? 2" would be a a nice enough height if the front and and wheel will get 'er done.


PS. I remebered this guy mentioning this ...

"Hi, just wanted to report on the 18" rear wheel upgrade I completed on my '99 200R. IMO, it's totally worth it! It gave me better choice of tires, raised the seat about 2", and the feel of second gear is now like what 3rd used to be."

... That is why I was wondering about the front end and rear wheel without rear shock or linkage.

Edited by jonkrause

84-88 XR200 linkage is aluminum, 90+ is steel.  What raises the back is the shock so front forks and shock should be installed at the same time, because any change in ride height at either end will change the front end rake by very close to 1 degree/inch, and you should be able to notice 1/2 degree change. Decreasing front rake can cause bad, and possibly dangerous,handling. 


I disagree on the 2" increase in seat height by increasing wheel diameter 1",  closer to 1/2".  Maybe he is inseam challenged like me so even a small change in seat height seems gigantic. :facepalm:


My measurements of a 17" XR200R rear wheel with a OEM tire (IRC VE33 100/100x17) has an inflated radius of  12 1/4".

A Dunlop 756 100/100x18 has an inflated radius of  12 7/8", for a difference of +5/8".

A Dunlop 803 4.00R18 has an inflated radius of  13 5/8", for a difference of +1 3/8".

Thanks Chuck,

guess I'll have to just put on the rear wheel for now and hold off for another rear suspension. As far as tires go, most people around here go with the IRC ve33 so I'm looking at that for the new 18" wheel. Should I put on the swing arm now? or hold off until I end up doing front/rear suspension?

Thanks again

The SA is not the issue for ride height, it is the shock length, and can also be the linkage.  So the shock should be compatible with the front forks. You can mix 84-85 XR200R/250R and 86-91 XR200R suspension parts and maintain ride height within 1/2" front to rear. 93+ XR200s have the short suspension so don't mix those shock/forks with the earlier parts. I also think the 86+ XR250R forks are compatible with the above mentioned early shocks.

A check is to measure the fork tubes from the top to the axle when fully extended.  The early forks listed above measure 33 5/8 - 33 3/4".


I put a 84 XR250R front end on my 90 XR200R, just a bolt on for more rigidity and a front disc brake.   So go for it.

Hey Chuck, sorry to keep hounding you, I'm just trying to figure this all about before I get going. You mentioned the linkage could affect height as well, so in theory, could I install the swingarm and linkage along with the front forks all from the '86???

Would you happen to know if the '86 xr250 swingarm and linkage are compatible with the '01 rear shock? If so, I wonder if that would affect height for the rear??

Anyways, I know, I should just go for it and trouble shoot later, I am just trying to visualize it all before 1) I buy the '86 rolling chasis tommorow and 2) actually get going with the mods.

Thanks again,


Edited by jonkrause

I discussed all of those questions in my Weight Reduction Thread and XR200 Chassis thread. 


Some factoids:

The 84-85 XR200R/250R chassis became the 86-02 XR200R chassis, every chassis part interchanges except for engine related items.

All 84-85 XR200R/250R swing arms, linkages, shocks are the same except for maybe springs and internal shock valving.

The 84-85 XR200R/250R link (marked KF0)  is 2.5mm longer than 86+ XR200R and will lower the later almost 1/2".

All 84-02 XR200Rs share most fork parts and front wheels (not a typo).

86+ XR200R SA are physically the same as 84-85 XR200R/250R SA.

84-85 and 86-88 linkage is AL, later is steel (or iron).

All 84-85 XR200R/250R, 86-89 XR250R, and 86-02 XR200R use the same rear hub, some variations in backing plate and lever materials.

All 84-85 XR200R/250R, and 86-91 XR200Rs have the same suspension travel specs and similar ride height. Later XR200Rs have approximately 2" less travel and a lower seat.


86-95 XR250R SAs will fit the chassis with mods but you must use one of the above linkage and shocks. 


All of the above use the same size steering heads and head bearings so fork swaps are easy.


I bolted a 84 XR250R front end onto a 90 XR200, I have a RM 18" wheel on the rear of my 01 XR200R, also 86-89 vintage and 90-95 vintage XR250R SAs on my 90 and 01 respectively.

I wanted to share the following link (refer to post #6 and photos) I stumbled upon. 




This adds another dynamic possibility of a KLX300 front end and 01 XR250R shock. 


From my own experience owning a KLX 300 and KDX 220 that a KLX 300 has a pretty good set of forks

out of the box and maybe very suitable direction for someone with a 92-02 suspension to upgrade to.

They are also reported to be ~ 2.5lbs lighter than the conventional forks on the KDX200/220 95-06.


The only drawback is lack of rebound, which has to be adjusted by oil weight, or revalve. As I remember

they come with .37kg fork springs, again, a bonus for the much lighter XR200. 


After rebuilding the 90 XR200R shock and putting on my 87, I found virtually no difference between it

and the 87 shock, which IMHO is a bad thing. Could be the fact I put in ATF, could be the valving, could

be my preload and compression & rebound settings. Still testing, so not ready to throw in the towel before

tearing it apart again, or going a different direction. 


The 01 XR250R shock really caught my eye in this post and I would like to start some dialogue on the 

subject.  From the photo it looks like it fits with a slight bulge and you have to drill out a portion of your

side number plate to access the compression adjustment. 


Chuck, your thoughts on the 01 XR250R shock ???



Edited by KTM520EXC

So I just got back from picking up 2 bikes ... yes 2 bikes. The guy I bought them off said they were a pair, can't get one without the other. So for $200 I managed to grab a 1986 XR250 rolling chasis and a 1982 XR250 (runs but not well). Pics to follow if I can figure it out .... now the real work begins.

Dont know why the pics are upside down???



Edited by jonkrause

I have a 03 XR250R shock on my 01, and I like it much more the the remote reservoir shock.  It is the next gen shock and has much better dampening, but it is too long so besides shortening the clevis you also need to mod the frame and move the upper shock mount up.  I covered that in the XR200 Weight Reduction thread.  The frame mod was pretty easy; I used a Sawsall to cut the frame in front of the upper shock mount (it is two layers of metal thick), and had a welder reweld the mount 1/4" higher, but 3/8" might be better if you want a low seat.  

So I just got back from picking up 2 bikes ... yes 2 bikes. The guy I bought them off said they were a pair, can't get one without the other. So for $200 I managed to grab a 1986 XR250 rolling chasis and a 1982 XR250 (runs but not well). Pics to follow if I can figure it out .... now the real work begins.

Dont know why the pics are upside down???

That is because they are XR250s, those heavy porkers can't stay upright. :facepalm:


That 86 has a lot of good parts for a XR200R. :thumbsup: Good find!

Edited by Chuck.

Hey Chuck, any idea how much longer an '86 xr250 shock is compared to a '03 xr250 shock?

Could I make the same mods to the frame to shorten the length of the shock as well?

I have a buddy who could cut and weld the frame if needed.



PS I measured the length of the rear shock and is approx. 15" eye to eye

Edited by jonkrause



From the rear of the bike's perspective, transfer the following from the XR250R to the XR200R;


Swing Arm/Rear Axle/Rear Brake Mechanism (Magnesium vs. Aluminum) and rear brake spring.


I stayed with the 17" rear wheel, so the 18" wheel is up to you, remember to gear it correctly if you go 18" due to the additional diameter. 


Also you will need to shim the linkage, McDirtclod had a lot of good photos that speak for themselves. 




I would also try to hunt down a 86-89 aluminum linkage 1st, 84-85 aluminum linkage second. By doing all of this you will shed ~ 5 lbs.


The 18" wheel and tire will add on ~ 2 lbs.



Hey Chuck, any idea how much longer an '86 xr250 shock is compared to a '03 xr250 shock?

Could I make the same mods to the frame to shorten the length of the shock as well?

I have a buddy who could cut and weld the frame if needed.



PS I measured the length of the rear shock and is approx. 15" eye to eye

A bunch longer.

84-91  remote reservoir shock 13 1/2" c-c

86-95 XR250R shock 15 1/8" c-c

96-04 XR250R shock 14 3/4" c-c


At full extension the linkage ratio is about 4:1, so a 1" longer shock raises the rear 4".  1 1/4" is doable via reducing clevis length, cutting the frame, and using 84-85 linkage.  But another 3/8" for the 86-95 shock will all need to be in the frame, which will raise the front of the seat. 

Thanks for the info guys, guess it's time for work now.  I've already done the easy mod and switched over the rear wheel, only 1/2-3/4" or so in increased height, but the new 18" tire is in need of replacement (should add some more height with a new beefy tire).  As a newbie rider (after a 20 year hiatus), tearing down the bike is proving to be educational.  Anyways, it is coming along slowly, I'll try to post some pics as I go.  Front end should be interesting :0

Thanks again.

Hey guys, so I just finished pulling off the shock and linkage, I measured it again and center eye to center eye is 15" exact.

The guy I bought it off of says he redid the suspension?? I don't know if its the original or not?

What do you think?


If it were me, I would Ebay the XR250R shock and look for an 84-91 XR200R shock. 


Looked on Ebay, bupkiss, you might want to try your local and surrounding CL for one.  


The shock shaft condition is a good indicator of the rest of the shock.


If it has corrosion on it pass on it, you can't get a new one. 


Here is an the 86 linkage if you are going for weight savings;




Just my .02 worth.



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