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CRF150R Forks on a 230

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I two 230's, one with Triplett modded forks and one that I just bought with USD 150R forks. Riding both back to back, the Triplett modded forks are much more stable than the USD forks. I pulled some measurements and the 150R forks are a good 1/2" shorter. I know from experience that moving the forks up or down in the triples even 1/8" makes a noticeable difference on handling.  I am concerned that this 1/2" difference is going to be a real issue.  Is anyone else having these issues or notice the difference in length. I compared measurements with the forks off the bike and used an axle to center the forks, so I know my measurements are accurate.

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These kinds of direct comparisons are extremely valuable. Can you elaborate a bit on "more stable", e.g. at speeds, sharp edges, etc.

I guess one possibility is the compression and rebound valving is still optimized for the 150R.

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One issue with the mini bike forks is their short length because they were designed for a smaller wheel. If installed with a shorter ride height than stock it will reduce steering rake.  The trail may also be different than stock forks.  I had to raise the fender to avoid tire contact on full compression.

I have used CR80/85 and CRF150R forks on XR200Rs and ridden other XR200Rs with the KYB version used on Yamaha YZ85s. My impression is they are good forks and I prefer them over damper rod forks.  I have noticed  differences in handling because of changes in ride height, different tires, between 12mm and 15mm axles, and stock vs CNC top triples. So many items can change handling and the feel of the bike. However the biggest change was going from a 12mm to a 15mm axle, I did that conversion by only swapping sliders, axles, and bearings, and leaving everything else the same. The difference was improved steering response when steering in/out of ruts. I've used Outlaw CNC top triple off and on for the past 5 years and I also notice a similar improvement in steering, just not quite as much as the axle change.  

My early days of riding were with damper rod forks so that is my original frame of reference for suspension. Currently there is a debate comparing modified damper rod forks and cartridge forks, but with so many different backgrounds in riding, the many different types of terrain. and riding preferences make it difficult to have objective discussions. So as previously requested, any info you can provide is helpful.  

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What I notice most between the two bikes is the steering on the 150R bike is very quick and twitchy, it doesn't feel planted at all.  When tuning the WP forks on my KTM, moving the forks as little as 1/8" made a noticeable change, especially when lowering the forks in the triples, I noticed the same quick steering issues.  So even with a perfect setup on each of my 230's, the 150R forks are going to be 1/2" shorter than the OEM forks. How can you overcome this?  

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7 minutes ago, jeffrow68 said:

What I notice most between the two bikes is the steering on the 150R bike is very quick and twitchy, it doesn't feel planted at all.  When tuning the WP forks on my KTM, moving the forks as little as 1/8" made a noticeable change, especially when lowering the forks in the triples, I noticed the same quick steering issues.  So even with a perfect setup on each of my 230's, the 150R forks are going to be 1/2" shorter than the OEM forks. How can you overcome this?  

You could lower the rear 1/2" and it would be the same. 

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I use the Cr85 forks on two different 230s. The Cr fork 1/8in shorter overall. Both Cr forked 230s sit up higher then my Bruce Triplet modded Conv Forks. The bike sits up higher in the travel. My direct comparison And this is coming from some one that hates USD forks) The triplet fork is great for the small price you pay. Its no match anywhere for my modded Cr85 forks. We have sand wash here for many miles. Deep sand running the bikes over 65mph No head shake or wobble very stable. For a short WB bike. There something wrong there somewhere.

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19 hours ago, Chuck. said:

One issue with the mini bike forks is their short length because they were designed for a smaller wheel. If installed with a shorter ride height than stock it will reduce steering rake.  The trail may also be different than stock forks.  I had to raise the fender to avoid tire contact on full compression.

I have used CR80/85 and CRF150R forks on XR200Rs and ridden other XR200Rs with the KYB version used on Yamaha YZ85s. My impression is they are good forks and I prefer them over damper rod forks.  I have noticed  differences in handling because of changes in ride height, different tires, between 12mm and 15mm axles, and stock vs CNC top triples. So many items can change handling and the feel of the bike. However the biggest change was going from a 12mm to a 15mm axle, I did that conversion by only swapping sliders, axles, and bearings, and leaving everything else the same. The difference was improved steering response when steering in/out of ruts. I've used Outlaw CNC top triple off and on for the past 5 years and I also notice a similar improvement in steering, just not quite as much as the axle change.  

My early days of riding were with damper rod forks so that is my original frame of reference for suspension. Currently there is a debate comparing modified damper rod forks and cartridge forks, but with so many different backgrounds in riding, the many different types of terrain. and riding preferences make it difficult to have objective discussions. So as previously requested, any info you can provide is helpful.  

I only have two rides on Cr85 forks that we drilled to 15mm big axle. So far cant tell much difference over 12mm axle. Today we will run 85 miles single track,some high speed rough dirt road. I think at high speed rocks /ruts I may notice the difference. Last week when I put Cr85 forks on the small wheel 230.None of the wheel spacers would fit the 15mm axle All Xr250/Crf230   too long. So the Cr85 wheel spacers where right width but 12mm hole. I took my drill bit that I used to drill forks holes with. To a friend with wood mill, We put drill bit in it. Problem was to hold spacers,we got them clamped down. Very slowly 700rpm drilled out Wheel spacers worked perfect.When done the dust cover on disk brake side with 4 or 6 screws.The heads of Phillip screws rubbed on brake rotor.So threw away screws and cover like my other Cr forked 230. This plastic cover does nothing half the mounting tabs where broke off anyway. 

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My back to back test was riding a rutted trail that I had a lot of familiarity with.  The steering was more precise when steering in/out of the ruts. Similar to putting a fork brace on conventional forks. The more rigid than stock Outlaw top triple did the same thing.  I don't really notice much difference on regular trail debris, but I do like the steering response at faster speeds w/ the CRF150R forks.

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Both of my 230's have usd fork conversions one is with CR85 and the other is CRF150r forks and both have .40 springs.  Both bikes are absolutely dreams to ride.  I did add hagon shocks to the equation as well. My hats off to Rick Ramsey and his 230 web pages for the complete detailed instructions on how set this package up.  

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I am going to tear into these forks to see what is in there. The previous owner said they changed springs but could not verify spring rate, so who knows.  As far as springs, I can't locate the .40 versions, only .38. I thought about buying the BBR springs and using only one, has anyone done this?  I also want to do the shim mod that BTR describes, but I need some more info first. There was a post with pics of the shim stack but I can't locate it.  

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I disassembled the 150R forks. How can I tell spring rate, are there any markings?  I also noted one fork was pretty low on oil so I know that was causing some issue. I want to get into the base valve to adjust shims, is there any special instructions to do this?

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Stock springs, which I doubt you have, have file marks on one end to denote an optional rate, Owner's Manual for the donner bike will have the codes. Aftermarket like RT inkjet the rate and part number on the spring wire a few inches from one end. If none of the above I can calculate the rate using spring dimensions; need spring OD, wire OD, number of active coils (count the gaps). Also good to know the free length and any preload spacers. The following picture is typical, but Showa/Honda changed the valves several times between 96 and 08.

P1000205.JPG

Do not torque the nuts but use blue loctite. The base valve, on the left, has a rebound check valve and compression stack. The mid valve has compression and rebound stacks. Mid compression will prob have some float on the shim stack to soften harshness. Each also has a clicker valve that allow fluid to bypass the valve, think adjustable leak. If the base has a brass nut it is probably RaceTech Gold.

DSCF0930.JPG

Be careful of the parts, only work on one valve at a time, lay every thing out in order on a clean towel, take pictures, make notes, etc. It is easy to turn the valve body upside down, mix shim order, etc. And the shims tend to stick together.

Showa Base Valve (3).JPG

Showa Base Valve (1).JPG

Edited by Chuck.

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Chuck/BTR, I got the base valve out. Here is a picture. Is this base valve tunable like the CR85 base valve as BTR describes? If so, how do I proceed?IMG_0738.JPG

Edited by jeffrow68

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There are no markings on the sprigs to identify them, but I am assuming that I have a stock version with a pretty weak spring rate. Before I bought the 230 with 150R forks, I had bought another set of forks from a 150RB expert to use on my other 230. I took the spring out of these 150RB forks and compared to springs on my 230 with the 150R forks. I think the 150RB comes with .36 rate, and these are noticeably larger. The 150RB has 38 coils and wire diameter of 4.21mm. The springs from the 150R 230 have 36 coils with a wire diameter of 4.12mm. Both springs have 32.4mm spring diameter and are the same length.

i looked on race tech and they recommend .40 spring rate for a CRF150R with 200 lb rider for enduro riding. Considering a 230 is much heavier than a CRF150R, I would assume a .42 spring would be the right size. The BBR springs are readily available, but spring rate is .44, maybe too stiff? What are your thoughts here?

Edited by jeffrow68

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All riders that rode my 230/cr85 fork from 165 to 220 pounds side they liked it (.40 spring) If you are go fast guy .42 Ok . For hard trail but want good ride .40.  Even to 200 pound riders said no bottom out. On shim stack first let chuck chime in what base valve you have.(if same as cr85)  Cannon Race Craft spring are the way to go. If you base valve different than my Cr85,then ride it first.Before you do shim stack mod On My bikes with cr85 forks I use 2 1/2 wt pj1 oil. My only complaint Comp adj on full soft.Still never bottom out even with 6 shims removed,and base valve hols drilled out. There is also a mid valve 4 shims  we will remove two of them.

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For a couple of reason I also think it is good advice on riding first before making changes.

My CRF250X weighs the same as a 230f and I run .42kg springs (stock), but I consider them a bit too stiff for technical trails ( I weigh 175). On the 150R forks (w/ Gold Valves) on my XR218 I run .32 springs but the bike weighs 208 plus gas. I tried .36 and .34 springs but they were too stiff.

What is interesting about springs and damping is I use a stock XR200R spring on the back with a late XR250R shock, but had to use a stiffer XR250R spring with the stock shock.

The way I tune springs is buy too sizes larger or smaller and them mix n match so I can get 3 different rates from two sets of springs. On my XR I bought .32 and .36 springs and by using one of each I had a .34 rate.

As for shim stacks I don't know if any of my base valves have stock shim stacks. I'll dig thru my notes in the morning.

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