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DR350 fork swap reccomendations?

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Ok, I want to know what is the best and/or easiest front fork swap to do on my '95 DR350se.

I rode some nasty rutted, muddy, rooted, rocky, and whooped-out trails this afternoon, and for the first-time, I am fairly dissapointed in the old DR. The front fork felt harsh at very low-speeds and way too soft at higher speeds on the nasties I played on today. The forks also seemed to deflect and twist alot more than I thought they should causing some odd steering situations at speed in the rougher stuff.

I have read great reviews of people swapping in RM/RMX forks, but I can't seem to find any threads detailing what all is involved in the swap. I'd like to swap in some better forks, but I'm not sure what I need. So, those of you who have made such mods, please let me know:

What years/models forks should I look for?

What additional parts will I need for the swap? (triple clamps, steering stem, bearings, rotor, wheel, ect.)

What spring-rates would work for me? (5'10", 185 lbs)

How difficult is the swap?

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I've never done a fork swap but I feel your pain on the se. I don't know if it's a direct bolt up but what about the '98-'99 dr350 (dirt model) cartridge fork. It's a big step up and can be revalved to make a damn good front end. They're dirt cheap on ebay. That said, I'm interested to hear about the RM swap myself.

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I've never done a fork swap but I feel your pain on the se. I don't know if it's a direct bolt up but what about the '98-'99 dr350 (dirt model) cartridge fork. It's a big step up and can be revalved to make a damn good front end. They're dirt cheap on ebay. That said, I'm interested to hear about the RM swap myself.

Well, in searching through old threads, and researching it elsewhere on the web, it seems that the 98-99 dr350 forks are a bolt-in, but most don't consider them much of a step-up from my current dr350se forks. Can anyone else confirm or deny this?

Also, it appears that 86,87, and 88 RM forks are nearly a bolt-in, but I don't know that forks that old would be any better; especially considering that aside from spring-rates and valving(which I'd surely change anyway) they appear to be the same basic design as my dr350 forks. Again, if anyone can confirm or deny this, I'd like to know.

Another thing to think about is that if I buy forks off ebay, I can get forks from almost any year, make, or model reletively cheap. So, with that said, I'm not too proud to consider using Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, or KTM forks if I know they'll fit and work properly, but I want to know how the finished product will turn out, and what is involved before I dive into such a project. Or maybe I'll just buy a set of gold valves for my current forks and just live with them.

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You can´t use GoldValves in your SE, cause they are made for cartridge forks. You have to buy the "cartridge emulator" and additional springs.

RM fork swap is described here: http://www.maximum-suzuki.com/ibf/index.php?showtopic=29511

I did a KX 250 H1 USD fork swap at my 96 SE - pictures at http://www.decker4u.de/Moppeds/DR_350_SE/KX-Gabel/kx-gabel.html - text is in german.

You can use nearly every fork to swap, but there are some things to keep care of:

- the steering stop must fit!

- you have to put the original DR steering stem in the new clamps (probably you have to machine some spacers)

- you will need the complete front brake or customize a bracket for your DR brake

- you will need the axle, distances and front wheel or customize the existing ones

Regards from germany,

Tom

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The '98-'99 dirt model fork can be made to handle well. With the correct valving and springs, they will be a HUGE step up over the se fork

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Thanks for the links ThomasD, that RMX fork swap thread on Maximum-Suzuki was exactly the kind of info I was looking for.

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The '98-'99 dirt model fork can be made to handle well. With the correct valving and springs, they will be a HUGE step up over the se fork

good to know; however, I think I'm going to pursue the RM fork swap. While the dirt model fork may handle better than what I have, I think I'd prefer the larger diameter RM forks which should eliminate alot of the deflection and twisting sensations I get from my current forks. thanks for the input.

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Just get a revalve of the stock forks...and shock.

They are too soft for aggressive riding or if you are over 180 lbs.

The DR350 is not made for MX type riding and if you start going for inverted forks and stuff like that you will trash the frame.

If deflection is your problem, then bigger forks will make it WORSE!

Actually the only place the DR fork is good is in rocks and roots because of the flex. Where is stinks is in sand and on jumps a whoops because it flexes all over the place. My old DR350 is better in the rocks and roots than my '00 WR400!!

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He will if he is over 160 and jumps the bike more than 20-30 feet. The DR is not made for MX.

I have no intention of racing MX or "jumping more than 20-30 feet"; however, I do like to trail ride aggressively, and the current setup I'm using is too soft, and too flexy for my tastes. Also, I have read dozens of threads and articles about fork swaps on DR's and none of those mentioned any problems with "trashing the frame". thanks

I have decided to try to swapping in some twin-cartridge conventional Showa forks from a '96-'98 RM. Jesse Kientz apparently did this same mod on his DR350 with RM forks, a DRZ set of triples, and the stock DR steering stem and bearings. I'm not sure what axle/wheel bearing/wheel combo he used, but once I find out I'm going to start collecting the parts I need. It may take a while for me to get all the parts I need together, but when I do it I'll let you all know how it works, and if it "trashes my frame" :cry:

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I'm sure you will be happy, as you are not going to be jumping it.

I'm speaking from experience that the DR is not a MX bike and is not made to be pounded hard. The bike has flex designed into the swingarm and forks that if removed trasfers that impact to the frame. A lot of folks, try to modify these bikes outside of their original design parameters and start hitting jumps the bike was not designed for.

The Showa twin chamber conventional fork is reputed by some to be the best fork for woods riding, I'm sure you will be happy, but you are never going to make a KTM out of a DR350!

BTW, Jesse is the king of DR350.

A lot of folks

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not to beat a dead horse here...I tried using the link that describes the rm swap...the link doesn't work. anyone have any sources for a 96/98 rm250 fork swap?

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not to beat a dead horse here...I tried using the link that describes the rm swap...the link doesn't work. anyone have any sources for a 96/98 rm250 fork swap?

 

Can't help you on the RM swap but I'm just about done with an RMZ250 swap on my DR350. I can't speak to how they perform just yet since I haven't taken it out riding yet. Still working on a dash, ignition and such. Feel free to PM me or ask questions over on ADVrider. I'm happy to help.

 

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/dr350-fun-build.1166102/page-2#post-30148314

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not to beat a dead horse here...I tried using the link that describes the rm swap...the link doesn't work. anyone have any sources for a 96/98 rm250 fork swap?

I put a 96 rm250 front end on my 99 dr350 dirt model. Those are awesome forks and I miss them! I did have them revalved to soften up slow compression damping, and even after that I turned down the compression clickers all the way and then ended up taking about 20-30 ml of oil out of each fork to give more air to soften it up. Don't get me wrong, they were great anyways, I was just trying to smooth out the tiny bumps. Asking too much.

In any case, as I recall I used the whole front end assembly from 96-98 rm250 donors (bought piece by piece), pressed the DR stem into the RM triples, and had to shim the upper triple a little bit. But that's likely because it was bored and shimmed for a kdx200 stem that didn't work out. You can check allballs steering stem bearings chart to see if you need to change any bearings. I think the lower was the same between the rm and the DR, but verify.

All in all it was an easy upgrade, steering stops lined up, I was very happy, and probably spent $5-600 on parts and labor for it. I also bought a 20t press from harbor freight, but I use that for lots of things so I don't include it in the price. Feel free to ask more questions if any of this isn't clear or useful, or just send me your forks if you decide it's not for you..

 

Can't help you on the RM swap but I'm just about done with an RMZ250 swap on my DR350. I can't speak to how they perform just yet since I haven't taken it out riding yet. Still working on a dash, ignition and such. Feel free to PM me or ask questions over on ADVrider. I'm happy to help.

 

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/dr350-fun-build.1166102/page-2#post-30148314

Hey buddy, nice to see you here too. What year rmz forks did you get and why did you decide on them?

I should probably read your build thread ...

Edit: you linked directly to a thread that answers my questions. Hehe nice

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Hey buddy, nice to see you here too. What year rmz forks did you get and why did you decide on them?
I should probably read your build thread ...
Edit: you linked directly to a thread that answers my questions. Hehe nice


I'm not on here often and I sometimes miss notifications but yup! I'm around. I went with 2004 RMZ250 forks which required me to press the stems and machine a spacer or two. After some deeper digging, 2007+ forks would have been a direct swap with all balls racing bearings. Dope! But at the time I had found a good deal on the 04 forks and the 07+ are more expensive. So I guess I got some good experience from pressing the stems and learning about the bearings? We'll go with that answer. :)

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I picked up a RM125 front end complete for my 91 DR250 CHEEP it came off another DR all set up .

It has a spacer for the top, DR stem , new bearings already .

Its at my local shop being rebuilt and checked out so we know whats in them valve wise ,I will post more when im putting them on .

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