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CR250 Fork Install

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I know some of you were wondering how the CR forks *really* work on the XR200....I intended to have everything together and be able to tell you the Saturday before last, but that didn't work out, because there were many complications.

FOR LAZY PEOPLE: THE CONDENSED VERSION OF THIS IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST....I KNOW IT GOT A LITTLE LONG....

Okay, so my forks, clamps, and brake system arrived in one box....I open it up, without any hesitation right on the front porch. I dive a hand in to pull out the forks and clamps, and get a big handful of grease. Upon further inspection, the brake system is in a plastic bag with some miscellaneous bolts at the bottom of the box. Everything is just loose to bounce around the walls of the box. Nice packing asshat....whoever you are....

The wheel and axle arrived later that day. The wheel was shipped as is with cardboard around the disc and hub with tons of tape and a shipping label. Not the greatest shipping method, but I can't blame the guy, since I have tried to find a box for a wheel also...

It's then that I discover a crappy black spray paint job on the upper tubes and clamps. Thankfully, the lower tubes, seals, etc. appear to have been masked off during this "great idea". The paint job looked like sh*t, and that wasn't going to fly for my bike. I immediately took out the high grit aluminum oxide sandpaper and got the majority of it off of the fork tubes, but couldn't do much with the clamps. That day I was very sick, so I couldn't do any more work.

The next day, I decided to try and bolt everything up. This is where it gets interesting.... I just got a brand new hydraulic motorcycle jack for my birthday, which proved to be VERY useful, but more on that later. I got my existing front end off nice and easy, and rolled the new one over. The new front end is massive compared to the old, so it really didn't look like it was going to fit. I slid the stem up through the tube, and sure enough, the stem is 3/4" too long. My first thought was to extend the threads down with a thread die so that I could still bolt it down. Later when I realized that it would be impossible to find a metric die that big with such a small thread pitch, I decided that a spacer was the only way. My spirits were broken by then, and my family was going riding that weekend, so I just put everything back together.

The bike then sat until Tuesday, when I realized that I never got an official measurement for a spacer, so everything came off again, and the bike sat with no front end for the rest of the week. I needed a 1" pipe, 3/4" long. After some raiding through my dad's conduit fittings, I found a coupling that would work if the threads were shaved off. Around the same time I noticed that the lower bearing on the CR clamps was trashed. Now I'm thinking, "Sh*t, that will be a bitch to change", and sure enough it was. My dad and I took a trip down to the Honda dealer the next day and got a $39 bearing and $9 seal. We then proceeded to the service counter to have them press the stem out and install the bearing. The guy at the counter advised us that he was booked, and that we should just cut the race off, and slide the new bearing down ourselves.

So, we bought a dremel and a few cutoff wheels, and cut it off, with only very minor damage to the stem. By this point I had already removed the rest of the paint on the clamps and repainted them flat black, which really boosted the appearance. The new bearing wasn't as simple as "sliding it down". We tried everything from extreme force, to heating the bearing and freezing the stem and then using extreme force. Nothing quite worked. Eventually, my dad, the engineer/electrician made a press out of conduit, all thread, fender washers, and 2 nuts. The press worked great, and we had the bearing firmly seated in just over 2 hours.

Now it was time to work on getting the clamps to fit. The coupling was cut to 3/4" and shaved smooth inside and out. It was also painted black so it wouldn't stand out so much. With the spacer, one of the problems could have been getting a good seal around the top bearing, so a combination of the old seal and gasket material solved this problem. After a short wrestling match, and tons of grease, the new front end was bolted up.

Now it was time to wrestle with the brake system.... I hate brakes, I always have, and I always will. Brake work NEVER goes the way it is originally planned for me. First I went to install my brand new pads, but the guide bolt freezes up, and strips a single thread. The bolt was removed, cleaned up, greased, and fortunately replaced without more complications. Then I go to figure out how the caliper mounts up and it turns out that the asshat didn't give me the bolts to mount the caliper. I discovered that a fork clamp bolt and a bar clamp from my old front end bolt work perfectly. The perch and lever mounted up without too much trouble. I just had to find a position so that the throttle and perch could share the same area. Now, I could finally lower my bike off of the jack and check it out. Unfortunately it was 10:30, so I couldn't test ride it.

I know that I will need to work on the fork internals, since these are notoriously harsh, but right now I am just glad to have them on the bike.

I will take it for a short test ride around the neighborhood tomorrow and let everybody know how it works. I will get some pics up too if I can get my camera to work.

CONDENSED VERSION FOR LAZY PEOPLE:

I received all of my parts and was not very satisfied with the packing or quality. I like to use the term "asshat" for the seller. The forks had black paint on them that was removed, and the clamps were repainted black. At first, the forks did not fit, but with the addition of a spacer, they bolted right up. The lower bearing was replaced, which was a major pain in the ass. Eventually, after almost 2 weeks and many complications, everything came together. The bike will be photographed and test ridden tomorrow. More work on the fork internals will likely be done in the future.

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I think you will like it....

One thing to check though is ride height - you may (will) have to slide the fork tubes up in the clamps 1"-1 3/4" to get the bike back level.

I did a write up on here some time ago about doing this....

What year CR front end did you get?

I used the '85 CR250, but really the '86 is supposed to be the best (cartridge internals with the best setup).

I found the front end is much solider, with lots less flex.

Good luck!

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Yeah I slid them up in the clamps quite a bit.

I got the inverted '89 forks...aparently they were primitive USD, so they aren't all that great, but they look really cool, and the stopping power is 10 times better.

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I'm in the process of installing a set of 87 CR500 forks on my son's XR. It seemed every CR front end from about 1985 to 1989 used the same stem bearing and front calpers. My parts arrrived a little better packaged. I made a spacer from a piece of pipe I had in the garage I used for straightening handlebars. For the rear I installed a shock from a 91 XR 250. I shortened the clevis a little so it didn;t raise the rear too much. To level out the front, I'm going to shorten the forks 2". Should have that done by the weekend. I don't know who's more excited about this project, me or my son. :thumbsup:

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I'm in the process of installing a set of 87 CR500 forks on my son's XR. It seemed every CR front end from about 1985 to 1989 used the same stem bearing and front calpers. My parts arrrived a little better packaged. I made a spacer from a piece of pipe I had in the garage I used for straightening handlebars. For the rear I installed a shock from a 91 XR 250. I shortened the clevis a little so it didn;t raise the rear too much. To level out the front, I'm going to shorten the forks 2". Should have that done by the weekend. I don't know who's more excited about this project, me or my son. :thumbsup:

Sounds like you are good to go! :ride: I had older XR200 suspension previously, and that worked out great, but I started maxing out the capabilities of the long travel forks and the drum brake, so I started searching Ebay.

I know what you mean about getting excited about this stuff. It's frustrating to pull everything together, but once it does come together, it's all I can talk about. I forget that my friends and family really don't care whether I have inverted forks and a disc brake on an XR200 or not. They also don't really see how cool it looks when you show them a picture. :applause:

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Okay, now for the neighborhood ride report:

The front end definitely feels solid, and the front brake will easily pop the rear wheel up. I was never able to do that with a drum... Brake dive isn't too bad, so the low speed compression is probably okay. I couldn't really test high speed, unless I hit a curb really hard, but there isn't a good place to do that. It looks sick, and I'm really anxious to put it through it's paces...hopefully this weekend... If I can get the time I will be riding a narrow, rocky pass that summits at 13,500 feet, then dropping down into a long trail with deep water crossings, mud bogs, and tons of rocks. The ride is about 50 miles round trip. I will probably take the helmet cam.

I also installed an XR250 rear wheel that came with a 50 tooth sprocket. I'm not sure I like the gearing change yet, because there doesn't seem to be any snap after gearing up... Also, the chain just barely fits around it. I would change it immediately, but I wasn't able unfreeze the bolts the first time I tried, so I would rather leave it on there if I can.

I'm not quite done with making the bike look good enough for a picture. Right now it is just functional. My rear brake rod sheared off while is was trying to tighten it, so I am also dealing with that right now. I will have pictures up as soon as I can.

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Yeah I slid them up in the clamps quite a bit.

I got the inverted '89 forks...aparently they were primitive USD, so they aren't all that great, but they look really cool, and the stopping power is 10 times better.

Hey Quick Draw,

How do you get going fast enough with a XR200R to use that much stopping power? :ride:

And it looks sick...........................??? :thumbsup:

Old School Al

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Hey Quick Draw,

How do you get going fast enough with a XR200R to use that much stopping power?

And it looks sick...........................???

Old School Al

First off, I think you're just jealous....:thumbsup:

Second, I forgot to put that in "Old School" terms.... The overall appearance of the bike was greatly increased with the addition of the new front end...better?

You have more smartass comments all the time Al....I'm only kidding though...

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First off, I think you're just jealous....:ride:

Second, I forgot to put that in "Old School" terms.... The overall appearance of the bike was greatly increased with the addition of the new front end...better?

You have more smartass comments all the time Al....I'm only kidding though...

Sorry, I couldn't resist being a smart ass! :applause:

Ok, looked better! In Old School terms "Sick" would mean it's not running properly! :thumbsup: And "Boss" would mean it was looking good! Man I guess that term kind of dates me! :applause:

Old School Al

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Man I guess that term kind of dates me! :thumbsup:

Haha just a bit....but don't worry about it... In my mind, you are the one and only guy that can consistently give excellent advice on anything XR related...when you really try.... :ride:

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So I did somewhat of a test ride this weekend. These forks are the most amazing forks I have ever ridden on. So incredibly plush at high speed, and not too bad brake dive. It makes me wonder if somebody has already upgraded these... The fork caps are a little rounded, so somebody has opened them up at least a few times. The handling was pretty good once I got used to the new geometry.

I ordered some black fork guards, a sharkfin disc protector, and a black UFO twin headlight. The fork guards haven't arrived yet and the sharkfin I can't figure out how to mount. The headlight on the other hand looks really good, and gives great lighting with dual 35 watt halogens. I know some people estimated the stator's output to be around 60-65 watts, but the bike easily pulls the 70 watts needed for this. Anything else I will put on will be LED, so it shouldn't be a problem.

You can check out the bike in action via helmet cam here:

http://s22.photobucket.com/albums/b302/fretslider51/?action=view&current=hillclimb2.flv

That was just a little hillclimb to a peak that I never quite made it up, probably because I wasn't entirely determined, and because I kinda threw proper technique to the wind. I will have some more videos of the rest of the ride later. This one was nice and easy to edit, so I just went ahead and threw it together.

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Here ya go:

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b302/fretslider51/adfg.jpg

I used to have a tool pack, but on that ride a small rip in the bottom grew to a really big rip that tore the whole damn thing off, so all you can see is the plate I set it on in the pic. My seat is also bungee'd down, because the nuts that hold it on vibrated loose, and my seat flew off when I stood up. Basically, the rear end fell apart, but the front end was awesome.

Here's a couple more when I was still working on it in the garage:

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b302/fretslider51/P8220007.jpg

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b302/fretslider51/P8220003.jpg

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b302/fretslider51/P8220005.jpg

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Awesome :thumbsup: Throw on fork guards and it will look sick.

Do you have two xr200?

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Awesome :thumbsup: Throw on fork guards and it will look sick.

Do you have two xr200?

Nope...the bike in the background is an XR4....

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