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Shock lengths/options for XR200R upgrade

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Hi! My first post here. I'm in Nebraska and have recently bought three Honda XR200R's for our family to go biking. I'm 54... used to ride dirt bikes as a kid (just for fun, no racing)... and just recently discovered how much fun these XR's are. We have some 4 wheelers too, and we're headed to Wyoming's Snowy Range in late June for a few days.

We have (2) 2002 models, and (1) 2001. For the bike I ride (a 2002) I want more front & rear suspension travel, because the bike bottoms after even the most modest extra-terrestrial excursions. I weigh about 190 in riding garb. I've spent hours reading XR200 threads here, particularly relating to suspension, and it's been immensely helpful... thanks for all the background! I recently bought a pair of forks on Ebay that were advertised as being off an '84-85 bike. I figure on sending them to Race Tech for their treatment, including cartridge emulators.

My question for you guys concerns the rear shock. I've seen information stating that all pre-'93 models had the same longer travel forks and shocks (longer than later years), and 93-on models were shorter travel. I saw a shock listed for sale a while ago from an '81 XR200R, and the eye-to-eye length was listed as 13". The stock shock on my 2002 measures 13.5"... so the relationship between those two shocks seems backward to me. I know that because of the the pro-link suspension, shock length and stroke don't correspond directly to rear wheel travel, but I've also been told that I could install a longer shock w/o having to change the linkage parts.

Race Tech can sell me a whole new custom-built shock, and I'd be game for that... but at this point I wouldn't even know how long to tell them to make it.

So I'd particularly appreciate it if someone could tell me the uncompressed eye-to-eye length on an '84-85 XR200R shock. Beyond that, any other advice is welcome.

I guess I'll throw this question in, too: I'm assuming that "eye-to-eye" specs should be measured center-to-center (not inside-to-inside or outside-to-outside on the holes.) Does pretty well everyone measure center-to-center?

And... if anyone knows where I could pick up a good shock for this bike (in good shape or needing rebuilding), that would be helpful. Race Tech says their turnaround is around 10 days, and with a June 22nd trip date, I need to keep moving on these mods.

Edited by Gary WH

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In my opinion i would stick with the stock travel and stay at least close to 13.5 shock lengths because a drastic change from 13.5 will cause a change in geometry and bike handling. If your goal is to control bottoming, i suggest a simple revalve would address your complaints much better than changing overall travel. Also, riding on a freshly rebuilt suspension improves ride quality like nothing else. I'm confident you would have better results finding a tuner and asking for revalve to type of riding and springs according to weight. It would be money well spent and would change the ride entirely for the better.

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Actually, maintaining geometry is what I'm trying to do by trying to find out what the '85 model (and surrounding years) had for a shock length. I don't know if just being 2" further off the ground qualifies as "geometry", but I know I need to maintain the steering rake angle. I figure having the front fork length and the rear shock length converted to the pre-'93 setup should result in the same good handling characteristics as what the bikes had back then (plus having the benefits of rebuilt and/or new components.) However, I haven't learned the "trick"... whatever it is... of discovering the length of the earlier shocks. Race Tech doesn't seem to know. More time with Google, maybe...

Thanks for your suggestion.

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