Shock lengths/options for XR200R upgrade

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

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.

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.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now