Should it stay or should it go?

I finally had the opportunity to get my crf out in the woods. The real woods, state land in northern MI. I felt like I was going to crash constantly. Every tree root, sand wash, and unseen rock was a reason for my front or rear wheel to go in some direction other than forward. In short a terrifying day of riding.

So I thought I was just having a tough day, friends were always waiting for me at the trail interchanges. I rode my buddy's kdx 200 and quickly realized it wasn't me, it was absolutely the horrible crf suspension. All of you who try to tell us slower guys how bad it is at speed are 100% correct, in a word, dangerous.

The question is...after riding the kdx with all of that great forgiving suspension,

with emulators and a Hlebo revalve will the crf be even close to comparable? I finally have something to compare it too, I'm using the kdx as a benchmark and wonder how close to "real suspension" I will be with this investment? I really can't justify any expenditure larger than the 400 or so for the simple emulator/revalve route. For the money spent on a usd conversion, and a works shock I could buy a whole bike with the suspension already set up. The motor is a whole other story, fun but a little slowwwww......

Any advice is greatly appreciated, so should it stay or should it go?

imo, you'd need to go one better than the Hlebo revalve for the back. YOu'll want to invest in the WORKS shock w/ the remote reservoir and external adjusters. This, imo, is what you need to compare it to with the KDX's rear shock b/c it also has a reservoir plus adjusters.

in the front, the stock crf230 forks w/ the emulator is going to be on par, if not better, than a stock set of kdx forks. But, The biggest thing w/ the crf230 stock forks is that it's really sprung for 140-160lb riders tops. If you're an adult, 90% of the problem is that the springs in it is too soft for you.

I'm 165lbs, and now have the works shock w/ remote, and did the emulator, plus increased my stock fork springs' preload, and to me the bike is so perfect for offroad riding. I've taken it up in the mountains of N.M, w/ no problems at all. Take it back, the rr shock's rebound setting needed to be closed off completely to make the back end more connected. The front worked very well to keep the bike pointed straight.

I'm taking the same bike up to colorado in July, and I'm not planning on doing anything, but put trials tire on it.

I agree with minibikedad. Front and rear suspension need to be completely reworked for anything beyond simple trail cruising.

New rear shock is ~$500 and front fork emulators will be ~$200 plus fork oil, tax, shipping, etc. So, your talking about ~$750 when it's done.

Even with the mods, the 230F has a short wheelbase compared to a modern 250F and will not feel as stable at high speeds. It's advantage will be at lower speeds where the short wheelbase is a plus.

IMO, the key factor is the height of the rider. Modern off-road 250Fs (CRF250Xs, WR250Fs) are very tall for tight trail riding, unless you are at least 5'10" tall. They're ok for shorter riders on motocross tracks where you don't have to get your feet down in technical situations or find yoursef stalled on a side of a hill or in a ditch. The 230F is easier to handle in those situations for shorter riders. :smirk:

Thanks for the replies. I am 155 or so with gear, and about 5' 11", so I felt like the 230 physically was a good fit. I am going to have a tough time convincing my accountant (wife) that I need to drop 5 to 600 on a shock. I do have her on the emulator bandwagon though. It is in your opinion worth the investment in the suspension, in lieu of buying a different bike? I ride mostly on my little track behind my house and I don't like the suspension, but it had never felt dangerous until this weekend. The motor I can live with as I like tight and technical more than open and fast but it is a bit of a snail. I couldn't keep up with a 1980 IT 175! This is my first 4t, so maybe my expectations are to high?

Yes, go with the emulators first and get them set up correctly and then get your rear shock sag set correctly. You should feel a big improvement. IMO, the stock forks are worse than than the stock shock. Also, the bike is geared too low. Drop a couple of teeth on the rear sprocket (or add a tooth to the front) to open up the motor acceleration. That doesn't cost much. At 5'11", you can easily handle a 250F after riding the 230F for a year or two.:smirk:

I actually downgraded to this bike. Sold my KTM 250 sx that was my baby and got the crf so I could ride with my son. He's 6 and I couldn't feature trying to lug that ktm around, constantly starting stopping etc. 99% of my riding is on my mini moto track, I will probably only do the up north thing a few times a year. The crf is great on my little track, other bigger bikes don't do as well. I unfortunately can only have one bike, so the ktm had to go. Most of the time, around my house, the crf is easy, and enjoyable to ride, I think my trip up north showed me the short comings. It's been about twenty years since I've ridden like that, and I used to ride 125 cc motocross bikes in the day. Perhaps a purchased part here and there is the way to go. I'm thinking about mods in the following order...

1. Emulators

2. Revalve/works shock

3. Jet kit?

4. ???????

Thanks alot sofiedog for the advice, and everyone else....................

Skip the emulators, just send out your forks and shock to John Hlebo and call it a day. You will be out only about $400 and will be perfectly happy. Then uncork, jet and ride.

The 230 will never be the bike you want it to be, but with these mods, it will be the bike you will love to ride and make great memories with your kid. Plus, if you do go with your buddies, you will not feel left out!

Time for a new bike. With the money you are going to put into a 230 move up into a 250x.

Time for a new bike. With the money you are going to put into a 230 move up into a 250x.

I've just done exactly that:banana:

Thanks to all for the advice/input. I'm not sure which way I'll go. I will probably ride my track, and with my boy and remember why I liked the crf so much initially. Hopefully that will cure my suspension blues.

I disagree with a bit of the information given here. Just my opinion though.

Here's my beef:

-Stock shock is worse than stock forks, not the other way around. Not even close. The stock shock is just complete barf.

-A shock being adjustable with a remote reservoir does not make it better than a Hlebo-revalved stocker. I've ridden plenty of bikes with adjustable remote reservoirs that don't feel nearly as nice as my Hlebo unit. My XR250R is one of them. There is just no comparison. The XR feels like trash now because I have been spoiled by Hlebo's work. My XR's rear shock will get the Hlebo treatment some day and I'll be satisfied if it barely even comes close to my 230's shock.

-Being able to adjust the shock isn't a problem with the Hlebo work because it comes right back to you already set up for what you do as long as you are honest with Hlebo and don't lie about your weight or riding skill :smirk:. With an adjustable shock, most people find their sweet settings and then just leave it like that anyway. Some guy is going to chime in and say, "BUT HEY I ADJUSTERIZE MINE ALL THE TIME." and good for him.

Also, pre-load is a huge deal and hasn't been mentioned yet. If you haven't already, you should set your pre-load. It really can make a difference.

Regarding the power department - My Wiseco 11:1 stuck an evil grin on my face :smirk:

The first thing I'd suggest is to change the front tire to something decent if you still have the stock tire on there. It's down right dangerous.

The second is replace/revalve the rear shock.

Third is revalve/install emulators in the forks.

The first thing I'd suggest is to change the front tire to something decent if you still have the stock tire on there. It's down right dangerous.

Definitely agreed there!

Any tire recommendations for trail/soft pack dirt riding? has some combo deals right now.

Well, the crf is gone. I thought that I would put it cl just to see what kind of interest it would get. 2 days later it was in another guys truck. I honestly thought I would have trouble selling it. In my area bike size equals ego to most, sad but true. There are a few 230's for sale that have been on cl for months, so I priced it to what I thought was fair and off it went.

I went back to what I feel I know well. 125 two stroke. Picked up a 2001 kx 125 for 900 bucks. With the leftover money I will be able to do about anything I want to it, and have enough left to rebuild when necessary. It fits my small track very well, and the suspension is awesome! A whole day on the track, and never even came close to bottoming the suspension. That was becoming a regular occurence on the 230. Whoops, tabletop, doubles were easy, and never jarring. I did love a lot of things about the 230, but could not justify the expense of the suspension mods. I might be a little underpowered for my two trips up north per year, but I won't be terrified to go fast.

So, thanks to all for the advice/help with questions. I will miss the 230, but not as much as I am excited about the 125. Being tall and skinny gives me many bike options. I rode some 250f's, they seem to be large, and tough to ride in the tight stuff, which is my track, and my favorite type of riding to do. I think I found my sweet spot, hopefully.

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