My CRF230 Story
Guest Post Date - 12 May 2018
After many years of trail riding and many and varied bikes from 80cc Suzuki through DT 175, XT500, WR200, KTM 495, VR250, CCM 640 and many others the onset of arthritis in my hips and no more Enduro made me decide to buy something light, easy to pick up low and more importantly electric start.
After looking around I decided on a Honda CRF 230F. I purchased a 2004 model that the previous owner used for LDT (Long Distance Trials) complete with a box of spares and some extremely low gearing (3rd was like 1st) and a trials back tyre.
This is a great trail bike and its only weakness for me personally is very soft suspension (I am heavy) and a weak rear brake.
Front suspension: I tried converting to Honda CR125 USD forks but these proved excellent for high speed but too harsh for low speed technical going and it also limits the steering lock which is one of the great things on the CRF compared with enduro bikes. After considering reworking the CR forks I decided to go back to the CRF 230 forks but with preload spacers and revised oil level.
The rear suspension had my mind made up for me when the rear unit burst and dumped its oil. Mr Honda wanted a fortune for an OE damper. This resulted in the purchase of a Hagon rear damper which transformed the ride of the bike and is well worth the price. It comes with a guarantee and is adjustable for damping and is re-buildable.
The rear drum brake is fine when new but in over ten years the rear drum had worn badly and the final straw was the hub wearing so it needed the bearings loctited into the hub. After much researching and consideration I bit the bullet and decided to convert to a disc rear brake.
This is not straight forward as there is no direct replacement available and although I believe some markets have a disc brake version the parts cost is prohibitive. To make it harder I had also decided I did not want to alter the bike with welding etc so it could be returned to standard if required. The hunt for bits began.
After trying a CR wheel kindly donated by a friend it was quickly decided that bearing sizes were going to be difficult. After cross referencing Honda bearing sizes it was discovered that mid 90's XR250s used the same rear spindle diameter and a decent wheel was sourced. The next job was to re-machine spacers from the XR on the drive side and CRF on the brake side to centre the wheel and align the chain.
A GasGas EC125 rear calliper carrier was used as its anchor slot is on the same centre as the spindle. With a little filing it located on the original swing arm lug where the drum brake originally located and the spindle hole was sleeved to suit the CRF wheel spindle. The rear Brembo calliper turned out to be the same as early KTM so a few bits from Premier had that sorted.
Unfortunately the master cylinder (also Brembo) was shot so it was used as a pattern to make up a mounting which locates on the engine's crankcase using two of the bolts. Once sorted a new master cylinder was purchased. I made a pushrod and used a rose joint to allow the original brake pedal to be retained with just a modified return spring.
The new rear brake pipe was made by Earls at Silverstone (https://www.earls.co.uk/) who were very helpful and I can highly recommend them. The retaining clips are Suzuki, the reservoir is an unknown trials bike, I like a bit of variety .
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