We love off-road bikes especially small-bore off-road bikes. If you want to ride in the backwoods or on real tight single-track trails then you want a smaller bike where you can touch the ground when going around obstacles. The full size 250s, 450s and 650s have plenty of power but are too tall making them beasts when things get tight. The challenge with smaller bikes is they are generally set up as “play” bikes as opposed to serious off-road machines. At Road And Track Specialists we were able to take the Honda CRF230 and turn it into a serious off-road contender. The CRF230 has a 230cc, 2-valve, single cylinder 4-stroke engine that is super simple and time proven in a solid chassis with a lot of hidden potential. We first started by increasing engine power output by installing the official Honda carburetor Power Up jet kit, removing the very restrictive exhaust silencer from the stock muffler, removing the airbox snorkel and installing a 2-stage, high flow UNI air filter. Although not directly related to the engine, there is one area of untapped power potential that is very often overlooked and that is driveline friction. We removed the stock sprockets and very stiff 520 o-ring chain and replaced them with Sidewinder sprockets and a ultra high strength, low friction 428 non o-ring chain. We were able to gain approximately three rear wheel horsepower with this modification. The bike’s power really came alive! The next area to address was the suspension. The small diameter, non-adjustable front forks and rear shock had to go. The stock set up was totally inadequate for a serious off-road bike. We installed a set of USD front forks from a CR80R/CRF150R race bike. We chose these forks because they were stiff, fully adjustable and lighter than a set of full sized forks from a 250 or 450cc bike and they did not require extensive modifications to install. We used a Reger Engineering front brake caliper mount and steering stem modification that made the conversion work properly. The stock CR80R/CRF150R fork springs were replaced with a set calibrated for a 180-pound rider. Although we could have used the CR80R/CRF150R upper triple clamp with stock handlebars we chose to use a BRP upper triple clamp that allowed installation of premium, 30mm Flexx handlebars complete with handguards. Turning to the rear suspension we installed a Works Performance fully adjustable, remote reservoir shock. It was a massive improvement over the factory unit. To round out the project we installed a Flatland Racing skid plate, stainless steel braided front brake hose and a Trail Tech Endurance digital dashboard that provides time, speed and maintenance feedback. When the project was completed we had an outstanding, hard charging, small-bore bike that got better and more competitive as the trails got tighter and tighter. Let Road And Track Specialists build one for you!
September 24, 2015