Softening up a CRF

Discussion in 'Technical' started by Venman, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. Dear fellow bikers,

    Excuse me while I try to tap into your experiences. I've bought a CRF250L soon to find out that I will have too soften up the rear suspension somehow. If I understand correctly this would either mean changing the rear shock (or just it's spring) or putting in a lowering link (which as a side effect changes the shock's leverage and thus the sought softening).

    Now if I go for the first option, first thing I'd have to find out is the spring rate of the CRF250L's current shock: Anyone? Then I would have to find an aftermarket supplier of a softer version for the shock / spring: Are they there yet? Suggestions?

    If I go for the second option, I just would like to hear some experiences from people that have applied a lowering link. I'm looking at a link that will lower the bike 1.75". Are we talking significant softening?

    I know, many off road bikers find the CRF's rear already too soft as it is, so you might be curious as to why I'd want to soften up. Well, if you talk any spine language: straight back, deteriorated disk. Small irrigularities on seemingly smooth tarmac become clearly noticable, tension builds, fatigue, pain etc. I hardly ride off road (find the bike great for short commutes and mountain roads) so the the softness would not bother me (nor would the lowering).

    So I'm looking for:
    - What's the spring rate of the CRF250L standard rear shock?
    - Suppliers of softer shocks or springs?
    - Experiences with softening effects of lowering links
    And of course (highly unlikely but just for completeness:D): Any brighter ideas?

    Please help me out, I'd hate to let this bike go!
  2. Im sorry i cant answer any of your questions but maybe a couple of ideas for you to toy with. Firstly the back shock has a preload which can be softened up but ive no idea how soft they get as mine is still at factory setting. A few members on this forum have changed their settings and they say its nearly impossible to get in there with the proper tool so a long drift and hammer seems to be the go.
    Another way to soften up your ride is to have your seat re upholstered with softer foam (which also has the advantage of lowering the ride hight). Making the seat slightly wider will also benefit comfort as it will spread the shock loads over more of your butt instead of directly up your spine.
    And finally, instead of installing a lowering kit, you could change your wheels to 17 inch supermoto style with road tyres (you stated you dont fancy off road anyway so this will benefit road handling & lower the ride height without sacraficing shock geometry)
    Happy riding.
  3. Do you want to lower the bike or soften the rear spring (decrease pre-load)? Sorry it is not very clear from your sorry.
  4. Thanks for your suggestions Irishbri but I've been reading on a number of sites that, contrary to popular belief, changing preload does NOT stiffen or soften your spring. I would hereby invite CRF owners that have changed their preload and found it has significantly softened their ride to reply me thus though!

    Thats's another reason why I am reluctant to start hammering away: I might have to sell this bike if I can't get this right, want to keep it in good condition.

    Did that already. It has effect but not enough.

    This one will only lower the bike, not soften it.
  5. I want to soften the rear.
  6. You're right that adjusting pre-load does not soften your spring, but by reducing tension on the spring by backing off the pre-load you are softening the suspension. Make sense?

    So, I guess Honda does not provide a tool to adjust the pre-load on the rear shock of this bike. If you're concerned about damaging the preload rings with a hammer and drift why not ask your Honda dealer to sort it for you. Perhaps they have the proper tool?
  7. Venman, if you can't get things sorted out I trade you a brand-new KLX150 for your CRF! ;)

  8. Hmmmm, don't rub it in!! :lolno:
  9. I throw in an Airhawk - it wouldn't raise the seat height of the KLX150 too much.

  10. Matter of fact, it wouldn't raise the seat of the CRF much either!:think:
  11. That's why I thought of the KLX150!

    Lower seat height + Airhawk = soft but not too high.

    Deal? :)

    Merry X-mas!
  12. How did you go with softening the bike Venman?

    Honda CRF250L Stock Spring Rate: 9.5 kg/mm, according to Racetech.

    Don't buy a softer spring until you have experimented with backing the pre-load rings right back to the top of the screw thread. Don't be scared to give the rings a good bashing with a hammer & screw driver. Never in my experience has a bike not been bought or sold because of marks on pre-load rings!!
  13. Thanks for your inquiry Joel but the problem seems to have solved itself somehow. Either:
    1 the suspension went through it's own break-in period and got a tad softer or
    2 my back got used to the different dynamic or
    3 I just stopped bitching about it :smile1:
    and most probably a combination of the above. Yes, I did make a half attempt at changing the pre-load at first just to find they weren't persuaded easily to move! But as said, at some point the issue seemed to just drop under my irritation threshold somehow.

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