How to Lower a CRF250L for Free!

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by ggamster, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. ggamster

    ggamster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Tunnel Hill, IL
    OK. Over the weekend I decided to attempt lowering of the new 2013 CRF250L. This is my wife's new bike and with an inseam of 27" her feet were about 2" off the ground. I had to do something or she wasn't going to ride it. The stock seat height is 34.75". so I lowered the forks all the way and rechecked finding 34.5" was the new seat height. This wasn't going to cut it so I looked for another way to do it. Then I saw this
    [​IMG]

    As you can see. This is the bottom of the shock and there is ruffly 2.25" between the bottom of the shock and the mounting bolt. This is a greater distance than any other bike I have seen.
    [​IMG]
    All we have to do is move the bolt hole up and you lower the bike. However with that said there is a magic number for this movement. I wanted to maintain the ability to return the bike to stock height therefore I would have to keep the stock mounting location. I also wanted to maintain the same distance from my new bolt hole to the edge of the next hole. so there was enough "meat" left on the shock so there wasn't a bending or tearing issue. That magic number was determined after some careful measuring and will be reviled latter.:ear

    Lets start the breakdown.
    First put the bike up on a stand so the rear wheel is off of the ground.
    Next put a strap on the rear wheel over the fender so that the strap is snug enough to hold the weight of the rear assembly.
    [​IMG]

    Next remove the seat. Do this by removing the two long allen bolts on the back of the seat.
    [​IMG]
    Now remove the side panels. There is one allen per side. This will give you access to the rear shock upper mount bolt. To access it you will have to take the rear brake fluid reservoir. Don't turn it over just take it loose and push it lower under the mount.

    [​IMG]
    In this picture you see the reservoir and the upper shock mount.
    Next disconnect the lower wish bone linkage.
    [​IMG]
    Now disconnect the lower shock mount seen in this picture.
    [​IMG]
    Now using the strap over the rear fender and connected to the rear wheel raise the rear wheel about five inches. Next remove this upper rear shock mount bolt.
    [​IMG]
    When you take this loose you will have to have an open ended box wrench on the nut. Put some grease on the surface of the wrench. This will capture the lock nut and washer. Do this for install as well.
    [​IMG]When this bolt is removed the rear shock can be dropped out the bottom.
    Now for the easy part. The Magic Number :ear 1-7/16" You need to center your hole on this measurement taken from the bottom of the shock.
    [​IMG]Now drill this hole to match the existing hole size. Be sure you file off all burrs.
    When done you should have this.
    [​IMG]Now you you can reassemble in reverse order. Be sure you use blue Locktight where used from the factory. Which are the side panel bolts.
    The result of your labor will be the following
    [​IMG]You get the tire raised three inches and still maintains 8.25" tire to fender clearance so you will not bottom the tire out on the fender at full compression.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]Whit this mod along with lowering the forks the static seat height is now 32.75" This is still a bit much for my wife with the 27" inseam. She can kind of get the balls of her feet on the ground. But it will have to work. I will be switching out the springs for lighter ones once they are available.
    Next you will have to lower your kickstand. I took 1.5" off of mine. I would recommend 1.75" however. It just don't the the BMW lean I have become accustom to. This is also a good time to enlarge the foot as well.
    [​IMG]Now just give it some paint.
    [​IMG]The finished product of your labors.
    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. gvthnks

    gvthnks Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    578
    Location:
    Actionville NC
    Nice. And way to lean into cutting up a brand new bike.:D I like it.
    #2
  3. howardbell

    howardbell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    142
    Location:
    Bend, OR
    very nice write up, thanks for taking the time to put this together.

    however, my question to you is about the converse to this issue... if I wanted to raise up the bike an inch or so, would it be as simple as having my welder fab me up a new u-shape bracket that was an inch longer? Haven't pulled the trigger yet on the CRFL, but I'm close -

    thanks
    #3
  4. ggamster

    ggamster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Tunnel Hill, IL
    yes, but...but... You would need to raise the front end as well and you can't well, not without some extensive machining. Also your angle on the drive train would be extreme. I would never do that. It would be a very bad idea. I could be done but the hurtles to over come would be extensive. Might I suggest getting the WR. It has a seat height fo about 37" actual. There is also the KLX If you want something at about 35.5" actual. I have both the WR and the CRF. If you are tall the CRF just feels way too cramped. IMHO. I can't ride it far until I'm wanting off.

    One more thing...If you were to add an inch at the shock you would have close to a four inch raise of the rear tire. For example, my bolt hole was moved up the bracket by say...3/4" which moved the rear wheel closer to the rear fender 3.15" so keep that in mind.
    #4
  5. Navin

    Navin Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,476
    So what was your after race sag #? IIRC it was only 1" before?
    #5
  6. howardbell

    howardbell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    142
    Location:
    Bend, OR

    Thanks for the thoughtful response -

    At 5'10" and a 32" inseam, I feel I am right in between the 2 bikes, with the WRR being a little too tall and the CRF being just little short... and if I had to be totally honest, I'd have to admit that the only real reason for wanting to raise up the CRFL a little is purely superfluous -- just to get a little more aggressive looking woods bike -- the older I get, the slower i go, in other words, "more show, less go"

    thanks again
    #6
  7. ggamster

    ggamster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Tunnel Hill, IL
    The WR has some adjustment in the rear shock. You should be able to ride it stock with the suspension in it's lowest point. I would do that and ride it.
    #7
  8. Navin

    Navin Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,476
    This bike has a threaded preload collar set up, right??? :ear
    #8
  9. ggamster

    ggamster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Tunnel Hill, IL
    Yes it does. However it is all the way backed off from the factory. No reducing the preload. Only increasing. I don't know what weight they want the bike to be set up for but with 190lbs on it I only get about 10% sag and none in the front.
    #9
  10. Navin

    Navin Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,476
    I thought (feared!) it might have one of those old 5 step ramp adjusters or nothing at all. Maybe oversprung to carry 2 up? Weird but who knows?
    #10
  11. ggamster

    ggamster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Tunnel Hill, IL
    I did something fun/dumb this weekend. I did a single track ride with my 8 year old two up on this bike. It was scary as it could be. I don't think we got out of second. Which is about 40mph....Not as bad as I thought. I wouldn't recommend this however. With the back end that low the steering was all over the place. :up

    [​IMG]
    You can see. This is how it come but look. There is very little adjustment that can be made in ether direction.
    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. Navin

    Navin Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,476
    So you'd need a spring compressor or the old hose clamp trick to even get the spring off I guess? Non rebuildable too from what I see?
    #12
  13. ggamster

    ggamster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Tunnel Hill, IL
    Correct with that little adjustment I would suspect you would need to compress the spring for removal but it can be removed. On the other hand. I can't see how to take the shock apart for a rebuild.
    #13
  14. gregitt

    gregitt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Oddometer:
    14
    Location:
    Loei, Thailand
    How to Lower a CRF250L for Free!

    Great post...hope I am replying in the correct mode.

    If you are riding the lowered bike solo, how do you feel it affects the overall handling????

    thanks much
    #14
  15. ggamster

    ggamster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Tunnel Hill, IL
    There are no noticable negative effects. It feels just the same. If I were real picky I think the suspension may work a bit better on the small coppy stuff lowered due to the angle of the rear swing arm. It rides great.
    #15
  16. Navin

    Navin Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,476

    :ear
    #16
  17. ggamster

    ggamster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Tunnel Hill, IL
    the same. about an inch. the leverage ratio change would be very little because the angle if the shock is about the same. the relationship of travel to shock movement is therefore the same. The only change is the angle of the rear swingarm and with that being more level on paper you should feel a difference in the sensitivity of the rear shock. However in the real world I don't think i can thell much difference.
    #17
  18. gregitt

    gregitt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Oddometer:
    14
    Location:
    Loei, Thailand
    Thanks again for this Thread! Today, a Swiss friend and I (mostly him) followed your detailed procedure and everything turned out just as you said.

    I was having lots of problems getting on and off the bike especially after spraining my left ankle. Many rural roads here in Thailand have a strong crown, so if you stop on the left the bike leans so far over it tries to fall on you when getting off and on (I am old) have short legs (30") and I carry a rear bag for raingear and cameras etc

    The bike seemed a little stiffer in the rear and front as I rode it home today...perhaps it shortens the wheel base just a tad, but it was raining and slippery so I couldn't really get it on....I will say, it handles well...and tomorrow if not pouring, I will take it for a spin up the big hill to Phu Rua.

    I really like the idea the bike can be set back easily....

    Appreciate it!
    #18
  19. toypro1

    toypro1 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    59
    very nice write up, thanks for taking the time to put this together.

    Dan
    #19
  20. 'Flagger

    'Flagger ..this space for rent..

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,447
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    This was not my experience when removing my shock to increase the preload... the locking collars were about in the middle of the adjustment range. Not saying yer wrong .. just saying mine was different.

    There really isn't much adjustment available, however. You can see that below ... this was taken after increasing the preload to the max available. Neglected to take a before picture.

    [​IMG]
    #20