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Honda CRF250L - Modifications
February 12, 2014 version

 Introduction 

 Modifications 

 Big Bore 

 Maintenance 

 Tuning EJK 

 Tuning AFR+ 

 Head-to-Head 

Rick's Home Page

Click pictures to supersize.

Modifications are shown in roughly the order I did them.

Parts changes between '13 and '14 CRF250L models are shown here: CRF250L changes from '13 to '14

                                                 Alphabetical table of contents 

A short ride 
Air filter 
Battery 
Brake pedal 
Clutch 
Engine case covers 
Exhaust changes 
Fork bleeders 
Forks 
Fork seal protectors 
Front brake line 
Front fender 
Fuel injection controller 
Fuel Tank (IMS)  
Fuel Tank (stock) removal and reinstall 
Gearing/Sprockets 
GPSr mount 
Handlebar, grips, and handguards 
Headlight 
Hour - Tach Meter 
Kouba Link 
Long bolts 
Manufacturer labels 
Miscellaneous removals 
MoJavi saddlebags 
Naked bike 
Radiator guard 
Rear rack 
Seal Doctor 
Seat Concepts seat 
Seat strap 
Shifter 
Shifter bolt 
Shock 
Sidestand switch 
Skidplate 
SpeedoDRD 
Sprockets 
Taillight 
Tank bag 
Tires 
Weigh-in 

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Weigh-in

When I got my CRFL home, the first thing I did was weigh the bike and take measurements.
8/15/12 stock, full tank of gas, all other fluids - 309 pounds.
8/15/12 stock, no fuel - 298 pounds.
8/17/12 mods, no fuel - 288 pounds (removed unwanted parts; changed front sprocket).
8/28/12 mods, no fuel - 286 pounds (added handguards and skidplate; swapped battery, rear sprocket, tires, front fender).
11/9/12 mods, no fuel - 280 pounds (FMF muffler and header; other minor mods with no significant weight impact).


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The fuel tank holds 2 gallons plus 9 ounces (2.07 gallons).

There is a peculiar obstruction in the filler neck - two metal bars. I can't put my funnel in very far at all - phooey. What were they thinking?

 

The seat height is 34.4 inches.
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If you want it lower, check out the lowering info on the introduction page -  Lowering

 

February 25, 2013
IMS is taking orders for their new 3.1 gal plastic fuel tank, black or natural. About $275.
Free shipping on phone orders:   1-800-237-9906.
10% off for Customer Loyalty if you've ordered before.


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Naked bike

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Where is all the wiring?

No flapper valve?

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Wiring under the tank.

...and a few hoses.

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Some wiring here - very sano.

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I took the brake switch cover off. I may replace the mechanical rear brake light switch with a banjo bolt brake light switch for reliability.

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I took the muffler heat shield off to reveal the humungous muffler. This thing is huge.

It weighs 12 pounds 4 ounces complete, sans heat shield.

What's inside?
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Nuthin but baffles and tubes.

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And here's the spark arrestor.
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Here's a muffler that does not have a spark arrester. It's about a pound lighter than the US muffler.


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Seat strap

The first mod I usually do is to lower the seat height because I have a short 28" inseam. The CRFL seat is low enough in stock trim for me to ride comfortably, so I skipped the lowering for once!

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The seat does have an annoying seat strap that I removed as the first mod. I removed the nuts on the bottom of the seat, slipped off the strap, then reinstalled the nuts.


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Gearing/Sprockets

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<---  The stock CRFL front sprocket has a rubber strip bonded to the front and back of the sprocket that we suppose is there to silence the chain. But it has proven to be problematic on the WR250R, and some riders have used a razor blade to scrape it off.

I found the stock gearing on my WR250R was too high to pull the bike in 6th gear at my riding elevation of over 8,000 feet. The first test ride on my new CRF250L proved this was the case for it also, so I installed a 13T front sprocket which I had previously ordered for just this contingency.  --->

The CBR250R and the CRF250R use the same engine and I suspected that the front sprockets were interchangeable. About a month before I got my CRFL, I looked online for anyone making CBR250R front sprockets in 13T size and found one made by Driven and sold by Surfside Moto. I ordered one and it soon arrived and was put into the 'waiting parts bin' until just today.

The rear hub and sprocket setup on the CBRR looks too 'street lookin' to me to also fit the CRFL, so I'm holding off until I get a Honda CRF250L Parts Catalog and then I'll look for options on the rear sprocket. On my first long test ride in the dirt, the 13T front was adequate, and will do for now.


NOTE - A post by 'infinite loop' on ADVrider shows:
Changed counter sprocket to a 13 tooth (1996-2004 XR250R fits perfect - JT Sprockets JTF1321.13)
ADVrider post, see #25

CRFs Only also sells front and rear sprockets.

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The rear sprocket is too small for my needs, which is slower running on ATV trails, dirt roads, and 4WD roads. In my WR250R vs CRF250L head-to-head comparison, I calculated that my CRFL would need 13/45 gearing to match my WR250R gearing. I had ordered and installed the front 13, now all I needed was a rear 45. RED1 from Australia suggested that I look at the 94/95 Australian XR250R which had the same sprocket as the CRF250L. Not possible - I only have access to USA part numbers. But I discovered that the '91-'00 XR600R and '93-'11 XR650L bikes had the same rear sprocket as the CRF250L. Sprocket Center has the same 42T sprocket listed for both bikes, so I ordered it. I felt the jump to 45T would be too large based on how the CRFL was responding. Seat of the pants trumps desk calculations!

I previously mentioned that the '96-'04 XR250R had the same rear sprocket as the CRF250L, but this was an error on my part - I apologize.

The sprocket picture shows the stock CRF250L 40T on the left, the Sprocket Center 42T in the center, and a CRF250X on the right. The Sprocket Center 42T was an exact fit.
40T - 644 g
42T - 629 g, bigger cutouts

Note - the CRF250X sprocket on the right is distorted in this picture and appears to have a completely different id than the other two sprockets - this is an artifact of the wide-angle lens on my camera. I will replace this picture with another showing a better comparison.

NOTE

Chad at Sprocket Center decided to make up some 43T rear sprockets for the CRF250L after he and I discussed my need for this. Perhaps others will also want to try a larger rear sprocket. I installed the 43T in Oct '12. It improved the slow speed response nicely, and I don't think I'll have to go any larger for the type of riding I do.

Installation of the 43T was a bit tricky. I had to remove the lower chain guide so the axle could be moved forward enough to put the chain on the sprocket. After adjusting the axle back to get the correct chain slack, I had enough room to re-install the lower chain guide. I may cut off part of the lower rubber block to allow the chain to feed onto the sprocket with less of a bend. I don't see an actual problem yet, so I may not have to do this. I'll check everything carefully after 100 miles of use.
- - - - - - - -

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The reason I'm showing the CRF250X sprocket above is because of a discussion on another forum about some of the CRFL parts being the same as CRF250X parts. The wheel hubs were proffered as proof. The CRFX sprocket does have the same id as the CRFL sprocket so it fits the CRFL hub, but the sprocket bolt holes are different. The CRFL uses 10mm bolts; the CRFX uses 8mm bolts. If you mounted the CRFX sprocket on the CRFL hub, it would rotate back and forth because the bolts would be too small for the hub holes. This picture shows the CRFL bolt on the left and the CRFX bolt on the right. The bolt heads are different, also. So, the hubs are different, as well.

Notice how much heavier the CRFL hardware is than the CRFX. I would think the lower powered CRFL would be able to use the lighter CRFX hardware. Wonder why they went so heavy duty on the CRFL?

Chad, from Sprocket Center, just told me the reason. Street bikes have to use the larger diameter flat bolts; tapered bolts are only used on dirt bikes.

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I had a little problem removing the CRFL sprocket bolts. I had no problems with the first 3 nuts/bolts, but #4 nut was so hard to break loose that the nut rotation spun the bolt and the allen key I was using to hold the bolt in place slightly rounded the socket in the bolt head. But the nut finally loosened. The fifth nut/bolt came out fine, but on #6, I again rounded the socket so badly when the allen key would no longer hold the bolt while I was trying to loosen the nut. So I drilled the bolt out enough to match my largest easy-out, and out it came. That was $40 worth of titanium drill bits! Not to mention a not-exact replacement nut and bolt (until the CRFL nut and bolt arrived).

A word of caution - use a very high quality allen key to keep the bolt head from turning and a 6-point 17mm box end wrench to loosen the nut. The force required to loosen the nut is very great. I had to use a 3 foot pipe extension on my 17mm box end wrench... it helps to have a friend lend a hand.

I think they overtightened the nuts. If I could have gotten an air gun/socket onto the nuts, it would have been easy-peasy - but no-go, the spokes are in the way.

Anyway, I tightened the nuts to the correct torque and they loosen just fine, now.

 

Speed (MPH) at selected RPM in each gear.

I'm using 43/13 final gearing (sprockets).
I'm using the tire circumference of the Kenda K270 120/80-18, my chosen rear DS tire.

CRF250L Prim.     Final     Tranny
  73/26 2.808   43/13 3.308   3.46
              
Gear--> 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th  
RPM v 3.333 2.118 1.571 1.304 1.115 0.963  
1000 2.4 3.7 5.0 6.1 7.1 8.2 8.24 MPH/1K RPM
2000 4.8 7.5 10.1 12.2 14.2 16.5  
3000 7.1 11.2 15.1 18.2 21.3 24.7  
4000 9.5 15.0 20.2 24.3 28.4 33.0  
5000 11.9 18.7 25.2 30.4 35.6 41.2  
6000 14.3 22.5 30.3 36.5 42.7 49.4  
7000 16.7 26.2 35.3 42.6 49.8 57.7  
8000 19.0 30.0 40.4 48.7 56.9 65.9 <-- my max
9000 21.4 33.7 45.4 54.7 64.0 74.1  
10000 23.8 37.5 50.5 60.8 71.1 82.4  

Driven 13T front sprocket - about $33.  Surfside Moto
10320-xx, xx=40, 42, 43, 45, 48, 51, 52, 53 rear sprockets - about $37-$42.  Sprocket Center



Information comparing front and rear wheels of CRF250L and CRF250X.

Front wheel  CRF250L CRF250X
Rim 96 -- 08 08 --
J 21 x 1.60 3 12 DOT
76 -- 08 10 --
N 21 x 1.60 12 03
Spokes 3.2mm 3.25mm
Rotor id 100mm 100mm
Axle dia 15mm & 20mm 20mm & 25mm
Axle length 182mm & 50mm = 232mm 188mm & 39mm = 227mm
Hub no edge lips
smooth surface
lips on both edges
rough surface
Hub width 99mm 107mm

Rear wheel CRF250L CRF250X
Rim 92 -- 10 1415
J 18 x 2.15 3 12 DOT
52 -- 08 1517
N 18 x 2.15 1 03
Spokes 3.2mm 4.0mm
Sprocket id 125mm 125mm
Sprocket bolts  10mm flat 8mm tapered
Rotor id 115mm 125mm
Axle dia 17mm 25mm
Axle length 285mm 271mm
Hub smooth surface rough surface
Hub width 154mm 149mm
  id - inside diameter


Common parts CRF250L vs CRF250X

I have the parts lists for the CRF250L and CRF250X bikes in Excel spreadsheets and this makes it easy to compare parts between the two bikes. The 250L has 841 different parts and the 250X has 973 different parts. I counted valve shims as 1 part (they use the same shims). There are 59 parts that are common to both bikes. Of these, most are common bolts, nuts, washers, o-rings, clips, and a few small rubber parts. No significant engine, suspension, or frame parts are shared between the two bikes. I guess they really are completely different bikes...

That's not to say that some parts can't be moved from one bike to the other.

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Shifter bolt

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The stock bolt can come loose and then the shifter starts wearing the splines on the shift shaft. I always put a longer bolt in and install a locking nut on the extended length. That sucker will never come loose. It does add a little extra weight, but it's more than worth it.


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Miscellaneous removals

I removed the following items. Most came off by removing mounting bolts and some had electrical connectors that had to be released.
Front and rear turn signals
Left and right side number plates
Muffler heat shield and end cap
License plate brackets
Front reflectors
Passenger pegs
Sprocket cover (but not case protector)
Chain cover
Stock mirrors
Tool box

CAUTION: The Canadian CRF250L does not have an EVAP canister (it does have all other Emission Control Systems).
The Service Manual shows hose routing for the US and Canadian CRF250Ls.
The fuel tank cap does not vent.
All of these are related to the EVAP canister presence/absence.

5 pages for US (1-21 thru 1-25);
4 pages for Canada (1-26 thru 1-29).
I labeled them so I wouldn't get confused (after the initial confusion).

1-30 thru 1-34 are also helpful.

More removals:  Honda CRF250L - CCC Modifications

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I like to do several mods at once then ride the bike to check my work.

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Skidplate

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The stock skidplate is a laugh. I bought an AXP skidplate from France (via a shop in the UK) for my WR250R but never installed it. I checked the fit on the CRFL - close enough until AXP makes one for the CRFL.

I had to drill new mounting holes in the front. They are off-center because the CRFL frame and engine are not symmetrical, but I don't think anyone will notice.

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Very good coverage on this side.

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There were no mounting points on the bottom, so I used some conduit clamps and grade 8 round head bolts.

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The rear clip fit, kinda. I used a heat gun to form the rear end of the skidplate up towards the frame member. I may try for a tighter fit later by shortening the clip.

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Very good coverage on this side, also.

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The water pump is covered nicely.

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Overall, I like it.

AXP skidplate for the WR250R - about $158 at Moose dealers.


Never content to leave well enough alone, I decided to buy the AXP skidplate that was designed to fit the CRF250L. I found one for a good price on eBay, and ordered it. I'm glad I did; I really like how the one designed to fit the CRF250L mounts - 2 bolts and 2 collars. The rear of the skidplate has a standoff that slides into two frame pockets so no hardware needed in the back! Very sano.

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AXP skidplate for the CRF250L - about $158 on eBay - sold by RaceCrafters-USA.
Check their web site if they don't have a current eBay listing:  Racecrafters-USA


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Sidestand switch

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I removed the sidestand switch. This was not as easy as it sounds. The wires ran up through a channel on the frame. I had to remove the bottom sub-frame bolts to allow the sub-frame to pivot out of the way so I could slide the wires out of the channel. I also had to loosen the upper sub-frame bolts to allow the sub-frame to pivot. This required me to remove the fuel tank, or at least raise the rear of the tank, but I elected to remove all tank mounting hardware and elevate the tank using bungie cords attached to an overhead rod in my garage. It was convenient to inspect the fuel tank connections (electrical, fuel line, vent line) at this time. More on all those later.

I also had to make a jumper for the open end of the side stand wiring coupler so the CPU/ECM would think the side stand is always up. The jumper connects the two wires at the connector open end. I used a short piece of insulated wire to which I mounted two female connector pins, one at each end. I bent the wire into a U shape and pushed the female pins onto the exposed male ends in the connector. I wrapped some tape over the end of the connector and tucked it away.

If you don't have female pins of the right size, try Radio Shack. You could also just solder the wire directly to the exposed male pins and cover the connector.

I didn't do this mod to just remove the weight, I did it for reliability. If you fall out in the boonies and crush or damage the side stand switch, you may have a difficult time fixing it in the rough.

One of my goals in doing this mod was to preserve the wiring intact, so everything could be restored to stock conditions. As you see, I went to great lengths to do just that. Another rider, gliderboy on ThumperTalk, came up with a much easier mod. With his permission, here is his version...


Having trained myself to remember to put up the kickstand properly I removed the kickstand switch today. I like simple and this does that as well as loses a little weight (about 100 grams), and may add to reliability. I would not recommend it for a street bike as it removes a safety feature, but make that decision yourself.

The reason for posting this small mod is that it is really much more simple than has been described on Rick Ramsey's awesome site. Here are the steps which require no removal of the subframe, and allow for easy restoration of the switch should you desire to go back to the stock arrangement.

1. Remove the left side panel plastic.
2. Locate the rubber boot covering the wiring junctions just to the upper left of the battery.
3. Pull the boot forward as much as possible and roll back the rubber to reveal the electrical connectors.
4. Trace the kickstand switch wire to the plastic green connector which has only 2 wires leading to it.
5. Depress the connector lever and pull off the kickstand switch side part of the connector.
6. Cut the 2 wires about an inch from this connector, and simply pull the wires through their channel.
7. Remove the 3 bolts holding on the kickstand switch, and separate the switch assembly from the bike (best to lean bike against wall off the kickstand for this step).
8. Replace the kickstand pivot bolt.
9. Take the cut off connector, strip the ends of the 2 wires, twist them together, solder them and cover with heat shrink.
10. Replug this fixed closed position connector end piece into the male receptacle on the bike.
11. Replace the boot and the side panel and confirm that the bike runs in gear without a problem.

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Long bolts

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The long bolts that stick out from the rear of the seat and the rear fender are probably there for mounting straps or stretch cords to hold small items on the rear of the seat. I already dragged my left inner thigh across the left seat bolt while sliding back on the seat while negotiating a small jump.

I replaced all four bolts. I used two stock Honda CRF250X bolts (with dished hex heads for lightening as shown on the seat) for the seat bolts. This allows me to remove the seat bolts in the field with a socket rather than an allen wrench.

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I used two stainless-steel round head allen bolts for the fender bolts. They look nicely recessed, and I don't anticipate having to remove the bolts in the field. I bought the bolts at the local TrueValue hardware store: M8x1.25 — 25mm.

The new hardware weighs less than half of the original long bolts.

BOLT, FLANGE (8X24)   90101-KZ3-J50 - about $1.47 each.  Discount Honda Parts


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A short ride

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Time for a short ride over Marshall Pass and down to Sargents to meet some friends. 110 miles round-trip and the CRFL purred like a kitten.


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Tires

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I prefer Kenda K270 tires for off-road use. I'm mounting them with inner tubes now, but will switch to Mefo Mousse later. The K270 is DOT-rated and works great on the highway as well.
The front tire is a 3.00-21 and it raised the axle 5/16". The knobs, at 5/16", are 1/16" longer than the stock tire knobs.
The rear tire is a 120/80-18 and it lowered the axle 1/8". The knobs, at 9/16", are 3/16" longer than the stock tire knobs.
Although the bike geometry was changed, I did not notice any ill effects on a subsequent ride.

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I installed Motion Pro LiteLoc rim locks on both wheels, one each.


More tire info. I bought a durometer; about $60 on Amazon.
Shore A Hardness Durometer, Digital Tester, Rubber Tire, Zero Hold w/ Battery Case

I have always wanted one so I could see how soft/hard various tires are in comparison to one another. So I tested all the new tires in my garage, including the stock IRC tires on the CRFL.

Front tires, all new.

Brand/model Size Duro Notes
IRC GP-21F 3.00-21 69 Stock front CRFL, DOT
Kenda K270 3.00-21 69 Chosen replacement, DOT

Rear tires, all new.

Brand/model Size Duro Notes
IRC GP-22R 1.20/80-18 71 Stock rear CRFL, DOT
Kenda K270 1.20/80-18 64 Chosen replacement, DOT
Pirelli MT43 4.00-18 62 DOT trials-like
IRC TR 011R 4.00-18 58-59 Competition trials tire

Just what I expected. But nice to confirm with an official tester.
 

Kenda K270 tires - about $48 front and $58 rear.  American Motorcycle Tire
Motion Pro LiteLoc rim locks - about $16 - $18 depending on size.  Rocky Mountain ATV MC
Shore A Hardness Durometer - about $60.  Amazon


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Hour - Tach Meter

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A friend showed me a Works Connection Hour-Tach Meter he had on his KTM and I immediately ordered one for my CRFL. I want to see how high I rev the bike on the faster roads that I ride - I hope I don't fall while checking the revs...

No power required; you wrap a wire around the spark plug lead. It's magic.

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With the out-of-the-way HEL front brake line installed, the Hour - Tach Meter is easy to see in its new location on the small ledge in front of and under the instrument panel. And it's well protected by the headlight nacelle.

Works Connection Hour-Tach Meter - about $34.  Seismic Cycles on Amazon


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Front fender

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I really don't like the look of the CRFL front fender. I had a new unused '04 CRF250X front fender on a shelf and mounted it up for a look - PERFECT. The fenders are very nearly the same shape in the front, with the 250X fender not having that ugly, blocky, mid-section. And, it's 2 ounces lighter!

The only fly in the ointment - the fender hits the front frame downtube. I added two thin washers to each rear fender bolt and all was well.

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Here's the final result, ready to ride.

Which I did, for about 60 miles. The new rear sprocket and the smaller rear tire lowered the gearing substantially, almost perfect for my needs. I may eventually change to a 43T rear, but we'll see about that after the CRFL is broke-in.

 

While buying some Polisport parts I noticed that they had a universal front fender that looked kinda interesting. The lower rear of the fender is black and ventilated. Gotta be worth a few saved ounces...

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I mounted the fender using the supplied Polisport plastic piece that allows the hole spacing to be set as needed, as per the 'universal' aspect. I used one rear spacer washer on each of the rear bolts to keep the fender from hitting the front frame downtube. I went for a ride to see how it performed. Of course, I didn't actually notice any difference, but I liked the look.

Never to let things be, I removed the plastic adjuster piece and installed the stock top-hat spacers. I had to drill out the four holes so the spacers fit, but easily done because the plastic was slightly marked by the mounting bosses and I could line everything up correctly. You'll see what I mean if you have the parts in front of you. The top-hat spacers allow you to torque the mounting bolts quite tightly because they prevent the plastic from deforming.

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The Polisport fender is 40g lighter than the CRF250X fender; BONUS!

CRF250X front fender - about $44.  Discount Honda Parts
Polisport UFX Free Flow Front Fender CR Red - about $30.  Rocky Mountain ATV MC


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Battery

I ordered a 5.0AH Turntech battery, which at 2 pounds, will save at least 3 or as much as 4 pounds. I talked with Joe at TurnTech about the battery features, charging, and cell balancing. His comments clarified my understanding of the battery. The last item we talked about was the clock in the instrument panel. I noted that a simple electrical implementation would be a continuous drain from the battery, whereas a more complex implementation could involve a small rechargeable battery in the instrument panel and main battery draw would not occur. The small battery would recharge from the alternator when the motor was running. Joe asked me to check for parasitic drain which would indicate the simple implementation and I promised to follow up when I made the measurements.

Before actually making any measurements, I read Chapter 19 Battery/Charging System in the Honda Service Manual and found the following:

Page 19-2
The battery will self-discharge when the motorcycle is not in use. For this reason, charge the battery every 2 weeks to prevent sulfation from occurring.

Page 19-4
BATTERY REMOVAL/INSTALLATION
In a note below the removal and installation procedure, it shows:
* For digital clock setting procedure (page 20-9)

Page 19-5
CURRENT LEAKAGE INSPECTION
With the ignition switch turned OFF...
SPECIFIED CURRENT LEAKAGE: 0.34 mA max.
If current leakage exceeds the specified value, a shorted circuit is likely.

Taken together, the evidence points to a simple implementation of clock power; continuous draw from the battery.

C'mon Honda, when you design the electrics to have a clock drawing current when the ignition switch is off, the current drawn is not a leakage current, it's a designed power-off draw. It's only leakage when it exceeds the current drawn by the devices connected by you.

Wanna guess how much "leakage" current is drawn by the clock when the ignition switch is off - 0.0 mA.

I guess Honda designed it right. I'll do an all-day battery disconnect just to make sure there isn't some kind of capacitor circuit. I hope it plays out like it looks - no parasitic drain.

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Stock battery on the left, TurnTech 5.0 Ah on the right.

The TurnTech is about 3.5 pounds lighter and about an inch shorter.

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I used some camping pad high density foam to take up the extra space.

TurnTech 5.0 Ah battery - about $99.  TurnTech


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Handlebars, grips, and handguards

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Time for new handlebars, grips, and some flashy handguards.

I'm using a pair of Pro Taper SE 7/8" aluminum handlebars which were previously mounted on my WR250R. The small aluminum threaded pieces are Rigid Handguard End Insert Mounts and are threaded into the end of the handlebar (after I tap the handlebar ends). Bolts for the ends of the handguards then thread into these pieces and stay very tight. It's more work and money, but a very reliable connection/mount. I didn't use the supplied expander mounts shown in the picture.

The grips are Spider Slim Line SLR grips, with holes already cut into the ends of the grips. These are dual compound grips and they are a bit slimmer than most other grips. I've been using them for quite a few years and I'm stickin with 'em.

I'm using all-plastic Acerbis handguards to keep weight down. I don't expect to bang into any rocks or trees because most of my riding will be on dirt roads and 4WD roads, so these handguards are mostly cosmetic. I expect they'd get broken pretty quickly if I put them on my real trail bike...

Note: when I removed the controls and switches I found three small locating holes in the handlebars. I found a locating pin in each switch assembly plastic cover and one locating pin on the throttle assembly. I ground all of these off. Be careful if you do this; the pins are metal (brass, aluminum?) and the assemblies are plastic. Use water to prevent the plastic from deforming and interfering with a good fit to the handlebars.

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All gussied up, ready to ride. Tomorrow, for sure.

Pro Taper SE handlebars, CR high bend - about $63.  Rocky Mountain ATV MC
Rigid Handguard End Insert Mounts - about $28.  System Tech Racing
Spider Slim Line SLR - about $17.  Rocky Mountain ATV MC
Acerbis Rally III Handguards - about $80.  Rocky Mountain ATV MC


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Taillight

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Several months ago, I came across a very petite LED taillight made by Polisport and ordered it in anticipation of using it on my next DS bike. How timely. I removed 2 pounds 8 ounces of stock taillight assembly and added back 8 ounces of Polisport and I'm extremely pleased with the look.

One bothersome detail - there is no license plate light. If that is a concern, try the Baja Designs LED taillight. It's a bit larger, but is fully street legal.

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If you look closely, you'll see I also removed the helmet lock AND bracket. 6.2 ounces!

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Sano.

The engine is running so the LED is lit.

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I added a thin black piece of Kydex as a stiffener and license plate mount. The Polisport mounting area was a bit skimpy.

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I installed a hydraulic rear brake light switch to complete the job. (I had previously removed the mechanical switch.)

Polisport LED taillight/brake light assembly - about $22.  Rocky Mountain ATV MC
Tusk hydraulic rear brake light switch - about $13.  Rocky Mountain ATV MC
Taillight, BD, LED Dropdown, 60-0709 - about $65.  Baja Designs


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Tank bag

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I liked the MSR Roost Pak as a tank bag on my WR250R so much, that I bought another one for the CRFL. It's small and not in the way, but still holds the necessities.

I'm using thin straps for mounting - going for the clean look...

MSR Roost Pak - about $27.  MotoSport on Amazon


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SpeedoDRD

The CRFL speedo/odo is driven by pulses from the tranny and when you change gearing and/or tires, the speedo/odo will not show the correct speed and/or miles traveled. 12oclocklabs makes a calibrator called the SpeedoDRD which corrects the number of pulses sent to the speedo/odo. You have to calibrate the SpeedoDRD in one of several ways - I chose the GPS method which requires a calibration ride.

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I set the CRFL trip meter A to zero and started a new track on the GPS receiver, then went for a ride. It was very scenic out...

I rode 66.7 miles according to the CRFL trip meter. The GPS track was 56 miles. I put these numbers into the SpeedoDRD calculator and got a correction factor of  -16.0%.

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I installed the SpeedoDRD according to the instructions. All I had to do was find the speed sensor connector, separate the two halves, and plug in the SpeedoDRD. The Service Manual showed (kinda) that the connector was hooked to a tab on a frame member.

I found the frame member - just look in here...

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Here is where it was. I removed the connector so you can see the tab where it was mounted.

The only thing is, you can't really get to this spot with the EVAP canister in place - it sits right in front of the frame member and blocks access. So I removed the EVAP canister temporarily.

Details:  Honda CRF250L - CCC Modifications

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With the canister out of the way, it was easy (well, almost) to get the connector off of the tab. I squeezed the locking tab on the end and slid the connector towards me and off of the frame tab. That blue rectangular piece is the end of the locking tab. It's not easy to squeeze it enough to unlock it, but I prevailed and it finally unlocked.

I then pulled the connector to the left side of the bike so I could work on getting it apart. The wires are not long enough to allow working on the right side of the bike. I had to move some wires, a hose, and a plastic wire cover aside to get the connector out where I could work on it.

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<---  Here's the connector with both halves still engaged.

The top half slid onto the frame tab. The bottom half has a locking tab that holds the two halves together. I squeezed the locking tab to unlock the connector and pulled the two halves apart.

 

Here's the bottom half disengaged from the top half --->
you can see the locking tab clearly.

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Both halves, ready for the SpeedoDRD.

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The SpeedoDRD with connectors on one end and the brains on the other end.

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Here's the SpeedoDRD plugged into the two connector halves. I entered the correction factor ( -16.0%.) into the SpeedoDRD and tucked the whole group (connectors, wire, and SpeedoDRD) into the area where the connector was originally located.

 

Check ride results....
GPS showed 56.0 miles
CRFL odometer showed 55.9 miles.

That's .1 mile error out of 56 miles or about .18%. I call that a success. No need for further adjustment as far as I'm concerned. Thanks to Brooks at 12oclockLabs.

SpeedoDRD - about $80.  12oclocklabs


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Giant Loop makes Mojavi Saddlebags and here's what they have to say about them:

"Specifically designed to carry just the essentials needed for a day trip or trail ride, the MoJavi Saddlebag is the slim, trim bag for inner tubes, tools, fluids and other "save a ride" necessities."

These bags are the shiznit. I bought the original design for my WR250R and now have the newer model for the CRF250L. These have a removable tool pouch, which allows me to keep the rear end of the bike clear so my feet don't hit anything when mounting the bike.

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The bottle in the right picture is a Touratech 2 Liter Spare Fuel Canister. They fit nicely in the Mojavi with some room left over. Two of these adds over a gallon of extra fuel - GREAT! I will carry these when I go on longer rides to get my range up over 150 miles.

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The right picture shows the removable tool pouch.

Mojavi™ Saddlebag - about $199.  Giant Loop
Touratech 2 Liter Spare Fuel Canister 070-0580 - about $25.  Touratech


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Front brake line

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The stock front brake line is way too long and arcs up over the instrument panel in a large loop that I think would be dangerous on tight, heavy foliage trails. And it looks ridiculous, too. So I measured a bit and called moto-heaven and ordered a custom HEL stainless steel braided front brake line. The postman delivered it four days later.

These pictures show the brake line when the CRFL is on the sidestand. The brake line will arc up a bit when I get on the bike and will be almost flat across the front when (if) I get air and the forks extend fully.

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I elected to use a screw-in fitting on the master cylinder end to keep the brake line as flat as possible. This adds a bit to the cost, but I like the final look.

BTW - it stops on a dime, now.

Custom HEL stainless steel braided front brake line - about $86, includes shipping.  moto-heaven


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Fuel injection controller

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Dobeck Performance sells the EJK (Electronic Jet Kit), a CRF250L fuel injection controller and it is shipping now. I ordered one and after I install and test it, I will report results. The initial installation will be on a CRF250L modified as described on this page. I have not performed any engine, intake, or exhaust mods, so my results will be relevant to most readers who have stock CRFLs. See Honda CRF250L - Tuning EJK for details.
 

        In May 2014, I installed the Dobeck AFR+ kit - see Honda CRF250L - Tuning AFR+

Fuel injection controller - $225, free shipping.  EJK - Electronic Jet Kit  Look in OFF-ROAD, DualSport.


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Exhaust changes

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I installed the FMF Q4 Hex muffler and FMF Mega Bomb header for off-highway riding. This muffler is not legal for use on the street/highway.

The FMF muffler and MB header are 7 lbs 11 oz lighter than the stock Honda muffler and header.

The muffler has a silencer insert and a USFS approved spark arrester.

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I have a db meter on my electronic VOM multimeter and I checked the db reading at idle:
stock - 87 db     FMF - 96 db

Unfortunately, my meter reads dbc, not the more common dba. I'll try to get a conversion process and report more accurate numbers.

After several rides, I can say that the CRFL is very peppy with the FMF Q4 Hex muffler, Mega Bomb header, and EJK FI controller installed. It winds out quite a bit easier/quicker than the stock setup, and has more power everywhere. It's about on par with my WR250R, with just a bit less bottom end than the WRR. And I can definitely feel the weight loss!

However, the FMF muffler is too loud for my taste, and I am working on a solution. This may result in less power throughout, but maybe a bit more bottom end.

My goal with the FMF is lighter weight (check that a success) and a quiet muffler (not yet). If I get more power, that will be a bonus. So although the engine is peppier now, that may change as I take steps to reduce the sound level. My first step will be to try the most effective sound-reducing packing material I can find. Next, I will reduce the size of the inner perforated tube by sliding in a smaller diameter tube that just fits inside the existing tube.
I'm documenting the exhaust mods here:  Honda CRF250L - CCC Modifications

FMF also makes the Power Bomb header for the CRF250L. FMF says:
The MB enhances low and mid and is quieter.
The PB is more mid and top and not as quiet.

The FMF muffler fits the stock CRFL header (and the FMF headers, of course) with an included metal flanged sleeve. This setup is quieter than the FMF muffler and MB header (about 1 db on my meter), but still too noisy for my intended use.

The FMF MB and PB headers fit the FMF muffler only, not the stock CRFL muffler.

FMF Q4 Hex muffler - about $360.  Best Dual Sport Bikes
FMF MegaBomb header with free ceramic coating - about $275.  Best Dual Sport Bikes
See also: CRF250L Stage I performance kit - FMF Q4 Hex muffler and Mega Bomb header, FI programmer, front sprocket at Best Dual Sport Bikes.


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Fork bleeders

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The CRFL fork caps do not have bleed screws and the attendant threaded bleed screw hole. I looked at the Service Manual and Parts Catalog to see if a bleed hole could be tapped without interfering with the inner workings of the forks and without too much trouble. Inconclusive. So I ordered a fork cap to study the problem more easily.

It looked easy enough to drill an off-center hole that would not interfere with the inside locking nut on the threaded rod that screws into the bottom of the cap. But that solution did not appeal to my sense of balance - I wanted the hole in the center of the cap. After talking to a machinist I decided on four holes; two are shown in the picture here and two others are diametrically opposite. They all run to the vertical center line.

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The center of the fork cap is drilled through to the threaded section below. Lastly, the top of the center hole is tapped and chamfered as necessary.

When the threaded rod is screwed in from the bottom, the center is plugged and no air can pass. But air can go in and out the side holes because they are drilled above the lower chamber.

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<---  This picture shows why there are four bleed holes. The rubber spacer slips onto the bottom of the cap and is held in place by the washer and circlip. It is not a tight fit, and when one hole is blocked by the sideways displacement of the rubber spacer, the other three are clear.

Assembled and ready to mount in a fork.    --->

I did several test rides and both fork bleeders work fine.

Motion Pro Micro Bleeders M5x.8 Silver - $15.  Motion Pro


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Shifter

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Driven has released a folding-tip shift lever for the CRFL. I ordered one from a web site in Japan - japan.webike.net

The shifter is aluminum, probably cast; the folding tip is aluminum; the pivot pin is steel. The Driven shifter is about half the weight of the stock steel shifter; 80g vs 162g. The shifter looks ok, maybe a bit gaudy, and the folding tip works great. But I have some problems with it.

The Driven splines do not match the stock splines in angular rotation, so the tip sits higher or lower than the stocker. The stocker is exactly where I wanted it. Sigh.

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The Driven sits further away from the engine side case - kinda waving in the breeze.

Stock on the left - 11.5 or 11mm if you square the ruler.

Driven on the right -16mm. I may be able to get 2mm back by machining the inboard mounting surface, but that's really not enough for me. Or rather, my foot.

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Here's an RFX shifter I found on the UK eBay. It is very similar to the Driven shifter, differing only in colour and in the shape of the shaft; it's slightly more angular along the middle.

The folding tips are the same width, but I cut off a bit of the end on the one shown here.

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MSR got into the act with a very shiny aluminum shifter. I bought one to see if it fit any better than the Driven or RFX. It fit closer to the engine case and the angle was a bit higher, so it was better as far as I'm concerned.

The significant let-down of the Driven, RFX, and MSR is their sloppy fit on the shift shaft. They do tighten down sufficiently to feel secure, but I just don't like the loose initial fit.

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It turns out that the MSR shifter is actually the CRF150R version cross-referenced to the CRFL. This got me to thinking - why not just order the stock Honda CRF150R shifter? So I did.

The Honda 150R shifter fits the shift shaft very snugly, not loose like the others. It's also made of steel, not aluminum. So it's a bit heavier. BUT, it will also bend instead of snapping and it can be bent back into shape, more or less, if it gets bent. Lastly, it's about 11mm from the engine case, same as the stock CRFL shifter.

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The Honda CRF150R shifter is on the left; the MSR is on the right.

The Honda 150R shifter is about 4mm shorter and the folding tip is about 4.5mm shorter (left-to-right). I have an 8 1/2 foot, so the shorter shifter is not a problem. Also, I prefer a shorter tip. In my opinion, both of these are better than the Driven and RFX, and the 150R is the one I prefer.

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These were on the way, but seem to have gotten sidetracked by the vendor...
Plain-jane bendable steel with folding tips.

Driven folding-tip shift lever DASC-99 - lottsa yen.  webike
RFX folding-tip shift lever - GBP 17.  UK eBay
MSR folding-tip shift lever - about $25.  Powersport Superstore on Amazon.com
Honda CRF150R folding-tip shift lever - about $46.  Discount Honda Parts


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Shock

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Race Tech makes a replacement shock for the CRFL, and I decided to get one.

I ordered the IFP (Internal Floating Piston - Internal Reservoir DeCarbon, No Compression Adjust). There are several options you can get, but I settled for adjustable rebound damping only. Of course, the shock is valved and the spring is sized for my weight and riding style.

I shot this picture showing the two shocks together - stock and Race Tech. I shot the picture off to the right, so it shows the stock shock a bit shorter. It's not; the shocks are the same length. The overall outside diameter of the Eibach spring on the Race Tech is about 1/16 inch larger than the stock spring and is not a problem.

The Race Tech shock is 13.6 oz lighter than the stock shock.

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I cleaned and greased the suspension linkage AND bolts during the install. The grease in the bearings was less than adequate, and none of the bolts were greased at all, which can lead to corrosion of the bolt surfaces.

There was one difficulty during installation. The Honda CRF250L Service Manual calls for removing the sub-frame, and there was no way I was doing that. As a consequence, the nut on the upper shock bolt is difficult to get to. I had to sneak an open-end wrench up the left side of the shock behind the airbox tab. Removing the nut by loosening the bolt is the hard way to get it off, but that's what I had to do. I put the nut back on by using a magnet on a wand to hold the nut in place while I threaded the bolt in. Again, setting the torque via the bolt head isn't according to the book, but I did it anyway. I wasn't gonna remove that sub-frame...    The washer under the nut was not a problem; I used grease to keep it in place during the nut juggling.

Everything else was easy peasy. Pre-load was already set spot-on!

The Race Tech shock fits just fine.

I rode some rocky 2-track today to test the new Race Tech shock. Before I even got out of the driveway, I had to reduce the rebound damping about 8-10 clicks, which only took 30 seconds. Riding on the paved road to the dirt had me optimistic. I could no longer feel every crack and hole in the road. Once I hit the dirt, I knew I had a keeper. It was like night and day compared to the stock shock. I couldn't feel a thing. Rocks did not exist. I had planned to order a Seat Concepts seat, but now I don't think I'll bother. I may try 1 or 2 clicks out on my next ride to see if it gets better, but it's very very good right now. The forks don't feel so bad now either. I may just change fork oil and not bother with a Gold Valve.     I'm a happy rider now. It was worth every penny. Every dollar.

No-frills video of test ride    Shorter hi-def no-frills video       I shot the video using my new Sony HDR-AS10 helmet cam.

Race Tech shock - starts at $650 but goes up with options.  Race Tech Suspension


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Radiator guard

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Emperor Racing (formerly Scorpion Racing Inc.) released a radiator guard for the CRFL and I ordered it quick as a wink. The guard is made from 1/8 inch aluminum and has lots of big slots cut into the face. It also includes an aluminum rod brace about 2/3 down from the top. I've used other guards with rod braces and I like the design. If you look closely, you can see the rod behind the grating.

The top and bottom of the guard extend further than I've seen on other guards.

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<--- This was my first attempt at fastening the back bracket. FAIL!

When I tried to mount the shroud, it would not line up with the mounting bolts. A close inspection found the problem. Do you see those three cast-in oval stand-offs - 2 red and 1 white. --->
The white one was hitting the top back bracket bolt. This held the shroud away from the side of the guard and the lower shroud hole was not aligned with it's captive nut at the bottom of the radiator.

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Here's the easy fix - slide the back bracket down so the top is level with the front grate and then tighten the bolts. Don't forget the lock-tight on these two bolts!

The upper bolt will now be lower and the stand-off will just fit over it. As you can see here --->

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I had a problem with the lower shroud bolt; it was just too short to do the job. The instructions said:

Reinstall the shroud to radiator and shroud to frame mounting bolts through the Emperor Radiator Guard and back bracket. These are a little difficult to install. The radiator mounting bolt is much easier to start if you're squeezing the radiator and shroud together with one hand while starting the bolt with the other.

Well I wasn't strong enough to squeeze the two together and get the bolt to start threading so I got a longer bolt. I had to add a collar so the plastic shroud wouldn't get pinched, and I had to drill out the shroud hole a bit to accommodate the collar.

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All done.

Clean lookin'
Mean lookin'

Emperor Racing radiator guard - about $70.  Emperor Racing


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Clutch

Now that I've 'hopped up' my ride, I've been thinking about the clutch. Reports from Thailand are not encouraging. There have been multiple failures at several bike rental businesses and several owners have also reported problems. No one in Thailand has offered any solution.

There is speculation on several US and Thailand forums that the CBR250RA may have a 'better' clutch than the CRF250L's clutch. Either the springs are heavier duty or the clutch disks/plates are different and 'better'. Here's a list showing the clutch parts for each bike and where they differ. Also included is a parts breakout.

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The last column shows which parts differ between the two clutches. Four of the differences are due to the CRFL judder spring and I ignore them. That leaves the clutch outer, clutch center, and clutch lifter pin (marked in yellow). Note that the clutch springs are identical. The clutch friction disks and steel plates are identical except for the last two in the CRFL stack which are different because of the judder spring. The pressure plates are identical.

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The clutch outers could be identical but with different ring gears. Primary gearing on the CRFL and CBRRA is 73/26, so no difference in the ring gear. They differ somewhere else.

The clutch centers are different, but I see nothing in the part that suggests a differing design would be more or less able to transmit torque. The same goes for the clutch lifter pin.

These three parts, the clutch outer, clutch center, and clutch lifter pin could be different to accomodate different clutch pack heights. I hope that measuring both clutch packs clarifies the matter.

After studying the CBRRA and the CRFL clutches, I decided that the CRFL judder spring has to go. I have to swap the two plates at the back of the clutch pack also. What I'm doing is putting the CBRRA clutch pack configuration in the CRFL. I think having more uniform clutch disks and plates instead of a judder spring with thinner disks and plates will provide for more torque to be transferred through the clutch. The 283cc kit I installed does generate more power/torque than the stock engine and I want the clutch beefed up to handle the increase.

I ordered and received a set of CBRRA aftermarket EBC friction disks (on Amazon, no less) and previously ordered and received the extra CRFL steel plate. I ordered a complete set of friction disks because I wanted to have a look at EBC's friction disks and compare to the stock disks. In the future, others would only need to buy one new friction disk (and the steel plate mentioned).

One interesting fact - the aftermarket friction disks are .1mm thicker than the stock friction disks. Probably means longer-lived??

I also ordered EBC's clutch spring set to compare with the stock springs. I may or may not use these, but I hafta see if they're different or not.

So what IS a judder spring, anyway? Here is information taken from several posts in The 2012 CRF250L thread on ADVrider in September 2012. RED1 of OZ provided the clarification.

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So what's my install schedule? I plan to continue the big bore kit break-in for another two weeks or so and then tear into the clutch. Stay tuned for the results.

EBC Brakes CK1313 Clutch Friction Plate Kit - about $46.  Amazon
EBC Brakes CSK188 Coil Type Clutch Spring - about $10.  Amazon


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Forks

The Race Tech shock has been working so good, I decided to try their front forks spring and gold valve kits.

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The spring kit consists of a spring, tube, and some spacers. The instructions consist of 6 steps on one page. They are clear and easy to understand.

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The gold valve kit consists of some gold valves (duh), shims, miscellaneous hardware and some lube. Installation details will follow soon.

The instructions consist of 24 steps on 5 sides of paper. The instructions are clear and easy to understand with some pictures and charts. I think I'll be ok, but I'll be checking each step twice before I make changes. A DVD is included that describes general fork maintenance, including how to disassemble and assemble forks and working on the internals. I also have to login to Race Tech's web site and supply an internet access code to get my custom setup information.

I had planned to install the spring kit, test, and then install the gold valve kit and test. But after reading the instructions more carefully, I decided to install both kits at once. All of the work will be on the left fork; the right fork only gets new oil.

I may also change the fork and dust seals, but I won't be using the Race Tech seals; they use NOK seals. I'm looking for SKF seals and have several leads.

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Found 'em, and they finally arrived after backorder. Now I can proceed with fork mods. Well, after a bit of riding that I already had planned for the next week!

Race Tech spring kit FRSP 3951K50 - about $100.  Race Tech
Race Tech gold valve kit FMGV 2002C - about $170.  Race Tech
SKF fork seals - about $29 per seal/dust wiper; $58 to do both forks.  SMART Performance Inc.


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Seal Doctor

One day when I was inspecting my CRFL forks, I noticed that there was some fork oil on the lower left fork tube. Thinking nothing of it, I wiped it off. Several days later, after a few rides, I noticed the oil was back. Bummer, this was getting to be annoying. After cleaning the fork leg for another week, I had enough and went looking for a tool to clean the fork seals that I had read about over the winter. Found it - Seal Doctor.

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I ordered both sizes available because I have some smaller forks on my CRF230F that I didn't want to ignore: S (35MM - 45MM) and L (45MM - 55mm).

When they arrived, I got out the large one and made a pass on the fork seal and pulled out a massive amount of gunk (oil and dirt). I made several more passes, each time getting less gunk and then finally nothing. I cleaned out the right fork seal also. I've been riding about two weeks now and no oil has leaked out of either seal. Success! And it is so easy to use. No more 35mm negatives for me. Besides, I'm all digital now and don't think I even have any old strips around anymore.

 

 

I should have posted the picture showing the nurse!

Seal Doctor - about $25.  Risk Racing


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Fork seal protectors

While looking for the Seal Doctor, I came across two fork seal protector products that have been updated since I last used them. In their original form, these protectors consisted of neoprene cylinders that were slid over the end of the fork and then down over the fork seal area. In their newer incarnations, they are still cylindrical shaped, but Shock Sox has a velcro closure and Seal Savers has a zipper to facilitate installation and removal without removing the forks from the triple clamps.

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Shock Shox have the velcro closure.
Easy install, despite having a strap and two tabs.
More info: ShockSox.com

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Seal Savers have the zipper closure.
They are a bit fussy to install and there is noticeable bulk of the zipper.
More info: SealSavers.com

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I mounted one of each protector on the forks and I will see which one works the best...
Seal Savers on the left    Shock Sox on the right.

I can't believe that I didn't get the left side on straight!

 

Note - the instructions for both protectors say to remove the fork wear rings. You can do this easily by removing the rings from their grooves and sliding them up off the top ends of the forks. But to do this, the forks must be removed from the triple clamps. (...and the brake caliper and front wheel removed also)
An alternative is too destructively twist the rings open and slide them sideways off the fork tubes, being careful not to scratch the fork tubes.

Seal Savers Zip-On Fork Covers 44-50mm Fork Tube, Short Blue - about $27.  Rocky Mountain ATV MC
Shock Sox Fork Seal Guards 80-530cc Bikes 6" Blue - about $23.  Rocky Mountain ATV MC


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Air filter

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I found a possible replacement for the stock air filter while looking for something unrelated on UK web sites. BR Special Tuning (on motorcycle-exhausts.co.uk) showed a DNA air filter made of wire mesh and cotton very similar to a K&N air filter. DNA claims a 34% increase in air flow. The air filter was offered with a cleaning/oiling kit, and I decided to check it out.

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This comparison of the DNA vs the stock Honda air filter shows that there is no backfire screen on the DNA, which probably accounts for some of the increased air flow. The construction of the DNA appears robust; I'll be very interested to have the two filters side-by-side, in my own two hands, to see the differences up close.

The DNA filter and cleaning kit arrived from the UK in great shape. The black frame on the air filter is metal (surprise), is in two pieces (surprise again), and is heavier than the stock air filter (disappointment). The wire mesh and cotton look very much like a K&N air filter, maybe just a smidgen tighter wire grid.

Installation was delayed until I figured out that the two pieces were assembled in the wrong orientation. After a quick reversal, the filter tabs slid into the air box pockets, and I attempted to lock the filter into place. There is a foam layer that is designed to squish a bit with the mounting method, but the new foam took some effort to compress. The metal mounting tabs kept popping off the air box's cast-in retainers. After I pressed the tabs on several times and held them in place for a minute or so, they finally stayed put. It looks like the posts on the back of the air box cover provide additional hold-in of the stock filter and seem to do the same for the DNA filter. After mounting the airbox cover, I removed it to check the tabs to see if they slipped off - they hadn't, so problem solved. The foam probably gave way as it was probably designed to do.

So how did it work? On the first start-up, the engine hunted up and down a bit before settling in at a steady RPM for warm-up. This never happened again the rest of the ride. After a suitable warm-up, I clicked into first, eased the clutch out, and rolled on the throttle. Surprise - the engine response was slightly peppier than normal. Snicking up through the gears with a brisk application of throttle, I was pleasantly surprised with the peppier spool-up in all gears. This is not to say that the CRFL was suddenly a rocket, just peppier and pleasingly so. I could not detect any increase in intake air noise.

I'll keep an eye on the metal grid and cotton and check the throttle body intake duct for any indication that dust is getting through the filter. For now, I'm happy with the very modest, but noticeable, performance increase.

DNA Air Filter - about 83 GBP.  BR Racing via motorcycle-exhausts.co.uk


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Air filter 2

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I found a foam air filter on an Australian Uni Filter web site and decided to check it out. Those Aussies are a clever lot, and they may have found a good alternate for the stock Honda and DNA air filters.

The Uni Filter has a core filter glued to a rubber plate, said plate has a groove around the perimeter that fits inside the air filter mounting flange in the airbox. There is also a cover piece that fits over the core. I think the cover is meant to be removed, cleaned, re-oiled, and reinstalled as necessary.

Both filter pieces are the same shade of yellow, but the picture shows the core piece as white because of the direction the light is coming from and the poor color processor on my camera.

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I used BelRay foam filter oil instead of the recommended Uni Filter oil because I've used it for years and it works just fine on foam filters. The Bel Ray oil is blue and when applied to a yellow filter, the filter turns green.

The left picture shows the base rubber piece locked into the airbox by its perimeter groove.

The right picture shows the cover piece with an arc across the back; for some reason the cover is pulling away from the rubber block on both sides and that causes the arc across the back. The gap is only about 1/16" or so, and I don't think it will be a problem.

The lower end of the airbox intake snorkel was pressing into the Uni Filter cover piece and it was partially blocked as a result. I removed the snorkel for two test rides and modified the snorkel for the third ride (see below).

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One concern of mine is the lack of a backfire screen in front of the foam. I'll check with Uni Filter in Australia and see if their air filter oil has any type of flame retardant in it; I'm sure the Bel Ray doesn't have any.

I rode my CRFL 283 on three check rides. The EJK tuner was at stage 1 setup and the No-Cat muffler (Honda CRF250L - CCC Modifications) was installed for all three rides.

Ride 1 - B&B muffler tip, airbox snorkel removed. Roll-on response was very good, best it's ever been. High-speed response was excellent - the motor wants to rev much more now. Low-end torque was reduced a bit. The bad news - the exhaust makes too much noise for my use.

Ride 2 - Stock muffler tip, airbox snorkel removed. Roll-on response was still very good. High-speed response was reduced just a bit; still revs great though. Low-end torque was reduced like ride 1. The exhaust was quieter than the first ride and that allowed me to hear the intake noise also. The combined intake and exhaust noise were too much for my use.

Ride 3 - Stock muffler tip, airbox snorkel installed but half cut off from the down-spout section in the airbox. Roll-on response and top-end were reduced but still good, better than with the stock and DNA filters. Low-end torque came back. Best news - the exhaust was just right; louder than stock but not objectionable to my hearing. I couldn't hear the intake noise at all.

For the first two rides, the foam filter and snorkel removal combined with the No-Cat muffler finally allowed the engine to breath and the EJK to work its magic. Even dropping back to the stock muffler tip didn't cut performance all that much. I think putting the snorkel in for the third ride really shows how intake restrictions can reduce performance. Reduced response but reduced noise - kinda makes sense... This is the setup I will use for a while. Fuel mileage checks coming up; see tuning page.

Uni Air Filter - about 60 AUD.  Uni Filter Australia


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Headlight

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I bought a Polisport MMX headlight last fall for one of my CRF230Fs and put it on the workbench for later install. I just noticed it today, and decided to see how it would look on the CRFL. The Polisport is smaller and lighter than the stock unit and I think it looks fine on my CRFL.

Observant viewers will note the absence of a light bulb in the lens; I'm fabing a switch and wire harness which I'll install before any night riding (see lighting note below).

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The Polisport provides cover for the tachometer but the EJK is hanging out in the breeze a bit more. I'll make a Kydex shield for it in a few days.

I was able to use two of the stock mounts and added two of the supplied Polisport mounts to complete the install.

The Polisport is lighter than the stock Honda headlight: 399g vs 955g. That's about 1 lb 3.6 oz.

Lighting note. I ride my CRFL on dirt roads and when I have to, on paved roads. I never ride at night. I think the last time I rode at night was in 1982 on Raven Rd near Albuquerque. The Polisport MMX headlight has fewer lumens than the stock headlight, but it is DOT legal, and it will work at night (barely). In this case, I care more about looks and weight than function.

Polisport MMX headlight - about $55.  Rocky Mountain ATV MC


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Rear rack

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B&B Offroad Engineering in Australia makes one of the coolest looking CRF250L rear racks that I've seen. It's aluminum and doesn't look like any other rack out there.

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I bought this rack primarily to provide some support for mounting my Mojavi saddlebags. I wanted to get the main cross piece off of the rear fender and get the whole unit moved further back without unduly loading the rear fender. Well things don't always turn out like I plan. The bags are too high now, and each bag doesn't fall beside the seat like before - they splay out slightly. Kinda goofy lookin'...

So the B&B rack has been removed and I'll be looking for another solution.

B&B Rear Rack - about $180 AUD; $166 USD.  Bought on eBay


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Fuel tank (IMS)

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CRFsOnly has a video showing the new IMS fuel tank - I clipped a frame. Note the bag of parts. I see a hose that I suspect indicates an internal fuel pickup. Belay that - it was a tank vent hose.

I read all the instructions - clear enough for the most part. I checked the parts bag and noticed that there were no bolts for the front tank mounts. Not a problem; I have an adequate supply of spares in various sizes. I swabbed out the IMS tank then began the install.

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I took this picture to record the alignment of the fuel pump on the stock Honda fuel tank. The circled items (hose clip and stud) are aligned towards the front of the bike.

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When I mounted the fuel pump in the new IMS tank, I checked that the hose clip and bolt were positioned the same way.
(In both pictures, the tank is laying on its side, with the front of the tank to the left.)

Don't over-tighten the bolts; the Service Manual calls for 9 lbf·ft (ft lb) for the stock tank setup and the IMS tank setup has less support under the fuel pump bottom plate.

Click pictures to supersize.

Initially the IMS tank wouldn't seat properly and I thought that the Emperor Racing radiator guard was in the way. But after a bit of wiggling and with all bolts tightened, everything fit together. Whew.

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I trimmed the upper end of the radiator shrouds, as the instructions mention. I did not trim anywhere else, so I ended up with gaps along the white rear edges. I will leave these as they are; the gaps don't bother me.


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It was a bit tedious getting all the pastic back in place, but with a little patience, everything eventually went back together. I had to add a bolt to hold the rear of the Emperor Racing radiator guard.

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My tank bag still works, with longer front straps.

 

Measuring fuel; I use a graduated container to measure fuel; in milli-liters (aka cc).

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The stock Honda fuel tank plus cap weighs 6 lb 7.55 oz
The IMS fuel tank, cap, vent hose, and hardware weigh 5 lb 9.5 oz
Net saving 14.05 oz!

IMS fuel tank capacity 11,100 ml = 11.1 liter = 2.93 gal.    FAIL
111 oz or .87 gal more than the stock fuel tank.                FAIL

I read another rider's IMS fuel tank install description and noted that he measured 3 gal 16 oz capacity for the IMS fuel tank. This got me to wondering if my measurements were accurate. Lo and behold, I discovered a problem with my graduated container - the bottom of the plastic container has bulged downward over the last 10 years of use causing the first 100 ml to actually be 105 ml. All other 100 ml graduations are accurate; only the first 100 ml is incorrect. So every refill of the container has to have 5 ml added to it's measurement. I recalculated the numbers and got the following:

IMS fuel tank capacity 11,160 ml = 11.16 liter = 2.95 gal.
112 oz or .878 gal more than the stock fuel tank.

Note, I corrected the stock fuel tank capacity at the top of this web page to 2 gal 9 oz.

The stock Honda fuel tank is about 10.5" wide at the widest point;
The IMS fuel tank is about 16" wide at the widest point.


Here are some pictures of the fuel pump.

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This just showed up. I'll probably ride a few more times before trying the foam so I can be sure I can tell the difference. Probably do a back-to-back ride on some snakey 2-track roads... I could tell the difference on my WR250R with the 3 gal IMS fuel tank.


IMS fuel tank Pros and Cons.

Pros Cons
Stock shrouds are used:
Retains stock look and keeps expenses down.
Stock shrouds are used:
The shrouds must be trimmed to fit; difficult to get 'right' so gaps may be left.
Natural color allows easy fuel check.
Black color looks stock.
Natural color looks 'funny' to some.
 
All stock fuel pump parts are used.
Fuel gauge still works.
The design of the fuel level sensor float is not compatible with anti-slosh foam blocks; not an IMS problem.
The fuel tank swap is easy and takes only an hour or so.
No special tools required.
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Fuel tank cap is plastic:
No fiddling with the key required.
Lower vent hose is not required.
Fuel tank cap is plastic:
No fuel security.
Upper vent hose is required.
The larger tank adds more range:
50-70 miles more.
The larger tank adds more range:
ONLY 50-70 miles more; too little for many to bother with.
All the fuel is in one place:
No fiddling with fuel bottles or RotoPax type containers.
The width of the rear of the IMS fuel tank is almost identical to the rear of the stock tank - feels good when gripped by the thighs.
 
 
 
All the fuel is in one place:
Trying to squeeze 3 gallons into a 2 gallon space means that with the same front-to-back measurement, then the height and width measurements must be increased. The IMS fuel tank is taller and wider than the stock Honda fuel tank: 2" taller and 16" vs 10.5" wider.
The wider front of the IMS fuel tank and the extra gallon on board moves more fuel towards the front of the bike. Turn-in is quicker and there is more pressure on the front tire tread during turning. Front tire selection and air pressure become much more important. Sliding back on the seat 2" helps.

The 'con' for the extra fuel on board is unfair in a way. We must accept that there will be some impact of adding extra fuel to get increased range. Extra mass and volume are just plain physics. Only a complete redesign of the fuel system with a lower fuel location would hide some of the effects of extra fuel. Not practical for $275 retail.

So for me, the Pros far outweigh the Cons for the IMS fuel tank.

IMS 3.1 gallon fuel tank - about $266.  CRFs Only
If you order direct from IMS and you've ordered other fuel tanks from them previously, you may be able to get a 'Customer Loyalty' discount.


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GPSr mount

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I use a GPSr (GPS receiver) to track my rides and sometimes to help with navigation. I usually make the GPSr mount out of Kydex, a heat-deformable plastic, so that I can get exactly what I want, instead of buying a complicated set of rods, clamps, mounting platforms, etc. The only drawback is that it takes a lot of time to make a custom mount. This is going to change now.

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GizzMoVest sells their GPSr cases through Amazon and I bought one for my Montana GPSr last year. I was impressed with the quality, fit, and price. I decided to start with one of their cases to eliminate the tedious process of making a Kydex case. I added a small piece of stainless steel plate to the inside of the case and then bolted the case to a piece of Kydex shaped to mount on the left-side handlebar mirror mount of my CRFL. Sorbothane is used to reduce vibration to the GPSr.

The picture shows my Garmin eTrex 20 in one of the cases and an empty case with the front opened so you can see some case details. The front of the case is held closed by the nylon lanyard and barrel cord lock - not fancy or even convenient, but entirely acceptable to me. Simple, lightweight, rugged. The extra cord length will be fastened to the handlebars as a safety tether.

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The stainless steel plate is made in various sizes by K&S and is available from HOBBYLINC online. I'm using 1" x 12" x .028", cut to length needed with a bandsaw. Stainless steel metric M3 hardware is used to fasten the plate to the case and then the sorbothane and Kydex. The case is shown with the plate installed (left side of picture).

More pics later.

GizzMoVest GPSr Case - about $26-$28, depending on GPSr.  Amazon
Cut to order metal - about $7 for a package of 4 strips 1" x 12" x .028".  HOBBYLINC
Sorbothane - about $29 for a 12" x 12" x 1/8" sheet.  Edmund Scientifics
Metric hardware - local True Value hardware store.


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Engine case covers

R&G Racing in the UK sells some very trick engine case covers, which they assure me are a "Must Have Product!" Their web site shows:

"These exciting new Engine Case Covers have been developed in collaboration with selected race teams and crash tested within the R&G Racing Suzuki GSX-R Trophy. Crafted from 4mm polypropylene for strength, durability and good looks, they complement our crash protectors perfectly.

The covers simply bolt on over the original engine casing so no messing with glue or removing anything. Slimline for maximum ground clearance, ultra lightweight, matt finish and protecting one of the most vulnerable parts of the machine, these could save you £'s in the event of an accident ... Ever seen the prices of a new engine casing or the cost of removing debris from your engine?"

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Here are the R&G Racing pictures.

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On my moto.

Between the AXP skid plate and the R&G engine case cover, that water pump is protected 'bout as good as it gets.

I ordered the R&G engine case covers on January 6, 2014.
R&G sent me an email that the order was shipped on January 14, 2014.
The DHL waybill showed that they picked up the package on January 14, 2014.
I got the package delivered by USPS on January 17, 2014.   3 days - UK to my house in Salida, CO!!!

There was no customs form attached to the package and no customs fee was paid.

The 21 GBP shipping charge is about $35 USD - seems worth it to me when ya just gotta have it RIGHT NOW.

Engine Case Cover Kit - about 102 GBP plus about 21 GBP shipping to the US.  R&G Racing


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Brake pedal

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The quest to find a folding-tip brake pedal hit a dead-end in Thailand, so I looked for another solution elsewhere. Last summer, I installed a stock Honda CRF150R folding-tip shifter on my 250L and it works fine. I wondered if the 150R brake pedal would fit the 250L. The design of the two brake pedals differs. The 250L has a pivot shaft welded to the brake arm, whereas the 150R uses a pivot bolt like its CRF250X and R siblings. But if the shaft o.d. was the same, maybe I could work something out. Alas, the o.d. of the 150R pivot bolt is 15mm and the o.d. of the 250L pivot shaft is 17mm. Bummer.

In the picture, the 250L brake arm with attached pivot shaft is shown with the 150R pivot bolt nearby (orange loctite on the threads). You can see the o.d. difference.

Before you jump in and tell me that the 150R brake pedal does NOT have a folding tip, let me tell you that Hammerhead (and others) make a folding-tip brake pedal replacement for the 150R - which is what I would have used.

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Several years ago, I replaced the non-folding tip on my CRF250X with a modified Hammerhead folding tip. When I looked on Hammerhead's web site, I found their current version and decided against it - it was much too large. After a few hours of Googling, I found a smaller folding-tip on Amazon, of all places. It's shown here next to the stock 250L brake pedal to show that it's about the same size.

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The first step was to grind off the stock tip and decide where to drill mounting holes. Oops - a problem. The straight section of the tip is not long enough to mount the new folding tip. I have to do some bending first...

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(L) After bending, compared to the stock pedal; less offset moves the pedal tip closer to the engine.

(R) After mounting, compared to the stock pedal; not as wide (good) and a bit longer.

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Ready to mount on the bike.

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(L) At rest.

(R) Pivot back.

Replacement Rear Brake Flex Tip For Outlaw Racing Brake Pedal, sold on Amazon by Boss Powersports Outlet - about $25.  Amazon


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Seat Concepts seat

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I bought the Seat Concepts kit (cover and foam) for my WR250R and my CRF230F and really liked them. So I finally decided to get a kit for my CRF250L. Much to my surprise, they now sell complete seats using their own base and hardware in addition to the kits (cover and foam). What could be easier? Click-click and the order was placed. I ordered the black gripper top / carbon fiber sides model.

When the seat arrived, I was anxious to check out the seat base to see how it compared to the stock Honda seat. I was surprised to see the word "Spiral" embossed on the seat bottom!

Anyway, the seat base is a bit heavier and thicker than the stocker. The hardware looks as good or better than the stock hardware. The seat itself is about an inch wider than the stocker at the widest point, but with less taper so the seating area is larger. And very comfortable. Which I expected, because this is my third SC seat on as many bikes.

It rides as good as it looks - Grrrreat.

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Seat Concepts seat - about $255 for the complete seat; about $160 for the kit (cover and foam), add $20 for them to install the cover and foam.  Seat Concepts


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Kouba Link

A friend and I installed a Kouba Link on his CRF250L. It took all of 15 minutes.

Put the bike on a stand. Unhook the lower end of the rear brake pedal spring. Remove two nuts and the bolts from the stock link. Remove the stock link. Transfer the center sleeve from the stock link to the Kouba Link, with liberal application of Bel Ray waterproof grease. Install the Kouba Link (with zerk pointing down) and bolts with nuts finger tight. Shoot some grease into the zerk. Torque the nuts to 35 ft-lbs. Hook the rear brake pedal spring back up. Loosen the fork clamp bolts. Lower the triple clamp 20 mm on each fork tube, simultaneously. Torque the fork clamp bolts to 24 ft-lbs. Ride.

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We did measure the unladen seat height before and after.

  35 1/2 - 34 3/8 = 1 1/8 lowering for his spring preload setup.

YMMV.

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The Kouba Link is one sweet piece of kit - quality with all the right parts included, plus the zerk fitting that Honda cheaped out by not including it on the stock link. Thanks Norm.

Kouba Link - about $140.  Kouba Link


 

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Removing the stock Honda fuel tank.

Although the Service Manual describes this process, it leaves out a few steps and pointers that can make the job easier. I will take pictures the next time I remove the fuel tank and add them to these notes. This is a work in progress and I will refine the notes as I discover problems/solutions.

If you need to work on wiring, hoses, and other items under the fuel tank, you may need to elevate or remove the fuel tank.

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Remove the radiator shrouds.
Remove 4 bolts on the left, 5 bolts on the right. The top bolt on each side has no shoulder. The 5th bolt on the right front holds the right-front black plastic cover in place. Leave the cover attached to the right shroud and remove both as a single item. Before removing, note the round positioning tab on the inboard side of the black plastic piece. When remounting the shroud/cover assembly, put this tab in place first as you position the assembly.

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Remove the seat.
Remove 2 bolts and spacers near the rear of the seat.
Slide the seat rearwards and off.

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Drain the fuel tank.
Put a siphon hose down the left side to avoid the fuel pump. With the bike on its sidestand and the hose to the left rear, almost all fuel can be easily removed. I use a siphon hose kit I bought at WalMart - it has a squeeze bulb near one end. With the end of the hose open, squeeze the bulb, place your finger over the end of the hose, release the bulb evenly and watch for fuel in the line. As it arrives, release your finger to avoid getting fuel on it.

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Remove 3 tank bolts.
Remove one bolt on each side, at the front. The 3rd is under a lip at the rear of the tank.

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Lift the fuel tank about 3-4 inches and reach in under the right side and release the hose from a retainer - it just slides down and inward and free. Before releasing the hose, note the white mark on the hose and its relation to the retainer.

Disconnect the electrical wiring.
Two connecters join and mount on a tab on the left side upper frame tube. Squeeze the connecter tab nearest the frame to release a lock and slide the joined connectors forward off of the frame tab. Squeeze the other locking tab to slide the two connectors apart.

Remove the tank vent tube.
Squeeze the hose clamp tabs with pliers and slide the hose off the metal tank tube.

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Elevate the fuel tank.
Use bungies or straps hanging from an overhead mounting point to hold the tank a few inches above the frame.

You can also slide the tank rearwards to the seat area and hold it in place with small elastic cords or twine.

Unless you actually need to have the tank off of the bike, you can stop here. I was able to work on the wiring, hoses, and other items with the tank in the seat area but still connected by the fuel line.

Disconnect the fuel line if needed.
Remove the rubbery lock piece. Squeeze the tabs and slide the hose off of the fuel pump line. The Service Manual has more detail. I have not done this part yet.

 

Remounting the tank is the reverse.
* Don't forget to replace the fuel hose in its retainer; using the white mark on the hose to get it back in its original position. As you lower the tank into position on the frame, check to make sure no hoses or wiring is caught between the tank and frame.
* After you lower the tank into its mounting position, slide the rear mounting bolt in and start it threading with your fingers. Then position and mount the front tabs, tightening the bolts finger tight. Wiggle the tank to get a good seat, then tighten all three bolts equally.
* When remounting the right shroud/cover assembly, put the inboard tab in place first as you position the assembly.
* The top shroud bolt on each side has no shoulder.
* When remounting the seat, slide the tongue into position, catching the seat under the tank tab and the seat mid-point tab under the frame loop, then lower the rear of the seat, then slide the seat forward to catch the seat hooks at the rear under the frame loops. Start both seat bolts using your fingers, then tighten to finish.


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Manufacturer labels

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Rear fender.

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Chain protector.

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Chain protector.

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Chain protector.

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Frame under seat.

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Rear shock.

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Bottom of muffler.

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Outboard end of spark arrester.

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17 character VIN struck into the metal surface of the steering tube (behind headlight).
My bike's serial number (in these pictures) has been rendered illegible.

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Vehicle identification sticker affixed to the steering tube showing VIN, date of
manufacture (mm/yy), model year, and other required information.
The sticker is shown as two parts due to difficulty getting it all in one photo.


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