Tire Swaps and Wheel Wiring - Project Honda CRF230F - Part 7.3

Dec. 01, 2005 By Rick Sieman
Part 1 Uncorking the CRF
Part 2 Works Performance Rear Suspension
Part 3 BBR Exhaust
Part 4 Sidewinder Chain and Gearing
Part 5 Notes & Maintenance
Part 6 Installing a Battery Tender
Part 7 Tire Swaps and Wheel Wiring
Part 8 Front End Fix - Solving the Weak
Part 9 Questions, Feedback and What We've Learned about the Forks
Part 10 Eliminating The Key & And More Comments From Owners
Part 11 Questions, Answers and Work on the Forks
Part 12 Finally, We Get The Forks Done!

No doubt about it, we never cared much for the Pirelli 320s that came stock on the CRF 230. The front tire, in particular, was irritating. It pushed and plowed badly, making us wonder what the CRF really handled like.

Normally, Hondas turn sharply, so the assumption was that the tire was the culprit. We talked with C.H. Wheat of IMS Products about the problem. C.H. ought to know, as he's built a number of Baja-winning XR Hondas. He recommended the new generation Maxxis tires, and a slightly larger rear tire than stock.

Maxxis Tire Swap

The Maxxis tires were mounted (see the article on how to change tires) and while we were at it, the spokes received a wiring treatment. While this used to be a standard trick years ago, wheels have gotten a great deal better and stronger. But, having talked to numerous 230 owners and experienced living with the bike ourselves, the spokes can certainly use some help.

Cross wiring the wheels is not that difficult, taking maybe a half hour per wheel to get the job done. All you have to do it put a double loop of safety wire where the spokes cross. Naturally, you should use non-rusting wire and tighten it up via locking pliers. When you wire the wheels, you increase the spoke strength dramatically by shortening the working length. In other words, instead of having 10 inch long spokes, you effectively have five inchers. A long spoke flexes and is inherently weaker than a short one.

Wheel Wiring Step-By-Step

After the new Maxxis tires were installed, the 230 was taken for a brief ride. The difference was astounding! Where the front end used to push and wash out, it now bit nicely in the turns. The slightly larger rear tire didn't affect acceleration at all. The 110/100 x 18 did offer better traction.

Most of our riding is done on hard-packed baked-dry terrain with a little bit and sand here and there. Much of the time when riding with the stock tires, the rear end would spin, rather than hook up. With the Maxxis rear tire, wheelspin was reduced by a whole bunch.

The bottom line?

If you have a CRF 230, by all means dump the stock tires and put some premium rubber on. Your knees will thank you.

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