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Durability and simplicity are great characteristics to have in a bike, and they’re two traits that Honda’s CRF230F is known for. We decided to showcase those qualities by building our CRF230F into a machine that can handle the roughest trails without sacrificing the friendly demeanor that made the 230 so popular.

best accessories for honda crf230f

It’s not hard to see how the CRF230F got its reputation. Honda got a lot right with the bike when it first released, and it’s remained largely unchanged for several years. A reliable, air-cooled engine, 21- and 18-inch wheels, and a manageable seat height combine to make the CRF230F almost universal when it comes to riding styles. An electric start and kickstand are also highly prized features that come stock. Beginner riders appreciate its friendly nature and forgiving handling; experienced riders take advantage of the bike’s durability and take it on gnarly trails. However a rider decides to use it, the CRF230F has a reputation for handling most situations.

With all that in mind, Josh, one of our video team members, set out on building a 2015 CRF230F into a do-it-all bike for his wife. She’s a relatively new rider, and with her constantly increasing skills, it was important to find a bike that she wouldn’t outgrow in a few months. Josh also wanted something that could hold pace with more aggressive bikes so she wouldn’t feel like she was playing catch-up during a ride. With that criteria in mind, the CRF230F was the ideal candidate. The bike had a solid foundation, so we focused on adding even more durability, comfort, and capability. Here’s what we did.

If you want to see all the products and parts we used for this build, check out the full build page.

bike build honda crf230f trail bike


We decided to tackle performance first, and while some try to squeeze every bit of power out of the 230, we wanted to refine the existing power and get the bike running as best as possible. First, we made the bike breath properly. The snorkel configuration on the stock airbox is restrictive, so we removed the snorkel and swapped the stock filter for a foam filter from Tusk. These changes alone increased the amount of air getting into the engine, so we also reworked the jetting matched to our elevation and all the new air being brought in.

With the fueling sorted, the bike lost most of its cold-blooded nature and no longer had problems with rough idling and cold starts. At the other end, we bolted up Pro Circuit’s T4 exhaust and fell in love with it. The system looks great, has a great exhaust note, and since it’s made of stainless steel, it shaves about five pounds off the weight—which is crucial on slightly heavier bikes like the 230F. The T4 is also spark arrested, a requirement for most of the places this bike will be ridden.

crf230f bike build 2015

Gearing was next on our list. In stock format, first gear is low, very low. With the new liveliness of the exhaust, intake, and jetting, Josh wanted taller gearing that would take full advantage of the bike’s 6-speed transmission. He put a 14-tooth sprocket up front and dropped the rear to 48 teeth, which worked well and made a significant difference to the usability of each gear. We linked the two sprockets with a Gold X-Ring Chain from Primary Drive. The gold finish looked great, and the x-ring design prolongs chain life and reduces maintenance.

Last up for performance, we added a headlight so the bike could handle night riding. The 230F’s stock stator doesn’t put out enough watts to support a headlight, so we installed Trail Tech’s high-output stator. The new stator increased the 230’s electrical output from 30 watts to 70 watts, more than enough to power the Polisport Halo Headlight we chose to run. The final touch was a Tusk LED Bulb that we dropped in the Halo to increase light output to get rid of the halogen bulb it comes with.

CRF230F 2015 bike build honda dirt bike


Handling was up next, and Josh wanted to keep the bike comfortable, capable, and predictable. Suspension wise, the bike is sprung on the soft side from the factory. It works well for small riders and slow riding, but the suspension is quick to bottom out once speed and weight are added. We recommend installing heavier springs in the forks. It’s a fairly straight-forward install, and the results make a world of difference.

We didn’t do any of that for this particular bike. Josh’s wife falls right in the sweet spot for the CRF230F’s stock suspension, so it works well for her and her riding style. But remember, luggage and gear need to be considered when tweaking a bike’s suspension. If she decides to pack some gear for a longer ride, she may need to think about a heavier fork spring to compensate for the extra weight.

crf230f honda bike build 2015

Tires are critical to good handling. We threw on a pair of Bridgestone Battlecross X30 Intermediate Tires because they share the same level of versatility as the bike itself. Their intermediate rubber compound holds up in most terrain, they’re an affordable price for their capability, and Bridgestone gave the tire a specialized tread pattern that grips in nearly all circumstances. They’re a solid tire choice and a great upgrade over the stock skins.

The IMS SuperStock Foot Pegs were the next addition we bolted up, and they were a massive step up from the small, slippery stock pegs. We picked the SuperStock pegs because they’re larger, stronger, and more aggressive than what the bike previously had. And while the teeth on the SuperStocks are more aggressive, they aren’t so sharp that they’ll tear up your boots.

Now that we had a solid foot peg, we installed a set of ProTaper 7/8” handlebars to get the riding position just right. The ProTaper bars are much lighter and stronger than stock. The CR High Bend we chose also raises the bar about half an inch compared to the CR mid bend. That means the rider won’t feel like they’re stretching to reach the bars while standing. Finally, we threw in a Tusk Lithium Battery. Don’t think a battery has anything to do with handling? Just remember that the lithium battery is 6.5 pounds lighter, and less weight equals better handling.

CRF230F 2015 bike build review


The CRF230F is durable, but this bike will live in rocky desert and thick forest, so it needed some protection to keep it in one piece. The Tusk D-Flex Pro Handguards were first to get added. In our opinion, handguards are a must, and a full wraparound handguard provides the most protection and durability.

A good plate is just as critical as handguards. Josh went with the Ricochet Offroad Skid Plate because it’s a robust option that covers much more of crankcase and side cases versus the stock, plastic guard. We topped the plate off with Tusk’s Skid Plate Foam to deaden the sound of debris bouncing off the plate and help keep mud from packing between the plate and the engine.

As far as making the CRF230F look good, we started with a set of UFO plastics since the old set was a bit ragged. We picked up a Havoc Complete Graphics Kit from Attack Graphics and finished off the clean look with an extra-grippy seat cover from Attack Graphics as well.

CRF230F 2015 bike build

Of course, we couldn’t revamp the bike and leave out the finishing touches, so Josh picked up smaller accent pieces like engine plugs, a Billet Bling Kit, a set of ProTaper grips, and a sweet-looking Billet Aluminum Gas Cap from Tusk.

With everything installed, the 230F ended up looking like an entirely different machine. The best part of this new look? Underneath was the same reliable, simple CRF230F that made us fall in love with it in the first place.

The new parts, adjustments, and changes, increased the capability of the well-mannered bike without losing any of its civility. Comfort, durability, and performance were all increased, and the results made this CRF230F an ideal bike for nearly anyone.


Tell Us What You Think

How do you think we did with this bike build? Is our Honda CRF230F something you’d love to ride, or did we miss a mod that you feel is crucial for the 230? Tell us in the comments below.

Parts Available at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC
 shop now: ufo complete plastic kit shop now: attack graphics custom havoc complete graphics kit  attack graphics gripper seat cover
UFO Complete Plastic Kit Attack Graphics Havoc Complete Kit Attack Graphics Gripper Seat Cover
shop now: bridgestone battlecross x30 front shop now: bridgestone battlecross x30 rear  shop now: ims superstock foot pegs
Bridgestone Battlecross X30 Front Bridgestone Battlecross X30 Rear IMS SuperStock Foot Pegs
 shop now: polisport halo headlight  shop now: primary drive front sprocket  shop now: primary drive rear steel sprocket
Polisport Halo Headlight Primary Drive Front Sprocket Primary Drive Rear Steel Sprocket
 shop now: primary drive gold xring chain  shop now: protaper neon mx grips shop now: pro x keihin main jet
Primary Drive Gold X-Ring Chain ProTaper Neon MX Grips Pro X Keihin Main Jet
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Pro X Keihin Pilot Jet Pro Circuit T-4 Exhaust System Ricochet Offroad Skid Plate
 shop now: sicass universal exhaust heat shield  shop now: trail tech stator kit  shop now: tusk aluminum brake pedal
Sicass Racing Universal Heat Shield Trail Tech Complete Stator Kit Tusk Aluminum Brake Pedal
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Tusk Anodized Reservoir Cap Tusk Billet Aluminum Engine Plug Kit Tusk Billet Aluminum Gas Cap
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Tusk Billet Aluminum Valve Stem Caps Tusk Brake Lever  Tusk Clutch Lever
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Tusk D-Flex Pro Handguards Tusk LED Bulb Tusk Lithium Battery
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Tusk Oil Filler Plug Tusk Rim Lock Nut/Spacer Kit Tusk Skid Plate Foam