BBR Honda CRF230F - Dirt Rider Magazine

Many riders are too short to feel comfortable on technical trails on a full-size bike. Traditionally, those riders were forced to choose between rudimentary playbikes and high-strung mini motocrossers. For technical trail work, it is a lot easier to outgrow the suspension capabilities of a playbike than it is to get tired of the tractable, reliable off-road four-stroke power. And many accomplished trail enthusiasts never reach a point of comfort with a high-revving motocross mini riding across slick mud, rocks or roots. Now those riders have choices.One choice is this BBR CRF230F off-road weapon featuring a computer-designed aluminum frame made of CNC-machined billet parts mated to high-tech extrusions. The addition of Honda CR85R suspension, wheels, brakes, subframe and most of the plastic turns the frame into a rolling chassis with 11 inches of quality suspension travel. A torquey, electric-start Honda CRF230F engine is fitted with an XR200R carburetor. Other engine combos, including the ubiquitous XR200R, can be used, but we feel the e-start 230 is the best trail option.You can buy just the frame kit if you already own one or both of the donor bikes required. The frame kit runs $3299.95, and it includes a frame, footpeg mounts, motor mounts, brake pedal, airboot, pipe, tank, radiator wings, graphics and gas cap. BBR will build you a complete bike from all-new parts for $8999.95. Wait a minute! Nine grand for a minibike? Yep. BBR doesn't sell a boatload of these bikes, but it does sell a surprising number. Many go to female riders who see this bike as a perfect trail companion and are willing to pay for the option. After all, the finished bike has excellent suspension, nimble handling, low seat height, your choice of two wheel sizes-depending on whether the donor bike has small or large wheels-and a ready-to-ride weight near 200 pounds. The bike is popular with adults who ride backyard moto on small bikes. And many of those riders want a playbike with all the goodies. This bike was originally ordered by the owner of a fashion clothing company, and no cost was spared on the suspension and the bling. This bike doesn't really perform much differently than a basic model, but it looks pretty cool.On the trail the BBR has excellent manners. Since it is light, it feels light. It would be nice to have a more powerful front brake, but for riders shorter than 5 feet 6 inches, the suspension, handling and acceleration all smoke a stock CRF230F. It feels like what it is: a high-end mini off-road race bike in terms of handling and suspension but with a civilized and easy-to-ride powerplant mounted up. It feels a little heavier than an 85, but most riders found the power was worth the trade-off. The engine is zippy enough for most open trails but shines in tighter or rougher going. The BBR exhaust is too throaty for trail work but has an available quiet insert, or the end-cap from a stock CRF230F pipe fits, and that makes the bike very quiet. There is no kickstand, but Moose Racing has one for a CR80/85R that will work.If the BBR is the right bike for you, chances are you need no convincing. All you need is a way to justify the cost. All we can say is that the dollar-per-smile ratio is extremely high. The rest is up to you.