BBR Motorsports has been at the forefront of the playbike revolution since motorsports enthusiasts first started hopping up pitbikes. As the mini mutiny continues to pick up steam, BBR has maintained its place as the king of aftermarket mini parts and accessories.
A few weeks ago we took a closer look at BBR’s Yamaha TT-R125L that went from a mild-mannered four-stroke to a hardcore, adrenaline-inducing playbike complete with all sorts of anodized aluminum components and performance hop-up parts. However, the TT-R isn’t the only larger-bore mini riding the tidal wave of the mini revolution.
One bike that has been getting plenty of run in the mini world is the Honda CRF150F. The big mini-thumper is produced to be an entry-level bike for smaller people, affording them the opportunity to experience off-road motorcycles without risking life and limb as they might while trying to control a big-bore performance machine.
The press kit for the CRF150F reads like a friendly day in the woods, “The family that rides togetherâ€¦smiles together.” While that’s all nice and dandy for PR, BBR is hoping to wipe that smile off the face of CRF150F owners and replace it with a maniacal adrenaline-injected grin.
BBR decided to take the easygoing CRF and turn it into a serious playbike. What emerged was less a toy and more of an ass-kicking good time. In fact, the performance modifications are so successful, rumors emerged recently that some racers were entering modified CRF150Fs in various local 125cc races and winning.
What exactly does it require to turn an entry-level bike into a competitive machine? The two most obvious answers are money and time, especially on bikes that were designed to pilot smaller people around. However, according to BBR owner, Duane Brown, unlike the TT-R, the CRF150F is already close to resembling an adult bike.
The modifications to BBR’s CRF are evident all over the bike from the aluminum perimeter frame to the Showa suspension components.
“The CRF already started out as a pretty adult-friendly bike,” said Brown. “We wanted to stiffen up the suspension a bit and throw a new pipe on there to add a little power. Of course we wanted to add the components to make it as trick as possible.”
The BBR hop-up squad started the CRF project by strengthening the bike with a BBR perimeter frame kit originally designed for a CR85R. The computer-designed, CNC-machined frame is the ultimate playbike chassis because it is much stronger than the tubular steel frame that comes on a stock CRF150F, and it also significantly reduces the overall weight of the bike.
But BBR’s kit for the CRF goes well beyond just a frame. It also and includes a host of components including motor mounts, brake pedal, footpeg mounts, plastic gas tank, air-boot, exhaust system, radiator wings, graphics kit and seatcover, and a BBR gas cap.
The addition of the aftermarket frame greatly increases rigidity on the track which ultimately improves the overall handling and performance of the bike. However, the frame isn’t the only chassis component to receive a significant upgrade. The guys at BBR also added anodized rims made exclusively for BBR in Italy to increase strength and reduce weight by Â½ pound.
With all those high-performance chassis components, one would expect a high-performance powerplant, and that’s exactly what this bike is outfitted with.
A big-bore kit increases displacement by 25cc to 175cc, and the addition of a performance cam helps shoot peak horsepower up from 8.3 to 11.6. Adding an aftermarket pipe and air filter further enhances the power up to 12.9 horsepower.
Feeding the fuel/air mixture to the single cylinder is a 26mm piston-valve carburetor. The addition of a BBR rev box eliminates the factory rev limiter and allows the CRF to be opened up to full performance capabilities. A lighter flywheel makes the bike quicker to rev, and custom-wound, chrome-silicon wire valve springs lets the bike rev out reliably. Heavy-duty clutch springs prevent slippage when you’re ripping around on tracks or trails.
The suspension on the CRF is just as sick as the strength components thanks to a 37mm fully adjustable Showa fork with 10.8 inches of travel. The cherry on top is the anodized fork tubes, which are purely an aesthetic upgrade but are well worth the price. Out back, BBR added an adjustable Showa shock that provides 11.4 inches of travel and increases ride height.
While many of the controls on the TT-R project bike were kept stock, the CRF’s have been significantly upgraded. In addition to aftermarket components like IMS Pro Series pegs, Tag triple clamps and Tag T2 mini Works Bars, the CRF got a brand new Works Connection pro clutch perch, making for easily adjustable on-the-fly changes without so much as a fuss.
With a bike that is lighter and quicker, you’re gonna need something that slows down this newly upgraded beast. A set of wave rotors, retailing for $129 each, reduces stopping distances and improves overall feel.
“The CRF already started out as a pretty adult-friendly bike,” said BBR’s owner Duane Brown. “We wanted to stiffen up the suspension a bit and throw a new pipe on there to add a little power. Of course we wanted to add the components to make it as trick as possible.”
On the track, the difference between the stock machine and the BBR modified CRF are night and day. Completely renovated and ready for competition, the BBR CRF150F shed 38 pounds, and it handles significantly better than the stock machine.
On the track, this bike is sick. We watched as Duane took it for a few laps around John Lawton’s mini track and, while it was a little bit too big for a true mini track, it would be a blast to ride on full-size tracks or smaller, tighter circuits.
BBR was unable to give us a price tag on their upgrades, but they did say that a fully upgraded CRF150F can be purchase ready to ride for $7,999. Head on over to BBR Motorsports to check out the whole catalogue of parts.
It appears that BBR has done its homework on the bigger-bore playbikes. If you’re looking to hop up your CRF, look no further than the four-stroke specialists at BBR.