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Thread: Forks With Shocks On '81 Honda ATC 200 (no letter)

  1. #1
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    Forks With Shocks On '81 Honda ATC 200 (no letter)

    Hello, been riding for years on the '81 ATC 200 (no letter) without any suspension in Georgia which wasn't too bad, but after moving to Miami the coral coming out of the ground in the Everglades is breaking my back. I'm sure I could find what other forks are compatible with my trike on the site(unless anyone wants to quickly list them here!), but I'm interested if anyone has changed their forks to ones with shocks and how much of a difference did it make? Was it a huge change, or is it really rear suspension that'd be the game changer? Never had the experience to ride a trike with any kind of suspension so I'm sure anything would be a luxury!

    I see them on Ebay for $100 - $175 for just the forks, assuming they'd fit my trike. Will any year 200 fork (besides disc brake model) fit my stock axle/hubs plug and play? Also if you were in my shoes, if you bought one would you rebuild the shocks even before installing the fork since they're 35 - 40 years old? Thanks so much for any replies. That's a lot of money and I'd buy them for both my trikes so trying to weigh the cost...

  2. #2
    Gabriel's Avatar
    Gabriel is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerAt the back of the pack
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    I have both kinds. Depends on how you define "RIDE" I can't either one rides better as far as comfort. The suspended front end does handle better though. Everyone is different. How hard you ride plays a big part.

    I would do the upgrade if it were in the budget. As far as rebuilding the shocks. I wouldn't unless I just KNEW they were trashed. Change the fork oil and see how they do. I'm just frugal like that though.
    Amateur Resurrectionist

  3. #3
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    I'm no expert on the subject, but I think that you'll probably have to stick to another model that came with 25x12-9 tires such as a 200M.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies. Do you know if any year 200M would work? I have seen '84 and '85s on Ebay for ridiculous prices but if it makes a difference and fits my 25x12-9 tires and brake drum, I don't have much of a choice if I want a more comfortable ride!

  5. #5
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    If you do get a front suspended fork and are in good shape. I would replace the the oil and put new seals in it. I am not sure how hard it is to do on your model. I just have a 200X
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    '83 200X

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    Gabriel's Avatar
    Gabriel is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerAt the back of the pack
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pierce1989 View Post
    Thanks for the replies. Do you know if any year 200M would work? I have seen '84 and '85s on Ebay for ridiculous prices but if it makes a difference and fits my 25x12-9 tires and brake drum, I don't have much of a choice if I want a more comfortable ride!
    I am not sure about the 200X but pretty much all the other 200cc models will interchange with one another. Do yourself a favor and spend the $35 on an AllBallz cone bearing upgrade. The loose bearing OEM setup sucks donkey. 21 on top and 21 on the bottom. That's 42 teeny tiny chances to get it wrong. Efff those stupid OEM stem bearings.
    Amateur Resurrectionist

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the advice, I will do that. What do y'all think about the condition and price of this one? And would an '84 200s fit the '81 regular 200?
    Edit: Just read that the '84 200s had 8 inch wheels instead of 9 inch like mine. Would they still fit?

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1984-Honda-...sotH:rk:6:pf:0
    Last edited by Pierce1989; 11-03-2018 at 12:03 PM.

  8. #8
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    Rim size doesn't mean a whole lot, but the hub might be larger/bigger around on the one with 9in rim.

    Also FYI, your machine is basically an ATC200S before they badged it that, the 185 from that time was the "S" model, but both machines share a ton of parts including the wire harness (very rare for Honda to do that). As far as the orig question, front shocks help, but you'll still get the heavy bumps in the back. The back kind of just slams down and bounces around a bit when pushing speed vs terrain. I rode the snot out of a8 84 200es big red before I switched to a 250es and fell in love with the suspension. There's no direct full suspension machine that's the same basic machine as the 200s, closest I'd say is the 200x. If you don't mind switching to shaft drive, the 250sx is a great machine too, or go big and target a 250r or 350x, but they are more speed machines, putting around is more 250sx like. FYI, 200x, 250r, and 350x all have a manual clutch, the 250sx drives just like the atc200, but is shaft drive and quite a lot heavier. I guess what I'm saying is, maybe replacing or adding to your collection is the best solution. Just another option to take into account.

    Anyway, steering stems on the 200cc models (except the 200x) from my understanding are more or less interchangeable, but generally you run the front hub and such from whatever machine the front end came from. If you can score a parts machine with the right front end design you want, that might be the best option cost vs benefit wise. The 185/185S got suspended front end too in the later years I'm pretty sure. I think this is why the auto X is such a popular build, it's basically a fully suspended 200s (semi auto)

    Also should note, rim bolt patterns might have changed between models, might want to check that before committing on a front end.

    Another thing to point out if you haven't already figured it out, the ATC tires these machines came with were soft and thin so the suspension was the tires. What tire you run and the PSI makes a huge difference on ride comfort and handling. I personally like to keep tires aired up well, so I choose machines that have suspension to take the beating instead of my body. The 200es I started on had the OEM tires, and it rode pretty well, once the dry rot finally took them out, I swapped hubs from the ATC90 I had and holly crap was those tires soft. It was a bit bouncy on the trails, but soft ride lol, pretty sure they were OEM too, and also dry rotted badly.

    Anyway, good luck on what ever route you go to solve your issue.

  9. #9
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    No. The 1981 ATC 200 was the same basic thing as the 1980 ATC 185. These were the "big" ones. They were a completely different model from the "S" models. They were larger and had 25x12-9 tires. The "S" models were smaller with 22x11-8 models. The plain 200 models were all like this, not just in 1981.

  10. #10
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    I see, besides the physical size I don't think there's much different. I've ran 25's on a 250sx lol. Besides that there isn't much different right? The 185/200 style 3 wheeler I've only had one of, I've always targeted big reds, 250cc+ or 125m and smaller machines.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ps2fixer View Post
    Rim size doesn't mean a whole lot, but the hub might be larger/bigger around on the one with 9in rim.

    Also FYI, your machine is basically an ATC200S before they badged it that, the 185 from that time was the "S" model, but both machines share a ton of parts including the wire harness (very rare for Honda to do that). As far as the orig question, front shocks help, but you'll still get the heavy bumps in the back. The back kind of just slams down and bounces around a bit when pushing speed vs terrain. I rode the snot out of a8 84 200es big red before I switched to a 250es and fell in love with the suspension. There's no direct full suspension machine that's the same basic machine as the 200s, closest I'd say is the 200x. If you don't mind switching to shaft drive, the 250sx is a great machine too, or go big and target a 250r or 350x, but they are more speed machines, putting around is more 250sx like. FYI, 200x, 250r, and 350x all have a manual clutch, the 250sx drives just like the atc200, but is shaft drive and quite a lot heavier. I guess what I'm saying is, maybe replacing or adding to your collection is the best solution. Just another option to take into account.

    Anyway, steering stems on the 200cc models (except the 200x) from my understanding are more or less interchangeable, but generally you run the front hub and such from whatever machine the front end came from. If you can score a parts machine with the right front end design you want, that might be the best option cost vs benefit wise. The 185/185S got suspended front end too in the later years I'm pretty sure. I think this is why the auto X is such a popular build, it's basically a fully suspended 200s (semi auto)

    Also should note, rim bolt patterns might have changed between models, might want to check that before committing on a front end.

    Another thing to point out if you haven't already figured it out, the ATC tires these machines came with were soft and thin so the suspension was the tires. What tire you run and the PSI makes a huge difference on ride comfort and handling. I personally like to keep tires aired up well, so I choose machines that have suspension to take the beating instead of my body. The 200es I started on had the OEM tires, and it rode pretty well, once the dry rot finally took them out, I swapped hubs from the ATC90 I had and holly crap was those tires soft. It was a bit bouncy on the trails, but soft ride lol, pretty sure they were OEM too, and also dry rotted badly.

    Anyway, good luck on what ever route you go to solve your issue.


    This is a great write-up, thanks for the time. I won't be able to get a parts machine, there's not many options in South Florida for a decently priced trike as there were in Georgia. I've put a lot of money into both my '81 200s so it wouldn't be cost effective to change models now as I won't get good price selling them. You brought up a great point with it being normal to use the front hub/axle off the fork you are buying, but I will want to keep my current set-up. Do you know which models would be a direct bolt-in for my rim/pattern/hub/axle/headlight housing/steering bearing/fender? Is it only the 200M that would be direct bolt-on, 25x12-9 tires, same rim pattern?

  12. #12
    Gabriel's Avatar
    Gabriel is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerAt the back of the pack
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    The S frames are narrower than the base ATC and the E & ES. Most anything else swap. I have an S frame with a base model ATC200 engine and a 200ES front end. Nothing more than bolt together to make it work. It's a goofy pile of sheet but it works! LOL!
    Amateur Resurrectionist

  13. #13
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    Good info to know. So basically the S is like a 250SX, and the no letter is like the 250ES, both machines are more or less exactly the same, but the SX is more sport (narrow, slightly longer, no racks, lighter) , and the ES is more utility with factory racks, wider frame etc. Probably the only way I'll remember that lol.

    As far as interchange parts goes, again I'm not super experenced with actually hands on for the atc200/200s series, however I know how to look up part numbers and their interchanges.

    For exact matches on part numbers, here's a quick run down.

    Front hub matches 80 atc185 and 82 atc200, front "axle" aka the bolt the holds the hub on the forks matches the same machines too. Based on that, to have a 100% correct front hub, you'd have to match it to the other 2 machines which are probably non-suspended too. The part listing doesn't give the bolt length, if it did, more speculation could be done.

    As far as that exact rim, 80-82 atc200 and 185 are the only two groups of machines listed.

    Jumping to the 83 part diagram, it looks like it runs a larger bolt pattern for the rim and it also has a front drum brake. Also the front axle bolt changed from both sides being threaded to one side threaded and the other side hex head.

    Looking at the front forks, they used the same diagram for both early/late style, later of course having shocks. Seam steering stem bearings and such. Front axle bolt fits a 84 200m and 83 atc200, so if the old style is the same width forks as the newer style atc200, the 84 200m front forks should work with your hub assembly. You'll loose out on front brakes, but it seems like you're not hoping to upgrade the front hub. On ebay it seems like the 200m front hub runs around $50, and the atc200 one runs around $40. Why not sell what you have and buy what you need and be sure it will fit? Worst case you might have to replace the two bearings and it has junk brake shoes.

    Don't forget to find a listing that you can get everything you need, none of them had the axle bolt or spacers etc so might have to buy separately. The axle bolt seemed crazy high priced on ebay. There's a company near me that makes bolts and such, wonder how much it would cost to have them produce them.

    Looking at the ebay listings, it seems like the 200m front end uses the same bolt pattern, but it's hard to tell in photos.

    Also the steering stem interchanges 84-85 200m, so the 85 parts should work too as a set on the 84 forks etc.

    Too bad there wasn't a collection of good quality measurements of all the part thicknesses for the front axle's of each machine to be able to see which hub assembly works with which front end.

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