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Best CRF150F Mods: Which Upgrades Are ACTUALLY Worth It?

Looking for the best mods to make your CRF150F faster? The Honda 150F is a simple trail bike that is meant for beginners, but there’s a boatload of upgrades available to make it perform closer to an enduro bike.

Whether you’re on a budget and want little more power, or want to make your CRF150F an adult play bike, this article will cover it all with no fluff.

Should you modify your CRF150F dirt bike?

Many people want to start modifying their dirt bike but they don’t stop and think if they should. Upgrading and modifying parts can be really fun and help improve performance, but it really depends on the parts you use.

For example, if you just make your CRF150F faster with engine and exhaust upgrades, then the stock suspension won’t be able to handle the extra power if you weigh over 130 lbs. It’s going to bottom out easily, which can not only damage your bike, but it can cause an accident that gets your hurt.

Honda CRF150F edited Best CRF150F Mods: Which Upgrades Are ACTUALLY Worth It?
2017 CRF150F that is ready to be modded

That’s why I want to show you step-by-step which parts and upgrades will be most helpful based on your specific needs and budget.

The Year The Honda CRF150F Changed

Before moving forward, you must know that there are two different CRF150F models. While it’s basically still the same type of dirt bike, the 150F received an engine change in 2006. From 2003-2005 it was basically a de-stroked CRF230F engine with kickstart.

The newer engine is electric start, weighs less, and is capable of making pretty good power for an air-cooled 4 stroke.

2007 Honda CRF150F Engine Best CRF150F Mods: Which Upgrades Are ACTUALLY Worth It?
The 2nd Gen 150F engine

Before modifying parts such as the exhaust or piston, you must know which model you have. I will try to point that out when possible.

So, without further ado, here are the best mods that are worth your time and money to do:

Intake Mods

If you want more power, then you need more air to get to and through the engine. The stock intake setup is reliable, but it’s somewhat restrictive, so there are a couple of cheap or free mods to give you more power potential.

Remove Snorkel

The stock air box has a snorkel lid on it. This is to help prevent dust and water from getting into it, but it restricts the amount of air getting in. 

2003 Honda CRF150F Best CRF150F Mods: Which Upgrades Are ACTUALLY Worth It?
You can see the OEM lid still on top of this airbox

Removing this snorkel lid allows more air to get in, which means there’s more potential for power. It may have some glue on it, but you can rip it off. You may need to rejet the carb if it starts or runs poorly afterward.

CRF150F Jetting

The stock jetting on the CRF150F is too lean and you can easily get some more power out of it if it hasn’t already been changed. 

Stock CRF150F jetting:

  • Pilot jet: 40
  • Main jet: 98

Recommended (un-corked) jetting:

  • Pilot jet: 42
  • Needle: Add 1-2 shims under the needle clip
  • Main jet: 110 or 115

Going up to a 42 pilot and a 110 or 115 main jet will make it start easier, run better and have more power. Adding a shim or 2 under the needle clip will also help richen it up. 

If the rest of your bike is stock then a 110 main should work, but if it’s bogging at full throttle or you have intake/exhaust mods then you might need a 115 main jet. 

As for the fuel screw, it should be close to 1.5 turns out, but it really depends on your specific bike and the climate you ride in. You can adjust it for easier starting and better throttle response in just a few minutes.

2006 Honda CRF150F Engine Best CRF150F Mods: Which Upgrades Are ACTUALLY Worth It?

Carburetor Upgrade

Going to a bigger carb can be a good mod if the rest of the engine/exhaust is bigger. A 26mm XR200 carb is a common upgrade and doesn’t require too much work. You’ll need the XR200 throttle and cable to work. 

You can upgrade to a 26mm Nibbi carb from Amazon, but you’ll also need their intake manifold to bolt onto your CRF150F engine. It’s Chinese-made, so you may have to do some jet tuning and/or float adjusting to get it running well. But, you’ll have more power and a better throttle response after it’s properly tuned.

Suspension Upgrades

Once you get your CRF 150F carburetor dialed in to start and run great, it’s time to look at the suspension if you weigh over 130 lbs. The stock forks and shock are decent for trail riding at low to moderate speeds, but they’re definitely limiting performance and safety if you’re heavier and/or more aggressive.

Cheap fork mods

The stock forks are incredibly soft for anyone over 130lbs unless you’re just riding on flat ground. You have a few different options that are around the same price, but they’re different mods in how they work. 

Stiffer fork springs (check price on Amazon) are the simplest way to go. They’ll hold you up better and resist bottoming, all for less than 100 bucks. 

They’re still not going to feel like high-tech forks due to the simple valving, but you can also use heavier-weight fork oil (Amazon) to slow down the compression & rebound damping, giving you more control over rough terrain. Raising the fork oil height will also reduce bottoming because when there’s more oil in the forks, they’re harder to fully compress vs air.

Remember to check your OEM service manual for maximum oil height (min. air gap) or else your fork seals can blow out if there’s too much oil.

DIY Valving with emulators

Race Tech has emulators for the CRF150F forks (check price on Amazon) that give you the ability to tune the stock forks to a degree. They’re not much more expensive than stiffer fork springs, and you can get your forks to perform quite a bit better if you don’t mind taking them apart at least once or twice to get them dialed in. 

It basically turns them into higher-performing forks with better damping compared to the simple stock damper rods that basically have one hole that the oil goes through, which is why it feels like a pogo-stick over bumps.

Send Them To Bruce

Of course, you can also send your 150F forks to someone that’s specialized in conventional DR (Damper Rod) forks, such as Bruce Triplett. He knows how to modify the stock rods and springs for your weight and riding style to get you a surprisingly well performing ride. 

Shock Upgrade

The stock shock is no better than the fork. In fact, it’s probably worse because of the poor rebound that can buck you around in rough terrain. 

It works fine if you’re a beginner, but if you want to ride your CRF150F fast, I strongly encourage you to upgrade to a stiffer shock spring (check price on Amazon) or get a better aftermarket rear shock.

Stock Shock Rebuild

The OEM shock isn’t supposed to be rebuildable, but it’s been well documented by owners that it’s possible if you have the time and tools to do so. It’s definitely the cheapest route it you know what you’re doing, but it will take some time to tear it down, modify some internal parts, and then put it back together. 

Aftermarket rear shock availability

In the past, Fox and Works shocks were available as a great upgrade to the stock CRF150F shock, but they’re not made anymore.

You can get a Hagon rear shock that isn’t fully adjustable, but still a big improvement in performance and comfort over stock. However, they’re also hard to find because they’re made and sold in Italy.

The easiest aftermarket shock to buy is the Vonkat brand (check price on Amazon). It’s over 2 lbs lighter than stock (unsprung weight), can handle more weight, and performs much better than stock. It also has adjustable rebound damping and preload.

Rear shock conversion?

A CR80/CR85 shock can be swapped onto your CRF150F with a little bit of work. It’s easier on the 03-05 kick start models because there’s no battery box in the way of the shock reservoir.

To install a CR85 shock on a 2006+ CRF 150F you’d have to re-locate the battery to the air box and remove the battery compartment to make room for the shock reservoir,

Gearing mods

Swapping sprockets is a quick and easy way to change the gearing for acceleration or top speed, even though it doesn’t change the actual torque or horsepower.

Going up one size (Amazon) on the front sprocket will make 1st gear more usable, especially after some power mods. Each gear will also last longer and you’ll get a higher top speed from your CRF150F

Aftermarket CDI for 03-05 engines

The stock CDI (ignition unit) is tame when it comes to spark timing to give you a smooth power curve. Adding a Procom CDI check price on (Amazon) is an easy way to get a little better throttle response and power.

Two things to keep in mind – this aftermarket CDI only works on the first generation 2003-2005 models (buyers have reported blowing fuses on the newer updated models because it’s a different engine and electronics).
Also, the CDI box is smaller than the stock black box, so you’ll want to add some foam or zip-ties to keep it secure.

Best Exhaust upgrade

Upgrading to an aftermarket exhaust is fun and exciting because it sounds better, looks cool, and you can potentially get more power. There are a few options when it comes to exhaust parts to mod or upgrade, so it depends on what your specific needs & budget are.

Exhaust Baffle – cheap mod

The stock exhaust is actually not too bad if everything else is stock. You can remove the baffle end cap on the end of the muffler to get a little more power and throttle response, but it will produce more noise than anything. 

Jetting is required to get the full benefit of this mod. 

Cheap aftermarket exhaust system

There are a few cheap Chinese aftermarket exhausts made for your Honda CRF150F, such as the YSMoto, JFG Racing, and Stonemen exhaust (check prices on Amazon), but you get what you pay for.

They’re all pretty close in quality when it comes to materials and fitment. They look pretty cool, save weight, and sound better than stock, but there’s a good chance that you’ll need to use a hammer or saw and welder to get a perfect fit.
If you have more time than money, these are a good option if you need a cheap exhaust replacement.

Name brand aftermarket exhaust

A Pro Circuit exhaust system is relatively inexpensive, the quality is good, and it’s an all-around improvement over stock. It may or may not be available from Amazon.

The best system for a CRF150F is probably the Big Gun, but is fairly loud. It comes with a removable spark arrestor screen and is not too much more expensive than the PC exhaust. 

Best Engine upgrades for performance & reliability

Whether you need to rebuild your engine or just want more power, engine upgrades can give you significantly more power. However, a common mistake is looking at the horsepower number increase on these smaller trail bikes.

For example, you might go from 10 HP to 13 HP, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but that’s 30% more power, which is huge for performance gains. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get those kinds of gains on a low-performance dirt bike such as the CRF150F.

High Compression Piston

The stock compression ratio is really low to prevent detonation if you use low-quality gas. Simply raising the compression will boost the torque, and you will still be able to use premium pump gas

One of the easiest ways to get more power from your CRF150F is with a high-compression piston kit (’06 & newer engines). So, if you feel like installing a new piston, or if you need to replace a worn-out OEM piston, this is an easy mod to get slightly more power.

It’s an overbore size, so it will require boring your stock cylinder out, which is easy for a good machinist to do.

Big Bore Kit

Need to replace the top-end? You might as well get a big bore kit. They’re not much more expensive than a piston kit and depending on the kit, you’ll get a new matching cylinder with it.

Just bolt on and ride with more torque and horsepower while still being reliable. When you have more torque, you don’t have to rev it as higher, so that puts less wear on the engine, allowing it to last just as long or longer than a stock engine.

Hotter Camshaft

Are you serious about getting power out of your little Honda? A camshaft is needed to uncork this engine, especially if you have a big bore and more compression. 

The stock cam is very small and lazy, which is great for a smooth-running beginner bike. But there’s definitely more potential when you install the right cam with a properly sized engine and carb. 

Web Racing Cams is the most popular supplier of camshafts for the CRF150F and similar bikes. 

Head Porting – the missing link

Porting is often looked at last, but it, as well as the camshaft, is one of the most important parts of getting the most out of your engine. 

Think of the cylinder head ports as a straw in your milkshake. The stock head is a small straw that is easy to suck out a little bit, but you’re limited on how much of the milkshake you can get in your mouth no matter how hard you suck. 

Replacing it with a large straw, it’s much easier to get a larger amount of that milkshake out of the cup. 
That is similar to modifying the ports on your 4 stroke dirt bike. 

03 05 CRF150F Cutaway Cylinder Head 1 Best CRF150F Mods: Which Upgrades Are ACTUALLY Worth It?
A cutout of the stock CRF150F intake and exhaust ports

Now before you go any further, you must know that simply making the ports bigger will not automatically give you more power. In fact, you may make it worse if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

That’s why it’s best to take it to someone that is experienced with the CRF150F engine specifically. They will know what parts of the port need work and how to modify it based on how the rest of your intake/engine/exhaust is built. 

Stroker crank

Want a 250cc CRF150F? Engines Only have a big bore and stroker crank kit for the first generation 2003-2005 model. 

It’s definitely more pricey, but the power gains are substantial over other simple mods, as you would expect.

Combine this kit with a properly ported head, a good flowing exhaust, the right cam, and a bigger carb for amazing fun. It still runs on pump gas premium too. 

Lightened Flywheel

Looking for every last bit of power? Well, you’re not going to get it with a lightened flywheel.

But! You will get a quicker accelerating dirt bike!

Removing weight from the flywheel won’t change the amount of power, it just changes the inertia of the engine. The lighter the engine weighs, the easier it is to get spinning. 

That also means that it will decelerate quicker too. Normally this would be a trade-off, but the stock CRF150F flywheel is so heavy that there is very little negative impact. 

Lightened Crank

Want to go all out? This mod is not for the faint of heart? If you’re getting the crankshaft stroked, you might as well have it lightened by someone that knows what they’re doing. Having the crank lightened and balanced has a similar effect as lightening the flywheel: faster acceleration. 

Best Mods For Adult or tall riders

Okay, so you’re not just building this sweet 150F for your kid, huh? It’s definitely not a full size bike, but you can modify some parts to make the cockpit a little bigger. The suspension also needs some attention before you ride it aggressively or else you may end up hurting yourself. 


First, some taller bars are probably going to make it more comfortable for you. Upgrading to some lightweight but stronger Pro Taper bars (check price on Amazon) will resist breaking or bending much better so that you don’t have to quit riding after a simple tip over.

Wider Footpegs

The stock foot pegs are pretty lame. They’re super heavy for how weak they are, and they just aren’t wide enough if you’re an average-sized adult.

Upgrading to some aftermarket wider footpegs (check price on Amazon) will give you more stability and strength. This means that you can stand on the bike with more confidence without your foot slipping off. They also won’t bend as easily if you tip over on a rock or stump.

CRF150F big wheel conversion?

The CRF 150F trail bike only came with one wheel and tire size option – 19/16″ front & rear. However, some owners have installed full-size (21/18″) wheels from a CRF230F to make it taller and handle better.

Is it worth converting? Well, I’d only recommend it if you can find a cheap set of used 230 wheels and if you don’t mind having the smaller 150cc engine. Otherwise, it might be worth it to upgrade to the CRF230F model for more power and larger wheels.

Complete list of top CRF150F mods

The best mods for your Honda CRF150F trail bike are:

  • Remove intake snorkel
  • Exhaust Baffle
  • Jetting
  • Gearing
  • Exhaust 
  • Carb Upgrade
  • HC Piston
  • Big Bore Kit
  • Camshaft
  • Porting
  • Stroker
  • Lightened Flywheel
  • Lightened Crank

Mods For Adult Riders:

  • Stiffer Suspension
  • Taller Handlebars
  • Footpeg/Re-locate

What Mods To Do First?

Have a budget and need to stick to it for now? Here’s the list of the first mods I recommend for your CRF150F Budget Performance Package:

  • Remove snorkel
  • Jetting
  • PC Exhaust
  • Fork mods/springs
  • Shock mods

Will the CRF150F make you a better rider?

Starting on a dirt bike that’s easy to ride is important if you want to quickly build your confidence. The next step is learning proper riding techniques and habits.
Ready to take that next step to become a better and safer rider? I want to help you get started the right way: Click here for your free gift.


Wednesday 21st of June 2023

Hi there! I have a 2008 CRF150F that needed a new carburator, so I bought the nibbi 26mm upgrade carb and manifold you suggest above...but it doesn't fit the stock airbox airboot, the boot is significantly smaller diameter. Thoughts on removing the stock airbox and going with the 48mm high performance nibbi airfilter?

Kelley Fager

Thursday 22nd of June 2023

Hey Michelle, I'm terribly sorry to hear that! I wonder if the newer style engine ('06+) has a smaller airboot diameter... I just looked up the parts schematic, and it looks like the CRF230F part (17222-KPS-900 TUBE, AIR CLEANER CONNECTING) might be bigger. That's what I would try, since this carb would most likely fit on my CRF230F, but I can't tell you with 100% certainty, unfortunately. As for the 48mm high performance nibbi airfilter, yes, that should work, but you'll be more likely to suck in water and dirt if you ride in muddy/sandy conditions because the filter is out in the open, so it won't be as reliable. Please let me know what you end up doing so I can put the exact details down, Michelle - sorry for the confusion!


Thursday 9th of March 2023

Looking at maybe getting a small enduro for commuting around town. Saw that the price of the 2023 150 was so darn cheap it got my attention. Of course, get a small bike, I'd have to mod it to within an inch of it's life. Thanks for this list along with links.

Kelley Fager

Thursday 9th of March 2023

You're welcome, Gary! Yes, the new XR150L is a nice, lightweight dual sport for city commuting and casual trail riding, if that's the 2023 model you're speaking of. Thanks for reading!


Friday 3rd of March 2023

As a beginner, this has been such a helpful article might sound cliche but oh well

Kelley Fager

Friday 3rd of March 2023

Glad you found it helpful, Daius. What was most interesting to you?