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Best CRF50 Upgrades [Top Mods ACTUALLY Worth Your $$$]

Looking for the most effective mods for your Honda CRF50 or XR50? Whether you’re just wanting a little bit more power, stiffer suspension, or a fast and comfortable pit bike, you’ve found the right article!

There’s an unlimited supply of aftermarket pit bike parts for the CRF50F, but this guide only covers the best ones that improve your 50cc bike’s performance, safety, and overall comfort. You can start with the free or cheap mods, and then progress to more expensive parts as your “CRF50 Build” gets more addicting…

Is the Honda CRF50F a good dirt bike to modify?

There are many different pit bikes that you can upgrade with hop-up parts, but not all of them are built the same. For example, the CRF50 is a kids dirt bike that is made for riders under 100 lbs, so it’s not only going to be a rough ride if you’re a teen or adult, but it can also be dangerous because the stock suspension will “bottom out” and buck you off the seat if you’re riding aggressively.

With that said, the CRF 50 is actually a good dirt bike to modify if you use upgrade the right parts. For example, if you weigh over 100 lbs and want to use it as a “play bike”, then I highly recommend upgrading the suspension and chassis so that it’s more durable.

CRF50 Mods Best CRF50 Upgrades [Top Mods ACTUALLY Worth Your $$$]

Compared to the cheap no-name brand pit bikes, the Honda 50cc pit bike will be more reliable because it’s built with higher quality parts, but it will still break easily if you don’t make the suspension stiffer and reinforce the chassis/frame.

Best Free or Cheap Mods for your CRF50

Free or cheap performance is hard to pass up, so we’ll look at the best free and cheap mods for your CRF50 first. Then I’ll cover the best performance upgrades that cost a little bit more.

Lightened Flywheel Mod

Removing material from the flywheel is an effective and free mod if you have access to a lathe or a machinist. It won’t add any horsepower to your CRF50, but it will improve throttle response and allow the engine to rev up quicker. 

CRF50 Flywheel Stock Best CRF50 Upgrades [Top Mods ACTUALLY Worth Your $$$]
A stock CRF50 before being lightened

The stock flywheel is fairly heavy, so reducing the several ounces won’t have much of a negative affect. However, since it will rev up quicker, it will also decelerate quicker due to less inertia (rotating mass).

CRF50 Flywheel Lightened Best CRF50 Upgrades [Top Mods ACTUALLY Worth Your $$$]
A lightened flywheel that was faced and turned down

CRF70F Carb Upgrade

Upgrading to a CRF70 carburetor is a relatively cheap mod because you can find them used on eBay or get a cheap knock-off carb on Amazon if you don’t mind lower quality parts. The CRF 70 has a larger carb, which will pull more air through than the smaller CRF50 carb. 

However, you’ll likely need the entire CRF70 carb set up including the intake manifold in order to make it fit properly.

Caution: only doing this mod will more than likely lose bottom-end power because the 50cc engine has a specific carb size. 

It’s best to do a combination of mods that work together to get the best results. More on this later. 

Remove The Choke & Plug It

Removing the choke from a stock carb is another effective and virtually free power mod. The choke is a butterfly valve that opens and closes in the carb bore. 

However, even when it’s closed, it still takes up some space, reducing the amount of possible air going through. 

The more air you can get through the carb, the more potential power you can get. 

Upgraded Air Filter

In order to get more power, you need more air and fuel. Fuel can’t be properly burned unless there is enough air or else it will run rich. 

Upgrading to a Uni 2-stage Pod Filter (Amazon) is a good way to get better throttle response, but it’s not the most reliable upgrade. Since it’s out in the open (instead of being covered by an airbox), it’s more likely to suck in more dirt and water.

This can cause it to die and not start and can even damage your CRF50 engine if you keep riding in mud and lots of sand. It’s definitely a compromise when changing to a pod filter on any dirt bike – they’re best when you’re racing or riding in “cleaner” conditions with little to no dust and mud or water.

Your other option is to simply replace the stock filter with a clean new air filter (Amazon). The stock CRF 50 filter can still get dirty from sucking in dirt and leaves on the trails, so it’s best to clean or replace it, which can also give you more power compared to a dirty filter.

Gearing Swap

Want faster acceleration? Swapping sprockets to change the gearing is and easy and cheap way to make it feel like your 50cc pit bike is faster. 
The stock front countershaft sprocket isa 14-tooth, so going down to a 13T sprocket (Amazon) is a cheap way to get a little better acceleration and response.

Changing the gearing doesn’t actually change the torque or horsepower. It just shortens the final drive ratio, so it reaches the max RPM in each gear quicker. 

2016 Honda CRF50F Mod Best CRF50 Upgrades [Top Mods ACTUALLY Worth Your $$$]

The bigger and more powerful the engine, the taller gearing you can make use of because it can pull it. Just something to keep in mind as you modify your CRF50. 

So if you want more top speed, you can go up to a 15-tooth on the front (Amazon).

Exhaust Tip

A cheap way to open up your stock exhaust is with a simple aftermarket exhaust tip (Amazon). The stock baffle is fairly restrictive, so a more open tip will promote more flow, giving you slightly better throttle response as well as more noise. 

Tuning the jets may be needed to correct a lean condition and get the most power. I don’t recommend this mod if you live in a noise-conscience area because it will make your CRF50 quite a bit louder than the stock exhaust baffle/tip.

Best Performance Upgrades

There’s an endless list of possible mods you can do to your CRF50, but we’ll just go through the best ones that actually improve the performance. This includes suspension, engine, or frame mods. 

Rear Shock Upgrades

The stock suspension on an XR or CRF 50 cannot handle the weight of an adult unless you’re just riding on flat ground. Even then a spring upgrade will improve your ride and not bottom out so easily. 

Cheaper shock spring

Going with a heavy duty rear shock spring (Amazon) is an affordable way to stiffen the stock rear shock, whether you’re an adult or your kid is starting to ride faster and the stock suspension is too soft

Upgraded rear shock

If you have a little more money to spend, upgrading to a Fastace adjustable shock (Amazon) will give you much better performance over the stock shock. Not only is it much stiffer, but you can adjust the rebound damping for a little more control and comfort based on your weight and riding style.

It will make your rear end sit a little higher, so you’ll want to raise your forks if you haven’t already. If the suspension isn’t balanced then you’re not going to have the best traction and stability, which will make your CRF50F harder to ride and more likely to cause you to wash the tires out.

Front Fork Upgrade

If you’re going to stiffen up the rear, you’ll need to stiffen the front to balance it out.

2005 Honda CRF50F Mod 1 Best CRF50 Upgrades [Top Mods ACTUALLY Worth Your $$$]

Cheap fork springs & oil

Heavy duty forks springs (Amazon) are relatively cheap and really help the stock forks prevent bottoming. Constant bottoming of the forks will result in damage to the forks or frame, as well as causing a higher probability of crashing. 

You can also slow down the compression and rebound damping to make your stock Honda 50 forks stiffer with some heavier-weight fork oil (Amazon). You can also raise the fork oil height to reduce bottoming, but always refer to your OEM service manual for min/max oil height settings.

Also, if your stock front forks are loose, then you might need to tighten or replace the fork guide bushings (Amazon).

Upgraded fork swap

Unfortunately, there aren’t any good quality fork upgrades on Amazon because they’re all cheap in quality and low in performance. With that said, upgrading to a set of XR70/CRF70 forks is a good way to get better performance.

They require a slightly mod to the brake, but otherwise are a simple bolt-on upgrade.

Reinforce the frame

Speaking of frame damage, proper reinforcement is smart if you’re going to be jumping your CRF50 or riding it aggressively. Since there is no frame cradle, the engine itself is the “support” for the frame, so if it flexes too much, the motor mounts will break. 

Adding a simple BBR skid plate (Amazon) is cheap insurance. The frame cradle supports the engine and the footpegs, so you can ride harder without bending or breaking parts. 

Tall Seat

Pit bikes are called pit bikes for a reason. They’re modified mini dirt bikes, so they’re really too small for adults to ride comfortably – unless you do modifications to make them taller or feel bigger. 

Replacing the stock seat with a tall seat (Amazon) makes a big difference, giving your legs a little more room to work with while riding. 

Wide Pegs

The stock footpegs are small and low performance because it’s a little kids dirt bike. This can make it very easy for your foot to slip off and cause you to lose control of the bike while riding.

Upgrading to wider footpegs (Amazon) gives you more stability as well as grip because the teeth are sharper. 


Now that you’ve raised the seat, the handlebars are awkwardly low. Tall mini bars are a great way to really open up the cockpit while being stronger than stock, but taller bars means you need longer cables too…

That’s why Pro Taper offers a Tall Bar Kit for your CRF50 (Amazon) that comes with everything you need to fit and work on your Honda without modification. You get the bars and a fully adjustable triple clamp that gives you a more solid feel compared to stock, as well as the throttle and longer cables you need.

Some consumers have had trouble with the throttle assembly from it, so you may not be able to use it if those parts are of poor quality. 

Triple Clamps

Looking for the best performance and durability? Upgrading to a Pro Taper Top Triple Clamp (Amazon) gives you better strength and versatility in bar mounting options, allowing you to move the bars to where you want them.

However, if you’re upgrading to taller bars then you might as well just get the complete handlebars and triple clamps mount kit (Amazon) from BBR or the Pro Taper kit that I mentioned above.

Exhaust System

Replacing the stock CRF50F is one of the most common modifications because it’s easy, relatively cheap, and there’s big gains… at least in sound. Okay, yeah there’s some power gains to be had as well with a good aftermarket exhaust

A cheap knock-off system (Amazon) can be had for close to 50 bucks if you want a little more power and more noise.

For a higher quality exhaust system, you can get the FMF Powercore 4 (Amazon), which will generally fit better, sound better, and make more power when properly jetted. It’s a complete system that is lighter than stock and looks much better with a deeper sound, but it’s much louder than stock and doesn’t come with a spark arrestor.

FMF, Pro Circuit, and Two Bros make quality pipes for the CRF50 if you want the best.

High Compression Piston

Want more power but can’t or don’t want to go bigger on engine displacement? Adding compression with a high compression piston (Amazon) is one of the best ways to boost torque and horsepower on your 50cc Honda pit bike. 

It’s just about as reliable as stock, and you can still run pump gas (premium). If you just need to replace the original piston and rings, this is an affordable option to get a litle more power, especially if you add an exhaust and properly tune the carb.

Big Bore Kit

An 88cc big bore kit (Amazon) is one of the best bangs for your buck when it comes to adding horsepower to your CRF50. 

For about the same price as an exhaust system, you get almost double the engine displacement. The BBR big bore kit (Amazon) comes with everything you need, from the cylinder and piston to the gasket kit. 

If your 50 needs an engine rebuild, or you just want quick and affordable power, an 88cc will get you there. 

Complete engine upgrade

Maybe you just want a simple bolt-on engine that will give you way more power. Here’s your answer – a Lifan 150cc engine kit (Amazon).

It comes with a brand new engine, CDI, gaskets, intake manifold and kickstart lever to fit onto your stock CRF50 frame. Careful, because if you still have the stock gearing and suspension, this engine will want to wheelie and overpower you quickly!

Heavy Duty Clutch Springs

A stock Honda 50 is built for a 50lb kid. If you weigh 125lb+, you’re going to tax the clutches if you’ve upgraded the engine for more power. 

Yes, it’s a semi-automatic transmission, meaning there is no manual clutch. But there is still a clutch, and the stock springs can only hold so much pressure.

The more power you add and the heavier the rider, the quicker the stock clutch will fail. Upgrading to some heavier duty clutch springs (Amazon) will help eliminate this problem. 

Cylinder Head Breather Kit

This mod is cheap, but only necessary if you have a big bore or stroker kit in your CRF50. It simply exhausts the extra crankcase pressure that the bigger displacement engine puts out. 

Getting The Most Out of Your Big Bore

An engine must work in unison with the intake and exhaust to produce the most effective power. If you have a big bore with a small stock carburetor and exhaust, it’s going to be choked up and limit your potential performance gains. 

Upgrading to a bigger carb with proper jetting and an aftermarket exhaust will really let the bigger engine breathe and run at it’s best. 

Thin Copper Head Gasket

Are you part of the 1% that wants every power mod possible? While you’re rebuilding the top-end, use a thin copper head gasket to bump up the compression a little more. More compression equals more torque to make your CRF50F accelerate faster. 


The camshaft on a 4 stroke is one of the most important pieces to building a strong engine. If you want maximum torque with a smooth powerband, going with a max lift racing camshaft will destroy your low-end power. 

Keeping the stock CRF50 cam in a highly modified engine will greatly limit its potential and it will fall flat at higher RPMs. 

“Big” Cylinder Head

The cylinder is the other big link to piecing together the ultimate 4 stroke engine. Obviously the stock head is severely limiting how much air can flow through it without major porting work. 

To save time, you can simply bolt on an aftermarket cylinder head kit (Amazon) that’s already designed to work with a modified CRF 50. This one comes with a complete big bore top-end, carb and intake to give you a massive upgrade in performance in one package.

Stroker Crank

Going all out on your pit bike build? A stroker crankshaft is the last big piece to modifying your stock CRF or XR 50 engine. 

It requires more work to get to the bottom end, but it’s just what you have to do for maximum engine size. 

Complete Race Kit

TB Parts offers a complete performance package (Amazon) that includes the entire crank, top-end, upgraded carburetor and all the gaskets needed to put the engine back together. For how much you get, it’s not that expensive.

It’s not some cheap unknown name kit, so the parts are better quality. It costs less than an aftermarket exhaust for a new motocross bike, but the percentage of gains is huge. 

The best CRF50 mods in one place

Depending on your specific needs and budget, these are the top upgrades to make your Honda CRF 50 faster, safer and more comfortable:\

Whether you’re looking for cheap mods or the best one for gaining horsepower, this list includes them all for the CRF50F:

  • Rear Shock upgrade
  • Front Fork upgrade
  • Reinforce frame
  • Tall Seat
  • Wide Pegs
  • Handlebars
  • Triple Clamps
  • Exhaust upgrade
  • High Compression Piston
  • Big Bore Kit
  • Thin Copper Head Gasket
  • Camshaft
  • Cylinder Head
  • Stroker Crank

Free or cheap mods:

  • Lightened Flywheel
  • CRF70F Carb
  • Remove and plug choke
  • Heavy Duty Clutch Springs
  • Gearing
  • Uni Air Filter
  • Exhaust Tip
  • Cylinder Head Breather?

Are you looking to become a better and faster rider? Here’s my top 3 favorite mods for every dirt bike.


Friday 22nd of December 2023

Your suggestions for upgrading my Honda 50 have been fantastic! They provided a wide range of ideas, inspiring me to enhance both its performance and appearance. The guidance was invaluable and has made this upgrade journey exciting and fulfilling.


Monday 20th of November 2023

Fantastic article. Thanks for putting this together.

Kelley Fager

Monday 20th of November 2023

You're welcome - thanks for reading, Jeff!