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Frisbie6

Suzuki LT230 Shaft is hard to steer

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This is a strange question maybe.  I just finished cleaning my old barn find Suzuki.  I think it's a 1985.  LT230 shaft drive.  Started it up and other than making some carb adjustments (well, I think that's all I have to do) it runs fine.

But as I drove it around the yard I noticed that it is hard to steer.  The front tires seem like they are barely touching the ground!  The handle bar moves fine and the wheels turn, but the tires don't grip the grass.

When I lean forward as far as I can the tires actually bite into the grass and turn the bike.  When I sit on the bike it just plows straight ahead.

Has anyone seem anything like this? 

I wonder if the back tires are too small, causing the bike to lean backwards.  Does anyone have the specs on what size tires I should have?

Thanks for any help provided...

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What's the weight of the rider? Are you to big for the machine? What's your position on the seat. Weight transfer has alot to do with it if you lean forward and it grips. It's almost like doing a wheelie and turning the bars.

Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk

Is the suspension moving freely

Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk

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Well, I am about 220 pounds, and I would say I am sitting on the front half of the seat, definitely not on the back of it.  It seems like a natural riding position.

The frame of this bike is not as big as the newer ones that look really big, but it sure doesn't seem like it's only for little people.

The suspension seems to move freely up and down, both front and back.

 

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All the tires look good, lots of tread.  They are definitely replacements from the original.

I saw another picture of a guy riding a LT230 and the back tires were much larger than the front.  Mine don't look nearly as big.

 

IMG_5068.JPG

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The set up on that bike looks correct. It’s strange.  Any chance the front suspension had work done? My guess is you put a new set of front tires. Different tread. I think you won’t have any more problems.

 The amount of tread really is not the way to look at it. If the treads are good but all rounded at the ends it’s going to slip  I picked up a nice set of fronts for $85 bucks on amazon. I just checked the price and they went up to $117.  They were for my recon. That thing turns like a champ on anybterrain.  The tires are great.   I wouldn’t over think it.   Go with the obvious.

 Honda Recon 250 Suzuki Ozark 250 Set 2 front ATV Tires 22x7-11 22X7X11 6PR Mud https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LWX1VCE/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_nysoCb2NWS4DF

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Dang.  Sure was hoping for a cheaper solution.  I will check around for new tires of the same size.  I see what you mean about the old ones maybe being rounded.  The back tires are really nice, they have a deep v like mud tires.  The front ones, now that I look, might be original just based on the style of the tread. 

Anyway, I will look around and see if I can get some cheaper.

Thanks Frank, I appreciate the feedback, especially on the setup looking correct.

 

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OK Frank, let's see if we can narrow this down a little more.

The front tires are like new, very deep knobs with sharp well defined edges.

I tried to find the rear shocks to make sure they are traveling like they should, BUT THERE AREN"T ANY!?!?

So I took this picture pointing to what looks like the only connection other than where the frame actually bolts to the rear axle.

I'm wondering if this should move (pivot) providing some travel so to speak.  If there were a bushing here and it moved maybe that would be considered a "suspension" ? 

As of now, the frame of this bike is rigid in the back.  Shocks up front work fine, but no suspension in the back.  The only movement comes from the bouncing of the tires.

Rear tires are 22 inch, front tires are 21 inch, just like the drawings call for.

In looking at the drawings on Suzukipartshouse.com I can't see any suspension parts for the rear.

https://www.suzukipartshouse.com/oemparts/l/suz/50d084d2f870022710159dc2/1985-lt230g-parts

So I am stuck.  Any ideas?

If anyone out there has a early model (mid 80's) LT230 can you let me know if there is supposed to be some sort of suspension in the rear end?

 

IMG_5072.JPG

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Thee is no suspension on them old ones. I call them rough riders. Old Honda's and others were all the same back then.

Understand that with those big groove tires, they grab traction. A solid axel with those tires will be a lil harder to turn. One or the other rear wheel has to break loose when turning with any tire. IMO, you need to learn to "ride" the machine not just sit on it. Meaning that you will need to shift your weight forward, backward, side to side, to get any machine to do what you want. 

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Thanks LT80.  That's good feedback for sure.  I thought I was crazy not finding any suspension. 

Knowing that I have to work to drive it will make a difference.  Maybe I'll sell it and get one that us old guys can just sit on.

 

Thanks!

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33 minutes ago, LT80 said:

Thee is no suspension on them old ones. I call them rough riders. Old Honda's and others were all the same back then.

Understand that with those big groove tires, they grab traction. A solid axel with those tires will be a lil harder to turn. One or the other rear wheel has to break loose when turning with any tire. IMO, you need to learn to "ride" the machine not just sit on it. Meaning that you will need to shift your weight forward, backward, side to side, to get any machine to do what you want. 

Good info. Those older machines required a little practice to ride. The three wheelers were a little easier to unload the inside rear tire on slow turns.

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Holy rustomolly. That bike has been sitting a while I can see. I’m not 100% sure on that bike as far as suspension but if it did have it you would see it without having to look to hard for it.   I’m not a big Suzuki guy sorry. 

I’m going to stick with my original guess that the tires on the front are not a good tire for the bike.   Have you taken any air out of the tires to see if it changes.  Make sure they are not over inflated ? 

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Oh maybe that would help.  Now that I think, I did inflate the back but not the front.  I'll check the pressure in all the tires.  I think they are only supposed to be like 2 or 3 lbs.

 

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Correct. Just check what the recommendation is for that bike and try a few different set ups to see if it changes.  Go  a little more or less and try it out.  

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It needs weight we had one too and it was kind of hard to make it turn.

 

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That is the nature of the beast on this one. You have an LT230G. It was only made for a few of years. No suspension on the rear and very little on the front.  Steering wasn't difficult,but the machine just didn't go where you pointed it. The LT125's and 185's were the same way. They basically skidded when you turned.  The only way to make them steer and ride better was to add weight to the front and make sure tire pressure was perfect,2 to 3 psi all the way around. Guys around here would add and old tractor weight or something of that nature to the front. This machine goes back to the early days of the ATV. Manufacturers were still reeling from the ATC ban and the industry as a whole was still getting its footing.  Suzuki was the "First on four wheels" as the saying goes. Early designs had their problems and would take time to evolve. Suzuki was pretty much leading the way with these types of machines. It would still be two more years until the first LT4WD was released. We uncrated the first one in my area and just marveled at it.  It was at least 10 years ahead of its time in my opinion. The ATV industry can be traced back to 1969 when Honda released the first ATC to give motorcycle dealers something to sell in the off season. 

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Nothing like a good history lesson.  Well said @Kent Mettler     Honesty looking at that bike it seems that it’s in very good shape and in tact. I would clean it up get it running and hold onto it.   

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Thanks for the lesson Kent.  I'm happy that it runs, so I think I will add some weight to the front and just enjoy it.  Wouldn't you know I chose one like this for my first machine!  On the bright side, if I can master this, imagine how much I will enjoy myself when I upgrade!

Thanks for all the help guys!

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