2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300 Rally Announced for Europe

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Lighter weight, larger engine and revised ergonomics

Honda Europe announced new CRF300L and CRF300 Rally dual sports for 2021, replacing the CRF250L and CRF250L Rally models. As of this writing, American Honda has yet to confirm whether it will import the new 300 models, but it’s likely we’ll receive news shortly.

The new CRF300 models are powered by a fuel-injected liquid-cooled DOHC Single enlarged from the previous 250cc to 286cc. This was achieved by increasing the stroke to 63 mm from 55 mm while keeping the bore at 76 mm and the compression ratio at 10.7:1. If these figures sound familiar, it’s because Honda did the same thing when it turned the CBR250R into the CBR300R. Honda also revised the intake cam timing to boost low- to mid-range response. Other changes include a new air filter design, a lighter exhaust downpipe, a new silencer and revised ignition timing.

With these changes, the 286cc engine claims a peak output of 27 hp at 8500 rpm and 19.6 lb-ft. at 6500 rpm. These numbers are both up from the CRF250 engine’s claimed 24.4 hp at 8500 rpm and 16.7 lb-ft., but down slightly from the CBR300R and CB300R. The CRF300 dual sport engine is Euro 5 compliant however, while the other two 300 models have been absent from Europe for a couple of years now.

With the larger engine comes a revised transmission with shorter ratios for gears 1 through 5 and a larger 6th gear for improved highway cruising. Honda also added an assist and slipper clutch to reduce lever effort and smooth out rear wheel hop during rapid downshifts.

The CRF300L and CRF300 Rally use a new steel semi-double cradle frame design Honda claims weighs 4.7 pounds lighter than the previous frame. The weight reduction comes via a slimmer main and lower down tubes and a narrower central bracing tube. Along with the weight savings, Honda claims the frame has 25% less lateral rigidity, resulting in improved handling feel. The cast aluminum swingarm was also redesigned for lighter weight and reduced rigidity. Honda also used aluminum instead of steel for the bottom yoke, resulting in a savings of 1.6 pounds from a position high above the center of gravity.

Both CRF300 models come equipped with a 43 mm Showa inverted fork with revised spring weight and damping settings than the previous fork. The revised fork now offers 10.2 inches of travel, compared to the previous unit’s 9.8 inches. The Pro-Link rear suspension also sees an increase in travel to 10.2 inches from the previous 9.4 inches.

Thanks to changes to the frame, engine crankcases and oil drain plug, Honda was able to increase the ground clearance of both models. The CRF300 Rally now offers 10.8 inches of ground clearance, compared to the CRF250L Rally’s 10.6 inches while the CRF300L sees a larger jump to 11.2 inches of clearance from 10 inches.

The CRF300L is equipped with a single 256 mm front brake rotor and a two-piston caliper while the Rally uses a larger 300 mm disc. Both models use the same 220 mm rear disc with single-piston caliper. The 300s both receive a new, lighter integrated rear master cylinder inherited from the CRF motocross bikes. Both models come with a two-channel ABS as standard for the European spec; we’ll have to wait for the U.S. announcement to learn if ABS is standard or optional here.

Honda tweaked the ergonomics, pulling the handlebars back slightly while moving the foot rests lower and further back. The CRF300L’s saddle is 34.6 inches from the ground, an increase of 0.2 inches, while the Rally’s seat was lowered 0.4 inches to 34.8 inches and is now rubber-mounted. The CRF300 Rally also gets rubber inserts for the footpegs and internal handlebar weights to reduce vibrations.

Other highlights include updated bodywork, reshaped front fenders and an updated LCD display. The CRF300L has a 2.1-gallon fuel tank while the CRF300 Rally carries 3.4 gallons. The Rally model also receives a slightly wider seat, hand guards, an LED headlight, skid plate and additional bodywork inspired by Honda’s CRF450 Rally racer.


2021 Honda CRF300L

2021 Honda CRF300 Rally

Engine TypeLiquid-cooled, single cylinder DOHC, four valvesLiquid-cooled, single cylinder DOHC, four valves
Engine Displacement286cc286cc
Bore x Stroke76.0mm x 63.0mm76.0mm x 63.0mm
Compression Ratio10.7:110.7:1
Max. Power Output27.0 hp at 8500rpm (claimed)27.0 hp at 8500rpm (claimed)
Max. Torque19.6 lb-ft. at 6,500rpm (claimed)19.6 lb-ft. at 6,500rpm (claimed)
Oil Capacity0.5 gallons0.5 gallons
CarburationPGM-FI electronic fuel injectionPGM-FI electronic fuel injection
Fuel Capacity2.1 gallons3.4 gallons
Battery Capacity12V-7AH12V-7AH
Clutch TypeWet multiplate, assist/slipper clutchWet multiplate, assist/slipper clutch
Transmission Type6-speed6-speed
Final DriveChainChain
FrameSteel semi-double cradleSteel semi-double cradle
Front Suspension43mm telescopic invertedfork43mm telescopic inverted fork
Rear SuspensionPro-LinkPro-Link
Brakes Front256mm x 3.5mm disc with two piston caliper296mm x 3.5mm disc with two piston caliper
Brakes Rear220mm x 4.5mm disc with single piston caliper220mm x 4.5mm disc with single piston caliper
Wheels FrontAluminum spokeAluminum spoke
Wheels RearAluminum spokeAluminum spoke
Front Tires80/100-21M/C 51P80/100-21M/C 51P
Rear Tires120/80-18M/C 62P120/80-18M/C 62P
ABS System Type2 channel ABS2 channel ABS
Dimensions (LxWxH)87.8 inches x 32.3 inches x 47.2 inches87.8 inches x 36.2 inches x 55.7 inches
Wheelbase57.3 inches57.3 inches
Rake x Trail27.5°/4.3 inches27.5°/4.3 inches
Seat Height34.6 inches34.8 inches
Ground Clearance11.2 inches10.8 inches
Curb Weight313 pounds (claimed)337 pounds (claimed)

Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

More by Dennis Chung

Join the conversation
  • Stuki Moi Stuki Moi on Dec 02, 2020

    The Rally is really shaping up to be a pretty darned interesting modern/lightweight ADV bikes with these changes. 27Hp, while hardly earth shattering, is acceptable (minimally but still...) even for freeway duty. And 3.4 gallons, plus a rotopax or two if necessary, will get you almost anywhere with engines this thrifty.

  • Major tom Major tom on Dec 02, 2020

    I wonder if the rally will have an optional center stand?

    • Stuki Moi Stuki Moi on Dec 05, 2020

      Would you really want one, on what is essentially a dirt bike?