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.

New 2021 HONDA CRF300L engine

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.

New 2021 HONDA CRF300L

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.


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