The essence of what makes a true dual-purpose motorcycle has long been in Honda’s DNA. In the late 1970s the XL250S was launched – a bike providing genuine on-road usability with excellent off-road performance. The entire XL range that followed became legendary. Over a decade ago, discussions within Honda R&D took place about the creation of a brand-new dual-purpose machine. The CRF250L, launched across Europe in 2012, was that motorcycle. Time marches on, however, and now the new CRF300L takes the stage for 2021 – lighter, more powerful and with an array of detail improvements. It is every bit the do-it-all, dual-purpose motorcycle the CRF250L was. Just more so.
The CRF300L’s new engine produces 10% more peak power and 18% more peak torque, while a total of 4kg has been saved overall from the CRF300L’s chassis, with wet weight of 142kg. An extra 14% cubic capacity for the single-cylinder, liquid-cooled DOHC engine – from 250cc to 286cc – is acquired by a 63mm stroke, as opposed to 55mm. Peak power of 20.1kW arrives @ 8,500rpm, The full dyno graph curves tells the full story beyond the peak power and torque uplift: the new engine is considerably stronger, everywhere, from 2,000rpm up.
To match the engine’s heavier punch and to smarten pick-up and acceleration, gear ratios 1-5 are shorter, while 6th gear is taller for more relaxed highway cruising. Addition of an assist/slipper clutch reduces lever load by 20% and manages rear wheel ‘hop’ on rapid downshifts – great for control, on or off-road. On the highway, top speed goes from 129km/h to 132km/h.
A redesigned LCD display features large black digits on a crisp white display, for instant readability. Information includes gear position indicator, fuel mileage and consumption, average speed, stopwatch and rev-counter. Ground clearance has been increased, from 255 to 285mm. 2-channel ABS is standard.
Tailor-made accessories for the CRF300L include a 38L top box, rear carrier bracket and mounts and a protective sump guard for the engine. The Honda CRF300L sells for R84 999 including VAT.