Let’s talk about the 2021 Honda CRF300L and 2021 Honda CRF300 Rally models, which are significantly upping the ante over the previous CRF250, with full details now revealed, including the new engine – a 286 cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder, care of a longer stroke by 8 mm.
That boosts peak power to just over 20 kW, or 27 hp, while torque is up 4 Nm to 26.6 in total, peaking at 6500 rpm. That’s a 10 per cent increase in power, and 18 per cent increase in torque over the CRF250L. Honda also share that it’s stronger everywhere from 2000rpm onwards.
Updates include revised inlet cam timing, air filter, exhaust downpipe, muffler and ignition timing, an iridium spark plug and enhanced combustions thanks to the PGM-FI system.
Plus gear ratios in first through fifth are shorter, with sixth now taller for better highway capabilities. A slip and assist clutch has also been added, reducing lever load by 20%, while compression lock will be negated by this addition.
On the chassis side of things, we’ve seen 4 kg in weight savings, with the bike trimmed down to 142 kg wet as a result.
The steel semi double cradle frame is all new and responsible for most of the weight savings, and is turned for 25% less lateral rigidity to promote feel. The cast aluminium swingarm is also 550 g lighter, and likewise gets a 23% reduction in lateral rigidity. The steel bottom yoke of the previous machine has also been replaced with aluminium saving a further 730 g and contributes to a faster steering response according to Honda.
On the suspension side of things, 43 mm Showa inverted forks now offer 260 mm of stroke, with revised settings, while the Pro Link Suspension offers 260 mm of axle stroke, up 20 mm, with a single-tube Showa shock design. There’s no mention of suspension adjustability in the release so I’m assuming just preload in the back.
The suspension changes have helped increase ground clearance up 30 mm to 285 in total, with the frame and engine also 20 mm higher. The rake meanwhile has been decreased by a tenth of a degree, while trail is down four mm to 109 in total, with the wheelbase extended 10 mm to 1455.
Brakes are a single 256mm front rotor with two piston caliper, while the rear runs a 220 mm rotor and single-piston caliper, while the rear master cylinder comes from the CRF competition machines. Dual channel ABS is also standard fitment.
New lightweight rims are also featured with a polished alumite surface, and rim sizes are a 21 front and 18 inch rear, clad in an 80/100 front tyre and 120/80 rear tyre. Trimming off yet more weight is a machined rear sprocket, now running smaller M8 bolts, plus a hollow axle.
Styling draws inspiration from the CRF race machines, with new bodywork, which is lighter and slimmer, to help riders move around on the bike. The number plate bracket has even been shaved down to save 300 g.
Handlebars have been moved back towards the rider slightly, with footrests also lower and further back, to better accommodate off-road boots. Seat height is up to 880 mm in total, with a new sidestand running a larger surface area.
The LCD dash has even been updated, to save 70 g, while speedo readability is boosted with larger numbers. Headlight and taillight units both remain bulb unfortunately.
When it comes to the CRF300 Rally we see the same updates, with a few model specific features.
That includes a larger 12.8L fuel tank which Honda claim is good for a range of 410 km, as well as the inclusion of an LED headlight. The taillight is however still a bulb unit.
All the weight savings also benefit the Rally, however it weighs in at a heavier 153 kg compared to the standard CRF300L.
Brakes are also updated, with a larger 296 mm front rotor and two-piston caliper, although the rear brake setup is shared between models. The seat is 885 mm in height, which is a 10 mm reduction from the 250 Rally, but still five mm higher than the CRF300L, and is rubber mounted, and wider for better long distance comfort.
The Rally version also gets LED indicators on flexible mounts, a floating screen, internal handlebar weights and skid plate for engine protection in rougher conditions. Handguards are also included for a bit of lever and hand protection.