One of the last, if not arguably the last proper small capacity dual-sport adventure machines is receiving a tiny update in 2023, as Honda’s CRF300L will be arriving in a new Swift Grey and Orange colour scheme, in a more downstated approach than the traditional Extreme Red.
The one other change we’re seeing on the CRF300L is the inclusion of standard knuckle guards, mirroring the CRF300 Rally loadout, but still a single mounting point hand guard that’s only going to provide wind and weather protection, where most serious riders will probably replace them with a two-point wrap-around guard, for more hand and lever protection.
The CRF300L was announced in 2020 for 2021, replacing the previous CRF250L, with a new larger engine that bumped performance thanks to a longer stroke, with torque up 18 per cent and the power to weight ratio increasing by 13% – partially thanks to 4kg in weight savings. A slipper clutch added to the sporty nature and six-speed gearbox means the CRF300L could offer a better set of ratios, with first to fifth shorter, while sixth is specifically designed for highway cruising – the natural enemy of the light small capacity dual sport, at least with comfort.
A new frame was implemented then, with more ground clearance, longer travel suspension, revised geometry and new LCD dash, all of which continues into 2023 unchanged.
The CRF300L runs a 7.8L fuel tank with a 880 mm seat height, and compared to the 250 it replaced moved the bars closer to the rider and lowered the pegs, also moving them back.
By comparison the Rally knocked the seat down 10 mm to 885 mm, and offers a larger 12.8L fuel capacity for much better range for adventure riding, with internal handlebar weights, rubber topped footpegs, and flexible LED indicators, for better damage resistance.
Delving a bit deeper into the loadout, there’s 43 mm Showa inverted forks, with 260 mm of stroke, while Pro-Link rear suspension is a monoshock with single-tube and 260 mm of travel. Common consensus on this style of bike is that having the suspension setup for your weight and expected luggage loadout is highly recommended.
Brakes are a smallish 256 mm front rotor with two-piston caliper, and 220 mm rear rotor with single-pistoncaliper, both running wave rotors and running a two-channel ABS system.
Those wheels are aluminium spoked units, in a 21 inch front and 18 inch rear, matching the harder nosed off-road dual sport nature of the CRF300L, and enduro tyres are fitted, with a 80/100-21 front and 120/80-18 rear.
Total weight is 142 kg full fuelled on the CRF300L, with Honda’s quoted fuel consumption at 32.3 km/L, meaning the 7.8 litre fuel tank should be good for 252 km, if you really want to stretch your luck. Lighting remaining bulb is interesting, making for easy replacement, if less reliability than LED.