Honda’s announced the new CRF300L and CRF300 Rally in some markets, but at this point, there’s no confirmation either model will make it to North America.
Of course, the CRF300L and CRF300 Rally are based on the CRF250L and CRF250 Rally, the cornerstones of Honda’s current dual sport lineup. The obvious upgrade is a new engine, which appears to be the same liquid-cooled single-cylinder that’s found in the CBR300 and CB300R models. Now, it’s got 286cc capacity, thanks to a longer stroke. (Already, we can see some of you thinking: “You could pair a big-bore kit with this stroked engine, and make even more power!”). There’s a new assist/slipper clutch for 2021, too.
The larger engine is supposed to make 10 percent more horsepower and 18 percent more max torque. That works out to roughly 27 horsepower at 8,500 rpm, and 19.6 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. Although the original CRF250L was severely gutless, these improvements, paired with shorter ratios for gears 1-5 and a taller sixth gear, should help the bike muscle up a bit. Output is still modest, to be sure, but those increases are very significant in a bike this size, especially when combined with weight savings.
Honda says the new CRF300L loses 4 kilos at the curb, a much-needed diet for the 250 (much of that improvement due to a revised chassis, the presser says). All the changes considered, the L now has a 13 percent better power-to-weight ratio.
The suspension is upgraded, with more travel front and rear, there’s a new LCD display, new bodywork, and the CRF300L gets a slimmer 7.8-litre fuel tank. The CRF300 Rally gets a new tank too, with 2.7 litres more capacity (12.8 litres, now), along with a rubber-mounted seat and handlebar weights to reduce vibration.
Basically, it sounds like many countries are getting the updated CRF250L and CRF250 Rally that Honda unveiled in Japan earlier this fall, but with the 300 engine. At this point, Honda’s Canadian and US websites only list a 2020 version of the CRF250L and CRF250 Rally, with no word as to which machine is coming into North America for 2021. A few weeks back, Honda Canada said all their 2021 bikes would be announced at some point in the future, which tells us nothing. However, we do know the Kawasaki KLX300 is coming to both US and Canadian markets for next riding season.