Honda's new CRF300L and CRF300 Rally are a pair of more powerful mud-pluggers
Honda have replaced their popular CRF250L and CRF250L Rally with the CRF300L and CRF300 Rally, which boast more power, increased ground clearance and reduced weight.
- Related: Honda CRF300 Rally bike review
- Related: Full Honda CRF250L review
- Related: Full Honda CRF250L Rally review
The 250L was launched in 2012 to offer a road-legal trailie that wasn’t a hyper aggressive competition bike. It became something of a sleeper hit as people warmed to its easy-going nature and came to realise its potential. It soon drew attention for its long-distance and round-the-world mini-adventure capabilities and it’s here where Honda have made the biggest improvements for 2021.
For a start capacity has increased to 286cc from 250cc, which has unlocked an extra 2.5bhp. More importantly peak torque is up to 19.6lb.ft, which is a near 20% increase. As well as the capacity change there’s a new intake cam with revised timing, which helps boost midrange. The result is that the engine should be strong both at peak but across the entire rev range.
To help liven things up even more, Honda have shortened the first five gears, while sixth gear is taller for high-speed cruising. Paired with this new engine is a new chassis, which is 2.15kg lighter than that of the old model, while also being more flexible for improved traction. To help tackle more challenging terrain the suspension stroke has been increased by 10mm at the front and 20mm at the rear.
Honda have also lifted the engine in the frame, so ground clearance is now 30mm higher with only a 5mm increase in seat height. The wheelbase is also 10mm longer than before while trail is increased by 4mm, both of which should help steady the ship at its new higher topspeed capabilities.
Meanwhile the Rally (pictured below) gets all these updates plus a few extras that should make it even more of a mini-adventurer. For a start the tank has grown 2.7 litres to 12.8 litres, giving a theoretical range of 254 miles. There are also weights in the bars and rubbers in the footrests to ease fatigue, while the seat is rubber mounted and 10mm lower. Prices are yet to be confirmed but both models are due into dealers in January.
Honda CRF300L: fast facts
- The engine has grown by 36cc and it’s all in the increased stroke which is now 63mm, up from 55mm
- As well as changes under the skin, the plastics and graphics of both models have been given an aggressive refresh for 2021
- Accessories now include a proper alloy bash guard as well as a topbox if you fancy taking the rough route to work
- Honda have saved weight here and there: 90g, 110g, 300g savings all add up to a 4kg overall weight loss
- Prices are currently provisional and expected to be £4999 and £6100 for the L and the Rally respectively