Honda’s CRF300L ready to tackle any terrain
The Honda CRF300L is a modern iteration of their true dual-purpose motorcycle
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 and provided genuine on-road usability with excellent off-road performance. The entire XL range that followed became legendary and proved that combining an economical and easy to use single-cylinder four-stroke engine with a competent chassis created a motorcycle that was useful, versatile and a great deal of fun.
Over a decade ago, exhaustive discussions with Honda R&D took place regarding the creation of a brand-new dual-purpose machine. The conclusion was a bike that offered competition level off-road performance, as well as ease of use, practicality and convenience. For weekday, urban environments a tough, practical bike was needed but come the weekend, it needed to be able to go wherever they wanted to go, on or off-road. The CRF250L, launched in 2012, was just that motorcycle.
Nine years since its initial introduction, Honda’s popular dual-purpose tool has been refined slightly in all areas to ensure that it remains at the top of the small-capacity dual purpose pile.
Increased cubic capacity, a revised air intake, updated inlet cam timing and an improved exhaust system combine to extract more power and considerably more torque across the rev range. Peak power of 20kW now arrives at 8500rpm and peak torque of 26.6Nm at 6 500rpm.
Shorter first to fifth gearbox ratios make the most of the increased performance and are topped with a taller 6th gear for more relaxed cruising. Top speed increases to 132km/h. A slipper clutch allows confident control of the rear wheel.
Lower weight, improved suspension
Handling on any terrain is improved with a new swingarm and more laterally flexible frame, increased ground clearance to 285mm, longer travel suspension and a revised riding position. Kerb weight has been reduced by 4kg to 142kg, which along with the power upgrades means a 13% improvement in power to weight ratio.
The 43mm Showa inverted fork gains 10mm of stroke to 260mm, with spring weight and damping settings revised for precise control over a wide range of terrain and speeds. The Pro-Link rear suspension now features a 260mm axle stroke.
The front brake uses a single 256mm disc gripped by a two-piston calliper, the rear a 220mm disc and single piston calliper and 2-channel ABS is standard. Lightweight aluminium rims further reduce unsprung mass, the 21-inch front and 18-inch rear rim are fitted with Block pattern enduro-style tyres to provide traction on a wide variety of riding surfaces.
Improved styling and rider comfort
Sharp new bodywork and graphics mark the 2021 upgrades. The 7.8 litre fuel tank is slimmer than before to aid forward movement and is matched by a narrower forward seat section.
To foster easy, light control, the riding position has been subtly altered, the handlebars have been pulled back slightly, while the foot rests have been lowered and also moved back, to make gear changes in off-road boots easier. Seat height has been increased 5mm to 880mm for a naturally upright rider triangle.
A crisp positive LCD instrument display features large digits on a crisp white display. The speed numbers are also larger. Information displayed includes gear position indicator, fuel mileage and consumption, average speed, stop watch and rev counter.
The Honda CRF300L retails for R84 999.
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