– NEW 2021 Honda CRF300L Review / Specs + Changes Explained for USA & Europe! –
Say hello to another new 2021 Honda CRF300L! Why do I say “another”? Because, this is the second new 2021 CRF300L release that we’ve covered paired up with the new 2021 CRF250L too. Confusing huh? Well, I cover Honda motorcycles news from all around the planet as it gives us an insight as to what we’ll be seeing here in the USA – sometimes. First up, it was the new 2021 CRF250L that was announced for Japan. That made us think that Honda wouldn’t be releasing a CRF300L in the USA but… Then the new 2021 CRF300L we covered earlier, here, was announced for the Thailand market and a lot of the time will be identical to what we see here in the USA. So now, we’re all excited thinking that we’ll be getting the CRF300L in the USA. Fast forward to today and Honda of Europe finally announced the 2021 CRF300L & CRF300 Rally for the European market and its specs etc. You would think, both CRF300L models would be pretty close – right? They are but you’ll spot some differences like the headlight among other small tweaks. Are you behind on all of this new info? If so, you need to follow me on social media where I post updated all the time that don’t always make it here to the blog. Check me out here on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
2021 Honda CRF300L USA Release Date / Announcement Date: American Honda has not “officially” announced that the CRF300L will be coming to the USA, at the time of writing this. I will be updating this page as soon as it’s official. Do I think we’ll be getting this new CRF300L over the newly redesigned 2021 CRF250L? Yes. I think we will be getting this spec CRF300L for 2021 here in the USA. I could be wrong, it’s just a hunch. Long story short, I can’t say at the moment but I will be updating this page very soon, once I’m able to “officially” spill the beans for the 2021 CRF300L release in America. Check out the rest of the 2021 motorcycle model lineup here.
Quick overview of 2021 CRF300L Changes: Increased cubic capacity for Honda’s popular dual-purpose tool, plus revised air intake, inlet cam timing and exhaust system that extract more peak horsepower and considerably stronger torque across the rev-range. Shorter gearbox ratios are topped with a taller 6th gear while an assist/slipper clutch allows confident control of the rear wheel. Handling on any terrain is improved with a new swingarm and more laterally flexible frame, increased ground clearance, longer travel suspension and revised riding position. Sharp new bodywork and graphics mark the 2021 upgrades, and there’s a crisp, positive LCD instrument display. Curb weight for the CRF300L is reduced by 8.9 lbs to 313 lbs, making for a 13% improvement in power to weight ratio. We’ll dive more into those changes below…
- Quick CRF300L Info (for those in a hurry):
- 2021 Honda CRF300 Model Lineup / Options:
- 2021 CRF300L
- 2021 CRF300L RALLY
- 2021 CRF300L Price / MSRP: $5,299 (ABS $5,599)
- 2021 CRF300L USA Release Date: Spring 2021
- 2021 CRF300L Colors: Red
- 2021 CRF300L Horsepower: 27 HP @ 8,500 RPM
- 2021 CRF300L Torque: 19.6 lb/ft TQ @ 6,500 RPM
- 2021 CRF300L MPG: 75.9 Miles Per Gallon
- 2021 CRF300L Seat Height: 34.6 inches
- 2021 CRF300L Weight: 313 lbs (curb)
- 2021 CRF300L Fuel Tank Capacity / Size: 2.06 gallons
- 2021 CRF300L Front Suspension: 43mm Showa USD fork with 10.2 inches of travel
- 2021 CRF300L Rear Suspension: Pro-link Showa monoshock with 10.2 inches of travel
- 2021 CRF300L VS 2020 CRF250L Changes: Yes, explained below.
- 2021 CRF300L VS 2020 CRF250L Price Change: +$100
- 2021 Honda CRF300 Model Lineup / Options:
- 2021 CRF300L Review Contents:
- 1. | Introduction
- 2. | Model Overview
- 3. | Key Features / Development
- 3.1 | Styling & Equipment
- 3.2 | Engine
- 3.3 | Chassis
- 4. | Accessories
- 5. | Photo Gallery / Pictures
- 6. | Technical Specifications
1. | Introduction
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 – a bike providing 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, as riders the world over found, a great deal of fun.
Over a decade ago, exhaustive discussions within Honda R&D took place about the creation of a brand-new dual-purpose machine. The company’s long history – in off-road competition and trail-ready machinery – was a useful touchstone when development of the bike first began.
Looking to the needs of customers came first. While some riders insist upon competition-level off-road performance, many others value ease of use, practicality and convenience. For weekday, urban environments they wanted a tough, practical bike with cutting-edge off-road style. But, come the weekend, it needed to provide a ticket to ride, wherever they wanted to go, on or off-road.
Honda’s new dual-purpose bike was always viewed by its development team with global perspective. It not only needed a powerful and frugal engine, its chassis also had to have a broad and capable range. And it needed to be affordable, offering high quality and outstanding value for money, with low overall running costs a priority.
The CRF250L, launched across the globe in 2012 as a 2013 model year.
And Honda’s engineers got the formula right. The CRF250L has proved a fruitful base platform which, as well as spawning a RALLY version, enjoys consistent sales success around the world.
Time marches on, however, and now the new CRF300L takes the stage for 2021 – lighter, more powerful and with an array of detail improvements. It is every bit the do-it-all, dual-purpose motorcycle the CRF250L was. Just more so. Honda didn’t forget about the RALLY fans either, you also now have the new CRF300L RALLY with new changes for 2021 – explained here.
2. | Model Overview
Now 286cc, the CRF300L’s new engine produces 10% more peak horsepower of 27 HP @ 8,500 RPM, and 18% more peak torque at 19.6 lb/ft @ 6,500 RPM. Inlet cam timing has been revised, alongside both air intake and exhaust system for much stronger mid-range torque and power. Gear ratios 1-5 are shorter, for improved response, while 6th is taller for more relaxed high-speed cruising. An assist/slipper clutch now manages the rear wheel under hard down changes and offers 20% less load at the lever.
A redesigned steel frame, aluminum swingarm and bottom yoke are major contributors to a 8.8 pound overall weight loss and feature revised rigidity balance for feedback and feel. Steering geometry has been adjusted in detail to match, alongside longer travel front/rear suspension and increased ground clearance.
Sharp-edged bodywork features a slimmer tank and seat, and a new positive LCD instrument display. The riding position, too, has been altered to encourage the light steering maneuverability needed off-road and, just as usefully, around town.
3. | Key Features / Development
3.1 | Styling & Equipment
- Lighter, slimmer bodywork inspired by competition CRF-R machines
- Revised riding position promotes natural control
- Positive LCD display even easier to read
Drawing yet more inspiration from the racing CRF-R dirt bikes, the CRF300L wears a crisp set of new bodywork and graphics. The 2.06 gal. fuel tank is 190g (.42 lb) lighter and slimmer than before to aid movement forward, and matched by a narrower forward seat section. The rear number plate bracket is also much reduced, for a 300g saving (.66 lb), while the aggressively shaped front mudguard is also lighter.
To foster easy, light control, the riding position has been subtly altered: the handlebars are have been pulled back slightly, while the foot rests have been lowered and also moved back, to make gear changes in heavy off-road boots easier. Seat height is increased 5mm, from 34.4 in. to 34.6 in., for a naturally upright ‘rider triangle’. The side stand, too has been redesigned with a 10% larger area for its (new) folding footplate.
A redesigned, 70g (.15 lb) lighter LCD display features large black digits on a crisp white display, for instant readability. The speedo numbers are also 6mm (.24 in.) larger, at 23mm (.90 in.). Information includes gear position indicator, fuel mileage and consumption, average speed, stopwatch and rev-counter.
3.2 | CRF300L Engine
- Larger capacity 286cc engine puts out an extra 3 horsepower and 3 lb/ft TQ
- Revised gearbox ratios for both acceleration and cruising
- Assist/slipper clutch with 20% lighter lever load
An extra 14% cubic capacity for the single-cylinder, liquid-cooled DOHC engine – from 250cc to 286cc – is acquired by a 63mm stroke, as opposed to 55mm. Bore remains 76mm, as does compression ratio of 10.7:1. Peak power of 27 HP arrives @ 8,500 RPM (20.1kW), peak torque of 19.6 lb/ft @ 6,500 RPM (26.6Nm) (up from 24 HP @ 8.500 RPM / 16.7 TQ @ 6,750rpm | 18.2kW/22.6Nm). The full dyno graph curves tells the full story beyond the peak power and torque uplift: the new engine is considerably stronger, everywhere, from 2,000 RPM up.
To match the engine’s heavier punch and to smarten pick-up and acceleration, gear ratios 1-5 are shorter, while 6th gear is taller for more relaxed highway cruising and higher top speed on the CRF300L compared to the CRF250L. Addition of an assist/slipper clutch reduces lever load by 20% and manages rear wheel ‘hop’ on rapid downshifts – great for control, on or off-road.
Revised timing of the intake cam specifically boosts low- to mid-range response – the rpm range most used around town or off-road – and works with redesigned air filter, exhaust downpipe (1.5 lbs / 660g lighter than the previous design), muffler and ignition timing. An iridium spark plug, along with precise metering of fuel from the PGM-FI injection system, further enhances combustion efficiency and improves environmental credentials.
The engine uses an offset cylinder, reducing internal frictional losses, while the piston itself incorporates a special surface material, plus molybdenum coating. The oil pump features an internal relief structure that prevents aeration of relieved oil. The crank journal employs a half-split, press-fit metal bearing while the crank bearing uses a cast-iron bush. A primary balance shaft further reduces vibration.
The cooling system uses a 12.7kW heat-release radiator, sited on the left of the bike, protected with a polypropylene grill baffled to improve airflow. A thin guide-ring cooling fan is used to maintain even temperatures at low speeds, either in congested traffic or tricky off-road situations.
The CRF300L engine is fully EURO5 compliant.
3.3 | CRF300L Chassis
- Handling and agility improved on any terrain from wide-ranging updates
- Significant weight saving from a new frame and swingarm
- Revised rigidity balance for both, with increased ground clearance
- Longer travel front and rear suspension
A total of 8.8 lbs has been saved overall from the CRF300L’s chassis, with a curb / wet weight of 313 lbs. The steel semi-double cradle frame is completely new and contributes 4.7 lbs to the weight loss (2.15kg). Just as importantly, to promote handling feel and connection to front/rear traction, its flexibility balance has been tuned with 25% less lateral rigidity.
This has been achieved with decreased width (-30mm) for the main down tube and smaller, 25.4mm diameter lower down tubes (from 28.6mm) plus a 20mm decrease in width across the central bracing tube.
To match, the one-piece cast aluminum swingarm is not only 1.2 lbs lighter (550g) , it features a 23% reduction in lateral rigidity. It’s also 15mm narrower just behind the pivot point and smooth, cross-sectional shaping is used to create uniform deflection. Extruded aluminum is used for the chain adjustment collar. The steel bottom yoke of the previous design has been changed for aluminum; this shaves 1.6 lbs (730g) from an area high relative to the center of gravity for faster steering response.
The 43mm Showa inverted fork gains .4 in. (10mm) of stroke to to make the suspension travel now come in at 10.2 in. (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 has 10.2 inches of travel (260mm), up from 9.4 in. (240mm) on the outgoing CRF250L; the Showa shock absorber is a single tube design.
Ground clearance has been increased, from 10.0 in. to 11.2 in. (255mm to 285mm) and the frame and engine sit .8 inches higher (20mm), thanks to revisions to the lower frame, engine crankcases and oil drain plug. Rake and trail are now set at 27.5°/109mm (from 27.6°/113mm) with .4 in. (10mm) longer wheelbase of 57.3 in. (1455mm). Turning radius for the CRF300L is 7.5 ft (2.3m).
The front brake uses a single 256mm disc gripped by a two-piston caliper, the rear a 220mm disc and single-piston caliper; in common with the CRF competition machines the rear master cylinder is now a lightweight, integrated design. The discs feature a wave design – also taken directly from the CRF250R/CRF450R – with exceptional self-cleaning abilities in adverse conditions.
2-channel ABS comes as standard equipment on the CRF300L in Europe and select other countries. At the time of writing this, I can’t confirm whether or not American Honda will still offer a non ABS CRF300L in the USA for 2021.
Lightweight aluminum rims further reduce unsprung mass; for 2021 the Alumite surface has been polished to a gloss finish. Block pattern enduro-style tires (front, 80/100-21 51P and rear 120/80-18 62P) provide traction in a wide range of riding situations.
The 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear increase stability on rough terrain and allow the fitment of more off-road specific tires if required. Application of a machined rear sprocket and M8 bolts (instead of M10) plus hollow rear axle saves .5 lbs (240g) and .35 lbs (160g) respectively.
4. | CRF300L Accessories
Tailor-made accessories for the CRF300L include 38L top box, rear carrier bracket and mounts and protective sump guard for the engine. More details and pictures coming soon…
5. | Photo Gallery / Pictures
6. | Technical Specifications
|Type||Liquid-cooled, single cylinder DOHC|
|Engine Displacement (cm³)||286cc|
|No. of Valves per Cylinder||4|
|Bore ´ Stroke (mm)||76.0 x 63.0|
|Max. Power Output||27 horsepower @ 8500 RPM (20.1kW)|
|Max. Torque||19.6 lb/ft TQ @ 6,500 RPM (26.6Nm)|
|Oil Capacity||1.9 qt (1.8L)|
|Carburation||PGM-FI electronic fuel injection|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||2.06 gal. (7.8L)|
|Fuel Consumption||76 MPG (32.3km/liter)|
|Clutch Type||Wet multiplate, assist/slipper clutch|
|Type||Steel semi-double cradle|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||87.8 in. x 32.3 in. x 47.2 in. (2230 x 820 x 1200mm)|
|Wheelbase||57.3 in. (1455mm)|
|Trail||4.3 in. (109mm)|
|Seat Height||34.6 in. (880mm)|
|Ground Clearance||11.2 in. (285mm)|
|Currb Weight||313 lbs (142kg)|
|Turning radius||7.5 ft (2.3m)|
|Type Front||43mm telescopic USD fork|
|Wheels Front||aluminum spoke|
|Wheels Rear||aluminum spoke|
|tires Front||80/100-21M/C 51P|
|tires Rear||120/80-18M/C 62P|
|ABS System Type||2 channel ABS|
|Brakes Front||256mm x 3.5mm disc with two piston caliper|
|Brakes Rear||220 mm x 4.5mm disc with single piston caliper|
|INSTRUMENTS & ELECTRICS|
* Specifications are subject to change. All specs are based off of the current Euro spec CRF300L.