Honda’s wee adventure bike relabelled CRF300
Honda has updated its mild mannered CRF250, the big news being an enlarged engine and a change of name to CRF300L. Two versions are available but it’s likely we will continue to take the tour-oriented Rally variant.
With an 8mm stroking to 286cc, the CRF300L’s new engine offers 10 per cent more peak power (20kW@ 8500rpm), and 18 per cent more torque (27Nm@6500rpm). With revised cam timing, air intake and exhaust systems there’s said to be much improved midrange responsiveness. Not that it wasn’t badly needed.
Honda reckons the engine is stronger everywhere from 2000rpm onwards. It is also now said to be Euro5 compliant. Top speed increases slightly to a claimed 135km/h. Fuel use on average is around 3.1L/100km, for a cruising range of over 400km.
To make the most of this newfound grunt, gear ratios 1-5 are shorter while top gear is taller for more relaxed cruising. An assist/slipper clutch prevents rear wheel lock up under hard downshifts and offers 20 per cent less lever resistance.
With a frame rethink, there has been a 4kg weight loss overall - the bike totals 153kg wet - and power to weight ratio improves by 10 per cent. Extra chassis flexibility and a new swingarm evidently improve handling feel. Steering geometry is slacker by one degree, and the wheelbase is longer by 10mm (1455mm). The inverted Showa forks now have an extra 10mm of travel (260mm). Ground clearance rises by 5mm to 275mm.
Fuel tank capacity is enlarged to 12.8L, there’s a new more legible LCD instrument panel and dual headlights use LED elements. A broader seat is said to improve comfort.
Brakes feature ABS as standard fit. A 21-inch wheel up front and an 18-incher at the rear aid stability on rough terrain.
Finally, the Rally version is also updated. This is designed more for distance travel, and features a screen, upper/lower fairing and side shrouds for weather protection. A skid plate and hand guards are standard fit. Its seat is slightly wider, and rubber mounted for extra comfort.
This is a tall bike though, with the seat set at 885mm. Internal handlebar weights are said to reduce vibration. The riding position is slightly more open with handlebars closer to the rider and footpegs lower and set more rearward.
Expect the CRF250 Rally here in the first half of 2021, likely with a price around the $10k mark.