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Motorcycles 2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally First Look

14:00  11 january  2021
14:00  11 january  2021 Source:   dirtrider.com

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First introduced in 2013, the Honda CRF250L enjoys a displacement bump for 2021. Accordingly, Big Red’s smallest street-legal CRF model is now called the CRF300L to reflect the approximate 15-percent engine size increase.

a motorcycle that is jumping in the air: Honda’s smallest street-legal CRF gets a displacement increase, more suspension travel and ground clearance, and a claimed 11-pound weight loss for 2021 with its new CRF300L. © Provided by Dirt Rider Honda’s smallest street-legal CRF gets a displacement increase, more suspension travel and ground clearance, and a claimed 11-pound weight loss for 2021 with its new CRF300L. a motorcycle that is jumping in the air: Honda’s smallest street-legal CRF gets a displacement increase, more suspension travel and ground clearance, and a claimed 11-pound weight loss for 2021 with its new CRF300L. © Courtesy of Honda Honda’s smallest street-legal CRF gets a displacement increase, more suspension travel and ground clearance, and a claimed 11-pound weight loss for 2021 with its new CRF300L.

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Honda’s goal with the CRF300L was to increase power, improve off-road performance, and reduce weight. Big Red sought to accomplish that by upping the displacement by 36cc, adding suspension travel and ground clearance, and decreasing the overall weight by a claimed 11 pounds. According to Honda, the weight loss was achieved by optimizing the plate thicknesses and tubing sizes on several components, following the careful application of computer-aided engineering analysis.

a person flying through the air while riding a motorcycle: Big Red took the existing CRF250L powerplant and increased its stroke by 8mm. The resulting 286cc displacement triggered the model name change to CRF300L. © Provided by Dirt Rider Big Red took the existing CRF250L powerplant and increased its stroke by 8mm. The resulting 286cc displacement triggered the model name change to CRF300L.

Beginning with the CRF250L engine, Honda increased its stroke by 8mm (for a total of 63mm) and left the 76mm bore as is. The resulting 286cc displacement brought about the model name change to CRF300L. Also, the camshaft lift and timing were revised to increase bottom-end and midrange output.

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Other updates to the engine include the six-speed transmission featuring updated gear ratios with closer spacing in the lower gears and wider spacing in the higher gears, a new assist/slipper clutch that is designed to provide an approximately 20-percent lighter clutch pull and improved performance during aggressive downshifting, a new exhaust system with a lighter header pipe and muffler which are said to reduce sound, and a revised air filter.

a motorcycle parked on the side: Additional updates were made to the engine including revising the six-speed transmission’s gear ratios along with adding a new assist/slipper clutch that is said to provide an approximately 20-percent lighter clutch pull. © Provided by Dirt Rider Additional updates were made to the engine including revising the six-speed transmission’s gear ratios along with adding a new assist/slipper clutch that is said to provide an approximately 20-percent lighter clutch pull.

The frame is claimed to have lost 4.8 ounces with its lateral rigidity being decreased by 25 percent to improve the bike’s maneuverability and rider feel. The downtube is 30mm narrower, the downtube gusset is smaller, the main pipe is 20mm shorter, and the diameter of the cradle tubes has been reduced by 3.2mm. The lower triple clamp material has been switched from steel to aluminum, which is said to reduce the weight of the part by 1.6 ounces. A 1.2-inch increase in ground clearance was achieved by revisions to the frame and crankcase designs.

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a close up of a motorcycle: Along with reducing the stiffness of the frame, Honda also decreased the lateral and torsional rigidity of the swingarm. The revised cross section of the component is said to deliver a more uniform distribution of twist to offer a better feel and more predictable handling. © Provided by Dirt Rider Along with reducing the stiffness of the frame, Honda also decreased the lateral and torsional rigidity of the swingarm. The revised cross section of the component is said to deliver a more uniform distribution of twist to offer a better feel and more predictable handling.

Further rigidity reduction was applied to the swingarm, which has been redesigned with 23 percent less lateral rigidity and 17 percent less torsional rigidity. The width near the pivot has been decreased by 15mm, while the cross section has been revised to deliver a more uniform distribution of twist to offer a better feel and more predictable handling. According to Honda, the swingarm’s weight has also been reduced by 1.6 ounces.

As far as suspension, the Showa 43mm inverted fork and Showa shock are retained, but the stroke has been boosted 0.4 inch up front and 0.6 inch in the rear, which gives the bike 10.2 inches of wheel travel at both ends. A new rear link and connecting rod are employed, and the suspension settings have been revised as well.

a man flying through the air while riding a motorcycle: The bike’s existing Showa 43mm inverted fork and Showa shock have a longer stroke (a 0.4-inch and 0.6-inch increase, respectively), which equates to 10.2 inches of wheel travel front and rear. © Provided by Dirt Rider The bike’s existing Showa 43mm inverted fork and Showa shock have a longer stroke (a 0.4-inch and 0.6-inch increase, respectively), which equates to 10.2 inches of wheel travel front and rear.

To improve rider input and the bike’s maneuverability, the CRF300L’s handlebar sweep has been increased for what Honda describes as “a more natural elbow position” and lighter steering. Handlebar weights were also added to reduce vibration. The front area of the seat is narrower, the footpegs have been moved rearward, and the right-side swingarm pivot cover has been redesigned to be narrower.

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a motorcycle parked next to a bicycle: As it has since 2017, Honda is offering a Rally version of its smallest-displacement street-legal CRF. That trend continues in 2021 with the CRF300L Rally. © Provided by Dirt Rider As it has since 2017, Honda is offering a Rally version of its smallest-displacement street-legal CRF. That trend continues in 2021 with the CRF300L Rally.

Attention was paid to the brakes in the form of a new rear brake master cylinder, while the black aluminum rims are now polished for a glossy appearance, which according to Honda also makes them easier to clean. The kickstand is said to be stronger and its foot plate is 10-percent larger. A thinner rear sprocket that is affixed with smaller bolts (M8 getting the nod over the prior M10 size) and a hollow rear axle shave a combined total of slightly under 1.6 ounces. Lastly, a new meter that displays text in a 6mm-larger font includes the bike’s speed, rpm reading, a clock, and a few new functions such as gear position, fuel mileage, and fuel consumption.

a man flying through the air while riding a motorcycle: A larger 3.4-gallon fuel tank, frame-mounted windscreen, hand guards, and red, white, black, and blue graphics are a few of the differences the Rally version carries over the standard CRF300L. © Provided by Dirt Rider A larger 3.4-gallon fuel tank, frame-mounted windscreen, hand guards, and red, white, black, and blue graphics are a few of the differences the Rally version carries over the standard CRF300L.

Like it has since 2017, Honda is also offering a Rally trim level of its smallest-displacement street-legal CRF. The CRF300L Rally features a new 3.4-gallon fuel tank, which is a 0.7-gallon increase over the outgoing CRF250L Rally model and 1.3 gallons larger than the standard CRF300L. A number of parts have been lightened including the front fender by 0.3 ounce, the side covers by 0.8 ounce, the toolbox by 0.5 ounce, and the license plate bracket by 0.6 ounce. In total, the 2021 CRF300L Rally weighs a claimed 9 pounds less than the outgoing 2020 CRF250L Rally model.

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a motorcycle parked on a dirt road: According to Honda, the CRF300L Rally weighs 9 pounds less than the outgoing 2020 CRF250L Rally model. © Provided by Dirt Rider According to Honda, the CRF300L Rally weighs 9 pounds less than the outgoing 2020 CRF250L Rally model.

The seat gets a new rubber mounting cushion and it has been widened by 20mm compared to the standard model, to 190mm, though the front remains narrow to facilitate the rider’s feet touching the ground when needed. Rubber platforms were added to the footpegs to reduce vibration, and other extra features over the standard model include a frame-mounted windscreen, hand guards, and red, white, black, and blue graphics that mimic the look of the CRF Performance line.

a person flying through the air while riding a motorcycle: Big Red took the existing CRF250L powerplant and increased its stroke by 8mm. The resulting 286cc displacement triggered the model name change to CRF300L. © Courtesy of Honda Big Red took the existing CRF250L powerplant and increased its stroke by 8mm. The resulting 286cc displacement triggered the model name change to CRF300L.

The CRF300L and CRF300L Rally are both offered in a standard and ABS version. The CRF300L costs $5,249 and the CRF300L ABS retails for $5,549, while the CRF300L Rally is priced at $5,999 and the CRF300L Rally ABS will set you back $6,299. Claimed wet weights for each model are 309 pounds, 311 pounds, 333 pounds, and 337 pounds, respectively.

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