2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally - story fullscreen Fullscreen

2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally

Reduced weight, increased power, and improved off-road performance

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Good news sports fans! Honda spruced up its dual-sport CRF300L base model and its Rally variant ahead of 2021 with a solid 15-percent increase in displacement, a concurrent 10-percent increase in power, reduced weight, and improved off-road performance. The Rally model brings even more off-road prowess to the table with its Ricky Brabec-inspired equipment package for riders looking to do some actual trailblazing/globetrotting work.

  • 2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    286 cc
  • Top Speed:
    80 mph
  • Price:
    5249
  • Price:

2021 Honda CRF300L Design

  • Improved riding position
  • Larger fuel tank (Rally)
  • Improved LCD display
  • Lighter weight and slimmer CRF450R-inspired bodywork
2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
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2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
- image 995043
Honda's CRF300L is a bona fide successor to the enduro bikes of old.

Honda enjoys its own deep historical roots within this genre to make the CRF300L a bona fide successor to the enduro bikes of old. The newly-refurbished MY2021 model carries revised bodywork that is both lighter and slimmer than before, even while it maintains much the same overall look with its high-mount front mudguard, dirtbike-like proportions, and competitive mien. Since the front fender is so high, it necessitates the separate high-rise fork guards to protect the swept area of the inner fork tube and prolong service life.

The base-model looks slim, anorexic even, when placed side-by-side with its Rally sibling. The Rally carrys more extensive and stylized bodywork complete with a robust set of bash plates that protect the downtubes and cradles from terrain strikes, along with side covers for the exhaust headers and engine cases. The Rally also carries a larger fuel tank with a 3.4 gallon capacity to extend your rides in general, and off-road range specifically, in contrast to the 2.1 gallon teacup on the base model.

Both bikes benefit from a revised riding position that delivers a more natural feel in both control and feedback. There’s another divergence in the design between the two at the headlights. The base model rocks a single headlight topped by a tiny numberplate/flyscreen, but the Rally sports asymmetrical dual headlights with a rally-style windscreen and handguards to complete the pilot’s protection. Behind the light, the positive-lit LCD screen was tweaked for better visibility under any ambient light conditions.

Seat height was boosted from 34.4 inches to 34.6 inches off the deck for the U.S. market and the handlebar is pulled back a skosh and the footpegs adjusted to accommodate heavy riding boots and even a standing riding position for technical off-road work.

2021 Honda CRF300L Chassis

  • Showa suspension, front and rear
  • Terrain-busting 21-inch front wheel
  • Greater ground clearance (Rally)
  • Redesigned steel frame
2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
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2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
- image 995048
2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
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The suspension is okay on civilized roads, but really earn its salt on soft/loose off-road surfaces.

The very bones of the beast underwent its own metamorphosis of sorts with revised tuning and plate thicknesses that drop a whopping 4.7 pounds from the chassis weight of the CRF300L. Steel was the material of choice for the strength it imparts to the structure. It comes in a single-downtube/double-cradle arrangement that fully cradles and supports the engine rather than using the mill itself as a stressed member.

The one-piece cast-aluminum swingarm does its bit to keep heft down by dropping 1.2 pounds for this year. A pair of lightweight, laced aluminum rims limit unsprung weight at both ends with enduro block-pattern tread hoops in an 80/100-21 ahead of a 120/80-18. They’re okay on civilized roads to be sure, but really earn their salt on soft/loose off-road surfaces.

Rake and trail are a skosh shorter than the outgoing model at 27.5-degrees and 4.29-inches respectively, while the wheelbase is 57.3-inches long, almost half an inch longer than before. Turning radius is reported to be 7.5-feet long, and ground clearance is now 11.2-inches high on the Rally, up 1.2 inches from last year for greater rough-terrain capabilities.

A set of 43 mm inverted Showa forks float the front end on 10.2 inches of travel (up 0.4 inch, while out back, the Pro-Link suspension and Showa shock rocks the same stroke as the front. Full-spectrum adjustability comes stock at both ends for complete control over the ride quality.

A twin-pot caliper bites a 256 mm disc (296 mm on the Rally) that rocks a self-cleaning “wave” cut disc with a 220 mm disc and single-piston anchor out back. ABS is available as an option on both of these bikes, but if you get the antilocks you can still disable it at the rear wheel for your off-road shenaniganery.

Front Suspension/ Travel: 43 mm inverted fork/ 10.2 inches
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Pro-Link® single shock with spring/ 10.2 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 27°30’
Trail: 4.3 inches
Front Brake: Single 256 mm disc (Rally: 296 mm) with twin-piston caliper (ABS model w/ ABS)
Rear Brake: Single 220 mm disc (ABS model w/ ABS)
Front Tire: 80/100-21
Rear Tire: 120/80-18

2021 Honda CRF300L Drivetrain

  • New 286 cc single-cylinder engine
  • Improved horsepower and torque
  • Lighter pull at the clutch lever
  • Improved acceleration
2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
- image 995053
2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
- image 995046
2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
- image 995056
Revisions to the new 286 cc engine deepen the torque well for improved throttle response lower in the range.

Displacement on the CRF300L was increased 36 cc for a total new displacement of 286 cc. It’s still a thumper – no surprise there – and still liquid cooled with a 12.7 kW radiator tucked away behind a protective grille that smooths airflow and prevents stone strikes. A revised intake tract and tweaked cam timing deepens the torque well for improved throttle response lower in the range.

Dual over-head cams time the four-valve head for efficient aspiration. The factory runs with a 76 mm bore, same as last year, as is the 10.7-to-1 compression ratio that’ll demand at least mid-grade fuel, but the stroke is stretched by 8 mm to 63 mm to account for the increase in displacement.

A slipper clutch comes with a 20-percent lighter pull as it couples engine power to the six-speed transmission that runs with shorter ratios for improved acceleration, and a taller top gear for efficiency. Power figures check in with 27 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 19.6 pounds o’ torque at 6,500 rpm, up from 24/16.7 on the outgoing model. An offset cylinder position and molybdenum-coated piston skirts reduce friction and its associated mechanical losses and heat for a long planned service life.

Engine: 286 cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x Stroke: 76 mm x 63 mm
Induction: PGM-FI, 38mm throttle body
Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistorized with electronic advance
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Valve Train: DOHC; four-valve
Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive: #520 chain; 14T/40T

2021 Honda CRF300L Price

2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
- image 995048
2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
- image 995044
2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
- image 995046
MSRP starts at $5.3k on the base model without ABS and runs up to $6.3k for the Rally with ABS

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First off, you can get these bikes in any color you want, as long as you want that Honda Red with white and blue trim. The prices fall over a range with the non-ABS CRF300L rolling for $5,249 and the ABS version fetching $5,549. Naturally the Rally is going to go for more cheddar with a $5,999 and $6,299 sticker for non-ABS and ABS, respectively.

Model ID: CRF300L (Rally: CRL300LR)
Warranty: One Year Included, Transferable, unlimited mileage limited warranty, Optional extended coverage available with a HondaCare Protection Plan®
Colors: Red
Price:
└ CRF300L: $5,249, W/ ABS: $5,549
└ CRF300L Rally: $5,999, W/ ABS: $6,299

2021 Honda CRF300L Competitors

2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally
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2015 - 2020 Yamaha WR250R
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The dual-surface/enduro/small-displacement adventure bike market is fairly well populated, and as is usually the case, Honda has a domestic competitor close at hand with the WR250R from Yamaha.

Yamaha WR250R

2015 - 2020 Yamaha WR250R
- image 872368
Lookswise, the WR250R could be a brother from another mother for the base-model CRF300L with the same enduro influences.

Lookswise, the WR250R could be a brother from another mother for the base-model CRF300L with the same enduro influences in the high front fender, small flyscreen, and narrow waist. Ground clearance measures in at 11.8 inches off the deck, even greater than the 11.2 inches from Honda, though I doubt this will convert to any great advantage off-road.

Yamaha turns in consistently higher suspension travel figures with 10.6 inches of travel front and rear for yet another small advantage. The Tuning Fork Company breaks even in the suspension tweaks, and even manages to catch another break in the power output with 28 ponies against 27, but it’s a trade off as Yamaha’s entry cranks out 17 pound-feet against 19.6 pounds of grunt.

Yamaha enjoys a number of small advantages, but you’ll pay for it, to the tune of $6,699 versus $5,249. That’s an awful lot of cheese at this price point and is sure to buy Honda some business that may have gone another way.

Read our full review of the Yamaha WR250R.

He Said

Serious machinery for serious dual-sport action. Whether you want to ride on public roads to your favorite jumping-off spot or are doing genuine globetrotting, the CRF300L family has you covered. To be honest, the base-model looks like a fun time, but the Rally means business with its Dakar-inspired layout.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I like the Yamaha WR250R as a competitor, but I might have gone with the Kawasaki KLX300. Overall comfort, I think, goes to Honda with wider footpegs and a saddle that’s a skosh cushier, but how long that seat stays cushy is another thing. The foam breaks down eventually to leave you with a hard seat, indeed. The KLX has a nicer suspension, but comes in a bit pricier and that without an option for ABS. Who wins this contest will be decided with a test ride on each and make up your own mind.”

2021 Honda CRF300L Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 286 cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x Stroke: 76 mm x 63 mm
Induction: PGM-FI, 38mm throttle body
Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistorized with electronic advance
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Valve Train: DOHC; four-valve
Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive: #520 chain; 14T/40T
Chassis:
Front Suspension/ Travel: 43 mm inverted fork/ 10.2 inches
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Pro-Link® single shock with spring/ 10.2 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 27°30’
Trail: 4.3 inches
Front Brake: Single 256 mm disc (Rally: 296 mm) with twin-piston caliper (ABS model w/ ABS)
Rear Brake: Single 220 mm disc (ABS model w/ ABS)
Front Tire: 80/100-21
Rear Tire: 120/80-18
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 57.2 inches
Seat Height: 34.7 inches (Rally: 35.2 inches)
Ground Clearance: 11.2 inches (Rally: 10.9 inches)
Curb Weight: 309 pounds (Rally: 333 pounds)
Fuel Capacity: 2.1 gallons, including 0.5-gallon reserve (Rally: 3.4 gallons, including 0.6-gallon reserve)
Fuel Economy: TBD
Details:
Model ID: CRF300L (Rally: CRL300LR)
Warranty: One Year Included, Transferable, unlimited mileage limited warranty, Optional extended coverage available with a HondaCare Protection Plan®
Colors: Red
Price:
└ CRF300L: $5,249, W/ ABS: $5,549
└ CRF300L Rally: $5,999, W/ ABS: $6,299

Further Reading

Honda

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
- image 794666

Read more Honda news.

Source: Honda CRF300L & CRF300L Rally: Media First Rides

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: powersports.honda.com, yamaha-motor.com

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