More displacement for Honda's mini-adventure bike. Thanks to the revised air intake, improved inlet cam control and new exhaust system, the new model starts with more power and much stronger torque over the entire speed range. The overall shorter gear ratio is complemented by a longer 6th gear, while an anti-hopping clutch allows the rear wheel to be better controlled. The handling is on a new level thanks to the new swingarm and the more flexible frame, more ground clearance and travel as well as the revised driving position on each terrain. In addition, the 2021 CRF convinces with new cladding, new color options and a crisp LC display. The unladen weight was reduced by 4 kg to 142 kg.
Knowing what makes a real all-rounder has always been in Honda's DNA. In the late 1970s, the XL250S was launched - a motorcycle that combined true roadworthiness with excellent off-road capability. The following XL series is legendary. An almost perfect combination of economical single-cylinder four-stroke engine with first-class chassis components. The result is a motorcycle that was equally useful and versatile and that – as owners all over the world confirm – was a lot of fun.
More than a decade ago, there were grueling discussions within Honda's R-L.A. department about developing a new and highly versatile machine. Honda's extensive experience in off-road sports and in the production of off-road motorcycles should play an important role at the beginning of the development of the new model.
The needs of the customers were the focus. While some customers were looking for off-road suitability at competitive level, many others valued ease of use, practicality and comfort. We were looking for a robust, practical motorcycle with state-of-the-art off-road styling, which was suitable for use in the city throughout the week and at the same time provided fun in the off-road on the weekends.
Honda's development team always looked at the new model with a holistic view of the needs of its customers. Not only did it need a powerful and economical engine, but the chassis also had to cover a wide range. In addition, the machine had to be affordable, offer high quality and excellent value for money. Low operating costs were a top priority.
The CRF250L, which was launched in Europe in 2012, was supposed to be just this motorcycle.
Honda's engineers did everything right. The CRF250L has proven to be the perfect basis to produce a RALLY version*. In addition, CRF enjoys a consistent sales success worldwide.
Time is running out, and in 2021 a new CRF will take the stage - lighter, more powerful and with a number of detail improvements. The CRF300L combines and enhances all the advantages of the CRF250L.
The new 286 cc engine of the CRF300L has 10% more peak power and 18% more peak torque. In total, this means an output of 27.3 hp (20.1 kW) at 8,500 rpm and a maximum torque of 26.6 Nm at 6,500 rpm. The revised inlet control times as well as air inlet and exhaust system also contribute to the significant increase in power, especially in the mid-speed range. The aisles 1 to 5 are now shorter translated to improve the response. On the other hand, the 6th gear for relaxed cruising at higher speeds is translated longer. By using an anti-hopping clutch, the driver gains more control over the rear wheel. In addition, the effort required to operate the clutch lever was reduced by 20%.
The weight reduction of a noticeable 4 kg is realized by a new steel frame with aluminium swingarm and the new lower fork bridge. This gives the machine a much better stiffness balance and provides excellent feedback to the driver. The steering geometry is matched to the new chassis with longer spring travels front and rear and greater ground clearance.
The angular panel ingesr is a slimmer tank and seat. There is also a new LC display. The seating position has been optimised to further refine handling in the off-road and in the city.
The displacement increase of the liquid-cooled single-cylinder DOHC engine from 250 to 286 cc can be realized by the larger stroke of 63 instead of 55 mm. The bore of 76 mm remains, as does the compression ratio of 10.7:1. The peak power of 27.3 hp (20.1kW) is achieved at 8,500 rpm, the peak torque is 26.6 Nm at 6,500 rpm (previously 24.7 hp (18.2kW) at 8,500 rpm and 22.6 Nm at 6,750 rpm). The evaluations of the test bench runs speak for themselves: the new engine is significantly more performant than its predecessor in all respects from 2,000 rpm.
In order to take advantage of the improved pull-through of the motor and at the same time optimize responsiveness and acceleration, the gears 1-5 are translated shorter. The 6th gear, on the other hand, is designed for relaxed cruising at higher speeds for longer. The anti-hopping clutch reduces the effort on the clutch lever by 20% and ensures that the rear wheel does not block when it shuts down quickly – for maximum control on the road and off-road. The top speed increases from 129 to 132 km/h. For the sprint over 400 m, the CRF requires 15.4 s and is therefore a total of 0.9 s faster than its predecessor.
On the entrance side, the tax times have been revised. This measure promotes responsiveness especially in the lower to medium speed range, the most commonly used speed range in the city and off-road. In addition, air filters, exhaust system (660 g lighter than the previous version) and ignition time are optimized. An iridium spark plug and the precise supply of the fuel mixture through the PGM-FI injection system increase combustion efficiency and improve the environmental performance.
An offset cylinder reduces internal friction losses. The piston is provided with a special surface material and an additional molybdenum coating. The oil pump is designed to handle pressure compensation and housing ventilation. In the area of the crankshaft pin, a split, pressed metal bearing is used, while the crankshaft bearing has a cast iron bushing. A primary balancing shaft reduces further vibrations.
The cooling system works with a 10.7 kW cooler, which is located on the left side of the motorcycle and is protected by a polypropylene grill with deflection plates to improve the airflow. In addition, a fan is used to keep the engine temperature stable at low speeds, both in traffic jams and at higher loads in off-road conditions.
The engine of the CRF300L meets the EURO5 standard.
The chassis of the CRF300 RALLY saves a total of 4 kg, the wet weight is now 142 kg. The double-loop steel frame is completely new and contributes a total of 2.15 kg to the weight reduction. The frame is designed to have 25% less lateral stiffness. This improves the driving experience and feedback from the front and rear wheels to the driver.
The optimizations are achieved by reducing the width of the main pipe (-30 mm) and the beams (diameter now 25.4 instead of 28.6 mm). In addition, the width of the central stiffening tube is reduced by 20 mm.
The new one-piece aluminium cast swingarm is not only 550 g lighter, it also has a 23% reduced side stiffness and a 17% reduction in torsional stiffness. In addition, it is made 15 mm narrower directly behind the pivot point. The smooth cross-section of the swingarm allows uniform deflection under load. The chain tensioners are made of pressed aluminium. The lower fork bridge is made of aluminium instead of the previous one, which saves 730 g in weight. This weight reduction above the centre of gravity of the machine leads to a more agile steering behavior.
The 43 mm Showa Upside Down fork impresses with 10 mm more travel (260 mm) compared to the previous model. In addition, spring thickness and damping have been revised to extend the adjustment range for all possible driving conditions. The Pro-Link rear suspension also has a travel of 260 mm (instead of 240 mm). The Showa strut is a single-tube construction with a 40 mm cylinder.
The ground clearance has been increased from 255 to 285 mm. The frame and motor are now 20 mm higher, which is due to the revisions of the lower frame part, the crankcase and the oil drain screw. Steering head angle and trailing are now set to 27.5° and 109 mm (from 27.6°/ 113 mm) with a 10 mm longer wheelbase of 1,455 mm. The turning radius is 2.2 m.
The front wheel brakes with a 256 mm single brake disc and two-piston fixed caliper, the rear wheel with a 220 mm brake disc with single-piston fixed caliper. As with the CRF competition machines, the rear master brake cylinder is now integrated into the design, which also saves weight. Also directly derived from the CRF250R/CRF450R are the brake discs with shaft design, which score with outstanding self-cleaning properties under adverse conditions. The 2-channel ABS is standard.
The lightweight aluminium rims further reduce the unsprung masses. The 2021 model polished the Alumite surface to create an easy-to-clean, shiny surface. Enduro tyres with block profile (front, 80/100-21 51P and rear 120/80-18 62P) offer traction in almost any driving situation.
The 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear wheel increase stability in uneven terrain and enable the installation of specific off-road tyres if required. The use of a milled chain bike as well as the use of M8 instead of M10 screws and a hollow axle at the rear save 240 g and 160 g respectively.
The CRF300L is now even more inspired by the CRFs from racing and carries a stylish set of new cladding parts with new designs. The 7.8 l fuel tank is 190 g lighter and slimmer than before and is complemented by a narrower front seat section. A further 110 g are saved by the aggressive new front fender. The license plate holder is also significantly shorter, saving 300 g in weight.
In order to allow more control, the driving position was slightly changed: the handlebars were shifted slightly to the rear and the footrests were lowered and also shifted to the rear. This makes switching much easier even in heavy off-road boots. The seat height has been increased by 5 mm to 880 mm to obtain a naturally upright driving position. Also new is the side stand. It now has a 10% larger and now foldable riot area.
A redesigned, 70g lighter LC display with large black digits on a crisp white display provides excellent readability. At 23 mm, the numbers of the speedometer are also 6 mm larger than the predecessor. The display includes a gear display and shows mileage, fuel consumption and average speed. It also has a stopwatch and a rev counter.
The tailor-made accessories for the CRF300L include a 38 l top case and rear luggage rack brackets as well as an oil tank protection for the engine.
Liquid-cooled, single-cylinder DOHC engine
Valves per cylinder
Hole & Hub
76 mm x 63 mm
27.3 hp (20.1kW) / 8,500 rpm
26.6 Nm / 6,750 rpm
Engine oil quantity
PGM-FI electronic fuel injection
3.1 l/100 km
CO2 Emissions (WMTC)
Multi-discs in oil bath, anti-hopping coupling
Double-loop steel frame
Dimensions (L x W x H)
2,230 mm x 820 mm x 1,200 mm
Steering head angle
Weight (fully fuelled)
43 mm USD Fork
Aluminum spoke wheel
Aluminum spoke wheel
Tyres at the front
ABS System Type
Brakes in front
256 mm x 3.5mm disc with 2-piston fixed caliper
220 mm x 4.5mm disc with 1-piston fixed caliper
INSTRUMENTS & ELECTRONICS