2021 HONDA CRF300L

Model updates:

Honda’s popular dual-sport machine takes advantage of a 15% increase in displacement, plus revised air intake, inlet cam timing and exhaust system that extract more peak power and considerably stronger torque across the rev-range. Shorter gearbox ratios for dynamic off-road or city riding are topped with a taller 6th gear for better performance on long twisty backroads and fire roads. An assist/slipper clutch ensures smooth operation while reducing fatigue and potential for lock up of the rear wheel on hard downshifts. 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 is reduced by 5 kg to 139 kg, making for a 13% improvement in power to weight ratio. The CRF300L is now also available in optional ABS.


1 Introduction

2 Model overview

3 Key features

4 Accessories

5 Technical specifications


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 in 2012, was just that motorcycle.

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.

See separate CRF300 RALLY press kit.

Model Overview

Now 286cc, the CRF300L’s new engine produces 10% more peak power and 18% more peak torque. 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 downshifts and offers 20% less load at the lever.

A redesigned steel frame, aluminum swingarm and bottom yoke are major contributors to a 5 kg 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.

Key Features

3.1 Engine

  • Larger capacity 286cc engine increases peak power and torque
  • 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 63 mm stroke, as opposed to 55 mm. Bore remains 76mm, as does compression ratio of 10.7:1. The full dyno graph curves tells the full story beyond the peak power and torque uplift: the new engine is considerably stronger, everywhere, from 2,000rpm up.

To match the engine’s heavier punch and to smarten pick-up and acceleration, gear ratios between 1-5 are shorter, while 6th gear is taller for more relaxed highway cruising. 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 (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.

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 bushing. A primary balance shaft further reduces vibration.

3.2 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 5 kg has been saved overall from the CRF300L’s chassis, with wet weight of 139 kg. The steel semi-double cradle frame is completely new and contributes 2.15 kg to the weight loss. Just as importantly, to promote handling feel and connection to front/rear traction, its flexibility balance has been tuned with 25% less lateral rigidity.

To match, the one-piece cast aluminum swingarm is not only 550 g lighter, it features a 23% reduction in lateral rigidity. It is also 15 mm 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 to aluminum; this shaves 730 g from a high area relative to the center of gravity for faster steering response.

The 43 mm Showa inverted fork gains 10 mm of stroke to 260 mm, with spring weight and damping settings revised for precise control over a wide range of terrain and speeds. Pro-Link rear suspension now features a 260 mm axle stroke, from 240 mm; the Showa shock absorber is a single tube design.

Ground clearance has been increased, from 255 to 285 mm and the frame and engine sit 20 mm higher, thanks to revisions to the lower frame, engine crankcases and oil drain plug. Rake and trail are now set at 27.5°/109 mm (from 27.6°/113 mm) with 10 mm longer wheelbase of 1455 mm. Turning radius is 2.3m.

The front brake uses a single 256 mm disc gripped by a two-piston caliper, the rear is a 220 mm 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 is now an available option for the CRF300L, featuring the ability to turn off ABS to the rear wheel for more dynamic off-road riding.

Lightweight aluminum rims further reduce unsprung mass; for 2021 the Alumite treated 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 240 g and 160 g respectively.

3.3 Styling & equipment

  • Lighter, slimmer bodywork inspired by competition CRF machines
  • Revised riding position promotes natural control
  • Positive LCD display even easier to read

Drawing yet more inspiration from the racing CRFs, the CRF300L wears a crisp set of new bodywork and graphics. The 7.8 L fuel tank is 190 g lighter and slimmer than before to aid movement forward, and matched by a narrower forward seat section. The rear number plate bracket has also been reduced for a 300 g saving, while the aggressively shaped front mudguard is also lighter.

To foster easy, light control, the riding position has been subtly altered: the handlebars 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 5 mm, to 880 mm, for a naturally upright ‘rider triangle’. The side stand has been redesigned with a 10% larger area for its (new) folding footplate.

A redesigned, 70 g lighter LCD display features large black digits on a crisp white display, for instant readability. The speedo numbers are also 6 mm larger, at 23mm. Information includes gear position indicator, fuel mileage and consumption, average speed, stopwatch and rev-counter.


Tailor-made accessories for the CRF300L include 38L top box, rear carrier bracket and mounts and protective sump guard for the engine.

Technical Specifications




Liquid-cooled, single cylinder DOHC

Engine Displacement (cm³)

286 cc

No. of Valves per Cylinder


Bore ´ Stroke (mm)

76.0 x 63.0

Compression Ratio





PGM-FI electronic fuel injection

Fuel Tank Capacity




Clutch Type

Wet multiplate, assist/slipper clutch

Transmission Type


Final Drive





Steel semi-double cradle



Dimensions (LxWxH)

2230 x 820 x 1200 mm


1455 mm

Caster Angle



109 mm

Seat Height

880 mm

Ground Clearance

285 mm

Curb Weight

139 kg (306 lb)

141 kg (311 lb) – ABS model

Turning radius




Type Front

43 mm Showa inverted forks; 260 mm (10.2 in) travel

Type Rear

Pro-Link® Showa single shock; 260 mm (10.2 in) travel



Tires Front

80/100-21M/C 51P

Tires Rear

120/80-18M/C 62P



ABS System Type

Optional 2 channel ABS w/ ability to turn off ABS to rear wheel

Brakes Front

256 mm x 3.5 mm disc with two piston caliper

Brakes Rear

220 mm x  4.5mm disc with single piston caliper









All specifications are provisional and subject to change without notice








More Information
The 2021 Honda CRF300L will be arriving at Canadian dealers in spring 2021. Please contact your local Honda Canada dealer for information about availability.

Honda Canada Motorcycles
Honda Canada Inc. was established in 1969 and is the sole distributor of Honda motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and side-by-sides in Canada. The Honda Canada Motorcycle Division is responsible for sales, marketing, and operational activities for these products through authorized Honda dealers. For more information on Honda Canada powersports products, please visit: https://motorcycle.honda.ca/.

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