After what feels like an eternity waiting, Kiwi Honda motorcycle distributor Blue Wing Honda has confirmed the new CRF300 range will be heading to Kiwi shores.
While pricing and date of arrival in dealerships are yet to be finalised, the news that the new CRF300L and CRF300 Rally will be heading to New Zealand will be welcome news to fans of small dual-sport motorcycles.
With not only the 286cc single-cylinder engine from the CBR300 but a new lighter frame and new bodywork, the road going CRF's are getting a much-needed boost to keep up with the increasingly tech-heavy competition.
The engine swap alone (one which is achievable by current owners IF they can source a 286cc motor) nets a gain of 10% more power and 18% more torque, while the gearbox ratios have also been revised with shorter ratios in gears 1-5 with 6th remaining an overdrive gear for highway riding. The clutch is now an assist/slipper type to prevent the rear wheel locking up while also being 20% lighter at the lever.
The steel semi-double cradle frame is of a new design, and along with an aluminium swingarm and bottom yoke are major contributors to the CRF300's 4kg weight loss and feature revised rigidity balance – with more lateral flex – for increased feedback. Steering geometry has been adjusted to match, alongside longer travel suspension (10mm front/20mm rear for the CRF300L and 10mm front for the CRF300 RALLY) and increased ground clearance.
As a result of the new chassis, the seat height of the CRF300L is 5mm taller at 880mm while the Rally seat comes in at 885mm and is also broader and rubber-mounted for added comfort. Its handlebars feature internal weights to minimise vibration and the footpegs are topped with rubber inserts, while LED indicators are now flexibly mounted for durability. The fuel tank also grows to 12.8-litres for an increased range.
Both bikes also gain new LCD dashboards as well as new bodywork.
With the incoming ABS regulations effectively killing the dual-sport segment at the sub-$10,000 end of the market this year – with Kawasaki not bringing in the new KLX300 and Yamaha and Suzuki both discontinuing their contenders – the CRF300L and CRF300 Rally will be hot contenders when they arrive. We'll keep you updated as to when Blue Wing Honda announces pricing and NZ arrival dates.