Blue Wing Honda, the guys who distribute Honda Motorcycles in New Zealand, has confirmed pricing for the upcoming CRF300 range for the Kiwi market.
Pricing for the new CRF300 range starts at $8,995 for the CRF300L, while the Rally is set at $9,995.
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 the final stage of the ABS legislation coming into effect on November 1st killing off many bikes in the category due to their lack of the technology.
The new CRFs will also make a big difference to the Honda lineup here. With the CRF450L likely to be dropped later this year due to its lack of ABS, Honda's lightweight adventure options were going to take a big hit without the addition of the new 300 models.
Upgrades for the CRF300 range include the move to the larger 286cc single-cylinder engine from the CBR300 as well as a new lighter frame and new bodywork.
The engine alone 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 a assist/slipper design to prevent the rear wheel from locking up on downshifts while also being 20% lighter at the lever.
As mentioned above, the steel semi-double-cradle frame is a new design and is a major contributor to the CRF300's 4kg weight loss.
The new frame features a revised rigidity balance – with more lateral flex – for increased feedback while steering geometry has been adjusted to match. Both bikes score 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 Rally fuel tank also grows from 10.2 to 12.8-litres for an increased fuel range. This should easily see over 300km to a tank from the new Rally.
The biggest thing Honda has over its competitors is a 21-inch front wheel, with Kawasaki's KLX230 being the only other bike in the class sold in New Zealand to also feature a big front wheel – though the Kawasaki is hampered by the lack of the switchable ABS system of the rest of the class.
Both bikes also gain new LCD dashboards as well as new bodywork and while there is no official word on whether the NZ CRF300L will feature the LED headlight option seen in Thailand, we'd expect that to be the spec that arrives as NZ.