Honda has filed a design patent for its CRF300L dual-sport motorcycle in India.
Rolls on a 21-inch/18-inch wire-spoke wheel combo
284mm ground clearance and 259mm suspension travel
An India launch is somewhat unlikely, but not completely impossible
Buyers can't seem to get enough of off-road oriented motorcycles at the moment, but Honda only has two to offer right now. The CB500X, with its humble off-road capabilities, is just far too expensive to be a sensible proposition. The Africa Twin is far more capable as an off-roader, but it's even more inaccessible thanks to a starting price of Rs 15.96 lakh. To fix that, the brand might just be looking at launching its CRF300L dual-sport motorcycle in India.
Honda CRF300: off-road credentials
If it does, it would be a rather groundbreaking move, because while there are a fair few adventure bikes in our market, there isn't a dual-sport in sight. This genre of motorcycle is a motocross bike with lights and mirrors, slightly adapted for road use. This means a mammoth 284mm ground clearance coupled with an equally stratospheric 880mm seat height, and very little focus on touring/cruising abilities or fancy features.
It's got the right kit for the job, with a 21-inch/18-inch wire-spoke wheel combo, and near 260mm of suspension travel at both ends. The CRF300L is the successor to the CRF250L - the bump up in displacement is Honda's attempt to keep output figures high in the face of stricter emission norms. The motor is now a 286cc liquid-cooled DOHC single-cylinder unit producing 27hp and 26.6Nm while complying with Euro 5/BS6 emission norms.
Honda CRF300L: India launch & price
While this design patent certainly is an interesting development, it's far from a guarantee of a launch. Patent applications are often made, but not followed up by actual product launches. For example, Honda patented the Grom in India a while ago and then never followed it up with anything.
There's also the viability of such a product in our market to consider for all our love of ADVs, the Indian market perhaps still isn't mature enough to welcome a focused dual-sport motorcycle with open arms. The seat height figure will be enough to keep most people from entering the showroom. And even if Honda were to bring it here as a CKD, like the CB300R, it would still likely be priced on the wrong side of the Rs 2.5 lakh mark (ex-showroom). Now that's a lot of money to pay, considering the relatively humble engine output and no-frills approach of the bike. So, we wait with tempered enthusiasm to see how things progress.