After our old Honda CRF250Ls are not going to leave South America anymore due to very high freightage + the worldwide pandemic situation still hasn’t really calmed down, we decided to make new plans. We are going to fly back to Argentina for 3 months to do some more travelling there and finally get rid of the bikes. Next spring we are going to start again in Europe and we’ll slowly ride down towards Africa during winter time. For further plans we have to check the pandemic situation in future. Africa would be cool, but another trip to Central Asia is also on our list.
Most important is, that we needed new bikes and we were lucky to get two brand new Honda CRF300Ls, although they are completely sold out everywhere. That gives us enough time to prepare them for next year when we’ll return from South America. So a legitimate question is…
Why did we choose the Honda CRF300L?
Of course, we had a look at new bike options available on the market. However, nothing has really changed during the last 4 years. KTM’s Enduro 690 was updated, got even more electronics and doesn’t seem to have rocker arm issues anymore. Former fuel pump issues still have to be proved and tested. The stock tank is still way too small and a larger third party tank is quite expensive. Used KTMs are still insanely overpriced in Germany and new ones cost almost 11000€. So the KTM was out.
Also not that cheap, but an interesting competitor, is AJP’s PR7. The fact, that it shares quite some old Husqvarna parts, makes it a bit easier to get spare parts for this less popular brand at least. We did some research and also ask some AJP riders about their experiences. It looked like a really good bike for our intended use, until we saw the ridiculous cam chain service interval of ~25000km. Replacing a cam chain without a proper garage (maybe in the middle of nowhere) isn’t an easy and cheap maintenance. So price, lack of longterm experiences, spare parts support and service costs were the reasons, why the AJP was out, too.
Yamaha had just released their new Tenere 700 not that long ago. So we went to a nearby dealer and had a closer look at it. We liked its simplicity, without lots of electronics. Unfortunately it seems just too heavy compared to the other bikes. Miriam looked and felt like a smurf while standing on it. Well, she is a smurf, but that doesn’t change the fact, that the bike seems too massive for her to ride serious offroad with lots of luggage. Another thing was the rally cockpit, that completely obscures the front wheel view. It sounds weird, but it does make a difference to be able to see your front wheel. Especially when you’re not used to it, you ride a quite heavy bike and the terrain doesn’t forgive any mistake in the middle of nowhere. So the T7 was out, too.
Kawasaki KLX300 – well, we never were big Kawasaki fans, although we can’t even tell why. Most of their bikes (mainly their race bikes) look like angry, green insects. It does have a bit more hp, compared to Honda’s CRF300L, but torque is not that much different. The Kawasaki has an adjustable compression cartridge in it’s fork and the shock does even have adjustable rebound and compression. Everything for a similar price like the Honda. In terms of reliability and spare parts availability, we would still vote for the Honda though. However, the new KLX300 is not available in Europe yet and, due to emission regulations, it also might never be. So the Kawasaki was out anyway.
Suzuki DR650/DRZ400 are no option in Europe anymore. They stopped selling them for almost 20 years and used ones are either complete junk, or have very high mileage for ridiculous prices.
In the end – the only bikes left were Honda CRF250L or the new CRF300L. Small bikes have become more and more popular in Germany after fuel prices, emission regulations and climate discussions have run high the last years. Depreciation for used Honda CRF250Ls is low and they suddenly cost way more compared to 2017, when we bought our old ones. Beside that, nobody would refuse some more hp on one of these small Hondas. So the decision was made. We had to organise two new (completely sold out) Honda CRF300L and, after a few months, we very lucky to get them.
Here they are – more HP and even more torque. Low fuel consumption and high mileage with a third party tank, that hopefully will be available soon. Lower weight, but still a crappy suspension, that is going to be completely upgraded this time though. Unfortunately it is only available with ABS in Europe, but rear ABS can be turned off, at least. Nicer colours – only sad, that they still use that one white plastic fairing. One of the best spare parts support in the world and hopefully as dead reliable as our old CRF250Ls were. It’s time to mod them and give them some preparations for the next big trip. All the upcoming upgrades you will be able to see in our Motorcycle Modification section soon.