Honda Unveils Two New 2023 Dual-Sports

Honda’s dual-sport theme for 2023 appears to be accessibility. They’re showing off two new models with low seat heights to tempt new riders, smaller riders, or those who just like to have their feet flat on the ground.

Small, Light, Easy to Ride

Honda’s introduction of the new XR150L dual-sport is big news for small bikes. Aimed primarily at beginning riders, it’s seat height is 32.8 inches.

By the numbers, the 150 has a 1-cylinder, 4-valve, carbureted motor, a 5-speed transmission, 2.8-gallon tank, and 2 methods of starting—electric and kick. The wheels are a 19-inch up front and a 17 at the rear (same diameters as the KTM 690). One hydraulic front disc brake and 1 rear drum binder do the stopping. Finally, there are 9.6 inches of ground clearance to help new riders learn off-pavement skills. The stock tires are suitable for most surfaces. Overlanders take note: Honda also touts the XR150L as an errand runner (rear rack is standard) and back roads explorer.

Same Great Honda, Lower Seat

Honda created the CRF300LS from their popular CRF300L dual-sport by shaving 2 inches (down to 32.7) from the seat height to help inseam-challenged riders feel more secure. The seats of both new machines are narrow at the front to further help riders touch the tarmac. Decked out in snappy “Swift Gray” livery to set it apart from its red stablemates, the LS looks sharp, too.

The CRF300LS may be the choice of more adventuresome riders, given its extra horsepower, 6-speed transmission, 21- and 18-inch wheels with knobby-style tires, and electronic fuel injection vs. the 150’s carburetor. It carries just 2.1 gallons of fuel but has stouter suspension and dual disc brakes. Newbies will also appreciate the LS’s standard ABS, which can be disabled at the rear for dirt use.

Honda’s aim with these bikes was clearly stated by American Honda’s Manager of Sports & Experiential, Brandon Wilson: “At Honda, we’re committed to producing motorcycles that suit riders of all experience levels and backgrounds, and the dual-sport category is a great example of that. The CRF300L is hugely [popular] among those looking for an affordable, reliable dual-sport machine, and the new ‘LS’ version makes the platform an option for those who prefer a shorter seat height.”

Affordable is in the eye of the customer, but $5699 for the well-equipped CRF300LS is very competitive. Better yet is $2971 for the CRF150L. The XR comes in black or white.

Honda’s 300 Club

For dual-sport riders wanting more legroom, Honda is returning both the standard CRF300L ($5399, $5699 w/ABS), and the CRF300L Rally ($6149, $6449 w/ABS) for 2023. The Rally is designed for adventure travel, with a 3.4-gallon gas tank, windscreen, hand guards, and more bodywork.

Get Down with Honda Navi

And for those who want to sit almost on the ground, Honda’s mini-Moto Navi ($1807) may be the answer. Honda claims the Navi’s 109cc motor and twist-and-go automatic tranny will return 100.9mpg. With more scooter than moto under the bodywork, the Navi the ultimate in accessibility.

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Arden’s first motorcycle was a Yamaha Enduro, obtained while in high school. It set the stage for decades of off-pavement exploration on dual-sports and adventure bikes. Camping in the middle of nowhere became his favorite pursuit. As a former whitewater river guide and National Park Service seasonal employee, Arden believes in wilderness, wildlife, and being kind to the earth. A self-taught writer who barely passed English classes, he has contributed adventure stories and tested motorcycles and accessories for Rider Magazine and other outlets for nearly 30 years. In that time, he’s worn out two KLR 650s and is currently following the road to the middle of nowhere on his Ténéré 700 and an aging but reliable DR-Z 400S.