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New dual sports for 2021

Despite a pandemic, manufacturers have been busy getting new models into the pipeline. And that's not always an easy task when you're waiting on a 3 rd party shipment of brake hardware, batteries or suspension parts to arrive at the factory. As we dive into the latest models, we'll take a moment here to look at some of the new dual sports hitting the market.

Honda CRF300L

Honda recently upgraded their popular CRF250L models to 300 cc's. The power boost will give the small bike a higher speed on the highway making it all the more versatile at getting you to and from the dirt without a trailer. While it won't be a snortin' middleweight, you can't deny that at under 340 lbs wet, it's a modern tech, lightweight contender who tech isn't trapped in the 20th century (like it's big brother the XR650L). The wheel sizes are dialed in right with a 21" front and 18" rear. But there's a price you'll pay if you have a short inseam as the seat height is 34.7" high on the standard model - add another half inch if you're thinking about the Rally version. While Honda has yet to release the mpg specs, it safe to say the bike clock in at about 70 mpg similar to its previous versions. Which means that even though that tank is only 2 gallons, you'll plenty of fun between fill-ups.

Photo: CRF300L Rally model shown.

The price tag seems a tad up there, but hey, these are Hondas. Not mention you're getting ABS, fuel injection, inverted forks and 21st tech in general. Certainly these bikes are in a position to unseat Yamaha's WR250R from the most desirable slot.

Kawasaki KLR650

After several years missing in the lineup, Kawasaki returns with the KLR650 in four flavors. Standard, ABS, Traveler and Adventure.

Most of the design and technology incorporated remains the same as it ever was with the exception of a long overdue addition of fuel injection, ABS brakes on three models, higher generator output and an LED headlight.

Photo: KLR650 Adventure model shown

Adventure riders should give the Adventure model a good look. Kawasaki offers it with their own crafty side cases that can be keyed to your ignition key. They also add on some nifty fog lamps, frame sliders, and DC and USB sockets for a lot less, than you'd pay to add all these options using 3rd party parts.

The price is right with the base model coming in at $6,699 and the top of line Adventure unit listing at a stunningly low $7,999. How long will they be able to keep that up? The bikes arrive this summer as 2022 issues.

Ducati Scrambler, Desert Sled model

You had to figure it would eventually happen. The Ducati Scrambler line has been ever expanding since it came back on the scene in 2015. 2021 is the year we'll actually see a full dual sport contender hit when the Dessert Sled model arrives in shops later this year.

The 803 cc newbie in the pack produces an impressive 11:1 compression ratio, which can really come in handy when you're trying to descend those 15 degree cow trails your friends on small bikes tricked you into riding to. Sadly, no on decided to up the standard scrambler wheel sizes (19" front, 17" rear) but you do get fully spoked wheels laced to alloy rims. Even with smaller wheels, they managed to get the seat height at a pretty tall 33."

Ducati offers some add-on luggage options, so you can kit it out with their brand, or shop 3rd party options.

SR!/February 2021


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