Dual-sport motorcycles offer an approachable intro to off-road riding. Thanks to small-capacity engines, linear powerbands, and light curb weights, dual sports cater to newer and returning riders. However, the long-travel suspension and tall seat heights that typify the category don’t encourage the vertically challenged to take the leap. That’s where Honda steps in with the 2023 CRF300LS and XR150L.

Let’s start with the CRF, shall we? Similar to its taller sibling, the 300LS features a liquid-cooled, four-valve, DOHC, 286cc single-cylinder engine. That thumper mates to a six-speed transmission and both reside in a steel semi-double cradle frame. Of course, both models benefit from a 21-inch front and an 18-inch rear wheel, but that about sums up the similarities.

Gallery: 2023 Honda CRF300LS

The LS also boasts a 43mm inverted fork and Pro-Link rear shock, but Honda engineers reduce suspension travel to 9.3 inches fore and 9 inches aft. That’s a significant drop considering the L trim’s 10.2 inches of travel all around. Those changes mildly alter the rake from 27 degrees to 27.5 degrees, but the LS’s seat height reduces to 32.7 inches (compared to 34.7 inches) and its ground clearance shrinks to 9.6 inches (from 11.2 inches).

In the process, Honda also lowers the low-seat variant’s curb weight to 311 pounds and its wheelbase to 56.7 inches. Those preparations will cost customers a bit more coin, though. Compared to the CRF300L’s $5,399 price tag, the 2023 CRFLS will retail for $5,699.

2023 Honda XR150L

The XR150L, on the other hand, takes a much more budget-conscious approach. An air-cooled, SOHC, 149cc single powers the friendly ‘farm bike’. Big Red surrounds that low-tech lump with a 22mm piston-valve carburetor and a five-speed transmission. A 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel accommodate moderate off-road riding while the 31mm telescopic fork yields 7.1 inches of travel at the front and a Pro-Link single shock grants 5.9 inches out back.

A rear drum brake keeps the price in check but a disc front brake keeps speeds in check. With a ground clearance of 9.6 inches, a 32.8-inch seat height, and a 282-pound wet weight, the XR150L is an ideal beginner bike. When you factor in the $2,971 MSRP, it’s hard to find a friendlier option on the dual sport market.

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