It took a long time for a performance-oriented, affordable machine to bloom in Honda Motorcycles India’s garden. This blossoming isn’t because of a seed planted locally though, it’s imported. The Honda CB300R was brought in CKD form and was launched as a surprise earlier this year, placing it in the now crowded with options, INR 2 to 3 lakh price bracket. Has it got enough to carve its own unique place in the crowd? Read on to find out.
Honda CB300R Styling & Features
Appearance is the first factor if a machine must carve a unique identity for itself. On that count, the Honda CB300R with its Neo Sports Cafe inspired design stands out with its minimal body panels and the retro-inspired, yet, modern, LED-lit face. The tank and its extensions are the only properly painted panels here and the rest of the design allows for the functional bits to expose themselves.
The Wheelbase is short and the had it not been for the long rear fender, the sub-frame and the rear seat cut it out well before the rear wheel’s circumference does, making the bike an ideal contender for a tail-tidy job. Illumination is all-out LED (although headlight performance isn’t impressive) and there’s a blue backlit monochrome display which tells the time, speed, engine speed, engine temperature, kms-per-litre information for the two trip meters and has a lap timer too. A gear indicator could’ve easily been accommodated. The fuel tank can hold 10-litres of fuel and in terms of build quality, the Honda CB300R is a notch above most locally-made machines. Everything makes you feel like things will last and the bike overall feels well-built, tightly wound and well-made.
Honda CB300R Ergonomics, Braking and Ride & Handling
Since the CB300R tips the scales at a mere 147 kilos, it feels almost weightless between your thighs and with a spartan front end, is a jolly laugh in terms of manoeuvrability. In the saddle, folks upwards of 5.3″ can ride this thing easily and the footpegs aren’t too rearset, allowing for a comfortable, yet, sporty riding position with that flat and wide handlebar. The seat is well padded and even after spending 4 hours plus on two consecutive days, we had no complaints.
Talking about handling, the front and rear Michelin Pilot Street radials are wide and their profile is well-rounded, allowing for a lot of confidence when you throw this flyweight thing into corners. Grip levels fall a little short of great. However, the wide contact patch allows for a lot of confidence on city roads which are littered with uneven gaps, manhole lids and all kinds of rubbish.
Out on the open road, the light front end stabilises itself as speeds increase, however, at high speeds, it does feel like it could do with some self-centring. Especially when the bike encounters a sudden uneven patch on our poorly-surfaced roads. Through bends, the bike displays good composure and can carry a lean with confidence, however, push it too much and you will find the rear spring a softie. The CB300R can do long distance rides too for the performance on tap and in the saddle, except for the lack of wind protection and tiny tank capacity, there won’t be much to complain.
Ride quality is great and this Honda can take undulations in its stride. The Showa-sourced 41mm front forks work well and the slightly on the softer side rear spring offers adjustment for pre-load too if you wish to wind it up a little. Braking is brilliant, although the force is distributed within very little lever travel for the radially-mounted front disc. This bike stops well and braking force is governed by an IMU-linked dual-channel ABS system, which brilliantly negates ABS chatter during hard braking. The only time we felt it was at the rear while putting the foot down on the pedal on an uneven surface.
Honda CB300R Performance & Fuel Efficiency
Now here’s something which surprised us. Although the spec sheet did prepare us for it in a way. The liquid-cooled DOHC, 286cc engine cranks out 30.9 Bhp at 8,000 rpm and 27.4 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm. Paired with the weight of a mosquito, the CB300R packs some serious fizz which shoots the cork once you twist the throttle.
Clutch action is super light, the 6-speed gearbox is super quick and precise and ratios are ideally matched to the well-spread power delivery of this engine. The injection system ensures power delivery is crisp and although initial delivery is great, it is beyond 4,000 rpm that things begin to put a smile on your face. After 6,000 rpm though, the bike shoots with great gusto towards its 11,000 rpm limiter and feels as quick as an Apache RR 310, just to put things in perspective. The ton mark comes up in about seven seconds and the CB300R can hit a top speed of somewhere between 150 to 160 km/h.
Being a big single, although this Honda engine is the smoothest (the RE 650 aside) between all its competitors (Read BMW, TVS, KTM and Bajaj), there is a mild buzz on the bars and the pegs once the engine crosses the 6,500 rpm mark. But it’s just a mild buzz and nothing that will make you uncomfortable even during a long ride. Heat management is brilliant and even on a hot day and after inching forward in traffic for an hour, all that we felt was a little heat on our calves. In terms of fuel efficiency, riding fast within the city and redlining in lower gears dropped the efficiency to 23 km/l, while on the highway, the CB300R can easily breach the 40 km/l mark if ridden carefully.
Is the Honda CB300R For You?
At INR 2.41 lakh Ex-showroom, which translates to INR 2.87 lakh on the road in Mumbai, the Honda CB300R does carve a unique identity for itself. If you ask how? Well, it is styled uniquely, is powered by a smooth motor which loves to be thrashed, sounds fantastic while at it, feels built to last, is easy to live with, and all things considered, is a great all-around machine. If you are about to spend INR 3 lakh on a new motorcycle, don’t let that spec sheet fool you. Do take a test ride of this machine. It might just surprise you with its charm.
|Honda CB300R Specifications|
|Power Output||30.9Bhp @ 8,000 rpm, 27.4 Nm @ 6,500 rpm|
|Show USD 41 mm,|
|Overall length (mm)|
Overall width (mm)
Ground Clearance (mm)
|Saddle Height (mm)||800mm|
|Kerb weight (kg)||143 kg|
|Tyre size – Front & Rear||100/70-17, 150/60 – 17|
|Fuel tank (lts)||10|
|Brakes: Front (mm)& Rear(mm)||296mm Disc, 220mm Disc|