Honda CB300R – a great package for the city or highway

Honda CB300R. Picture credit: Vivek Phadnis/ DH Photo

At first sight, the Honda CB300R might be intimidating with its chunky look and one might even wonder if this is not the motorbike for city riding.

However, riding it will certainly rid you of any such doubts.

With the introduction of the CB300R, Honda has thrown in a very interesting product in the 300 to 400cc superbike segment. This product has definitely livened up the superbike battle.

Styling
First things first. Honda has done extremely well in putting together this sports naked bike. This design takes inspiration from its more powerful sibling – the CB1000R Neo Sports Café.

The CB300R looks meaty and the integration of black, chrome and matte silver has been done well. The Candy Chromosphere Red looks more exciting than the Matte Axis Gray Metallic, the two available colour options.


Picture credit: Vivek Phadnis/ DH Photo

Starting with the front, the CB300R has a nice retro-look headlamp with a round metal rim and a two-bar LED setup that lights up the road really well. The narrow LED turn indicators look great too. At the rear, the brake lamp and turn indicators are all LED and look sleek.

The engine and the sweep-up exhaust design are the chunkiest parts of the bike. The engine parts are painted black and this gives the engine a very sleek look. The fuel tank has also been designed well and looks very modern. Below the fuel tank are the brushed aluminium look radiator shrouds.


Engine detail. Picture credit: Vivek Phadnis/ DH Photo


Exhaust detail. Picture credit: Vivek Phadnis/ DH Photo

The CB300R has a full LCD multifunction display, which is easy to read, and the ignition/ lock switch is placed below that.


Digital speedometer and multi-function display. Picture credit: Vivek Phadnis/ DH Photo

The two-step seat is comfortable. The seating position is good too, without almost not having to crouch at all. The design of the fuel tank (10-litre capacity) lets the rider hug it with the thighs and it should be comfortable on long rides too.

The bike is based on a diamond type frame with 41mm USD telescopic front and monoshock rear suspensions.

Braking is via front and rear petal discs (from Nissin) and the CB300R gets dual channel ABS too. The company says that the ABS works on a first-in-class inertial measurement unit (IMU). The IMU helps in uniform front to rear distribution of ABS operation and helps in keeping the bike stable under sudden braking.


The front wheel and the disc brake assembly. Picture credit: Vivek Phadnis/ DH Photo

Engine and ride quality
Even with the 30 horses the single cylinder, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 286cc engine (mated to a six-speed gearbox) produces at 8000 rpm, it is not very difficult to ride in city traffic. But, when traffic is really crawling, it can be slightly difficult to ride because of the generous torque the four-valve double overhead camshaft engine produces (max torque 27.4 Nm @ 6500 rpm).

The other issue, though very minor, is that the rider’s legs will feel the engine heat even through jeans. Of course, a bit of this is to be expected of a big motorbike and that too when riding slowly. However, this is not going to be a problem when not stuck in crawling traffic.

Out on the highway is where the CB300R really shines. Open the throttle and the motorbike does not disappoint at all. It shoots forward and getting to 100 Kmph is very quick. Torque and power delivery feel very smooth through the rev range. So engrossed can one get with riding it that only a look at the speedometer will let you know how fast you are really going. Getting to 100 Kmph is a breeze and is comfortable but a bit of vibration is felt if the bike is pushed a bit. However, that in no way takes away the fun of riding.

The clutch feels light and shifting gears is not a hard task at all. However, the CB300R misses out on a slipper clutch.

The suspension setup works well in giving the rider a comfortable experience.

The CB300R, with 17-inch Michelin Pilot Street tyres, feels very planted and stable even at higher speeds or while tackling sharp corners. The machine is pretty light weighing in at 147 Kg. Honda says that the CB300R is the lightest machine in this category.

It feels stable under heavy braking too and the ABS definitely helped in two instances during our test ride. So, no problem when it comes to stopping ability of the CB300R.

Pricing and competition
At Rs 2.41 lakh, ex-showroom pan India, is a great price for the machine and is probably the result of it being imported as a completely knocked down kit. The main rivals for the CB300R are the BMW G 310 R (Rs 2.99 lakh, ex-showroom) and the KTM 390 Duke (just under Rs 2.5 lakh approx, ex-showroom). Of course, the KTM offers more power, while the BMW machine puts out a similar amount of power as the CB300R.

Overall impression
The CB300R is a head-turner, thanks to a great job Honda have done with the design. The quality of the parts appears to be very good and the machine should give years of trouble-free service. Add to that the performance on city streets or the highway.

It’s a thumbs-up from us.

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