HONDA CB300R (2018 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£40|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Honda describe the CB300R as a ‘stepping stone’ bike, a naked roadster that provides a natural progression from a 125 without too much of a jump in terms of capacity, weight or power.
Such a bike has been missing from the firm’s model range as while the faired CBR250R (which evolved into the CBR300R) has been around since 2011, you have to go way back to the CB250, which was discontinued in 2003, to find a naked model that fulfils such a role.
For 2018, Honda have righted this situation with the latest addition to the new ‘neo sports café’ CB range, the CB300R.
- Triumph Scrambler - the story so far
- Yamaha R1 (2012-2014) bike review
- Fantic Caballero Scrambler bike review
It is easy to dismiss a 286c single as a bike designed for the far eastern market that has been forced upon Europe, but MCN was both surprised and impressed by the CB300R.
The engine is pokey enough to have fun with while the chassis is ideal for those either progressing up from a 125 or just wanting a lightweight bike for urban use and weekend blasts in the countryside.
The Honda is charming, good looking and fun to ride
The 390 Duke is certainly more of a premium product, and so is the G310R, but the Honda is charming, good looking and fun to ride.
Surprisingly, the CB family look really works on this small capacity machine and the 300 is visually very appealing. Honda have done a good job and while it isn’t as ‘in your face’ as the KTM, it is certainly a step above other rivals in terms of kerb appeal.
And it sounds good too, with the single emitting a nice bark of exhaust note at speed. It may be built in Thailand, but it does appear to have an impressive level of attention lavished on it.
The obvious rival is the KTM 390 Duke
The obvious rival is the KTM 390 Duke, which at £4699 costs extra but boasts a more powerful 373cc single and a TFT dash with connectivity as an optional extra.
Kawasaki make the Z250SL, which is cheaper at £3649 but makes less power from its 249cc single and lacks ABS, while the BMW G310R is £4620 and more powerful than the Honda. The Yamaha MT-03 is pricey at £4999, but you get a 41bhp parallel twin motor rather than a single.
MCN put a crop of lightweight bikes through their paces, including the Honda CBR300R from which the CB gets its engine. Watch the video to see what we thought.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Usually lightweight bikes can feel skittish at speed, but the CB is remarkably assured in bends. The Showa forks are non-adjustable, but seem to respond well to undulations and the Dunlop Sportmax tyres offer good grip levels.
The shock is a touch soft, but you can dial in some extra preload (there are five steps) to improve its support. In town the little Honda is extremely agile and feels light and easy to throw around.
Brake hard and the front dips as the forks compress and then sits at this point
It’s a lovely bike to ride and also nice and roomy for taller riders. Compared to basic ABS systems found on 125cc bikes, the CB’s IMU-linked system is certainly a step ahead.
Brake hard and the front dips as the forks compress and then sits at this point as the ABS system modulates the pressure between the front and rear calipers in accordance to the IMU’s readings.
It’s a clever system and it takes a very firm tug of the front to get the ABS activating in the dry. Compared to the basic ABS systems found on 125cc bikes, it’s certainly a step ahead.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Taken from the Honda CBR300R, the 286cc single is surprisingly punchy. Its performance is certainly helped by the bike’s light 143kg weight, but it still has an impressive turn of pace. It will happily cruise at an indicated 75mph, but for 50-60mph overtakes you do need to drop from top to fifth.
The fuel injection system is spot on and despite a day of constant thrashing, it still averaged economy figures of over 60mpg. The gearbox is a bit poor when it comes to multiple downshifts, but this is its only real blight and the single’s vibrations are pleasingly minimal. Downhill, you can hit a tantalising 99mph…
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The CB300R is built in Thailand, but while its chassis and styling are new, the motor is taken from the CBR300R and as such is a tried and tested unit. Reliability shouldn’t be an issue.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
At £4429 the CB300R is cheaper than the KTM 390 Duke, but it is less powerful and lacks a TFT dash or the option of connectivity. The Honda is also cheaper than the BMW G310R, which is again more powerful and has better optional extras.
It’s more expensive than the budget Kawasaki Z250SL, but feels a more substantial machine. With a claimed 85mpg (MCN managed mid-60 figures when riding hard) the CB300R is frugal on fuel and can be had on a PCP plan for just £59 a month after a £968.41 deposit.
You get an LCD dash, but annoyingly it lacks a gear indicator, although there is a fuel gauge and mpg indicator. The combined brakes have an ABS system that is linked to an IMU that modulates the brake pressure between the front and rear calipers to keep the bike’s pitching controlled under hard braking.
Lights are LED all around and there are some nice styling details. On a side note, there is an annoying bar in the fuel filler stopping you inserting the pump’s nozzle fully.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 4v, single|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||10 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm, inverted Showa forks, non- adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Single rear shock, 5-stage adjustable spring preload|
|Front brake||1 x 296mm disc with Nissin four-piston radial caliper, ABS.|
|Rear brake||220mm single disc with single-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||110/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||150/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||85 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£44|
|Annual service cost||£40|
|Used price||£3,000 - £4,500|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||31 bhp|
|Max torque||20.3 ft-lb|
|Top speed||95 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||188 miles|
Model history & versions
Honda launch the CB250 in 1992 and produced it all the way through until 2003 before discontinuing the model. There was then a 15 year hap before they launched the CB300R in 2018.
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CB300R (2018 - on)
4 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB300R (2018 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£40|
Cracking little bike, downsized from a Harley for this this suits the country roads near me much better than the Harley.
Feet tucked up more than I imagined when first riding but it turns out to be a comfortable position after a few miles. Brakes are adequate. The suspension on this bike for the price tag is exceptionable, nearly as good as on my CFL250. Absorbs road imperfections far better than my Harley, Triumph street twin and Yammy MT-07 ever did!
Could do with a higher ratio top gear but OK if you hover around 60mph. On this bike 60mph feels more like 70mph due to the small wheels.
Build quality seems good, but then it is a nearly new bike
80 odd mpg can only be good!
Buying experience: Bought this bike with 400 miles on the clock from Miles Kingsport in Hull who delivered to my door in devon. 600 mile service carried out by them before delivery. Really helpful dealership. Fuel
Annual servicing cost: £40
cannot change gearing due to hub size and unavailability of front sprocket in UK
Buying experience: New from a dealer, painless unlike EVERY car showroom
My own specs seem similar to those of Jimbo, above,...even swapped a T100 for the CB300R just as he did, and agree with all he said. Before the T100 I had a Speed Triple and to be honest the CB300R is more fun and also a lot more comfortable than either, if that is important. It's mainly for groceries so I strapped a cheap bag onto the passenger seat for that, and for rain gear needed doing weekly 50 to 100 mile trips down biking roads. The handling is really something special: both ultra sharp and precise with perfect damping, and the motor is lively, wonderfully smooth and flexible, and makes a rounded snarl when revved. Brakes throttle and gear change are also a joy. It does motorways at 7000 rpm, which feels around the right place to be changing up, so this means it largely ignores headwinds and inclines but is obviously not ideal for touring!
Suspension and comfort are outstanding
Sounds good too
Poor rear hugger, needs an extender. Also recommend fenda-extender Mirrors need extender/risers No gear position indicator
Great bike. Lightweight, excellent MPG, Brilliant lights, Strong ABS braking, More than enough power for real world riding. Comfortable for me at 5' 10" and 12 stone (76kg). Downside for me is the styling trend to have no rear mudguard only a slim arm holding the number plate. Some people love this and chop it further with only an illegal tail tidy, but I have fitted a rear mudguard which Honda should have done in the first place. I have been riding motorbikes 45 years, all sizes 50cc mopeds to 1000cc BMWs and this Honda is good reliable fun (and easy to shift around the garage)
Took a while to adapt to the higher revving engine but getting on fine now.
This is a great no nonsense motorbike that if you are honest has all the performance that you will ever use and is light and economic too. Plus tubeless tyres and no chrome to polish.
Buying experience: Honda Dealer new bike RRP, but fair trade in for my (lovely but heavy) T100 Bonneville.