BASE PRICE: $ 4,399 Honda’s CBR250R, Big Red’s smallest and most affordable sportbike, has been a big hit since its 2012 debut. Despite this sales success, there wasn’t an official 2014 model because Honda was busy preparing the revised, larger-displacement CBR300R, which arrived in dealerships as an early 2015 offering. The first thing you notice is how much the new CBR300R looks like its larger CBR500R sibling; at a glance, one would be hard-pressed to tell the 2 apart. Borrowing styling cues from Honda’s flagship RR supersports isn’t such a bad thing. And there’s no doubting the new 300R has a clean, high-quality appearance that belies its $ 4,399 MSRP; the ABS model costs $ 500 more. Beneath the bodywork is the same proven chassis that has served the 250R well. A new crankshaft, connecting rod, and piston have yielded 37cc more displacement via 8mm of increased stroke, bringing the liquid-cooled, dohc, 4-valve single to 286cc. Remapped PGM-FI fuel injection and a revised exhaust with more volume have netted an increase in peak horsepower from 23.7 to 27.1, and torque steps up from 15.8 to 18.4 pound-feet as measured on the CW dyno.
I attended a CBR300R press ride that began at American Honda’s Torrance, California, headquarters, threaded through city streets, and included a couple of brief stretches of twisties in the hills nearby. While not an extensive ride, it was enough to remind me that the nimble CBR will please new riders as well as experienced folks seeking a fun and affordable machine. City riding remains the little CBR’s forte, aided by power delivery that’s exceptionally easy to manage from the moment you release the light-action clutch. Only the slightest application of throttle is required, and there’s plenty of low-range torque available. Upshifting at or below 6,000 rpm keeps Honda’s counterbalanced single in the smooth, low-vibe region of its 11,000-rpm rev range. The 6-speed gearbox, a model of refinement, has light shift action both up and down. The riding position is roomy, with a relaxed reach to the bars and a 31-inch seat height that’s said to be the lowest in its class. The saddle and midsection side panels are narrower than those of the CBR250R, making for an even easier reach to the ground. An accessory seat cuts the height by more than an inch. The non-adjustable fork and preload-adjustable shock are calibrated for comfort but with adequate damping control to allow for a spirited pace. There’s also good fork bottoming resistance under hard braking. Overall, the new Thai-built 2015 Honda CBR300R represents a significant upgrade to a proven platform, and while it may not make you want to go out and sell the trusty 250R already parked in your garage, it does beg a closer look, especially if you’re in the market for a CBR500R.
|DRY WEIGHT||342 lb.|
|SEAT HEIGHT||31.0 in.|
|FUEL MILEAGE||70 mpg|
|0-60 MPH||6.7 sec.|
|1/4 MILE||15.55 sec. @ 79.51 mph|
|HORSEPOWER||27.1 hp @ 8400 rpm|
|TORQUE||18.4 lb.-ft. @ 6700 rpm|
|TOP SPEED||92 mph|