The little CBR no longer looks like a touring motorcycle a la VFR1200 after gaining some muscle and sharper new lines that evoke the almighty CBR1000RR. The attractively styled 2015 Honda CBR300R returns to take on other novice-oriented sport bikes with greater conviction.
Classic solutions produce surprising performance
The riding position didn’t change. It reminds me of a GT with raised handlebars, a relatively low seat (775mm), as well as rubber-coated footpegs that aren’t too high and effectively mask engine vibrations. The new fairing is more stylish and offers better protection against the elements, while the wider tail gives the illusion of a larger bike.
The 2015 Honda CBR300R relies on classic solutions and components including a diamond-shaped tubular steel frame, a 37mm front fork, and a Pro-Link single-shock rear suspension. The piston stroke was increased by 8mm, bumping engine displacement to 286cc (vs. 249cc in the case of the CBR250R). The single-cylinder now generates 31 hp (+5) and 20.9 lb-ft of torque (+2.8), which isn’t good enough to eclipse the Kawasaki Ninja 300 (39 hp), Yamaha YZF-R3 (42 hp), and KTM RC 390 (44 hp). However, with easy-to-exploit power and a fat torque curve, the CBR300R is perfectly suited to beginners.
The sound may not be very pleasant, but the engine definitely feels livelier. It comes alive from 3,000 rpm and delivers a greater performance than expected. You don’t need to hold the gears to have fun in the city or on the road. At higher revs, power delivery is more linear, but the sense of speed is good nonetheless. Passing manoeuvres are also safer and more convincing than with the outgoing model.
Comfort mixed with pleasure
With the 2015 Honda CBR300R, the protection offered by the fairing, the support from the rider’s seat, and the ride quality achieved by the suspension allow you to escape as far as 300km from home. You can even bring a friend along thanks to a comfortable passenger seat and generous room. The few vibrations at medium revs do not spoil the fun, and neither does wind noise.
Admittedly, the hydraulic fork felt a bit too soft in sporty riding -- those weighing more than 80kg may actually feel it bottom out on some occasions. That being said, the CBR300R has no trouble keeping pace with a group of much more powerful sport bikes on a twisty road. A short wheelbase, a feather-light weight, and a tight steering angle give it unparalleled agility. The chassis rivals that of a more expensive motorcycle, ensuring precision and confidence when it’s time to really attack the road. Likewise, the brakes impress with their strong pads and ABS. Unfortunately, we’re talking about regular ABS, here, and not the combined system found on early 250R models.
|The attractively styled 2015 Honda CBR300R returns to take on other novice-oriented sport bikes with greater conviction. (Photo: France Ouellet)
The many strengths of this lovely compact sport bike are further proof that you don’t need to mortgage the house and buy a 200hp superbike to have fun on the road. Primarily designed for beginners seeking a friendly and affordable sport bike, the new 2015 Honda CBR300R will manage to satisfy even the most seasoned enthusiasts.
- Competent and friendly
- Great build quality
- Behaves like a larger, more expensive bike
- Powerful enough for any type of riding
- Soft fork limits the bike’s sporty aspirations
- Engine sound needs to be improved
- No more combined ABS (why, Honda?)