Honda CB300F First Ride Review
Days after teasing us with what many mistook was a Forza 350 maxi-scooter, Honda has taken the wraps off the CB300F, the Big H’s latest 'streetfighter' launched to attract younger blood.
The CB300F was a truly unexpected treat. While it may look familiar for those of us who’ve already experienced Honda’s Hornet 2.0, we've ridden it at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad to check what the new bike’s all about. Here's all you need to know about this latest rival to the Suzuki Gixxer 250 and KTM 250 Duke.
Honda CB300F Styling
There's no mistaking the CB300F for anything else but a Honda, because it looks familiar from the word go. This is a motorcycle Honda tells us is inspired by the CB500F, and while there are some design cues, the CB300F looks more a grown up Hornet 2.0 rather than its international sibling, the CB500F twin.
The CB300F’s resemblance to the Hornet 2.0 is uncanny, with its angular headlight, sharp tank extensions, engine shroud and sleek tail light, flanked by slim turn indicators. That's not a bad thing, because the Hornet is a great looking bike in its own right.
We rode a CB300F in 'Sports Red' shade, which attracts more eyeballs than other colours, metallic grey and blue. Overall then, the CB 300F looks a step up from the Hornet, with its beefier rear tyre, stubby, upswept exhaust and larger dimensions.
Honda CB300F Engine
The Honda CB300F is powered by an all-new, 293cc oil-cooled, single-cylinder engine that makes its world debut in India. You might mistake this powerplant for a reworked version of the CB300R's, but that's not true. It’s a grounds up unit, with oil-cooling system, 4-valve head and single overhead camshaft making it a slight step down from the CB300R's liquid-cooled, double overhead camshaft engine. The result is the CB300F produces considerably less power at 24.1bhp and less torque too, with 25.6Nm relative to the 300R’s 31bhp and 27.4Nm torque.
Moments after I got off the starter blocks, I found the new engine is tuned to produce power low in its rev range. The CB300F offers good low and mid range acceleration. It feels sprightly from the get-go, and tractable at low speed, even when held in a higher gear. Another Honda trait I immediately felt is excellent engine refinement. The CB300F engine runs smoothly, with almost no vibes transferred to riders at low speeds. However, it's a different story at the other end of the tachometer, for once past the 6000rpm mark, some vibrations do start to creep in through the handlebars.
The CB300F gets a 6-speed gearbox, which in typical Honda fashion offers slick shifts. The CB300F gets a slipper clutch, always an added bonus. Clutch feel is light, also providing good feedback. The gear ratios are perfectly mated to this engine, the CB300F making a fairly good highway cruising companion. You can cruise at 80 to 90kmph all day long, the CB settling into a comfy 4000-4500rpms, in 6th. On an abandoned stretch of road, I managed to clock a speedo-indicated 115kmph, easily enough, with more still in hand.
Overall, after my short stint astride the CB300F, I found the new Honda a capable bike. With a refined engine, excellent mid-range that proved handy for many a quick overtake, and a nice and easy riding experience, with light controls. All in all, the ne CB seems to have all the makings of a nice, sporty city commuter, which only remains to be confirmed after a full real world road test.
Honda CB300F ride and handling
The lightweight, at 153kg, Honda CB300F deploys a diamond type chassis. Its amongst the lightest motorcycles in its class and that shows, with nimble handling that makes the bike feel effortless on its feet. This, also helped by a short 789mm seat height, that makes the CB300F an accessible bike for shorter riders.
If you like a motorcycle with sorted damping to take on pothole ridden sections of Indian roads, with enough stiffness for an occasional, more spirited weekend ride, then the CB300F is definitely up your alley. The new Honda handles bad roads, speed breakers and potholes with aplomb. Its broad seat is comfortable.
The Honda CB300F is easily flickable. It’s a stable bike to pilot with good cornering manners in the twisties. Then there's the riding position, which is absolutely spot on for city riding, with upright handlebar and forward set foot pegs.
The new CB300F rides on a 110/70 R17 section front tyre and 150/60 R17 rear tyre, radials, which suit the bike's character well, adding stability at high speed and keeping the bike planted through the corners. It’s also equipped with dual-channel ABS, with Nissin brakes. The ABS system works well. The brakes work well, with slightly less bite than from say a KTM, that’s typical of a small capacity Honda like the new CB.
Honda CB300F Verdict
At Rs 2.26 lakh ex-showroom, Delhi, the Honda CB300F is priced a touch on the higher side, specially compared to arch rivals, the Suzuki Gixxer 250, Yamaha FZ25 and KTM 250 Duke.
It does get ample kit though, including dual-channel ABS, traction control, a slipper clutch and even Bluetooth connectivity, with perhaps only in its performance department that it doesn't really impress. The Gixxer 250 and the FZ25 are almost ₹40,000 cheaper, with higher power outputs and although the Duke 250 is ₹10,000 dearer, that offers far more in terms of cutting edge tech. The Honda CB300F doesn't feel as sharp or sporty as its rivals, but still does make a good all-rounder. The new Honda is a good looking and comfortable bike, with light controls, tractable engine and solid build quality. So if you’re in the market, for a well built motorcycle that looks sharp, is easy to ride, comfortable for everyday shenanigans while also giving you the chance to have a fairly good weekend time, the Honda CB300F makes a good buy.