A true sporting lightweight can offer much of the excitement of a bigger machine and sometimes more, as every last scrap of performance can be accessed, used and enjoyed. For the less experienced rider, it's a great platform from which to hone riding skills, and much more affordable in every respect – initial purchase, insurance, fuel and tyres – than more higher-powered sports bikes.
Launched in 2011, the CBR250R has provided the perfect entry point into Honda's Super Sport CBR range. Its compact size, involving single-cylinder engine, and looks inspired by bigger CBR machines – plus typically strong Honda build quality – have earned it a key position in Honda's Super Sport lineup.
For 2014, Honda's engineers have taken it back to the drawing board, and the result is the new CBR300R.
The development approach for the CBR300R took two avenues: more power and torque and a much stronger CBR identity, with stronger visual echoes of its larger capacity siblings, giving a more direct taste of the CBR brand itself.
Firstly, the liquid-cooled engine is now 286cc, achieved through a longer stroke. It has also received upgrades to take full advantage of the increased power, torque and vibration that the larger capacity brings. Work has centred on the engine's throttle response and power delivery, while a new CBR500R-style exhaust is both an aesthetic and functional upgrade.
The CBR1000RR was design inspiration for the CBR300R's new look. Dual headlights closely mimic the bigger bike and aggressive styling for the fairing, fuel tank and seat unit are unmistakably CBR. The undercowl is also colour-matched, adding a premium feel.
Compared to larger capacity twin-cylinder machines, the CBR300R is a more compact, lighter and more manageable package for both new and experienced riders, with significantly lower purchase and running costs complementing its flexible and accessible performance.
The CBR300R's DOHC 4valve engine retains its 76mm bore, but stroke is increased 8mm to 63mm to give the larger 286cc capacity. Compression ratio remains 10.7:1 and peak power of 22.7kW arrives at 8,500rpm with peak torque of 27Nm at 7,250rpm – a healthy increase over the CBR250R's output (19.4kW @ 8,500rpm, 23.8Nm @ 7,000rpm).
Countering extra vibration from the longer stroke, the balancer shaft is heavier and the engine's frame mounts are stronger. The PGM-FI fuel injection – with 38mm throttle bore – has been remapped with a focus on crisp throttle response across the rev range. A new CBR500R-inspired muffler design with larger internal volume adds big-bike style and a pleasing exhaust note.
The CBR300R's single-cylinder powerplant offers many benefits for any rider. Because the number of moving parts is kept to an absolute minimum, the engine is more fuel efficient, and small details like the low-friction piston rings and iridium spark plug help reduce running costs.
Acceleration is greatly improved thanks to the larger capacity,and the six-speed gear-box's final drive ratio has been lengthened for more efficient highway speed cruising. Returning 30.2km/l (WMTC mode*), it can cover over 390km on one fillup of the 13litre fuel tank.
The mechanical simplicity of the engine reduces servicing costs – another essential element in creating a problem-free ownership experience. It compact size also helps create a bike that is lighter and more manageable than a multi-cylinder, and allows it be positioned perfectly within the chassis for an ideal front/rear weight distribution.
Chassis & Styling
The CBR250R's design inspiration had echoes of the Sport Touring VFR1200F. For the 2014 CBR300R, styling cues are taken directly from the Super Sport range-topping CBR1000RR with an angular silhouette and aggressive full fairing, colour-matched undercowl, dual headlights and steeply raked rear seat unit.
The riding position has been subtly altered – while seat height remains 785mm, ground reach has been improved with a narrower, reshaped seat. For a sleeker look both mirrors sit on shorter arms.
A steel diamond twin-spar frame provides the backbone of the CBR300R's chassis and features a rigidity balance carefully tuned for both a sporty dynamic in corners and stability at speed. Rake is set at 25°05′with trail of 98mm and wheelbase of 1,380mm; kerb weight is a class-leading 164kg.
37mm telescopic forks and Pro-Link rear monoshock provide well-damped, reactive suspension that transmits plenty of feel to the rider. Cast aluminium wheels – rim sizes front 17 x 2.75in and rear 17 x 4in – wear 110/7017 and 140/7017 tyres to provide a good combination of grip and agility.
For 2014, standard-fitment lightweight 2channel ABS is married to the front 296mm disc/two piston caliper and rear 220mm disc/single-piston caliper, for powerful, yet controllable, braking.