2015 Honda CBR300R - First Ride

More style and grunt for Honda’s baby CBR.

2015 Honda CBR300R action shot

Honda's CBR250R, Big Red's smallest and most affordable sport bike, 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 just 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 two apart. Borrowing styling cues from Honda's flagship RR super sports isn't such a bad thing—it lends these entry-level machines a degree of cachet that any novice pilot will be proud to fly. 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. The upper motor mounts have been revised, to facilitate the growth in engine height (resulting from the 8mm stroke increase), and to allow easier access for valve-clearance maintenance. A new crankshaft, connecting rod and piston have yielded 37cc more displacement, bringing the liquid-cooled dohc four-valve single to 286cc. Remapped PGM-FI fuel injection and a revised exhaust with more volume has netted a claimed 17-percent increase in peak horsepower and greater torque production throughout the range.

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 near Palos Verdes. 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 counter-balanced single in the smooth, low-vibe region of its 11,000 rpm rev range. The six-speed gearbox, a model of refinement, has light shift action both up and down.

2015 Honda CBR300R studio 3/4 view

The riding position of the new 2015 Honda CBR3000R is roomy, with a relaxed reach to the bars and a 30.7-inch seat height that’s said to be the lowest in its class. The saddle and mid-section side panels are narrower than those of CBR250R, making for an even easier reach to the ground. There’s even an accessory seat that cuts the already-low height of the saddle 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 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.

PRICE $4399/$4899 (ABS)
ENGINE 286cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
BORE & STROKE 76.0mm x 63.0mm
INDUCTION PGM-FI, 38mm throttle body
IGNITION Digital, with electronic advance
FRONT SUSPENSION 37mm fork, 4.65 in. of travel
REAR SUSPENSION Pro-Link single shock, five-position spring-preload, 4.1 in. of travel
FRONT BRAKE Single 296mm disc
REAR BRAKE Single 220mm disc
FRONT TIRE 110/70-17 radial
REAR TIRE 140/70-17 radial
TRAIL 98mm (3.9 in.)
WHEELBASE 54.3 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 30.7 in.
AVAILABLE COLORS Black, Matte Black Metallic, Red, Pearl White/Red/Blue

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Studio front 3/4 left-side view (Red).

Studio front 3/4 right-side view (Red).

Studio left-side view (Red).

Studio right-side view (Red).

Front wheel/brake.

Cockpit view.

Fuel tank.

Rear wheel.

Rear brake.


Studio front 3/4 left-side view (Black).

Studio left-side view (Black).

Studio right-side view (Black).

Studio rear 3/4 right-side view (Black).

Studio front view (Black).

Studio rear view (Black).

Studio front 3/4 left-side view (Pearl White/Red/Blue).

Studio left-side view (Pearl White/Red/Blue).

Studio right-side view (Pearl White/Red/Blue).

Studio rear 3/4 right-side view (Pearl White/Red/Blue).

Studio front view (Pearl White/Red/Blue).

Studio rear view (Pearl White/Red/Blue).

Studio front 3/4 left-side view (Matte Back Metallic).

Studio left-side view (Matte Back Metallic).

Studio right-side view (Matte Back Metallic).

Studio front view (Matte Back Metallic).

Studio rear view (Matte Back Metallic).