Honda's New Neo Sports Cafe Inspired CB300R
[caption id="attachment_67658" align="alignright"
width="300"] 2019 Honda
How long have we heard the mantra "bigger is better" thrown around when referring to motorcycles? It's been used to promote the positive aspects of increasing everything from engine displacement to tire and wheel size. Well, the new trend in motorcycling has proven that old saying is just that, old. And it seems as though Honda in particular has a goal of turning that mantra on its head with its slew of small displacement, lightweight, and budget friendly street oriented motorcycles.
In the past couple years Honda has introduced several new sub 300cc motorcycles to hit just about every segment. There's the highly popular pint-sized Grom, go anywhere dual sport CRF 250L Rally, and the modern bobber, the Rebel 300. There's also the CB300F for the fans of naked bikes and CBR 300R for the sport bike crowd. Now Honda is adding the brand new Neo Sports CafÃ© (their description not mine) CB300R to the lineup.
[caption id="attachment_67657" align="alignright" width="300"] 2019 Honda CB300R[/caption]
The much smaller sibling to the CB1000R, we first caught a glimpse of the CB300R when it was revealed as a concept bike last November at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. Due to hit dealerships in July, the brand new CB300R will be available in two versions, a standard and ABS model. The CB300R falls into the naked bike category but with its own aggressive and distinct styling cues. With a bold and prominent dual bar LED headlight leading the way the CB300R exudes a sporty nature with its sculpted tank featuring recessed panels that leads your eyes back to the narrow and dropped seating position. From there your attention is drawn to the slash cut black and chrome clad muffler that slings up towards to the back of the compact passenger seat perched just above the brake light. The taillight/turn signal/license plate mount setup is a little (lot) much as it extends more than a foot past the end of the passenger seat to cover the back of the rear wheel-most likely to meet DOT/safety regulations and will probably be the first thing new users address with a new fender eliminator kit.
Powered by the same 286cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC single-cylinder engine that's found in its Rebel 300 and CB300F brethren, the mill delivers a tad more than 30hp and 20 ft-lb of torque. Not break neck output but plenty of juice to deliver a fun and spirited city ride or to get past that annoying big rig when commuting on the freeway. The chassis is comprised of a mix of tubular and pressed-steel with a pair inverted 41mm fork tubes handling bumps up front and a hidden rear shock that offers 5 step pre-load adjustment to accommodate heavier loads.
The cockpit is highlighted by a brightly lit LCD info center that resides directly above the headlight to provide the rider the ability to easily monitor speed, RPMs and other vital information. The handlebars feature an oversized center section for additional strength and then taper down at the hand controls/grips for comfort. The dropped seat provides that "in the bike feeling" to help better connect the rider to the motorcycle and the foot controls are located directly below the where the front of the seat and rear of the gas tank meet for a more relaxed and neutral feel as compared to a sport bike seating position.
With a curb weight of 317 pounds (ABS version), 31.5-inch seat height, and MSRP of $4,949 the CB300R offers a lot of features new riders often look for: modern technology, manageable weight, easy handling at stops, and a wallet friendly price tag. The question is will it draw the attention of new riders or experienced riders looking for a fun and inexpensive bike to play around with? We'll find out when they start arriving on showroom floors in a couple months; but if someone is looking for a small displacement motorcycle and the CB300R doesn't spark their interest Honda has five other sub 300cc bikes for them to choose from.