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2015 Honda CBR300R: Best of Both Worlds

  • 2015 CBR300R: Best of both worlds
  • Story Concepts: Editorial narratives: assets, interviews and tools
  • Engineering Spotlight: Designing friendly performance
  • Building Character: Expert advice for choosing a beginner bike

With Honda's 2015 CBR300R, learning to ride can be not only enjoyable, but also cool, as the model simultaneously offers functionality and sport-bike looks. Now armed with a larger power plant, the little CBR still enables instant gratification by being both accessible and fun to ride. Greater than the sum of its parts, it possesses a mix of power and handling that works for a broad range of applications and conditions. As a result, the bike lets its owner look like a veteran starting with the first ride, and it still has the performance capability that leaves room to grow. Versatile, affordable and reliable, the CBR300R is great for commuting, trips around town, weekend outings with friends and everything in between.

Editorial Narratives Assets

Improving On a Fan Favorite Honda's littlest sport bike gets a bigger engine, and more

There's good reason that the new CBR300R has been so hotly anticipated, but the 2015 bike's improvements go well beyond a simple increase in displacement. Honda's engineers looked for opportunities to refine and improve the popular model, and the result is a cohesive package that's even easier and more fun to ride.

  • ENGINE: To achieve a final engine displacement of 286cc (37cc more than its predecessor), the CBR300R had its piston stroke increased from 55mm to 63mm, boosting power throughout the rev range. Peak horsepower is now 17% higher than that of the 250, and torque has increased as well.
  • EFI: Revised mapping is used in the PGM-FI fuel-injection system, achieving crisp, predictable throttle response and optimizing fuel efficiency.
  • EXHAUST: The new exhaust system (inspired by the CBR500R) looks great and performs even better, thanks in part to its larger internal volume.
  • ABS: The CBR300R ABS now has a two-channel brake system, with separate sensors and valves for each wheel.
  • ASPIRATIONAL STYLING: Just because you're new to motorcycle riding doesn't mean you have to look that way. The CBR300R took design and style cues from Honda's larger CBR and VFR bikes. The front fairing now houses dual headlights, replacing the single unit of the previous year model. In addition, the shapes of the rear cowls and fuel tank have been updated.
  • SEATING AREA: The seat and side covers are both narrower for 2015, resulting in a slimmer cross section, enabling the rider's feet to fall naturally and directly toward the ground when the bike is stopped.
  • MAINTENANCE: The CBR300R isn't just easy to ride; it also simplifies maintenance, thanks to improved access to the valves, spark plug, oil filter and rear brake reservoir. The fuel tank and side covers can also be removed more easily.


Choose Your Flavor, Season to Taste The naked CB300F expands Honda's flyweight sport-oriented lineup; for both models, options and accessories abound

Everyone likes options, and customers of small-displacement motorcycles are no different, whether they're beginners or longtime fans of the genre. For 2015, Honda's new 300cc single-cylinder road platform is offered not just in the full-fairing, sport-bike form of the CBR300R (let's call it "spicy"), but also in a new "raw" version: the stripped-down CB300F, for consumers who prefer a streetfighter look.             The CB300F's aggressive naked styling and slightly taller, flat handlebar enable a more upright riding position that's perfect for both weekend fun and confronting the urban jungle. A single headlight and streetfighter styling evocative of Honda's CB500F and CB1000R give the CB300F plenty of attitude, while shedding the fairing makes the CB300F 9 lbs. lighter than even the CBR300R, 348 lbs. curb weight compared to 357. The F version shares the low 30.7-inch seat height and narrow profile of the R edition, making it nimble and fun to ride. The CB300F starts at $3,999, $400 less than the CBR300R's $4,399 price. The faired bike is also available in an Antilock Braking System version; the CBR300R ABS is $4,899.             The CBR300R and CB300F are clearly fantastic values, and with the leftover change in their pockets, riders can continue to personalize their rides with Honda Genuine Accessories. For shorter riders, Honda offers a seat for both 300 models that is over one inch lower than the stock 30.7 inches. The following additional options provide even more refinement for the CBR300R and CB300F: carbon-fiber-style drive-chain casing, chrome bar-ends, carbon-fiber-style lower fairing, color-matched seat cowl, rear seat cowl (black), carbon-fiber-style front fender, rear seat bag, carbon-fiber tank pad, cycle cover.


Friendly, Frisky and Single Honda's littlest CBR is the ultimate in versatility

From the 2011 CBR250R to the 2015 CBR300R, Honda's littlest faired sport bike has a well-established reputation as the ideal motorcycle for beginning riders, but it's hardly a one-trick pony. In developing countries like Thailand, where it is assembled, the petite CBR is actually considerably larger than the sub-150cc bikes that teem over the roadways, and it serves as a canvas that owners often personalize through modifications as they strive to stand out from the crowd. Meanwhile, India even has a police version, complete with special lighting, a siren and a P.A. system.             Here in North America, the bike has been adopted for competition use, an application where its commuter-bike power plant has proven quite durable. The model's light weight and affordable price have made it a popular choice for imitating Moto3 heroes Alex Marquez and Efren Vazquez (whose NSF250RW GP machines demonstrate the full potential of lightweight four-stroke singles). In the U.S., racing clubs like WERA, AFM, CCS, CMRA and NCRC have included the CBR250R in existing classes, while the Canadian Superbike Championship established a dedicated CBR250R National Series in 2012 (when it replaced the CBR125R Challenge). The class was intended to serve as a rung on the racing ladder, giving young or relatively novice racers experience that they can apply as they advance to larger-displacement divisions. It has proven to be extremely effective in that regard, with several past champions from the little CBR classes going on to win races in the bigger-bike categories.             "It was a good bike to start on and learn some racecraft," says Stacey Nesbitt, a past Canadian CBR125R and CBR250R champion. "The bikes were all the same, so it was up to the rider to make the difference, and I got used to racing in a group. It taught me not to be intimidated with other people around me, and once I knew all the basics, it was very easy to learn how to ride a race bike." In fact, after spending a transition year aboard an RS 250 two-stroke, she has already won an Amateur 600 national this season, with a CBR600RR.

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******************************************************************************************** Engineering Spotlight

Designing Friendly Performance How Honda found the right balance of approachability and sportiness for the CBR300R and CB300F

Building great motorcycles for new riders is familiar terrain for Honda, whose lightweight early models established the company's reputation for building economical, reliable bikes. The CBR300R and CB300F build upon that legacy with technology and features—including the class's lowest weight and seat height—that make them a great option for new riders. Here's a look at what technically makes these models as easy to live with as they are to ride.

  • The Power of One: The power characteristic of a single-cylinder engine is perfect for beginners, as there's no need to hold high revs just to prevent the bike from stalling. This finely tuned 286cc double-overhead-cam engine offers good torque and is smooth off the bottom and into the midrange—ideal for riders who are still learning to get rolling from a standing start. The low-revving engine also enables long service intervals, making the CBR300R and CB300F inexpensive to operate.
  • Injection Inspection: Electronic Fuel Injection makes these bikes easy to live with no matter where they're ridden. New riders will welcome the limited maintenance intrinsic to the induction system, and everyone can appreciate its frugal gas requirements. (The CBR300R and CB300F's tested fuel economy was an estimated 70 mpg*.)
  • Mission Control: Because beginners need to focus on acquiring new skills, they may have less available bandwidth, so it's important that a novice-focused bike react smoothly to rider input. On these two confidence-inspiring models, the throttle, clutch and brakes all boast easy, progressive operation (even for relatively small hands), and they offer good modulation with plenty of feedback. Taking this trend a step further is the CBR300R ABS, whose Antilock Braking System increases rider confidence in limited-traction situations.
  • Light, Low Narrow: The CBR300R is 22 lbs. lighter than its nearest competitor, and its weight is focused low in the chassis—excellent for new riders who may be intimidated by the tippy feel of a heavier bike with a higher center of gravity. That trend is extended by the 30.7-inch seat height—lowest in its class, with an available Honda Genuine Accessory seat being more than an inch lower than that. In addition, the seat has been narrowed down, along with the side covers, making for a slim midsection that doesn't bow the rider's legs, enabling the feet to touch the ground more easily. All of this means the Honda's nimble handling inspires confidence in challenging conditions such as riding in heavy traffic.
  • Take a Position: While the CBR300R's styling reflects the influence of the supersport CBR600RR and CBR1000RR, its seating position gives the rider a less-aggressive, more upright stance that is preferable for learning to ride. Taking that one step further is the CB300F, whose taller handlebar puts even less weight on the rider's wrists.

* Miles per gallon values are calculated estimates of fuel consumed during laboratory exhaust emissions tests specified by the EPA, not during on road riding. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you ride and maintain your vehicle, weather, road conditions, tire pressure, cargo and accessories, rider and passenger


Building Character

Expert Advice for Choosing a Beginner Bike We asked MSF instructors to weigh in on what to look for in a first bike. Not surprisingly, they may as well be describing the CBR300R and CB300F

When approached correctly, few activities can compare to the exhilaration of learning to ride a motorcycle. That said, the bike one chooses for the job can greatly effect the level of enjoyment experienced and, most importantly, the degree of success that's achieved. It's easy for veteran riders to forget the details of that process, but the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's RiderCoaches work with new riders every day, making them the ultimate authorities on what characteristics make a motorcycle appropriate for new riders.

"Being comfortable is very important, so you can focus on picking up new skills. It's good to have a seat that's not too firm, because if you're new to motorcycles, your body isn't used to what it feels like. A bike should have enough weight that you get the sense of a real motorcycle, but not be so heavy that you have trouble balancing. Being able to sit flat-footed really aids in keeping you secure." Brian Albert—Honda Rider Education Center: Colton, CA

"The first thing I'd recommend is a small engine size—between 250 and 300cc—so there's enough power to be fun and exciting, but not so much that it's overwhelming. That way, small mistakes with the throttle remain small and aren't exaggerated by the power. I also recommend a motorcycle that's low-cost and low-maintenance, and that can be dropped without sustaining significant damage." Joy Lofton—Honda Rider Education Center: Alpharetta, GA

"A clutch that engages a little early makes a bike more user-friendly, as does throttle response that's smooth and linear. A tight turning radius makes learning easier, and for a first motorcycle, freeway capability is nice since a lot of people will use it for commuting." Joel Scudder—Honda Rider Education Center: Colton, CA

"The transmission should be forgiving, and the shift lever should have enough length for a rider to fit most of the foot underneath. Fuel injection and the subsequent elimination of the petcock is a significant asset for new riders, as it removes one issue with training—failing to turn the fuel on, resulting in the motorcycle running out of gas." Charles Hoying— Honda Rider Education Center: Troy, OH

"The engine should have enough torque to get you rolling without stalling. It's good if the first couple of gears—which you use a lot while learning—aren't too low, so the bike doesn't feel jumpy." Eddy Locke—Honda Rider Education Center: Colton, CA

For more information on MSF RiderCourses, visit