Honda CB300F Review: Likes And Dislikes
‘Formidable’ or ‘Forgettable’? We deep dive into every aspect of the new Honda 300cc naked
Honda’s premium motorcycle sub-brand, BigWing India, surprised us with the launch of the new CB300F. The new streetfighter’s arrival raised many eyebrows, as the CB300R is already on sale here. But the two are very different, in not just how they look, but also their character. We rode the new CB300F, and here’s what we liked and disliked from our first ride:
The new 293.14cc air-/oil-cooled single-cylinder engine sports enough drive to pick up the pace from as low as 2000rpm in fifth gear. In fact, you can ride at 40kmph in the sixth gear, and – on impulse – sprint all the way to 100kmph without any protest. This is complemented by the light clutch, which should make city riding a hassle-free affair.
The Honda CB300F packs some useful features as well. There’s a USB Type-C charger and traction control as standard. However, Honda could have placed the charging socket at a more convenient place rather than placing it inside of the cowl, under the handlebar.
As much as we like the tractability of Honda’s new engine, it is overshadowed by the lacklustre performance. There’s no enthusiasm or eagerness that you’d expect from a motorcycle of this genre. The motor doesn’t have a healthy top-end, so getting to ‘proper’ triple-digit speeds is a slightly tedious affair. Hence, you’ll have to settle for a cruising speed of 90-100kmph, and even then, the experience isn’t rewarding.
Adding to the CB300F’s woes is its refinement, which isn’t as much as you would expect from a Honda. Right from 2000rpm, you can feel vibrations creeping in through the handlebar, seat and the pegs. So even if you ride sanely, your ride experience wouldn’t be as calm and soothing as you would expect. That said, the buzziness isn’t harsh like the old KTMs, but for a company that has a reputation of building ultra-refined motors, this new mill surely disappoints.
A 293cc naked that weighs just 153kg should be a great handler, right? Unfortunately, despite packing premium equipment like a Showa USD fork and MRF Revz radial tyres, the handling is disappointing. Cornering or quick direction changes aren’t as effortless as you’d expect from a lightweight motorcycle like this. Moreover, the beefy tyres and underwhelming performance mean direction changes or spirited riding, too, aren’t as fluid as you’d want them to be.
Another thing that stops you from pushing the bike to its limits are the dull brakes, which not only lack stopping power but also don’t have enough progression or feedback at the lever. In fact, under hard braking, the lever almost touched the handlebar grip, which is alarming.
Personally, the design of the motorcycle was another letdown. Though Honda claims to have styled it after the CB500F, it resembles the Hornet 2.0 more than it does the 500cc naked. Everything from its aggressive headlight, the side panel and the sharp design are eerily similar to the 180cc motorcycle. Heck, even the three colour options are exactly the same as the Hornet. And if you are shelling out over Rs 2.3 lakh, you wouldn’t want your motorcycle to look like a 180cc commuter, would you?
The Honda CB300F is priced at Rs 2.26 lakh for the DLX and Rs 2.29 lakh for the DLX Pro (both ex-showroom Delhi). And the only differentiating factor between the two is the Bluetooth connectivity on the higher variant, which is more of a gimmick. Moreover, considering the dull performance, underwhelming handling and small list of features, this bike doesn’t do justice to its price.
If you are looking for a versatile motorcycle, the Suzuki Gixxer 250 doesn’t disappoint, and it is almost Rs 50,000 cheaper. And if you care about the brand value or excitement, spending about Rs 40,000 more can get you the BMW G 310 R, which packs more performance, more capable hardware and has that premium BMW logo.
So to sum it up, the Honda CB300F turns out to be a rather forgettable bike and not the ‘Formidable’ one that Honda wanted it to be.
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