The Honda CB300F is the latest motorcycle to join India’s premium Honda Big Wing dealerships. We spent a morning with the motorcycle in Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad to tell you what this new offering is all about.
Story: Azaman Chothia
Photography: Sanjay Raikar
There were many rumors about what Honda would bring to our market once they revealed the teaser for this new launch. ‘The Formidable’ tag led to some expecting to see the Forza 350 maxi-scooter, while others hoped to see the CRF300L dual-sport motorcycle. Those predictions were all wrong as Honda Big Wing India has launched a new naked bike called the CB300F. You might think that this is a modern take on the neo-retro CB300R, but this is an entirely different motorcycle. For this first ride review, we have the CB300F in the ‘Sports Red’ colour scheme. The other two colour options on offer are ‘Mat Marvel Blue Metallic’ and ‘Mat Axis Grey Metallic’.
Designed to be a commanding streetfighter, the CB300F surely looks good in the flesh. It has sharp and sleek design elements reminiscent of the CB500F which is sold internationally and we also see a lot of the Hornet 2.0 in its silhouette. The front sports a sharp LED headlight unit and the golden USD forks add to the overall appeal. Sitting behind the headlight unit is a 14.1-litre fuel tank that has sharp shrouds extending from the sides and below the engine is a rugged-looking cowl with Honda branding. The bike gets a split-seat setup, rides on 17-inch wheels, and gets a short exhaust unit at the rear. The ergonomics are comfortable where a rider is placed slightly over the handlebars and the footpegs set slightly towards the rear. There is ample room to move around while tackling corners and a short seat height of 789 mm ensures that most riders will be able to get both their feet on the ground with ease.
The CB300F makes use of a new 293-cc, single-cylinder motor that is air-cooled and gets an oil-cooler. This motor puts out 24 hp at 7,500 rpm and 25.6 Nm of peak torque at 5,500 rpm and is paired with a six-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch as standard. When compared to the 286.01-cc, liquid-cooled motor in the CB300R, this one makes around 7 hp and 2 Nm less. As soon as I got going on the CB300F, I could feel the linear power delivery, engaging nature of the mid-range and it produced a nice grunt from the exhaust when revved to the high rpm range. The clutch action is light and the six-speed gearbox worked seamlessly. There is a slight surge in power felt past 5,000 rpm and the motor is fairly tractable as it was able to do speeds of around 55 km/h in fifth gear. There are a few vibrations that creep in at the handlebar and pegs once you cross around 110 km/h. On the one open stretch that I found, I was able to get to an indicated 134 km/h with a little power left in reserve. It should be able to an indicated top speed of approximately over 140 km/h.
Suspension duties are handled by 37-mm Showa USD forks at the front and a preload-adjustable monoshock unit at the rear. The bike makes use of a newly-designed Diamond frame and has a kerb weight of just 153 kg, making it one of the lightest motorcycles in the segment. The suspension setup is on the firmer side and through a set of corners, it feels nimble and flickable while inspiring a lot of confidence. I really did enjoy the way this bike feels while tackling corners because of how light, stable and smooth it feels. Further complimenting the handling characteristics are the MRF Revz tyres that did a good job of providing grip throughout the day. The braking setup includes a 276-mm disc at the front and a 220-mm disc at the rear with dual-channel ABS. This setup is ample to get the bike to stop; all that is needed are two fingers on the front brake.
A fully digital dash displays all of the basic information and also includes a gear-position indicator. Both variants of this motorcycle get traction control (HSTC) as standard and for more experienced riders, this can be switched off by simply pressing a button for two seconds. In terms of connectivity features, the HSVCS (Honda Smartphone Voice Control System) is available with the top-end DLX Pro variant only.
Honda is marketing this motorcycle for the youth that will be spending most of their time in the urban jungle and for that purpose, this is a great motorcycle. It does feel more like a 250-cc motorcycle and can be compared to some because power figures are in the ballpark of that segment. With sharp looks, a refined motor, and swift handling abilities, this makes for an easy-going naked bike for the streets which will appeal to newer riders. For those looking for an outright performance-oriented 300-cc motorcycle, this might not fulfill your cravings so we suggest looking elsewhere. Because of the lightweight and handling characteristics, this felt like it would also make a fun motorcycle to learn the basics of track riding. The standard DLX variant is priced at Rs 2.26 lakh and the DLX Pro variant will set you back by 2.29 lakh (ex-showroom prices), making it almost Rs 50,000 cheaper than the CB300R. We feel that it could have been priced a little more competitively considering the price of some of the 250-cc bikes that it goes up against. We will soon test the motorcycle in the city to bring you a proper report on how it behaves in traffic, highway runs, and more.