When Honda introduced the single cylinder CBR250R a few years ago, we found it a competent, fun bike that was easy to ride and had just enough power for freeway commuting here in Southern California.
For 2015, the big news is that Honda has increased engine displacement to 286 cc courtesy of an 8 mm increase in stroke. Honda claims that this provides a 17% increase in horsepower compared to the CBR250R.
The other changes are not as dramatic. They include a redesigned fairing with dual headlights, new, higher volume exhaust system, new, narrower seat (providing an easier reach to the ground), and even a small detail like the stalks on the mirrors (which are shorter this year).
The engine has several new parts, we are told. Making it all work together required a remapping of the fuel injection system.
Ergonomics are essentially unchanged, and continue to provide a comfortable, semi-upright seating position to help riders enjoy the considerable range (a claimed 71 mpg) from the 3.4 gallon fuel tank. Claimed curb weight (all fluids, including a full tank of gas) is unchanged from last year at 357 pounds (364 for the ABS version).
We understand the suspension and six-speed transmission are unchanged from the 250, as are the wheel and tire sizes (110/70-17 front and 140/70-17 rear). The brakes are also unchanged with a 296 mm single disc and two piston caliper in front, and a 220 mm single disc with a single piston caliper out back.
The suspension still consists of a 37 mm fork with 4.65″ of travel and a single rear shock with 4.1″ of travel. The only suspension adjustment available is 5-step spring preload on the rear shock.
We rode the bike yesterday in Southern California, covering urban, high traffic conditions to open highway. It was a short ride for a press introduction (less than 50 miles), but left us with some solid first impressions nonetheless.
First and foremost, the increased engine performance is very noticeable, particularly at freeway speeds of 70 mph or so. The new bike accelerates harder (the power increase is concentrated in the lower rpm range), and doesn’t feel nearly as “tapped-out” or wheezy above 70 mph, where the older 250 didn’t have much left in terms of acceleration.
The new CBR300R still has some poke left when you twist the throttle at 70 mph. We didn’t try to test top speed, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the new bike is 10 mph faster than the 250 on top. The bottom line is that high speed, highway cruising is much more comfortable with the larger, more powerful engine.
The rest of the package is similar to, if not identical to, the older 250 model. The seating position is comfortable for longer rides, putting little weight on the rider’s wrists. The new seat felt reasonably supportive and comfortable, but the real test would be on a much longer stint in the saddle, which will have to wait for a later test.
The CBR300R is still no rocket ship, of course, but the added performance is noticeable and welcome. Together with a very easy clutch pull, smooth, predictable throttle response and adequate braking performance, the 2015 Honda CBR300R looks like an even better candidate for new riders, and even experienced riders who want a second bike that is simple, light, and easy to ride. Handling continues to be light, nimble, yet predictable … the essence of a small single-cylinder machine.
The 2015 CBR300R is available in four different color schemes (each pictured in this article), including Black, Red, Pearl White/Red/Blue and Matte Black Metallic/Yellow. ABS is available in all four colors. U.S. MSRP is $4,399 for the standard model and $4,899 for the ABS model. The CBR300R is arriving at U.S. dealers now. Take a look at Honda’s web site for additional details and specifications.
Model: CBR300R / CBR300R ABS
Engine Type: 286cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke: 76.0mm x 63.0mm
Compression ratio: 10.7:1
Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
Induction: PGM-FI, 38mm throttle body
Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistor with electronic advance
Final Drive: #520 O-ring-sealed chain
Front: 37mm fork; 4.65 inches travel
Rear: Pro-Link single shock with five-position spring preload adjustability; 4.07 inches travel
Front: Twin-piston caliper with single 296mm disc
Rear: Single-caliper 220mm disc
Optional ABS (CBR300R ABS)
Front: 110/70-17 radial
Rear: 140/70-17 radial
Wheelbase: 54.3 inches
Rake (Caster angle): 25° 30’
Trail: 98mm (3.9 inches)
Seat Height: 30.7 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.4 gallons
Estimated Fuel Economy**: 71 MPG
Colors: Black, Red, Pearl White/Red/Blue, Matte Black Metallic/Yellow
Curb Weight*: 357 pounds (CBR300R) / 364 pounds (CBR300R ABS)
*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride.
**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 weight, and other factors.
Meets current EPA standards.
Models sold in California meet current CARB standards and may differ slightly due to emissions equipment.
©2014 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. • All Rights Reserved • Specifications subject to change