2019 Honda CB300R Review | An Even Nicer Motorcycle

While many of us considered the Honda CB300F to be an ideal novice and urban commuter bike, Honda has redoubled its efforts to appeal to that market segment with the new 2019 Honda CB300R.

1. Despite the more aggressive R designation, the 2019 Honda CB300R is a more friendly motorcycle than the CB300F it replaces. With a more upright seating position, the CB300R focuses more on rider comfort than sport. The seat is very comfortable—a lower one is optional—and the new tank has a shape that makes it easy to grip with your legs. A bonus of the tank design is that it leaves room for the knees of taller riders.

2019 Honda CB300R price - beginner motorcycle2. The CB300R is more than a redressed CB300F. Other than the cosmetic treatment, which Honda called Neo-Sports Café, the biggest changes are the new trellis-style frame, new swingarm, and new suspension. The result is an increase in price of $300 over the F.

3. While the engine is unchanged, save for a minor reworking of the airbox, the 2019 Honda CB300R is a stunning 35 pounds lighter than its replacement. Honda reduced and centralized the CB300R’s weight to make the bike that much less intimidating to new riders. It worked, as the 313-pound CB300R clearly feels lighter than the F, which was already a light motorcycle.

4. With improved low-rpm performance, a more upright seating position, considerably lighter weight, the CB300R is the perfect entry-level motorcycle for urban use. It’s hard to imagine that Honda could make a replacement for the CB300F that is more user-friendly, but that’s exactly what they did. Power is easily controlled, and the CB300R can be easily placed wherever you want to be in traffic, thanks to the agility that comes with a compact chassis and feather-light weight.

2019 Honda CB300R Review - urban commuter motorcycle5. The brakes have been upgraded, as well as made easier for a new rider to modulate. Again, the CB300F’s brakes seemed easy to use, yet the new 296mm disc with a radially mounted Nissin caliper has an even softer initial engagement. A healthy squeeze of the brake lever returns enough stopping power to slow the CB300R convincingly when necessary. The rear brake is also an effective tool with good feel.

6. The new 41mm inverted fork and improved shock work together to tame urban roads. They aren’t adjustable, other than spring-preload on the rear shock, but that’s likely a good idea. This is a motorcycle for new riders, and the Honda engineers got the suspension settings perfect for its intended use—there is no reason to second guess the CB300R’s suspension performance.

7. All of the changes that make the 2019 Honda CB300R a flawless urban motorcycle also make it quite fun in the canyons. The suspension delivers a firm feel in corners with no wallowing. With such a light bike it is easy to dive into corners at a higher speed, knowing you can turn the bike quickly. Sure, the 286cc single has its limitations; still, it does rev up to 10,500 rpm if you’re feeling confident and want to explore the decent mid-range and top end. The chassis gives new riders the confidence to push their riding envelopes, in part thanks to a near 50/50 weight bias putting plenty of reassuring weight on the front tire.

2019 Honda CB300R for sale - sport bike8. The Dunlop Sportmax GPR tires keep the CB300R glued to the asphalt, providing confidence in all conditions. While the GPR tires aren’t the highest spec, they do what’s needed for the CB300R. The bike feels completely stable at full freeway speeds, and the tires had no issue on rain grooves. In the canyons, they allowed me to lean the CB300R over as far as I dared—cornering clearance is outstanding, by the way.

9. Adding just four pounds to the 2019 Honda CB300R, ABS is available for $300. I tested the standard, non-ABS CB300R, and would like to try the ABS version. Packaged with the ABS is an IMU—impressive on a sub-$5k motorcycle—that also helps prevent rear wheel lift on hard braking. This add-on seems like a no-brainer for new riders at a bargain price.

10. While the 2019 Honda CB300R is a budget motorcycle, it doesn’t look the part. Styling is modern and angular, with svelte LED lighting. There will be some deserved criticism of the clunky muffler, however. Honda designers tried to break it up with matte black and chrome, yet it still looks oversized and out of place on an otherwise trim motorcycle. Expect companies such as Yoshimura to remedy that problem quickly.

11. The 2019 Honda CB300R is in the dealers now. While we had an early look at the machine, it’s an early 2019 release.

2019 Honda CB300R test - motorcycle review

Photography by Drew Ruiz

Riding Style

2019 Honda CB300R Specs

ENGINE

  • Type: Single-cylinder
  • Displacement: 286cc
  • Bore x stroke: 76 x 63mm
  • Compression ratio: 10.7:1
  • Valve train: DOHC; four valves
  • Fueling: EFI w/ 38mm throttle body
  • Cooling: Liquid
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • Clutch: Wet multiplate
  • Final drive: Chain

CHASSIS

  • Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 41mm fork; 5.1 inches
  • Rear suspension; travel: Linkage-assisted, spring-preload adjustable shock; 4.2 inches
  • Tires: Dunlop Sportmax GPR
  • Front tire: 110/70 x 17
  • Rear tire: 150/60 x 17
  • Front brake: 296mm disc
  • Rear brake: 220mm disc
  • ABS: Optional ($300)

DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES

  • Wheelbase: 53.3 inches
  • Rake: 24.7 degrees
  • Trail: 3.7 inches
  • Seat height: 31.5 inches
  • Fuel capacity: 2.7 gallons
  • Curb weight: 313 pounds

2019 Honda CB300R Colors:

  • Chromosphere Red
  • Matte Gray Metallic

2019 Honda CB300R Price:

  • $4649

2019 Honda CB300R Review | Photo Gallery