EICMA: Goodbye, Honda CBR250, hello CBR300

CBR 250 grows into a 300 but is it enough to take on Kawasaki's Ninja 300?
CBR 250 grows into a 300 but is it enough to take on Kawasaki’s Ninja 300?

Yeah, that’s right: just like we said last month, the 250 wars are over pretty much as soon as they started, with Honda upping the displacement of their entry-level sportbike to match Kawasaki’s Ninja 300. Or, at least close to it.

Honda has stroked their liquid-cooled single-cylinder CBR250 motor, giving it a 286 cc displacement, though compression remains the same (10:7:1). Peak horsepower is now around 30.4 hp at 8,500 rpm, and max torque sits around 27Nm at 7,250rpm. In comparison, the CBR250 put out 26 hp at 8,500 rpm and 23.8Nm @ 7,000rpm.

Fore and aft reveal the new styling tweaks up front.
Fore and aft reveal the new styling tweaks up front.

A revised balancer shaft makes sure the motor stays smooth, and the engine mounts have been beefed up. Fuel injection was remapped to keep throttle control crisp, and there’s a new muffler that’s similar to the CBR500’s; the idea is to make the beginner bike look and sound more like it’s larger relatives. Bodywork has also been updated, for the same reason.

The machine still has a six-speed gearbox, but the final drive ratio has been tweaked to allow better fuel economy at highway speeds. Supposedly, riders should be able to see fuel mileage as good as 30.2km/l, which would give you 390 kms of range on the 13-litre tank.

Seat height remains at 785 mm, but the seat is more narrow, making it easier to plant your feet on the ground. The bike has a 1,380 mm wheelbase and weighs 164 kg at the curb.

Here's hoping that Hondas 500s will stop the 250/300s getting any bigger.
Here’s hoping that Hondas 500s will stop the 250/300s getting any bigger.

Up front, there’s 37 mm forks, and the CBR300 has a Pro-Link monoshock in back. The front rim uses a 110/70-17 tire and the rear rim a 140/70-17 tire. Braking comes from a 296mm front disc with two-piston caliper and 220 mm rear disc with single piston caliper. The CBR300 has dual-channel ABS as standard.

We’re guessing it’s coming to Canada, but we could be wrong, as we haven’t been given an arrival date or MSRP yet. The CBR300 will come in black, red and red/white/blue, though if it does come to Canada we likely won’t see the full choice of colours.

Optional add-ons for the CBR300 include a single seat cowl, carbon-look front fender, tank pads, a tail pack, and other bits and bobs.

One interesting point on the CBR300 – it was our understanding that the big bore kits for the previous CBR250 and CRF250L motors simply upped those engines’ bores – and they got you as high as 350 cc. Now that Honda’s gone to the trouble of stroking the motor, a little bit of tweaking to that big bore kit could potentially allow for even more displacement, and remember, friends – small bikes are fun, but if you want speed, there is no replacement for displacement.


GALLERY

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