The Honda CBR300R - New Rider Friendly

The 2015 Honda CBR300R, with new crankshaft and connecting rod that extend the engine's stroke from 55mm to 63mm, continues to offer up gobs of user-friendliness at the expense of outright performance when the riding turns more spirited.

It'd be unfair to say the Honda under-performs though, as the single-cylinder engine's bump in displacement from 250cc to 286cc has resulted in a motorcycle with noticeably more mid-range and low-end torque. Pulling away from a stoplight is easy on the Honda CBR300R, its thumper of an engine providing good thrust and the clutch the most feel at the lever of any 300cc category motorcycle. Combine these traits with a transmission that's better than just about anything in the motorcycle world, plus an easy-to-read dash and perfectly shaped rider triangle, and you have a motorcycle that's the easiest to get along with right away.

On twisty roads and city traffic, the Honda CBR300R doesn't fall too far behind, compared to the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and the Yamaha YZF-R3, its suspension feeling surprisingly well-damped and IRC Road Winner tires offering good feel. Push a little harder through a corner and the chassis begins to feel slightly less racy, but it takes spirited riding to get there.

Where the Honda CBR300R begins to really fall behind is a as speeds pick up, which makes it a hard motorcycle for us to recommend to anyone whose commute or average ride includes more than a few kilometers on the highway. The single-cylinder engine, which is so good around town, feels like it's about to say its goodbyes in this realm, running at or around 80 percent of its rev potential.

Brakes don't have as much power either, though it's likely that Honda has done this to not overwhelm newer riders.

In the end, the Honda CBR300R is the motorcycle we'd recommend to the newest of new riders. It's the perfect motorcycle to learn your skills on and a much stronger-performing and better looking motorcycle than its predecessor thanks to the most recent engine and styling updates. You could potentially and probably will outgrow it sooner than any other 300cc category motorcycle. But until you do, it'll be everything you need it to be and not nearly as intimidating as some other motorcycles.

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