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Young Gun

Honda’s new CBR300R will is not only a practical and affordable transport solution, it’s also fun. The 286cc single-cylinder Honda looks like a mini supersports bike.

The design, colour scheme and the ‘CBR’ emblazoned on the fairing give this A2 category model the impression that it really is the offspring of the mighty CBR1000RR Fireblade. The CBR250R was first launched in 2011 as an entry bike for young CBR fans. Giving this 2015 model a longer stroke has raised the engine capacity by 37cc and boosted power by 4bhp and 2lb/ft.

It also has taller gearing to make motorway miles more of a cruise than an endurance test. And with fuel economy of 60mpg you could reasonably expect to get at least 170 miles from the 13-litre tank and probably another fifty if you ride more conservatively than I did. Which you probably won’t.

Honda has tried to improve the sense of acceleration by making the throttle response crisper. Although your eyeballs are never in danger of drying out, the CBR300R is more than capable popping in modest, well-planned overtakes and being first off the line at the lights.

The CBR300R is more than capable popping in modest, well-planned overtakes

Riders also have the reassurance of ABS and stopping power that makes the Kawasaki Ninja 300’s brakes feel like they’re made of sponge. Shorter riders are also catered for as the seat remains a relatively low 785mm, but it is now more tapered to help you reach the ground. It certainly doesn’t lack in presence and style, especially from the rider’s point of view. Its bodywork is sharp enough to turn a few heads and once on-board, you are greeted by a smart, modern dash that features the bare minimum of information and a clock.

Unlike most Hondas, the CBR300R doesn’t boast a computer that can calculate everything from your average fuel consumption to how many calories you’ve consumed after a day’s riding. You’ll have to work that lot out manually.

Otherwise it’s typical Honda, so despite being cheaper than its direct rivals, the CBR300R feels like a quality, well-finished motorcycle. Don’t rush to replace the standard IRC Road Winner RX-01 tyres either.

They may not be the stickiest rubber available but you will not have much to complain about. And it’s comfortable. Sure, the CBR300R is designed to look like a supersports bike, but the ergonomics are far from cramped. The riding position is upright and there is absolutely no pressure on your wrists or neck, which makes it the ideal commuter. If you really are a sportsbike fan, then confining the CBR300R to your daily trip to work will seem like an injustice and at some point, you will want to try the bike out on track.

While you can’t expect razor sharp steering and endless lean angles, the Honda has reasonable ground clearance and most importantly, it’s easy and reassuring to ride. The non-adjustable front suspension can feel soft but that’s partly because the biting power from the single-disc front brake is impressive. The bike doesn’t wallow excessively and the handling is responsive.

You could do a lot worse than spend money on this uncomplicated baby Blade, especially if you use the money you’ve saved on track days and tuition so that, one day, you can jump on a fully-fledged CBR.

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