Is Honda about to finally offer a decent entry-level sportbike in the US? That’s what the latest rumors are saying. Word is, Honda’s about to debut a new CBR300RR, and will introduce it to North America.
Honda already has the CBR250RR sportbike (pictured above) in other markets; it’s a parallel twin-powered machine that’s decently sporty, supposedly able to hit 100 mph. It’s liquid-cooled, has a six-speed gearbox and eight-valve head, and hits redline at 14,000 rpm.
In other words, it’s considerably different from the CBR300R, Honda’s current entry-level sportbike for the North American market. That machine is powered by a 286 cc liquid-cooled single cylinder engine, which is just a big-bore version of the old CBR250R engine. That’s a tough, reliable motor, but it’s never been known for its power output; even when introduced, it lagged behind the competition in the beginner bike market. Now, it looks positively wimpy when compared to the KTM 390, the BMW 310, the Kawasaki 400 and the Yamaha 320.
But for whatever reason, Honda’s never seemed interested in bringing the CBR250RR here, maybe because it (quite rightly) thinks North American buyers would be put off by the 250 displacement. After all, everyone else’s bike is bigger.
Things are changing now, though. Supposedly, Honda is going to upgrade the CBR250RR with a bigger engine and new go-fast bits (slipper clutch, quickshifter), turning into the CBR300RR. After that, Honda’s supposedly going to bring it to North America, figuring it will have more appeal to buyers in this market.
Fact or fiction? It’s a fact that Honda’s going to be introducing some new machines this fall, after last fall’s mostly disappointing series of simple update announcements. It’s also a fact that the current CBR300R is dead in the water, and it totally makes sense to replace it. We’ll likely know by the time EICMA rolls around.