versus the Honda CB300F!
Just picked up a 2016 Honda CB300F with 600 miles. I just completed the first service and have put about 50 miles on it. I've now put about 200 miles on my G310R, which I also picked up used and subsequently completed the first service. I have a lot of experience with many, many bikes so this should be relatively reliable information for anyone cross-shopping and I'll try to keep it as objective as possible.
- **** the Honda is so nice and refined
- Feels quite peppy in the first 2 gears
- Much easier to wheelie than the BMW
- The Honda has a more basic 2-piston sliding caliper set-up, but there is no doubt that it is far better than the BMW's and actually best in class....even among the 300cc sportbikes. Excellent feel, power, and least amount of fade of any similar bike in this category
- Transmission is better in the Honda. Very accurate, short throws, with the perfect amount of effort although I did notice occasionally it was a little more prone to getting stuck in gear when not kicking up hard enough, moving too slow/not moving than the BMW. The transmission is geared incredibly well as compared to the strangely geared BMW, which has an awkward tall 1st gear. BMW's transmission is good too, but action effort is a little too light, and it does not feel as precise and is slightly clunkier
- The Honda has far better clutch engagement....it's perfect. The BMW is quite grabby and also lighter by comparison.
- Suspension and handling wise, I'll give the nod to the BMW. Ride quality for my 200-pound self (without gear) was actually quite comparable even though the Honda had surprisingly about a full 1" less travel both front & rear. The BMW is also clearly more eager to change direction, lighter-feeling, and with a lower center of mass. This is in part due to different tire models. From prior experience, I have noticed Michelin's Pilot Street Radials on other 300cc bikes have this effect due to a pointer profile whereas the IRC Road-winners have more grip, but have a flatter profile, which makes for slow (and annoying) steering. However, even though the BMW is more flickable somehow it still manages to also be considerably more stable, especially at speed....must have something to do with that long swingarm BMW managed to engineer by arranging the engine exhaust valve's at the rear of the bike to yield more space. The BMW is extremely stable at speed and is very impressive in this respect, yet still more eager to change direction. The best test for this is to try and initiate steering wobbles at speed by moving the handlebars quickly back and forth like a tankslapper. Overall, both handle exceptionally well.
- The BMW is undoubtedly faster nearly everywhere except off the line in 1st gear, where the Honda feels close likely due to gearing. I was able to achieve a 97mph top speed on the G310R vs. 87mph on the CB300F. Surprisingly, both bikes are at exactly the same RPM's at highway speeds in 6th gear. I was thinking the Honda would feel especially tapped out on the freeway and it does especially above 75mph, but it doesn't feel like I'm stressing the motor any more than the BMW...if anything it almost feels more at ease for some reason. Both cruise at 75mph or below just fine. The BMW could cruise at 80mph, I just feel guilty revving the motor that high for so long. I think the BMW may have minutely less vibration than the Honda, but I think this boils down more to the different feel of the motors. The Honda engine's power delivery is more pulse-like and dirtbike-ish than the BMW.
- Ergonomics and size, wise I prefer the BMW's ergonomics as a taller 6'2" guy. The BMW's ergos are magic...they work well for both short and tall riders. The Honda is decent as well, but not as good.
Other quirks to note:
- The gas cap on the Honda comes out when refueling...annoying
- Headlight is excellent on the Honda and a bit better than the BMW
- The BMW has nicer and far more useful gauges...however, I the classic colored warning lights and other indicators on the Honda look better, are brighter, and grab your attention more.
- The Honda gets about 10mpg (US) more than the BMW
- ABS not standard on Honda
- Somehow Honda suggests a 8,000 mile oil change interval with 10W30 vs. the BMW's 6,000 mile oil change interval with 15W50 (not common)
- BMW warranty (3 years...and excellent service) is better although early CB300F's (1 year) have had crankshaft recalls. In the future, the Honda will probably have fewer problems
- Both are easy to work on, but the Honda is easier and parts are far cheaper...$6.96 oil filter vs. $15.55. Far more used parts available for the CB300F....same as CBR300R and even some shared parts between the Honda Grom and CBR500R and CB500F
- The CB300F's massive and unsightly, heavy exhaust (integrated catalytic converter) gets extremely hot and will literally take 30 minutes to cool down whereas the G310R has the cat in the headers, a much smaller pipe, and one that cools off in just a few minutes. This is important if you plan on using cover and not melting it.
Conclusion: Both are fun and amazing in their own ways! Can't go wrong with either!