ZigOpinion: The BS6 Honda CB300R Is Too Little, Too Late

The BS6-compliant iteration has a few welcome updates but falls short massively considering the high premium it commands over the BS4 one, despite heavy localisation

Honda pleasantly surprised us with the unveiling of the BS6-compliant Honda CB300R back in December at the India Bike Week. The Japanese manufacturer then recently announced the pricing, but to much to our dismay, the bike was priced stratospherically high, at Rs 2.77 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). 

Honda’s Approach:

The Honda CB300R was already a little expensive when it was launched for Rs 2.41 lakh (ex-showroom India) in its BS4 avatar back in 2019. It looked nostalgically gorgeous thanks to the “neoteric” elements and the Honda CB1000R-derived neo-retro styling. The motorcycle was also one of the lightest in its segment, making it perfect for the urban jungle. However, the CB300R didn’t exactly have a long run as Honda had to discontinue the motorcycle in 2020 as it did not comply with the new BS6 emission norms.

This coupled with the ongoing pandemic resulted in Honda taking its own sweet time to bring the BS6 version. But in all fairness, Honda was busy in getting the logistics part right as it wanted to heavily localise the CB300R. The new plant in Gujarat helped the company to achieve just that, along with offering a few more strategic advantages.

The mid-capacity (300-odd cc segment) is a lucrative one since the products in this segment offer a great balance of performance and affordability. Even BMW Motorrad realised the errors of its ways and massively brought down the price of its most affordable naked, the BMW G 310 R, in its BS6 avatar, along with a few neat updates. This coupled with Honda’s localisation strategy really made us hope it will keep the pricing justifiable, say somewhere around Rs 2.5 lakh.

However, at Rs 2.77 lakh, the Honda CB300R BS6 is way too expensive for what it offers. It undercuts the KTM 390 Duke by just around Rs 11,000. For such a small premium, the Austrian hooligan offers a class-leading performance with a whole 12.4PS and 9.5Nm more, and even gets a quickshifter and TFT instrument cluster with smartphone connectivity. 

What Honda Should’ve Done:

Sure, Honda bumped up the power and torque by a tiny bit, added a slip-assist clutch, reduced the kerb weight a little, and has given a premium gold treatment to the fork. But these updates barely justify the Rs 36,000 premium over the BS4 bike. Honda should’ve included a proper TFT screen with smartphone connectivity and navigation, and could’ve even thrown in a rudimentary traction control system considering even the more affordable Honda H’Ness CB350 gets one. Along with these, Honda should’ve at least slashed the premium by half. Only then it would feel like a worthy offering in its segment. Let us know what you feel in the comments below.

Honda CB300R Video Review

Honda CB300R
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