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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I will start by saying that I do not own a CBR300R, but I seriously considered purchasing one when I started looking for a bike in earnest last fall. It was down to the CBR300R, the CBR500R, the Kawasaki Vulcan S (a 650 cruiser), with the Ninja 300 being given a bit of consideration as well.

I eventually settled on a 2014 CBR500R, which I bought at the end of September.

On various motorcycling forums (including my forum, CBR500riders.com), I’ve seen discussions started by prospective riders who've settled on a Honda but are trying to decide between these two bikes. So I’ve come here to offer my two cents.

Given the demographic to which these bikes are marketed - new and returning riders - perhaps the most important question to be addressed is, which bike is better suited to the less experienced rider - or the rider with no experience at all?

For someone who is well and truly new to motorcycling - who’s rushing to the dealership the day after getting his or her endorsement - and whose confidence in the saddle is still maybe a little shaky, I would recommend the 300. With sixty fewer pounds and probably fifteen fewer horses under the cowling, it’s more conducive to inspiring confidence and coaxing its rider to explore not only the bike’s limits, but also his or her limits as a rider. This advice would go double for new riders who are smaller in stature; sixty fewer pounds to muscle around (or to pick up in the event of a drop) will make a real difference.

For the returning rider - that is, someone who has real riding experience but who hasn’t ridden for a long period of time - I might recommend the 500. The power difference between it and the 300 is real and meaningful, but for someone who’s ridden larger machines, it won’t be overwhelming in the least. Additionally, though the 500 is sixty pounds heavier, it’s still not a heavy bike. Remember: the Harley 883, a bike often recommended to newer, less experienced riders (though not necessarily rank beginners), weighs 150 pounds more than the 500! As motorcycles go, the 500 is a fairly light machine (though still slightly heavier than the CBR600RR - go figure).

For those for whom experience isn’t a question, there are other criteria to consider:

Cost: If the price of your new bike is your primary concern, the 300 will run you almost two grand less than the 500.

Fuel economy: Honda claims 71mpg for the 300, but their website doesn’t list a figure for the 500. Obviously given its smaller motor and lighter weight, expect the 300 to turn in better numbers. Many 500 owners, though, report 70+mpg. With either bike, you’re going to get outstanding mileage, often to the point where you can almost eliminate fuel from your household budget. These machines are wonderful insurance against high fuel prices, which we’re bound to see again someday soon. Right now I’m spending about fifteen bucks a month to fuel my 500 (granted it's winter, and even here in Florida, that means less time spent riding).

Around-town riding: For those who will be riding primarily in the city, or any other environment with stop-and-go traffic and fewer opportunities to really open the bike up, the 300 is probably a better choice. It’s lighter, nimbler, and easier to muscle around through traffic in places where filtering is allowed. Riders in countries with perennial traffic congestion and without the extensive freeway systems available to those of us in the U.S., Canada, or Europe often never upgrade from 250/300-class machines. There’s simply no need for any extra power.

Highway riding: Here’s where I’ll recommend the 500. Because it’s larger, heavier, more powerful, and has larger tires, it’s going to feel more planted and stable on the highway. The 300 is a perfectly capable highway machine, make no mistake. But it, and its rider, are going to have to work a little harder to keep up. Passing will be more of a chore and you’re going to get blown around a bit more.

Handling: Some of us like to take our bikes to the track or spend a lot of time on winding back roads. Here’s where the weight advantage of the 300 will shine. These 250/300-class machines are, if you’ll pardon the cliche, eminently flickable. On courses and roads where raw horsepower is less of a consideration, these machines are unbeatable in terms of sheer fun.

Passengers: If you’re going to be carrying a passenger regularly or for extended periods, the 500 might be your better bet. A passenger’s weight will greatly affect the performance of either bike, but less so on the more powerful 500.

One other thing to consider: there's a natural tendency among motorcyclists to want more power. I'm already at the point where I wouldn't mind having a CBR650F! We tend to outgrow our machines as we become more proficient and more confident in the saddle. And if you know you're the type who will want to move up in size and power, you're going to outgrow the 300 faster than you will the 500. That's something to keep in mind.

Anyway, I hope I’ve managed to provide some meaningful advice to any prospective buyers lurking on this forum (or on the 500 forum where I’ve also posted this) and who are trying to decide which bike to buy. If this is you, all I can say is if you’ve got it narrowed down to one of these two Hondas, you’ve already made one good decision. Provided you make an educated choice based on your needs as a rider, with either of these bikes you’re going to wind up with a fun, reliable, good-looking machine that you’ll enjoy for years with no regrets.

Ride safe, everyone.
 

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Thanks for your input!
500R is perfectly fine as a first bike. I test rode it an hour after 300R and wasn't popping wheelies at traffic lights or anything crazy like it. :) It's a very tame and user friendly bike and I personally didn't feel the extra weight (even at slow speed maneuvering around the dealer's parking lot).
The deciding factor for me was the price of 300R, especially since I got a very good deal. There weren't anything even remotely close in terms of discounts for 500R.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your input!
500R is perfectly fine as a first bike. I test rode it an hour after 300R and wasn't popping wheelies at traffic lights or anything crazy like it. :) It's a very tame and user friendly bike and I personally didn't feel the extra weight (even at slow speed maneuvering around the dealer's parking lot).
The deciding factor for me was the price of 300R, especially since I got a very good deal. There weren't anything even remotely close in terms of discounts for 500R.
I'd say it's safe bet for a newer rider, though a few smaller-statured riders might find it a bit intimidating. The extra weight isn't that big of a deal except, again, to perhaps smaller-statured beginners, and it completely disappears once you're moving. As for wheelies, YouTube has multiple videos demonstrating that the 500 is easily capable of getting up on one wheel. Me, I'll be perfectly happy if my front wheel never leaves the ground the entire time I own this bike :)
 

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Fuel economy is pretty similar, because on the 300 the bike isn't really useful under 4k RPM; and revs much higher than the 500 to get around.

300, best for city & highway.
500, Highway & Interstate/freeway.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Fuel economy is pretty similar, because on the 300 the bike isn't really useful under 4k RPM; and revs much higher than the 500 to get around.

300, best for city & highway.
500, Highway & Interstate/freeway.
Yep, great point I'd forgotten to mention - the lower-revving 500 might eke out better mileage for those who spend lots of time on the interstate.

My 500 turns 6,000 RPM at 75mph - what is it on the 300, ballpark?
 

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depends.
it does 7500RPM indicated, but the indicated speed is 10% overread.
That means that it actually does closer to 8250RPM at 75MPH (GPS).

With a sprocket change from 14/36t to 15/34t you can actually get it to rev around 7.5k RPM again at 75MPH (or pretty close).
Those are about the same RPM ranges per MPH, most 250cc road bikes (should) run.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
depends.
it does 7500RPM indicated, but the indicated speed is 10% overread.
That means that it actually does closer to 8250RPM at 75MPH (GPS).

With a sprocket change from 14/36t to 15/34t you can actually get it to rev around 7.5k RPM again at 75MPH (or pretty close).
Those are about the same RPM ranges per MPH, most 250cc road bikes (should) run.
I've never messed around with sprockets, but I imagine that what you gain up top, you lose in acceleration?
 

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When I bought the 300 I didn't even look at the 500. I was and remain totally focused on weight and price (purchase and long-term ownership), two measures that the 300 excels at. Even so, my modest expectations have been exceeded quite significantly and I believe the 300 represents quite possibly the best motorcycle in the world, on a bang-for-your-buck basis.

A look at the specs on paper does not do the bike justice. It's only when you have had a few hours in the saddle that you realise this bike is much more than the sum of its parts. My last experience of a small-capacity bike was more than 35 years ago, so I was kind of unprepared for how good the things turns, stops and goes about its business. This thing was HOW cheap?

To be honest, I am enjoying myself so much, I am starting to wonder what an even lighter bike would be like, rather than wishing I had more power. If I was in the market for a trackday bike, I'd be trying to track down an old RS125. One of those little jewels on a tightish racetrack would be amazing. Mind you, when I raced karts I had to carry ballast to get up to the weight limit. I wouldn't have that problem these days - half an RS125 would be hidden between my butt cheeks.......
 

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With a sprocket change from 14/36t to 15/34t you can actually get it to rev around 7.5k RPM again at 75MPH (or pretty close).
At 7000RPM with 15/34T gearing im pulling 74MPH (GPS'd)


I've never messed around with sprockets, but I imagine that what you gain up top, you lose in acceleration?
Pretty much.
 

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...and I believe the 300 represents quite possibly the best motorcycle in the world, on a bang-for-your-buck basis.
I agree with this completely. Just one big black fly in this super-shiny ointment - Honda pretty much completely abandoned the 300 in the luggage department. They offer a meagre rear rack (and even that has to be ordered from overseas in NA). Where is a decent, sturdy rear rack, and the pannier support and panniers? I'm sick and tired of DIY solutions; I'd like a solid, good-quality stuff I know I can trust when riding 1000 km away from home in the middle of nowhere.
I don't think Honda would cannibalize their higher-end bike sales by offering practical utility accessories for the 300.
 

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I've never messed around with sprockets, but I imagine that what you gain up top, you lose in acceleration?
Not really.
In fact, first and second gear will be more useful, because of the engine spending less energy revving up, and overall less shifting (6th stock =5th modified).
It only accelerates slower below 6k rpm.
As long as you accelerate in the powerband, gearing doesn't affect acceleration.
I know many who won't understandwhat I'm saying will disagree below.

When I bought the 300 I didn't even look at the 500. I was and remain totally focused on weight and price (purchase and long-term ownership), two measures that the 300 excels at. Even so, my modest expectations have been exceeded quite significantly and I believe the 300 represents quite possibly the best motorcycle in the world, on a bang-for-your-buck basis.

A look at the specs on paper does not do the bike justice. It's only when you have had a few hours in the saddle that you realise this bike is much more than the sum of its parts. My last experience of a small-capacity bike was more than 35 years ago, so I was kind of unprepared for how good the things turns, stops and goes about its business. This thing was HOW cheap?

To be honest, I am enjoying myself so much, I am starting to wonder what an even lighter bike would be like, rather than wishing I had more power. If I was in the market for a trackday bike, I'd be trying to track down an old RS125. One of those little jewels on a tightish racetrack would be amazing. Mind you, when I raced karts I had to carry ballast to get up to the weight limit. I wouldn't have that problem these days - half an RS125 would be hidden between my butt cheeks.......
Try a Yamaha FZ-07.
More than double the cc, for only 50lbs heavier bike.
 

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Not really.
In fact, first and second gear will be more useful, because of the engine spending less energy revving up, and overall less shifting (6th stock =5th modified).
It only accelerates slower below 6k rpm.
As long as you accelerate in the powerband, gearing doesn't affect acceleration.
I know many who won't understandwhat I'm saying will disagree below.



Try a Yamaha FZ-07.
More than double the cc, for only 50lbs heavier bike.
As long as you accelerate in the powerband, gearing doesn't affect acceleration. You are so right ..I disagree..but that's "OK"
 

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Not really.
In fact, first and second gear will be more useful, because of the engine spending less energy revving up, and overall less shifting (6th stock =5th modified).
It only accelerates slower below 6k rpm.
As long as you accelerate in the powerband, gearing doesn't affect acceleration.
I know many who won't understand what I'm saying will disagree below.
I understand what your saying but I still disagree!
How can a bike possibly not accelerate slower in top gear if you have raised the gearing with a sprocket change?
Enlighten me MeeLee :D
 

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I understand what your saying but I still disagree!
How can a bike possibly not accelerate slower in top gear if you have raised the gearing with a sprocket change?
Enlighten me MeeLee :D
Because he said acceleration, which I understandas lower gears, not top gear.
But even in top gear it accelerates better at speeds above 90mph, as stock the bike barely does 90 (gps).

Btw, if your gps told you you'redoing 74mph at 7k rpm, that means with stock exhaust the CBR300R can do over 100MPH GPS, as I revved the bike above 9.5k rpm on the highway.

Being more dependent on the tach to read my speed, than the useless speedo.
 

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As long as you accelerate in the powerband, gearing doesn't affect acceleration. You are so right ..I disagree..but that's "OK"
You are perfectly allowed to elaborate on your statement, or just leave it as is, but if you say you don't agree, it would be nice to also say why.

I've been through a conversation like this before on another forum, so I'm quite confident of my answer.
 

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MeeLee.. I do not really want to get into a discussion with you on who is right and who is not.. You have your views which are in some cases your own. I have my views which in some cases are my own. Some people on this Forum butt heads with you ..some times they are right ..some times you are but as long as we BOTH learn some thing from these discussions in a positive way it is all good.
 
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