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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am considering getting a cb300f. I have been reading on these forums and elsewhere all I can about this bike. I love the idea of a simple, reliable, efficient, lightweight "minimalist" motorcycle.


But the fact is, one of the main things I would be doing with the bike is making trips of 300 - 500 miles twice month, sometimes more. Many of these miles will be on the Interstate.


I don't care about going super fast on these trips (I don't want a speeding ticket). I would be happy to chug along at 70, passing at 75 mph when necessary. But I would often need to do these speeds 5 - 8 hrs straight.


I will also be using the bike on back roads, some of them dirt, on mountain "twisties," and sometimes in more urban situations.


The other option is to buy a bigger used bike--a Ninja 500 or maybe the cb500f or 500x. But these are heavier and wider. I would really prefer the CB300--unless these long trips will destroy it (or me).


I have read (and reread) the "Not a Highway Bike?" thread, and others here about taking these bikes on long distance trips. I have learned a lot from them--about vibrations, about changing sprockets, about fairings, windscreens and other things. But I would like to see if I can get some new information and comments from you all before I make a decision.


Thank you.
 

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If I were going to be doing long trips like that, I would at least go with a 500. Even if you're not interested in going that fast, you'll at least want some power in reserve for passing or getting out of sticky situations. It will likely get pretty uncomfortable with the engine vibration after riding for that long.

That's just my opinion.
 

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The longest highway trip on my CB was about 45 km long @ 110 km/h (70 mph). The CB can easily keep up with highway traffic, but you won't be able to make a quick get-away or passing. Riding any longer distances at those speeds without a windshield is quite challenging and tiring as you continuously fight the air pressure (wind). Of course, a windshield can be purchased and added, but this can potentially turn into a pandora box. A poor quality widnshield can produce turbulences, noises. Incorrect (for you) height of the windshield can direct the air at your neck/head.
In your case I would recommend going for a bike that is already properly streamlined from the factory. Like the CBR300R. Of course, as long as you'd like the FW leaning position and the windshield would fit your height.
Probably a touring bike would be the most appropriate, though. The CB500X could fit. Or the NC700/750X.
 

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Good advice from Michael there, if most of your riding is going to be interstate then the 300R is the best option. You've probably read some of my touring posts. I generally find 400 miles in a day is max on the 300R. Its a physically small bike that is more tiring to ride than a big bike because you are more cramped (depends how tall you are obviously) and cant move around as much but, more importantly, it requires more input from the rider. Particularly in windy /blowy conditions where you are constantly making small adjustments to hold your line.

It will cruise at 70/75MPH just fine but I would definitely fit a 15T front sprocket for that sort of riding and you will need to pick your moments when you over take. Again, this is where the 300R will have an advantage. You can imagine how much wind you will be trying to push on the 300F at 75MPH plus with only 30HP to assist you. Even on the 300R I often tuck down behind the fairing on a high speed passing maneuver.

Regarding the other types of riding: Well you can do any type of riding on any bike if your keen enough. There's no 'super bike' that does everything perfectly. I do a bit of gravel on my R occasionally but I don't seek it out that's for sure. Having narrower tyres than a full blown sportster helps a lot.
The 300F would have a better riding position for gravel roads but if this is only going to be 1% of your riding and interstate 90% then I would go with the 300R.
 

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You should probably go with a bigger bike and one with the most comfortable seat you can find. A big trip for me is 100 miles by I-35 at 70 mph with a stop in the middle. The seat is comfortable enough, but you won't have a burst of power at 65 mph that you would have with a 500. The 300 wins hands down if you are mainly using it as a city bike where lightness is key. Personally, weight is my arch enemy, so I would go with the 300 even with all those highway trips because heavier bikes make everything else...like moving the bike in and out of garage, parking, backing out, slow-speed maneuvers...harder. The CB300F is the lightest bike capable of sustained highway speeds. Maybe someone with lots of miles on their 300 can talk more about longevity. So far, so good at 5000 mi.
 

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You should probably go with a bigger bike and one with the most comfortable seat you can find.......
Good advice. I would add good wind protection.

Though you can do big distances on almost any bike if you're determined enough, this is what tourers are built for.
 
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I have done 500km plus trips in a day and while I would still do it once in a while I couldn't do it twice a month for too long. Come third or fourth month I would be looking for a more comfortable bike. ( and I have the 300r)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks to you all for the very helpful (though discouraging!) information. It looks like my favorite motorcycle is not well suited to much of the riding I plan to do. And my least favorite motorcycles (no offense to anyone) are big touring bikes--which are best at much of the riding I plan to do.

I would still like to find a middle ground. I am considering the cb500s and the Honda 700s, but I may start out with a late generation Kawasaki 500, either a Ninja or a Vulcan, something I can get cheap and practice on. I have not ridden in many years, and I don't want to worry about dropping a nice new or newish Honda.


Kiwi Rider, does the windscreen on your r give you a lot of protection when you're sitting up right? Or do you have to duck behind it to get the benefits? I am 5'10" (177 cm?).


Thanks again.
 

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I would still like to find a middle ground. I am considering the cb500s and the Honda 700s, but I may start out with a late generation Kawasaki 500, either a Ninja or a Vulcan, something I can get cheap and practice on. I have not ridden in many years, and I don't want to worry about dropping a nice new or newish Honda.
Thanks again.
The nice thing about the NC700/750 is that it's very economical to run when ridden normally. At least that's my understanding from what I've read.
The engine is low-revving one based on a car engine and has a great fuel consumption. Fuelly show the same fuel consumption as I get from my CB300F.!
 

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Kiwi Rider, does the windscreen on your r give you a lot of protection when you're sitting up right? Or do you have to duck behind it to get the benefits? I am 5'10" (177 cm?).
Im 178 so similar height. The screen is quite low and narrow on the R compared to a touring bike so whilst it definetly helps with the bikes aerodynamics, you do need to duck behind it to get full benefit.
This is why my neck is so stiff :laugh:

Generally I only duck/tuck if I'm trying to go super fast, over taking or punching into a strong head wind.

For the sort of riding your proposing I wouldn't buy a naked personally.
 

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years ago i traded my cb72 250 twin [with racing fairing etc] for a cb450
[missed out on the last bsa lightning that weekend] which served me well,
including around 4 hours two lane country highways plus suburbia
both ends [canberra to sydney and back weekends]..
second duty period in canberra b-doubles running in convoy
became a problem for very fast overtakes, bush both sides..

so traded the 450 twin for cb750k2 dohc 4, which did the trick..
[unfaired]
for its day and in any context a fine all around motorcycle
[as were the cb72 and 450] but which was designed for
higher speed running and overtaking etc..
and yet would hum along happily at 70mph
in its sweet spot low rev range all day..

while the faired cbr300r would be the choice imo
for long highway runs over the unfaired model,
without doubt the bike designed for the job
[or to perform well in that work as well]
would be the preferred/best choice..

no need to pay for a brand new model,
or be limited to rr models [altho top motorcycles]
even within the honda range of good used bikes..

if you can afford it, the worlds your oyster..
if not, look around for a good used honda..

other alternative which applies generally
is the cbr300r which will do everything,
but help her out by leaving early
and stopping for a couple of breaks...
 

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Yeah,, I find it interesting that now a days you HAVE to have mega H.P. to (it seems) enjoy the Sport of Motorcycling. I remember when a CB 750 K was considered a large high horsepower (55 ) mega do it all bike (at about 550 LBS). Honestly the average 'Joe" could not afford one and if I remember correctly most bikes on the road were 350 twins (2 stroke/4 stroke) to 550 twins and many people rode them across Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. IMHO Motorcycling today is to bloody "Specialized"..gone are the days on one bike that you could buy..say a Honda CB 550..4 cylinder (40 to 45 HP?) put on a set of bags and a "Windjammer" Fairing and go touring. Or install a 4 into 1 "Hooker" header...small cafe' fairing..smooth bore carbs and go racing.

I think that on the Highway at 60 to 65 MPH the CBR 300 R OR the CB 300 F would do just fine. Yes just like in a car ( 4 Cylinder auto trans) you would have to plan your passing...but you should plan it anyway. Today we motorcyclists are very very spoiled by all the gizzmo's that come with modern motorcycles....EFI...Fuel gauge...clock...gear indicator...GPS... For God sake it used be that you figured out you fuel level by how far you rode on the odometer after you zero'd it upon filling up the gas tank. You could figure out what gear you were in by looking at the tach by a givin RPM at your speed. Now people grip if the bike has no gear indicator.....ridiculous!

Now I am not saying that the bikes today are no good. Modern motorcycles are far better built than they used to be but we as motorcyclists I feel are far to spoiled. Just like todays cars...can you imagine having a car with no power steering or manual windows or God forbid...no A/C or rear view mirror? OK enough ranting...:)
 

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......I would still like to find a middle ground. I am considering the cb500s and the Honda 700s, ....
Honda Deauville/NT700. Perfect from a practical point of view and an often overlooked yet amazingly competent bike for long distances without being ridiculously heavy. Often bought by couriers, which says a lot about its comfort and reliability, plus it comes with factory luggage.

Fashion victims and the image conscious scorn them, which is an advantage to me, though there are sufficient numbers of bikers in the know to keep prices higher than you might expect for something derided as the "Dullsville". Nevertheless, you can safely buy a used Deauville (they often last well into six figure mileage) and most owners are 'mature' and so they have usually been cared for. They also have shaft-drive, an absolute must for an all-year-round bike that has to battle through bad weather, in my opinion, and a very effective screen. Finish is tough and build quality up to the usual Honda standards, probably higher than their crotch rockets. The only negative, IMO, is they are a bit heavy for a 700cc bike, but a LOT lighter than the big tourers. The weight does translate into excellent stability though, pretty useful for highway use, when you're mixing it with high-speed trucks!

Seriously. Try to see the bike for its intrinsic qualities rather than as an ego accessory and you won't go wrong for mile-munching. They even handle pretty well for those times when you're in a hurry.

I seriously considered buying one myself, but my arthritis forces me to ride something as light as possible these days.
 

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Castorp:

Like you the benefits of the 300F - or possibly the 300R - appeal to me but unlike you I would not need to do extended Interstate riding.

You mentioned you have not ridden in "many years" (again, my situation); did your prior experience include such extended high speed riding? If not, the suggestions to consider a somewhat larger but used machine seem wise. Possibly you might make those trips once or twice and simply decide "this is not for me" and then be somewhat stuck with a bike you do not enjoy and would take a fairly substantial loss on if sold.

I've never purchased a used motorcycle but I think if I were you I'd look for something in the 500 to 650cc range that is designed more as a touring or "Adventure" bike (e.g. Suzuki DL650, Kawasaki Versys).

Ned
 

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Now I am not saying that the bikes today are no good. Modern motorcycles are far better built than they used to be but we as motorcyclists I feel are far to spoiled. Just like todays cars...can you imagine having a car with no power steering or manual windows or God forbid...no A/C or rear view mirror? OK enough ranting...:)
This kind of reasoning doesn't really make sense. Yes, it's true on one hand.
OTOH, it's a non-sense…nice dichotomy. Technological progress is there because people can see there is a room for improvement, and so they are doing their best to improve the stuff. If people would find a Honda 450 (or whatever) of yesteryears perfectly adequate, why would they strive to improve the design and/or purchase something "better"?. People could tour on penny farthings and one could argue that the bike offered a connection with the road like no "fancy" mountain bicycle can nowadays. It would be true and at the same time non-sense. Comparison of yesteryears to nowadays is not a valid way of reasoning. You lose the context for one or the other or both.
Of course, there is a common-sense limit to how much technology is reasonable and how much is over the top. Technology that improves security of handling is a big bonus. Infinitely increasing power of the engines would be in the over-the-top category.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the information, Kiwi Rider. Yes, I'm beginning to see some kind of windshield/fairings will be necessary.


. I was reading and looking at the NC 700 and the CTX (yes, the mpg on these is really impressive!) but I didn't know about the NT. JNO, thanks for the tip. I will investigate.


Ned, you're right, my previous experience was mainly with dirt bikes and trail bikes when I was a teenager. I rode my dad's Suzuki Savage on the back roads some, but I have never done anything even close the kind of trips I now have in mind. I may learn that it's not for me, but I want to try it. I did look at some V-Strom 650s but those things seem so tall to me.


I'm going to check into prices for NTs but right now I'm still thinking I'm going start out with a really cheap but reliable bike with just enough power to handle these kinds of trips. A late model Kawasaki 500 (a Ninja or maybe a Vulcan with a windshield) keeps coming to mind because it looks like I can get one for well less than 3000 u.s. dollars. If things work out I could sell it later for not much less and move up to a mid-size Honda. . . .


Thanks again to you all for the help
 

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I upgraded from the 300F to the 500F and it's basically just as easy to ride ( a bit heavier ) but offers extra acceleration and about 40 km/h of extra top speed should you need it (but you'll generally want to downshift before making a pass, since there isn't crazy amounts of power). I took my 300 F to 145 kph and it felt pretty stable but I wouldn't necessarily want to be going that fast on a lightweight bike for hours on end. I'd prefer bigger tires and a heavier more stable bike personally.

The 300 F always took me where I needed to go and if you are seeing a crazy good deal it might be an ok option for you if your budget is super-tight. It wasn't built as a highway bike though and having taken the 300F to highway speeds it's not bad until you ride bikes that are more set-up for highway riding (extra power, weight and bigger tires) and then you'll see where the 300F is lacking. People can't necessarily see why people get bigger bikes until they test ride bigger bikes themselves. Wear ear plugs to save your hearing regardless of your bike choice. The wind will damage your hearing, it's not the engine noise that's the problem.

There's no reason why you absolutely can't get the 300 F if you're willing to deal with how it feels to ride on the highway. Some people will be dissuaded from it others will feel fine with it. The truth is that if you did get the 300 F you'll find that you will seek more of this or that and that other bikes provide those things. That's the thing with the 300 class. It's a great class but it's for budget conscious riders, riders who want a lightweight bike or riders that are just starting out. It's very flexible and offers tons of bike for the money. But it simply isn't going to be the best for long highway traveling. Every motorcycle has pros and cons.

I think the 500R or 500F sounds like a better choice for a highway rider and it'll still be cheap on insurance and great on gas. If you can't find one for a good deal they are a bit expensive from the sticker price in my opinion though. I paid about $1,500 CAD less than sticker on mine which felt like the perfect price for what the motorcycle provides. I think that if I was doing tons of highway riding I would have paid extra for the CBR 500 R because on the 500F it's a big bike that doesn't slice through the wind like the 300F did. I need to loosen up on the handlebars a bit I think and that should smooth it out. It's less of an upright seating position on the 500F versus the 300F which I didn't originally realize.
 

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......a really cheap but reliable bike with just enough power to handle these kinds of trips. A late model Kawasaki 500 (a Ninja or maybe a Vulcan with a windshield) keeps coming to mind .......
Wow, those are two very different motorcycles. Personally, I find cruisers uncomfortable on long trips, because they put too much weight on your bum and lower back and, if the pegs are positioned well forward (as many are) it is hard or impossible to do the 'biker wriggle' while on the move, where you stand up on the pegs for a few seconds to re-establish blood flow into your nether regions. The Ninja would also be out for me, putting too much weight on your wrists and requiring that you crane your neck in order to look forwards, albeit not as bad as a full-on sports bike. You also need to look at the seat-to-pegs distance which, especially on sports bikes, is reduced and so your knees are bent more than on other bikes. This again inhibits blood flow and can induce cramp.

All of these issues have been addressed on bikes designed specifically for touring, with the useful addition in many cases, of shaft drive (no chain maintenance required en-route).

The plan to buy a cheap bike is sound though, and what I usually advise new bikers. This allows you to think about what you personally need in a bike before committing a wad of cash, and also makes the inevitable car-park topples (believe me, you will at first) cheaper too!
 
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