The Honda CBR300R is a versatile entry-level sports motorcycle offering a blend of style, performance, efficiency, and affordability.
That said, the CBR300R isn’t perfect—there are some reliability issues you can keep contained just by being aware of them.
This article looks at the most common problems with the Honda CBR300R, how to troubleshoot them, and how to prevent them from happening.
Table of Contents
1. Rattling Noise at High RPMs
More than a few riders have complained that their CBR300Rs make a rattling vibration sound, especially at high RPMs or when riding at high speeds. Owners report the two leading culprits are the fairing vibrating around the head cap, a loose fuel cap, or a faulty valve spring.
“For about a week, I was getting a noise that sounded like the fairing vibrating around the headlight every time I had gone above 8,000 rpm. It would get so loud sometimes my mind would make the noise louder than the exhaust. Well, I tightened-loosened-tightened every Allen bolt, and it still made the noise. I inspected the radiator area a dozen times and had no luck.
Yesterday, a small leaf was stuck to the underside of the bike, and when I pulled it off, I saw the under-cowl move. When I changed the oil 900 miles ago, I must not have tightened the highlighted bolt in the picture because it was two complete wrench turns loose. I took the bike for a ride and no more noise. I knew there was nothing wrong with the bike the whole time because it wasn’t a sound that an engine and transmission makes, but it was frustrating not being able to locate what part of the fairing was loose.” cbr300forum.com
“So, I finally got to test the “fuel cap causes the rattle theory” today after many days since this post.
And yes, it has been confirmed, in my case anyway, that the fuel cap was causing that humming/rattle at a higher RPM. I pressed on it as suggested, and it stopped. So, during the next dismount I made at my brother’s house, I took the cap off and re-secured it, which pretty much took care of it.” cbr300forum.com
- Troubleshoot: Check the under-cowl bolts and the fuel cap if you notice your CBR300R rattles or vibrates enough to make abrasive noises. Ensure all fittings are secure and pay close attention to areas recently accessed for maintenance.
- Prevention: Regular maintenance checks and routine inspections can prevent such issues. Make it a habit to secure and double-check all bolts and caps after servicing or adjustments.
2. Can’t Find Neutral
A persistent problem noted by many Honda CBR300R owners is that the bike is difficult to shift into neutral. CBR300R riders report issues with their bikes either refusing to enter neutral, causing them to stall out when they release the clutch, or getting stuck in neutral at traffic stops.
“I was stopped at the traffic light, and my left hand was tired from pressing the clutch… So, I decided to put it to neutral, but it’s not letting me, or sometimes if I find it, it gets stuck there…”
“I have this [finding neutral] issue as well. My bike is almost two months old, and I have 840 miles on it. And it started the same issue late last week for me. It only goes into neutral when cold, oddly enough. Either it goes up to 2nd or down to 1st. A light touch or a hard stomp does not resolve the issue. I’ll see what Honda says about it.” cbr300forum.com
- Troubleshoot: Consider adjusting the clutch cable or switching to a different oil. Honda’s official guidelines or a mechanic’s advice is valuable.
- Prevention: Regular servicing and timely interventions, such as clutch adjustments or oil changes, can minimize these neutral-finding challenges, ensuring smoother shifting transitions during rides.
3. Engine Stalling or Dying
A concerning issue some CBR300R owners have encountered is the sudden stalling or shutting down of the bike’s engine during a ride. Such unpredictable interruptions can pose significant safety risks. Culprits include a clogged fuel filter or expired gas, an unclean air filter, an underperforming battery, or a malfunctioning spark plug.
“Just wondering if any of you currently riding have had any issues with your bike suddenly dying on you. This happened to me on Monday; out for a nice ride and 20 miles from home, the bike just died as I was heading down the road. I pulled over and tried to start it, but it would turn over without starting (yes, I had plenty of gas in the tank). I finally got it to start, but then it would sputter and die on me over and over. I bought it brand new last month, and it only has a couple hundred miles on it. It is currently at the dealer getting checked out. They suggested I could have got a bad batch of gas on my last fill.” cbr300forum.com
“On my second trip out on my CBR300R, I suffered from loss of power. 🙁
On my second trip [since I bought the bike], after turning around to head home, the CBR would not pull more than 4000rpm / 30 – 40mph, depending on the gear. Over a few miles, this reduced to 9mph, and the CBR kept dying. The CBR would always start back up the first time and idle fine. Increase the revs, and it would die :(.
Taking the seat off, my satnav spare wiring, which I had put in a bag to keep it clean, was in the air filter inlet! I had been riding bumpy roads, so it got dislodged and sucked in! I’ve rerouted the wiring and wedged it under the battery strap, so hopefully, the problem is solved. I will go for another ride in a day or so.” cbr300forum.com
- Troubleshoot: Inspect the fuel and air filters for blockages or dirt. Evaluate the battery’s health and ensure the spark plugs function correctly.
- Prevention: Routine maintenance is pivotal. Regularly check and replace the fuel, air, ignition, and battery system components as your maintenance schedule requires to ensure your bike runs consistently without stalling out.
4. Crankshaft Defect/Recall Not Performed by Previous Owner
Myriad CBR300R owners experienced a severe engine failure issue centered around improperly machined crankshafts, which could cause the rod bearing to fail. Such a defect can lead to unexpected engine stalls, posing a notable risk to riders.
The issue was so common that Honda flagged a significant recall for the 2015 and 2016 CBR300R and CBR300RF models, affecting 11,424 motorcycles, but not all owners took their CBs in for repair.
“I was prowling Craigslist and came across an exact copy of my bike: a 2015 CBR300R in the white/red/blue color scheme. The seller said that the motor had seized up while he was commuting and was listed for $800.
I was like, I know how to fix the motor, so I bought it earlier today. As I was starting to tear it down, for some reason, I decided to check for the frame punch that would indicate that the recall had been done, but I couldn’t find it! So, I went onto the Honda Powersports recall page and entered the VIN….
THE RECALL SERVICE HASN’T YET BEEN PERFORMED ON THIS BIKE!!!
I feel like I won the lotto. Cheap bike that will likely have most of the repairs done for free by the dealership.
Long story short – if you acquire a used CBR300 from model year 2015 or 2016, make sure to check the recall status!!” cbr300forum.com
- Troubleshoot: Beginning August 31, 2016, Honda said they would replace any faulty crankshaft assemblies free of charge. Affected owners are advised to consult their local Honda dealer for an inspection. Reference Honda recall number KB9 when discussing concerns.
- Prevention: Regular dealer communications and adhering to recall notices ensure rider safety.
5. Chain Stretches Too Quickly
Several CBR300R owners have raised concerns regarding the bike’s chain stretching too rapidly.
“[My Honda CBR300R’s] chain stretched very quickly. By 40 miles, mine was sagging and way out of specs. I did do a hard break-in, so I’m sure that contributed. The good news is that since I adjusted the chain, it has stayed in specs for over 500 miles now. I think you can expect the chain to stretch early.”
- Troubleshoot: Regularly inspect the chain’s tension and alignment. Consider adjusting the chain to its recommended specifications if you observe any sagging.
- Prevention: Using a high-quality lubricant and ensuring proper tension from the outset can help maintain the chain’s longevity.
6. Kickstand Position Too Tall
Multiple riders report the CBR300R’s kickstand design and mounting location are problematic. Many riders find it positions the bike more upright than other motorcycles, causing concerns when parking in windy conditions or for those who mount and dismount with the kickstand down.
“The kickstand keeps the bike more upright than with other motorcycles. I might even worry about parking in a strong wind. It helps to turn the bike to the left as you would do to lock the bike. That gives it a little more lean, but the issue I have is that I always get on and off a bike with the kickstand down. Getting on is no problem since the seat is low, but getting off is harder than any other bike I have ever owned because instead of just sliding off on the left side, you have to work at both scooting off and not allowing the bike to get even more upright. Hard to explain any better than that, and I am getting used to it. I think this will be a bigger issue with shorter riders.”
- Troubleshoot: When parking, turn the bike’s front end slightly to the left, allowing for more leaning room.
- Prevention: Ask your mechanic about an aftermarket kickstand or mod that offers a more angled stance, providing stability and ease for riders.
7. Difficulty Riding in 1st Gear/ At Low Speeds
Owners note the CBR300Rs 1st gear is jumpy, compromising balance and control, especially at low speeds.
Another issue is riding in 1st gear as you would around a gas station or parking lot. First gear is really jumpy. As an experienced rider, I have no problem since I know how to handle the throttle and clutch, but I can see a new rider losing balance as the bike jumps. I would call this issue poor throttle control in 1st gear.
- Troubleshoot: Focus on mastering the friction zone, the interplay between throttle and clutch, especially at low speeds.
- Prevention: Regular practice in controlled environments can help enhance your low-speed maneuvering skills and overall 1st gear control.
8. Faulty Speedometer
Some riders have noted inaccuracies with the CBR300R’s speedometer. While the specifics can vary, ensuring that your speed readings are accurate is essential to avoid potential road safety issues.
- Troubleshoot: To confirm speedometer discrepancies, compare your bike’s readings with a GPS device. If an error is found, consult your local Honda dealer.
- Prevention: Conduct routine service maintenance per the owner’s manual guidelines. Consider installing an aftermarket speedometer or a speed calibrator to maintain accurate readings.
9. Uncomfortable Seat/Riding Position
Some riders have found the seat on their CBR300R to be uncomfortable, especially for long rides. The seat has been described as too hard, too narrow, or too high for some riders’ preferences. Other owners mention pressure points and numbness in the lower back, buttocks, or legs.
Troubleshoot: If the seat isn’t aligning with your comfort preferences, consider comparing it with aftermarket options.
Prevention: Invest in a well-designed aftermarket seat or opt for padded riding pants to make long journeys more enjoyable.
What Are the Pros and Cons of the Honda CBR300R?
- Reliable, Smooth, and Predictable Performance
- Nimble Handling
- Efficient and Economical Engine
- Classic Style
- Rattling Noise at High RPMs
- Can’t Find Neutral
- Engine Stalling or Dying
- Crankshaft Defect/Engine Failure
- Chain Stretches Too Quickly
- Kickstand Position Too Tall
- Difficulty Riding in 1st Gear/ At Low Speeds
- Faulty Speedometer
- Uncomfortable Seat/Riding Position
What Do the Reviews Say?
“What do you look for in a beginner sportbike? Is it low cost? Nimble handling? Or even just the superbike-like styling? Well, the 2020 Honda CBR300R is a small-displacement sportbike that touches on all counts. 1) It only costs a base MSRP of $4,699. 2) It weighs only 357 pounds and has a low 30.7-inch seat height leading to easy maneuverability and beginner approachability. And 3) it takes its styling from its bigger CBR-RR siblings…”
“Powered by the same 286cc single-cylinder engine as the naked CB300R and CB300F models, the CBR300R offers a user-friendly entry point into full-faired sportbike riding. The relatively low 30.7-inch seat height and nimble chassis make navigating dense traffic flow easy while still offering enough sporting capability to conquer the twisties…”
“The CBR300R is Honda’s smallest sportbike. It’s equipped with a modestly designed single-cylinder engine that prioritizes low to midrange torque and sips fuel for efficient commuting. A low seat height, low cost of ownership, light clutch action, and safety features like optional ABS make it great for riders who are just starting out.”
What’s the Resale Value of a Honda CBR300R?
|Year||Mileage||Used Listing Price|
What Are Some Alternative Models?
|Honda CBR300R||$4,899 – $5,099||71|
|Kawasaki Ninja 400||$5,299 – $5,599||60|
|KTM RC 390||$5,799||58|
|BMW G 310 R||$5,195||71|