CB300R User Review: This is an interesting first impression and buying experience story shared by our avid reader Minoo Avari. The entire article is in his own voice…
Nobody in their right mind was going to present me with a bike. Taking matters into my own hands, I decided to buy one for myself before I got any older. Opting for the Honda CBR 300R, I thought it a suitable choice for my forthcoming birthday and surprise, surprise …it was ready for delivery even before I could turn seventy-four in November! A mere four months after booking, I took delivery of the elusive matt grey machine on Friday 30th August 2019.
With demand outstripping supply, it was an anxious wait. Then I had to go all the way to Coimbatore to ride her back. The showroom, on Trichy road, is 180 kilometres due North of Kodaikanal: Dindigul would have been much closer and far more convenient but alas … Coimbatore is the Southernmost point on the peninsula, where Honda has chosen to release its brand-new machine.
Drive for Delivery
Kishore Cariappa was even more excited than I and insisted on driving me down in his vehicle. Armed with my Joe Rocket red jacket, red helmet and red Scorpion riding gloves – I already had my ankle protection boots on – we left Kodaikanal at 5:30 am. We got to the showroom at 9:15 am and the showroom was just opening. On enquiry the clerk there told me the bike was in the workshop and we could walk across the busy two-lane highway to see her.
Suryabala Honda have a brand-new two-story workshop. The basement is the actual service station, with a separate area demarcated for servicing only the CBR brand. A large waiting room, with more than adequate seating, has a glass panel which allows clients to view bikes being serviced. The first floor is exclusively for spare parts. Multi-layered shelves, spreading across the length of the room, housing brown boxes in a range of sizes, contain an array of spare parts.
I was keen to collect the bike and start riding back before the afternoon rains in Kodaikanal … but Kishore wasn’t having any of it. He wanted to know what extra-fittings were available. The sales manager gave us a pamphlet with several items, which could be purchased and fitted immediately. Kishore insisted the engine guard was essential and, backed by the salesman, I had little option.
Then he produced a set of metal tyre valve caps, saying they were all manufactured in Japan. To say these were expensive would be an understatement. The engine guard was fifteen thousand rupees and the two valve caps, an additional three hundred! Putting the latter in my pocket I told them to go ahead with fitting the engine guard. They didn’t have a radiator guard though, which impressed me as being of the essence. However, they said they would order this and, when I return within the month for the first service, they would have it ready.
There were some more papers to sign in the showroom. The service manager said he would have the engine guard fitted and bring the bike back, ready for delivery, to the showroom across the street. This interlude gave us time for a cup of coffee at the nearby King’s bakery. Impatient to get started, we walked back briskly to the showroom and found the bike ready and waiting. I collected my riding gear from the car, but Kishore insisted on a brief about the bike. Having owned a CBR 250R for several years, I figured I knew all there was to know about this bike.
CB300R – Some Quick Bits
“The brakes are three in one,” the Honda representative mentioned nonchalantly. “What do you mean,” I asked non-plussed, never having heard of a bike with three brakes. He patiently explained that the front brake, on the handlebar, has twice the power of the footbrake, which operated the rear wheel. Very unusual but I was glad he told me because the footbrake isn’t much good. Then he handed over a pair of keys. “Please don’t lose these because you can’t go to a locksmith and have them cut. These keys have a magnet which is recognised by the engine and only we can give you a duplicate key. A single key will cost you sixteen thousand rupees!”
The Ride Back Home
On that ominous note, after a few mandatory photographs, I swung my leg over the saddle and took issue with traffic on Trichy Road. Initially I found the more upright handlebars difficult to handle but soon got used to it. Then there was the problem with the switches located in different places than those on the CBR 250R – I’m still working on that!
Once past Sulur (the Indian Air Force base), the traffic thinned and, on the road to Palladum, I had time to glance at the switches and familiarise myself with them.
“Where is the darned light switch?” I muttered to myself. I just couldn’t find it.
By then I was in Palladum and looking out for Kishore’s Bolero. There were many Boleros but no Kishore. Just past the bus stand I took the right turn to Udumalpet and saw a Bolero in the distance. I did try catching up and missed a turn to the left; taking the road to Pollachi inadvertently. When I did finally catch the elusive vehicle, it wasn’t Kishore behind the wheel!
In fact, there was a stone marker there telling me I was three kilometres from Pollachi. Udumalpet was another thirty kilometres away.
I took a country road to the left avoiding the highway and enjoyed the less traffic-ed narrow lane, full of sharp twists and turns that cut through green agricultural land. At Udumalpet, Kishore was waiting for me at Sun Hotels and sportingly didn’t mention the time he must have waited. After scoffing a plate of Mutton Biryani each, followed by ice cream for dessert, I told him I couldn’t find the light switch.
Well, we searched and searched. The bright and dim button was clearly visible, but we just couldn’t find the on-off switch. It struck us then that this bike ran with daylight illumination! With that revelation we started off for Palani and, just before climbing the seven thousand feet to Kodaikanal, stopped for tea at the new Elephant Valley restaurant just off the road.
CB300R – On the Twisties…
The first of the fourteen-hairpin bends worried me. I just couldn’t force the bike to bank enough, without it swinging off to the wrong side of the road. Using my knees and getting off the saddle to use my weight, were of no avail. After the third bend I was disgusted and thought I had purchased the wrong bike; only then did it strike me that I wasn’t putting enough pressure on the higher positioned handlebar.
The 250R, with its sportier handlebar, puts more pressure through the arm automatically. So, at the next bend, I tried pushing down in the direction of the turn and, lo and behold, the bike took the curve so sharp, it caught me by surprise. From then on it was a breeze and I thoroughly enjoyed manoeuvring the beautiful 300R all the way home.
Minoo has shared stories with BikeAdvice in the past too. Here they are…
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