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Old 9th February 2024, 20:01   #1
skr
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Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

Very long post alert. This is my first ever note/ review/ reflection in Team-BHP. Hope this post will be useful (and surprising!) to a lot of people.

Having bought the CB300R in a sudden spike of impulse and rage over Yamaha's nightmarish service, I realised months later that I had totally overlooked/ was ignorant of some of the absolute basics. To cut down on long sentences and make it an easy read, I will discuss all the points in bulleted form below. It is important to include some points to have better context on what I look for and how I am as a rider.

1) I was mostly ignorant on the types of motorcycles at the time of purchase, and what they are supposed to do. Adventure Tourer is a genre that I had heard and seen, but didn't know much in detail. Again . I'm not overly bothered about on-paper specifications. If it makes me happy on a daily basis, it's a good bike.

2) Having had the opportunity to be on the road for considerable periods owing to my work (Doesn't REQUIRE me to travel by motorcycle, but I chose to do it anyway), it was paramount for my motorcycle to have decent touring capabilities.

3) I am quite skinny by build, so big, heavy bikes never really appealed to me. Neither does track performance. Considering 90% of the rides are about nimbly maneuvering through daily city traffic, stray animals and overwhelming number of idiots on the road, getting out of tricky parking spots, etc., I am more inclined to a practical daily bike which gives me a fair number of options and flexibility. I was greatly swayed by the weight of the CB. From the FZ-S v3.0, it was like upgrading to a doubly powerful bike with the same weight. The little test ride just blew me away in those 10-15 minutes honestly.

4) I thought with a 300cc, my touring ability would be upgraded greatly, especially a light, nimble footed frame and such beautiful refinement. I didn't know much about riding characteristics, other than three basic postures, and I didn't at all find any committedness on the seating posture at the CB during the test ride.

5) Touring ability, light weight and slick maneuverability being paramount, I bought the CB assuming it as a perfect upgrade to the FZ-S (and I re-iterate, being absolutely fed up with the Yamaha service experience).

6) While the above may sound a little doomed in its conclusion, it is quite the opposite, and this is why I chose to finally write my first article/review at TeamBHP. The CB300R is indeed a beautiful machine and I can guarantee this is going to be a one of a kind view regarding its touring abilities, with a few little tweaks I have personally tried. So far, it has worked miraculously, touchwood, and it has cost me a nominal sum, but the difference in experience is quite frankly, beyond surprising.

7) Realising after a few 4-5 hour rides that the CB was nowhere near the touring comfort of the FZ-S, I just went gung-ho on the internet searching for solutions. Tragically, there was not a single solution in sight, except the $650 (>₹50,000! ) Corbin seats, which are not available in India (add to that customs, taxes etc. if you are willing to import). Moreover, the long distance comfort review on the Corbin seats is bad!

8) The Zana handlebar risers had done a bit to ease the overall shoulder and palm fatigue over long distances (which wasn't overly concerning, but was useful nonetheless), but the bum and back fatigue was proving to be the Achilles' heel. Air seats weren't doing the trick.

9) Two fortuitous conversations, one with one of the BigWing (Dehradun) mechanics and another with my regular customizer, gave me the idea that I could perhaps ask some 'seatwala' to have a look. A Google search convinced me that if there was one place that could have a solution, it was a shop called Munna Lal and Sons in Chakrata Road, Dehradun. The limited reviews were all excellent, and motorcyclists raved about how good a job they had done. The reviews seemed genuine and I paid a visit.

10) Initially they thought I just needed a soft foam, but on hearing the touring aspect, suggested a hard adv style base foam with another layer of soft foam on top. I told them as clearly as I could what I wanted exactly, i.e., the shape, seat height (which I did not want to change much as it was quite comfy anyway, especially with the risers installed).

11) The guys at Munna Lal were amazing not only with their expertise and work, but were willing to themselves give useful suggestions. Once the framework of the hard foam was ready, it was pasted on to the nearly non-existent stock seat padding. They were more than happy to insist on me taking repeated test rides until the optimum ergonomics were established to my liking. It took around 4-5 rounds of test rides and consequent shaving off of the foam to get to what felt like a decent enough sweet spot, albeit with a little rise in the seat height, which is, of course inevitable with the addition of all the foam. It was to a point where I could nearly flat foot. Their cooperation during the entire process was just exemplary.

12) This was finished off with a half-inch layer of soft foam pasted on top of the hard foam.

13) The final layer consists of the seat cover which was hand-stitched with great dexterity in a few minutes, which they claimed came with "guaranteed waterproofing". They worked even beyond their regular shop hours and never pressurized me to hurry on my decision.

14) The pillion seat was also modified the same way, in addition to removing the incline of the seat and making it flat, the overall dimensions of the seat were also increased. It was fine for my wife for the short ride back home, but is to be tested over long hours.

15) Completed a ~280 km ride through mostly twisties, and I can finally say, at least for solo touring, the issue is superbly sorted. 280 km in this terrain can be translated to roughly around 450-500 km through highways in the plains. Total ride duration was around 7 hours, and all I had was what I consider very normal soreness.

16) On the way back, completed 125 km (around 2.5 hours) at a stretch with no breaks before finally stopping over for a well-deserved tea. For more context, these 125 km were post the initial 140 km, after which I had a few hours break to get some maintenance work done, meaaning the stretch between 141-265 km of the ride approximately. Wearing a riding pant (Rynox Advento) also helped a great deal with the anti-skid factor really impressing me in terms of its fatigue reducing qualities.

17) During my search on the internet for touring solutions, I had not seen a single opinion in either Indian or International forums which said it could be used for touring. The overall reviews for the post $600 Corbin seats are quite negative other than for short urban commutes, which is funny, because short rides on even the stock cushion are totally fine and immensely enjoyable. Most reviews say it is impossible to ride more than 40-45 minutes without feeling discomfort. Hmm...

18) THE PRICE: The entire seat customization process cost me ₹1,200/- (Rupees Twelve hundred, I haven't missed any zeroes) in total. This includes (for both rider and pillion seats) hard foams, soft foams, seat covers and the labour cost. I am quite in disbelief as to what a miraculously good job this small, innocuous shop has done.

19) Additional points: The service quality at Honda BigWing Dehradun is decent. At least basic parts are available, hospitality is more than decent, the mechanics are all quite friendly, and service experience has been good over these 1.5 years and a tad over 18,500 km. For context, at the time of letting go of the FZ-S, I had covered an identical number of kilometres in around 23 months.

20) This is a welcome change after the Yamaha service, which completely ruined the experience of a wonderful motorcycle, no matter how much I wanted to take care of it. At the time of exchange, the Yamaha had also run just over 18,500 km (between August, 2020 and July, 2022). I had done plenty of 12-13 hour rides on the FZ all over Uttarakhand, through good and terrible roads, and don't ever remember having any major issues whatsoever.

21) No bike is and none will ever be perfect. While ADVs are a no brainer as an all-rounder, it is good to know that there are ways to work around apparent handicaps. Motorcycles are not meant to be one size fits all, and everything I discussed is dependent on factors like rider's height, weight, length of arms, feet, etc. But the experience is an eye opener on how there may be relatively easy solutions for one to explore instead of having to look for a new motorcycle entirely.

22) The seats are yet to be tested for pillion comfort over long hours, behaviour with time, etc. Notwithstanding the aches produced by the stock seat, I've done plenty of post 100 km rides with my wife, the longest being Dehradun to Shimla, a distance of around 240 km. Luggage troubles in the latter (not going into details for now) caused great bother and discomfort on the way to Shimla, which was down to my ignorance about packing soft luggage on a top rack, wrong mounting, coupled with using the luggage for the very first time. The return journey was slightly better. Luggage mounting is an issue I'll be looking to solve next.

23) I have invested quite a bit into accessorizing the bike, and here's a list of the accessories installed:
  • Zana Top rack with plate and back rest. I don't use the back rest though.
  • Zana Handlebar Risers
  • Brake reservoir covers (front and rear)
  • Pillion footrest add on
  • Givi Windscreen
  • SW Motech Crash Guard
  • Grip Puppies handlebar cover, which I am about to change as it is starting to come apart.
  • Barkbusters (first/second copy?) Handguards

I have attached a few images for reference.

Thanks for reaching the end, in case you are one of those rare beings who has made it this far from the start.

Cheers and Peace Out.
Attached Thumbnails
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Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought-img_20240209_170110282.jpg  

Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought-img_20240209_170049373.jpg  

Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought-img_20240209_170011776.jpg  

Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought-img_20240209_170006096.jpg  

Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought-img_20240209_165951180.jpg  

Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought-img_20240209_165936460.jpg  

Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought-img_20240209_165923819.jpg  

Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought-img_20240209_165852804.jpg  


Last edited by Axe77 : 13th February 2024 at 06:37. Reason: Spacing. Also, no more than two smileys per post please.
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Old 10th February 2024, 16:19   #2
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

Thread moved to the Motorcycle section! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11th February 2024, 08:37   #3
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

Great mods. It seems like good workmanship too from the seatwallahs, looks amazing. I had the opportunity to test ride 300F and 300R when I went to service my H’ness last week. 300R is such a fun bike. I’m almost thinking of ‘side-grading’ to this over upgrading to d390 or speed 400 as I’d originally planned. The weight and the dynamics just do it for me.
The looks are the only downside for me
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Old 11th February 2024, 10:39   #4
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

Hi @skr
Want to know more about
1. Handle bar riser and what difference does it makes to the comfort part and the silver thing near bar risers.
2. Top rack and back rest experience and difference it makes.
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Old 11th February 2024, 20:45   #5
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

Hey @geekyankurr. Here are my observations on your questions:

1. The Handlebar riser makes the handlebar reach more comfortable and relaxed for my height and body structure. Moreover, it makes the rear view mirror easier to view. I have also added Zana Mirror Extenders for the same (Forgot to mention this in the list). Earlier I had to bend my head down slightly to view the mirrors, and it always took me a split second more to register the view back on the road, which may be tricky in case of emergency scenarios. This split second difference is, however, noticeable. It is more of a side glance now.
The silver things near the bar risers are the clamps for the handguards.

2. The top rack is kind of essential as a pillion grabrail and for holding the motorcycle for manual movement. Of course, it also supports a top box, which is useful for luggage carriage on tour. I am yet to find a solution to the sagging of soft luggage though (I use a ViaTerra Hammerhead 75L, which sits fine on the rear seat, but sags on the top rack). I am thinking of adding some sort of custom extensions to the top rack solve this, but will have to see if this will be possible. The saree guard has to be removed to install the top rack by the way.

The Back rest was installed for only a few days but I found it was impeding with the pillion getting on to the motorcycle, especially for shorter people and those who don't prefer mounting on to the footpeg to hop on to the pillion seat. It was only used by a couple of pillions for shorter rides, and it didn't cause them any discomfort/impedance once seated. But can't really give much more comment (good or bad) about the back rest as such.

Last edited by Axe77 : 13th February 2024 at 06:39. Reason: Please put suitable spacing between paras to aid readability. Thank you.
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Old 11th February 2024, 21:28   #6
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

@Pythonic Thanks for going through the post. Looks are a subjective topic. To be honest, I love the looks, although not a fan of the 2024 colour combo with the gloss black side panel, which was an unnecessary change from the grey side panels which looked really premium. It stands out quite unobtrusively in a parking lot not because of its heft and volume, but because of an element of premiumness and class for those who are willing to notice.

The bike has a one of a kind feel and personality of its own which makes you love it in spite of a few apparent shortcomings. Engine refinement, rider engagement, rideability all are at a level, which, to quote a rather popular brand, is "Nothing like anything". The only way to really 'hate' the motorcycle is if the thoughts of its shortcomings become so overpoweringly obtrusive that all the goodness it offers goes out of the window.

I bought this at a time when the on-road price was so exorbitant that even the Big Wing guys smiled and said "kuch zyada hi hai". It's ₹40k cheaper now and superb value for money for the experience it provides. I don't overly regret for paying those extra ₹40k, and I have only the bike to thank for that!

The accessorization options have also grown exponentially since 2023 I must say. There was hardly much for the entirety of 2022. This makes it easier to play around and find ways to make it much more practical.

Considering you are coming from a totally different platform (H'ness), I don't know about your personal preferences of motorcycles at the moment, so will reserve my direct recommendation as such. But if you decide to get one, rest assured, you will have a great time.

P.S. On the move, it's a decent head turner too!

Last edited by Axe77 : 13th February 2024 at 06:40. Reason: Please put suitable spacing between paras to aid readability. Thank you.
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Old 12th February 2024, 10:44   #7
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

Thank you @skr for the writeup. I too am searching for touring-friendly modifications for the CB300R, but there's scarcely anything available out there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skr View Post
17) During my search on the internet for touring solutions, I had not seen a single opinion in either Indian or International forums which said it could be used for touring.
Funny that you mentioned this.
Quoting from my post on another thread: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...ml#post5644940 (2023 Honda CB300R launched at Rs 2.40 lakh)
Quote:
Originally Posted by t3rm1n80r View Post
On another topic, previously the website had this write-up for the rear monoshock. Please note that it mentions the word "touring". Had Honda increased the fuel tank capacity by 2L, it would've been a very good highway machine.
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Old 13th February 2024, 06:04   #8
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

Quote:
Originally Posted by skr View Post
23) I have invested quite a bit into accessorizing the bike, and here's a list of the accessories installed:
  • ….
  • Givi Windscreen
Hi,

Nice write up, can I please know what windshield are you using and how did you mount it, have the CB and the wind blast is quite high for me

Last edited by Axe77 : 13th February 2024 at 06:42. Reason: Trimming quoted post. Please do not quote entire long posts as it inconveniences our readers using mobile devices.
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Old 13th February 2024, 08:48   #9
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

Quote:
Originally Posted by t3rm1n80r View Post
Thank you @skr for the writeup. I too am searching for touring-friendly modifications for the CB300R, but there's scarcely anything available out there.


Funny that you mentioned this.
Quoting from my post on another thread: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...ml#post5644940 (2023 Honda CB300R launched at Rs 2.40 lakh)
@t3rm1n80r Thanks for the read! I totally agree about the extra 2L fuel capacity. I guess Honda themselves underestimated the fact that the bike could be used as a decent tourer (even the 'touring' they mentioned in that sentence looks like an afterthought!), and focussed exclusively on its urban, cafe racer character (being the devil's advocate here).

While the extra 2L could have achieved a lot more perfection, I would still rather handle a lighter weight, nimble bike every day of my life rather than fretting over a possibility of not finding a petrol pump for more than a 250 km stretch (add another few with bottles/jerrycans/begging/borrowing/stealing if the situation gets that diabolical).

Isn't it ironic that the negatives about the CB are mostly about a few on-paper specs (most of which are totally misleading), and yet, it's 'competitors' (only for the price) are all ~400cc bikes weighing at least 30-40 kg more?

There will always be something that could have been done better and a new bike which promises better, but as long as the CB is parked outside your home and mine, it's going to be the best motorcycle in the world no matter what!

____________

Mod Note: These are really well written posts but if you could please provide suitable spacing between paras it would help. A well formatted post goes a long way in making content easier to read and enhancing the user experience.

Please do take some time to go through the various Forum rules and related guidance. Appreciate the support and look forward to following your travels with the CB 300. Thank you.

Last edited by Axe77 : 13th February 2024 at 09:09.
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Old 13th February 2024, 13:47   #10
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

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Originally Posted by tc89 View Post
Hi,

Nice write up, can I please know what windshield are you using and how did you mount it, have the CB and the wind blast is quite high for me
Hi @tc89 . Thank you so much! The windshield is bike specific, so the necessary clamps and fittings all come included in the box. I got it mounted at the BigWing dealer itself.

Just a few things thing to keep in mind if you get one. It costs a fortune (>10k) and may not 'dramatically' change the wind blast issue especially if you are quite tall. Take this as a personal opinion of a not so expert rider, and not at all as a deal breaker. It looks beautiful once mounted though!
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Old 14th February 2024, 20:24   #11
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

Quote:
Originally Posted by skr View Post
I guess Honda themselves underestimated the fact that the bike could be used as a decent tourer (even the 'touring' they mentioned in that sentence looks like an afterthought!), and focussed exclusively on its urban, cafe racer character (being the devil's advocate here).
The concept of the bike is mainly as you have described above - Be an urban street fighter / cafe racer type bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skr View Post
While the extra 2L could have achieved a lot more perfection, I would still rather handle a lighter weight, nimble bike every day of my life rather than fretting over a possibility of not finding a petrol pump for more than a 250 km stretch
Went in with the same thought. But once you start actually touring, the planning for fuel gets a bit too much. Specially if you are in the company of bikes with bigger tanks. Mine has run close to 3k kms in a year and the range anxiety while touring on this bike in unknown areas is akin to the range anxiety on ev's. Planning for fuel stations on the way before hand and hoping to find one open 24/7 (yes i ride at nights too) is a taxing thing.

In case you ride it spiritedly, the range drops to 200kms or thereabouts. Compare it to the stablemate CB Highness or CB 350RS. With the 15L tanks, and approx range of 500kms on a tankful, the anxiety levels are much lower.
But certainly the power to weight ratio is unmatched in its class and have taken it to unmentionable speeds on some empty stretches, where it is rock solid and stable. It is like having an RTR class bike in weight with a Duke 250 class bike in power.

If only the tank was larger even if it added another 4-5kgs to the wet weight of the bike, it would have been a superb option for city as well as touring. Currently, while we can certainly tour on it, if you plan on riding in the night (The LED headlamp once positioned properly is superb for night riding on dark highways. Of course the well lit sections tend to drown out the headlight but that is the case for even car LED so no complaints) or in unknown areas then it is a pain and I am at least almost always anxious. That too if on solo rides which is the type of rides i like the most.
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Old 15th February 2024, 14:12   #12
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

Quote:
Originally Posted by skr View Post
I would still rather handle a lighter weight, nimble bike every day of my life rather than fretting over a possibility of not finding a petrol pump for more than a 250 km stretch (add another few with bottles/jerrycans/begging/borrowing/stealing if the situation gets that diabolical).
I recently bought the 300F and had this exact thought when trying out different bikes (including the 300R), but I pondered some more and realized - one can always have a bigger tank and yet fill it only say 75% to achieve the same weight reduction, but adding jerry cans to a small-tank bike for a long trip will definitely be more cumbersome. I tend to agree with abhinav.s on spirited riding and range anxiety.

We know that there is no replacement for engine displacement but dare I say there is never too much voracity when it comes to tank capacity!
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Old 15th February 2024, 20:07   #13
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Re: Modifying the Honda CB300R to be a decent tourer | Food for thought

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Originally Posted by itisravi View Post
- one can always have a bigger tank and yet fill it only say 75% to achieve the same weight reduction, but adding jerry cans to a small-tank bike for a long trip will definitely be more cumbersome. I tend to agree with abhinav.s on spirited riding and range anxiety.
I couldn't agree more with both of you. In fact I wouldn't even mind an additional 10 kg wet weight, which would still make it absurdly light for its capacity. But motorcycles like these may often be a heart-over-head choice than a well researched, practical one, much like it was for me with my limited exposure to motorcycles. Forget range anxiety, imagine my predicament on realising that long saddle hours were a bit of a bother!

I guess a heart full of regret may make a decision look worse than it really is, and I have seen plenty of heartbreaks for the same with the CB300R. The way the ergonomics and the ride quality changed by some good craftsmanship and the wholehearted effort put in by some honest, hardworking guys at a barely noticeable shop really hit an emotional chord. More than a review of the CB300R, the post is really a tribute and appreciation to that little shop which has changed my perception of what motorcycles and motorcycling could be! While international communities and Quora couldn't find me a single solution, a non-bargained price of ₹1200 did!

Yes, the tank capacity will lead me to plan more practical trips where a 250-280 km range will suffice for a refill. Jerrycans and such would be a last option for me anyway. But the fact that a motorcycle can do what it was not expected to do (but I wanted it to do, and do very well ) is an eye-opener. The trade off is for some motorcycle features (which would have made it a near-perfect machine) with a blissful motorcycling experience. That's fair enough for me at least for the time being!

P.S. I rode a Honda NAVI for 3 years with a 3.8L tank and no fuel gauge . Tank anxiety if ever there was one! But what a little machine it was!
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