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Honda CL300 appears in China

Has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including most of the world’s biggest bike titles, as well as dabbling in car and technology journalism.



Honda CL300 appears in China Details_01


Honda’s CL500 has been a long time coming – we first revealed plans for the Rebel 500-based street scrambler way back in 2019 – but it’s been followed fast by a baby 300cc version that could be an appealing junior model if it makes it to the European market.

Since the CMX500 Rebel that forms the basis of the CL500 by lending its 486cc twin-cylinder engine and frame to the new scrambler already has a smaller sibling in the form of the single-cylinder CMX300 Rebel (and a fractionally smaller 250cc version in some markets) it’s not a huge leap of logic to see that it would be easy to apply the same transformation to it and create a CL300 with minimal additional R&D expense. And that’s precisely what Honda has done.


Honda CL300 appears in China Details_02


The Japanese market CL250 was given a soft launch in Japan, with just a handful of pictures and few details, at the same time as the CL500 was unveiled in Europe in November, but if the bike is to come to Europe and the UK it’s more likely to be in 286cc ‘CL300’ guise. Just such a bike has been revealed in China, and is being manufactured there by the Sundiro Honda joint venture.

The formula is identical to the one that transformed the CMX500 Rebel into the CL500. The cruiser’s small 16-inch wheels have been switched for a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear. The low-slung cruiser seat subframe is swapped for a taller one. A flat, long seat replaces the Rebel’s saddle-style design, and a new tank replaces the cruiser-style design used on the Rebel. The exhaust is, like the CL500’s, a high-mounted design on the right-hand side.



The changes result in a raised, 165mm ground clearance and a much taller 790mm seat height, a full 10cm higher than the Rebel 300’s but still keeping the ground within reach for shorter-legged riders.

The Chinese-made Rebel 300 makes 25.7hp and weighs 172kg wet, with a top speed of 78mph according to its type-approval documents, but it’s clearly targeting fun rather than out-and-out performance.

Two variations of the bike have been shown. One is a bare-bones model, with no frills and the same stripped-back look, while the other leans into the scrambler theme with a headlight cowl that mimics a front number board, a side number board (only on the left, as the exhaust is on the way on the right) and hand guards. The Japanese-market CL250 has been shown in a similar form, with the addition of a high-level front mudguard as well, and we know that when the CL500 hits the market it will also be offered with optional bolt-on kits to give it a similar look.



Honda’s Rebel 300 isn’t sold here in the UK, which is unsurprising given the relatively small cruiser market on these shores. However the same engine powers the CB300R that we do get over here in a slightly more powerful 31hp form as well as powering the CRF300L and CRF300 Rally in 27hp form. It was recently revised to meet Euro5 emissions laws, so there’s no obvious barrier to the CL300 being made available here if there’s demand from customers. Would it sell? With the right price, it’s not hard to imagine it appealing to a certain set of customers, and since the more exotically-equipped CB300R comes in at £5099, it would surely be under the £5k mark, putting it directly into competition with bikes like the Royal Enfield Scram 411, which has a fraction less power despite a bigger capacity. In comparison, the CL500 is likely to have a price similar to the £6299 Rebel 500 it’s based on, although its RRP has yet to be announced.


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