Why go for a 300cc motorcycle? For new riders it’s the ideal sized bike to get some confidence on before moving to something bigger. For advanced riders 300cc bikes make ideal commuters thanks to being so affordable and fuel efficient yet they’re still powerful enough for some fun and can also get you out of trouble should the need arise.
Rising fuel costs in America has seen the popularity of 300cc bikes grow as they’re an ideal size for big city riding conditions.
The growth of 300cc motorcycles in Europe is probably due to beginner riders in the EU and UK being limited to 125cc bikes. Most of the big manufacturers added these 300cc bikes to their lineup as a stepping stone from the 125cc motorcycle before riders moved on to something even bigger, hopefully building brand loyalty on the way.
Whilst in Asia 300cc bikes rule the roost due to being a nice balance between performance and running costs.
11 Great 300cc Motorcycles for 2023
Honda Rebel 300
If you learnt to ride with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation then most likely you are already familiar with the Honda Rebel 250 (also known as the CMX250).
The Honda Rebel 300 replaced the 250cc and for those looking for a 300cc bike with cruiser styling or perhaps just a cheap 300cc motorcycle, this is probably your best option.
The low seat height, easy handling and cool looks means this is one of the most popular 300cc motorcycles on the market today and is a firm favourite with beginners.
Unfortunately it’s not available in Europe or the UK with the smallest Rebel being the CMX500.
Honda Rebel $4699 – more info.
The Honda CBR300R is a popular choice with those who like their street bikes to have a bit of styling.
Honda’s smallest capacity naked bike, it was designed as a stepping stone for UK and EU riders who were looking to move up from their 125cc bike once they had passed their test.
Honda can almost always beat their competitors on price so adding a 300cc bike to their range would also help them target the Asian market.
Its Neo-Sports Café styling certainly makes the CB300R stand out from the crowd and the 286cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke produces a top speed of 95mph.
Honda CBR300R $4,949 – more info.
Kawasaki Versys X 300
If its adventure motorcycles that do it for you then the Kawasaki Versys X 300 is a great bike you will want to consider. It was built around the successful twin cylinder engine used in the Ninja 300 although it has been mapped for touring.
The Kawasaki Versys X 300 is tall with an upright sitting position making it an ideal commuter. Despite its size it is a light motorcycle and has plenty of suspension travel giving the impression it should be able to handle some off roading.
For those adventure trips there’s a windscreen and nice thick seat making it a capable motorcycle for those longer rides.
Its not the cheapest on the list but you get a lot of bike for your money and when you consider you could buy 3 of these for the price of one R1250GS, the Versys X 300 offers excellent value for money.
Kawasaki Versys X 300 base price $5,899 – more info
Yamaha YZF R3
When it comes to 300cc sport bikes you will find the Yamaha YZF R3 hard to beat. Part of Yamaha’s R series which starts with the YZF R125 for EU and UK learners, there’s then the YZF R3, the YZF R7 and finally the legendary YZF R1, a litre bike that’s been ahead of the game since 1998.
If you’re in Europe, learnt to ride on a Yamaha R125 and have progressed to your A2 licence, the R3 is a natural progression on your way to a full licence.
In North America the YZF R3 is your introduction to the Yamaha SuperSport R series with the R125 not being available.
YZF R3 base $5499 – more info
The Yamaha MT-03 is a great entry level bike that packs a punch in a small, lightweight package. Its 300cc liquid cooled, 4 stroke parallel twin engine is capable of producing up to 41 horsepower and 28Nm of torque at the crank.
The Yamaha suits city commuter riders as well as those looking for longer Sunday blasts around the countryside due to its comfortable ergonomics and balanced riding dynamics.
The MT series features a motorcycle for all stages of your motorcycling life so you can step up as you gain experience, all the way up to the 1000cc Yamaha MT-10.
KTM 390 Duke
The KTM Dukes are a very popular naked series and there are 4 in the lineup, a 200, 390, 890 and finally the bonkers 1290 Super Duke R.
While the power levels and performance obviously increase as you work up the range, they all share the same quality and aggressive naked looks.
I had an opportunity to take the KTM 390 Duke around the Isle of Man TT course recently and two things stood out. First, despite being a single cylinder engine that’s restricted for EU A2 licence holders, the acceleration genuinely takes you by surprise.
Second, it’s light and nimble and it feels like the bike is daring you to throw it around, whether in town or up on the TT mountain, it was great fun.
At 373 cc the engine size of the KTM 390 Duke is one of the bigger engines in this market sector.
KTM 390 Duke Base model $5499 – More info
The BMW G310R is a beautifully stunning naked roadster. It was produced in collaboration with TVS with the idea being to produce a small capacity BMW at a price that would sell well in Asia.
As it happened the BMW G310R did well world wide on its release and still does.
It may be made in India but the German attention to detail is clear as soon as you set eyes on it. Coming with ABS as standard, electronic Ride by Wire throttle, a stainless steel exhaust, adjustable levers, LED lights throughout and a 3 year warranty.
An affordable way for new riders to experience to join the BMW bandwagon.
Starts at $4,495 – More info
BMW G 310 GS
This is the same engine as the above G310R but dressed as an Adventure bike. As well as being the perfect mid sized bike for those loving the style, its the ideal pick for the taller rider.
Marketed as an urban city bike that can also handle outer city trips and even some off road green lanes.
If your end game is a BMW R1200GS in the shed then this is your starting point.
Base model $5,695 – More info
Kawasaki Ninja 300
The Kawasaki Ninja 300 fell foul of EU reg’s and in 2018 which was a shame as it was the best 300cc sport bike available.
It was replaced by the Ninja 400 in Europe and North America but I’ve listed it because you can pick them up at bargain prices on the used market.
In the UK for example there’s plenty on eBay with prices starting at around £2k.
The Kawasaki Ninja 300 is a sporty, lightweight bike that provides an ideal blend of power and performance. With its unmistakable Kawasaki good looks the Ninja 300 is great for riders of all experience levels.
For those just starting out on two wheels, the easy-to-use controls and low seat height make it accessible for all sizes. The 6-speed transmission makes riding smooth and responsive while the 296cc engine offers plenty of power to keep intermediate riders more than a little interested.
Plus, with fuel economy ratings estimated at 69 mpg combined city/highway, you won’t have to break the bank on gas either!
The Ninja 300 is the fastest motorcycle in this list at 118 mph so if speed is your thing, find yourself a second hand bargain.
KTM RC 390
The KTM RC 390 is a motorcycle designed for more experienced riders who are looking for an affordable sports bike.
It features the same engine as the KTM 390 Duke, a 373 cc single-cylinder engine with 44 horsepower and 27 lb-ft of torque and a 6 speed transmission.
It has an attractive aerodynamic design that gives it good looks as well as great performance on the track.
For those who like to push hard and fast, the KTM RC 390 is sure to hit the nail on the head. This bike accelerates quickly and handles corners easily due to its lightweight frame and agile suspension setup.
It also features some impressive brakes that help you stay in control at high speeds. Handy, as the KTM RC 390 is the fastest motorcycle in production to feature here with a top speed of 111 mph.
Base price: $5,799 – More info
For your money this is one of the best dual sport motorcycles available today. The go anywhere CRF300L from Honda is perfect for those who want something for commuting on during the week and then come the weekend, head out to the forests or mountains for some trail riding.
There’s also a Rally version which is more road focused for longer tarmac trips but the CRF300L is the one you want if trail riding is your thing.
Price: $5,349 – More info
How fast do 300cc motorcycles go?
Motorcycles in the 300cc bracket have the ability to reach top speeds of up to 110 mph. However, this can vary depending on the type of motorcycle and its design features.
As we’ve seen in the list above these lightweight motorcycles typically have engines with single or twin cylinders. The power output from these engines is anywhere from 27 to 42 horsepower, which is enough for riders to enjoy plenty of fun, speed and acceleration when hitting the open road.
The fastest motorcycle featured above and available in Europe and North America is the KTM RC 390 with a maximum speed of 111 mph while the slowest at around 95 mph is the Honda CB300R.
For those seeking an exhilarating ride whilst getting as many miles per gallon as possible, one of these 300cc motorcycles may be just the ticket.