Top 6 - Best 300cc Motorcycles

Ryan Adams
by Ryan Adams

Six excellent choices in the 300cc class

What’s the sweet spot for small displacement motorcycles? Is it 250cc? Perhaps 400cc? Ask any internet forum and you’ll likely hear some BS like, 600cc sportbikes are the smallest I would EVER recommend for a beginner. Idiots. Darwinism at its finest. What do we think? We think there are a lot of variables to consider for this question, but the 300cc category is still filled with solid options of bitchin’ motorcycles. Many look at these small-displacement bikes as great options for beginners as well. Which motorcycle is best for a beginner? It all depends on what kind of riding you’d like to do. Any of the options on this list provide a great starting point for new riders. What’s even better is that there are plenty of great bikes in this category that spans multiple genres of motorcycling such as sportbikes, adventure motorcycles, and naked bikes. If you’re interested in entering the world of two wheels check out these great starting points.

Here’s’s list of the top six 300cc motorcycles on the market (updated May 8, 2024).

1. Honda CB300R

Honda is one manufacturer who has absolutely saturated its model line with plenty of 300cc and below two wheeled offerings. The CBR300R was quietly dropped in 2022, but the CB300R lives on with the same 286cc liquid-cooled Single.

An inverted 41mm fork, upgraded Showa shock and radial-mount brake calipers are nice to find on a bike priced at $5,149.

2019 Honda CB300R Review – First Ride

2015 Honda CB300F Review

2015 Honda CBR300R First Ride Review

2. Honda Rebel 300

Of course our next pick would also be a Honda! They have so many to offer! The Honda Rebel has been around since the ’80s, ushering in new riders with its small stature and approachable, but nearly anemic 250cc single. Well, guess what!? Honda plonked it’s 286cc Single in the Rebel as well, giving the little cruiser a modern mill to compete with the times. Not to mention the Rebel is also available with a 500cc motor, if you’re feeling frisky. The 300 starts at $4,849 and is available with ABS for 300 extra smackers. If you’re feelin your inner Fonzy, but still aren’t entirely sure where the clutch is, maybe it’s best you start with the Rebel 300.

2017 Honda Rebel 300 Review: First Ride

3. Kawasaki Versys-X 300

We’ve had a lot of fun on the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 here at MO. From the seashores of old Mexico, to the San Bernardino mountains, the Versys-X 300 has trailblazed its way through forests and beaches. That’s the great thing about the Versys, the versatility. We’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of miles on the wee Versys and the sewing-machine-smooth 296cc Twin has kept us coming back and choosing it as the winner in multiple shootouts.

While Kawasaki's Ninja and Z models have since moved up to become 400 and now 500, many were hoping to see the same from the Versys-X. So far, Kawasaki has resisted the urge to increase the displacement, which means it still deserves a spot on this list.

If you’re ADV-curious, but want an adventure bike that’s smaller and easier to learn on than most of the 13,000cc 6-foot tall behemoths on the market, peep the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 for a base price of $6,199.

2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS Review

Rallying The Kawasaki Versys-X 300

Three Amigos 300cc ADV Bike Comparison

4. Yamaha R3

Initially built to rival other 300cc sportbikes, Yamaha was one of the last to build a bike for the entry-level class, after Kawasaki and Honda had shown significant success in the burgeoning market. The new R3 gets a host of features, like an inverted fork, styling reminiscent of the R6 and R1, all for the starting price of at $5,499.

2019 Yamaha R3 Preview

Climbing The Yamaha R-World Ladder

2015 Yamaha YZF-R3 First Ride Review

5. Yamaha MT-03

Its styling is a bit polarizing, but the R3's naked sibling, the Yamaha MT-03 is a deserving member of this list. With a 321cc Twin, 37mm inverted fork, and standard ABS, the MT-03 offers a solid package for just under five grand.

6. BMW G310GS

The BMW G310GS had some big shoes to fill for a model carrying the GS moniker, maybe that’s why I came away from the launch of the bike with mixed feelings. The motor felt underpowered and the suspension undersprung, but maybe I was holding it to too high of a standard. When we compared the wee GS to the Royal Enfield Himalayan and Versys-X, the playing field was level and made me appreciate the bike for what it was, a solid entry point to the BMW brand as well as a great looking adventure motorcycle platform for those starting out. At $5,695, it’s certainly a worthy contender in the market.

2018 BMW G 310 GS First Ride Review

Three Amigos 300cc ADV Bike Comparison

Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams

Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.

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8 of 15 comments
  • Sayyed Bashir Sayyed Bashir on Oct 23, 2018

    Almost didn't read the article because of the title. Who wants to read about 300cc bikes if the KTM 390 and Ninja 400 are not going to be included? They are the real winners in this segment.

    • See 4 previous
    • Ella5471 Ella5471 on Nov 22, 2020

      The 390 duke is known for popping head gaskets, failing displays, and numerous other electrical problems. For me, that makes all its fancy specs completely pointless and means I'm not even going to consider buying it. if I'm going to drop 5 grand on my first bike it damn well better not fail unless I fuck something up.

  • Kojak's Cousin Kojak's Cousin on Jul 17, 2020

    Ironically, the Fonz didn't know where the clutch was either. He actually only rode the motorcycle once and crashed it. Later they have him training wheels (kept the shots high to hide that), or they just had him sitting on it. So not cool. Eehhh. 👍👎