We have said this before and we’ll say it again, the Indian motorcycle market doesn’t get enough good motorcycles that other markets get. Especially Japan. I don’t know what to say, but JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) always gets the good stuff. One such addition is the new CL300.
Honda has a CB series for naked street motorcycles. They have a CBR series for faired track machines. And also CL series motorcycles that are scrambler motorcycles with retro appeal. In most cases, Honda makes CL series motorcycles that are based on street naked CB series of motorcycles. But the new CL300 is based on the Rebel series cruiser motorcycle.
We had heard about a possible Honda CL500 Scrambler was cooking in Honda’s labs. It was specifically rumored for JDM. To further fuel speculations, Honda trademarked the name CL500. Fast-forwarding to 2022, it hasn’t been materialized yet.
CL500 was supposed to be a scrambler variant of the Rebel 500 cruiser. Design patents of CL500 further strengthened this speculation. There were also rumours of a CL250 that was supposed to take inspiration from 1960s CL250 with a twin-cylinder quarter-liter engine. But the modern CL250 was rumoured to be based on the new Rebel 300 cruiser.
But now, Honda has filed a trademark in the name of CL300 rendering CL250 rumours as false. CL300 will be a scrambler version of Honda’s popular cruiser Rebel 300 and is also likely to get the same chassis with slightly revised subframe. Engine and transmission are expected to be the same too. Honda has trademarked the name CL500 alongside CL300 in Thailand, New Zealand and Australia. This could mean that both scrambler motorcycles can be launched at once.
Both CL300 and CL500 will share chassis and other hardware from Rebel 300 and Rebel 500 respectively. They might get taller seats with other bits to fit into the scrambler styling. Both CL300 and CL500 are expected to get conventional telescopic front suspension like their Rebel counterparts. Unlike the spoked wheels on the older CL series bikes, the newer CL300 and CL500 are likely to get alloy wheels like Rebel cruisers.
Honda Rebel motorcycles are modern single-seat cruisers that strike the perfect balance between retro and modern cruisers. CL300 will get Rebel 300’s 286cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine. It gets a 6-speed gearbox, 41mm front telescopic forks and dual shocks at the rear. CL300 gets 16” wheels wrapped with 130/90 rubber at front and 150/80 rubber at the rear. It weighs 168 kg and has a relatively small 11-litre fuel tank.
CL500, however, is based on Rebel 500 which gets a larger 471cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine mated to a 6-speed gearbox. It gets the same suspension, brakes and tyres as the smaller Rebel 300. It gets the same fuel tank too, but due to the larger engine, it weighs a respectable 185 kg.
Honda hasn’t yet revealed the timeline for the new CL300 and CL500 launch. But both of them are expected to be JDM-specific at launch. They are trademarked in Thailand and Australia and might eventually get launched there too. Both Rebel 300 and Rebel 500 were rumoured to make it to India. But that has not happened yet. Honda is likely to trademark the CL300 and CL500 in India. If launched, it could be a rival to the likes of Yezdi Scrambler and upcoming Royal Enfield Hunter 350.