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Keeway K300N: First Ride Review

23 November 2022, 07:15 PM Ajinkya Lad

Introduction

Why buy it?

Distinctive styling

Tractable performance

Good handling

Why avoid it?

Lacks hygiene features

Mediocre braking performance

Significantly expensive

After the introduction of the Vieste 300i and the Sixties 300i sporty scooters in India, Keeway Motors has its sights set on the 300-400cc segment with the launch of the Keeway K300N naked streetfighter. Now, the K300N aims to mark its presence into a segment, which already consists of established rivals like the KTM 390 Duke, BMW G 310 R, and the Honda CB300R, to name a few.

Right Side View

The K300N is identical to the CFMoto 300NK, which is also on sale in India, albeit at a much lower price tag. So, does the Keeway K300N have what it takes to establish a niche in the Indian market? Moreover, should you put your hard-earned money on this Hungary-based, Chinese-owned motorcycle? Let’s find out.

The Visuals

Left Front Three Quarter

One of the biggest reasons why one would consider the Keeway K300N is its unique and attractive styling. And that’s primarily because it is designed by Kiska Design, which is the same firm that designs KTM motorcycles. It features a low-slung LED headlamp, a muscular fuel tank, and a svelte tail section. The overall proportions are quite compact and add to the naked streetfighter’s appeal. 

Left Side Multifunction Switchgear
Keeway K300 N

Keeway K300 N

  • Displacement292 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)27.1 bhp
  • Kerb Weight151 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 2,65,000

Not on this, the quality levels are quite impressive, and seldom did we find any uneven panel gaps. The plastic panels feel sturdy, and the paint quality is good as well. Even the chassis welds are neatly done. However, the switchgear looks basic, and we expected a better design at this price point. Moreover, the horn and indicator switches are placed awkwardly, and it's an ergonomic nightmare. One needs to take his/her eyes off the road to operate these switches in traffic.

Left Side View

Coming to its ergonomics, the 795mm seat height is quite accessible and helps mount the bike without having to tip-toe. The mildly rear set foot-pegs offer a commanding riding position, while the slim mid-section allows your knees to grab the tank with ease. That said, the short handlebar makes it feel slightly cramped, especially for taller riders. This can be countered by moving the handlebar further away from the rider. Nonetheless, the bike is quite easy to move around in tight parking spaces or in traffic, courtesy of its low kerb weight of 151kg.

The Package

Head Light

The biggest missed opportunity for the Keeway K300N is in the features department. The bike comes equipped with features like LED lighting all around, dual-channel ABS, two ride modes, and an LCD instrument cluster. And that’s it. Features like Bluetooth connectivity, a bigger TFT instrument cluster, ride-by-wire throttle, and switchable ABS spoil the experience by their absence. More so, when you consider its price tag, and the fact that its competition like the BMW G 310 R and KTM 390 Duke comes loaded with these features. 

Instrument Cluster

As for the cycle parts, the K300N sits on 37mm USD front forks and a preload-adjustable mono-shock at the rear. On the other hand, the braking duties are handled by a 292mm disc up front and a 220mm disc at the back, while dual-channel ABS is standard. The motorcycle rides on 17-inch alloy wheels that are wrapped in 110/70 front and 140/60 rear tyres.

Rear Wheel

The Ride

The K300N draws power from a 292cc liquid-cooled motor that is good for 27.5bhp at 8,750rpm and 25Nm at 7,000rpm. A six-speed gearbox transfers power to the road, with the help of a slip-and-assist clutch.

Engine From Right

Now, the engine cranks up to a mechanical clatter, which makes its unrefined nature quite evident. However, vibrations are under control and don’t feel too intrusive throughout the rev range. The engine builds momentum progressively, and the meat of performance lies in the mid-range. This also makes it quite tractable, and you can ride the bike in sixth gear at 50kph. Moreover, you don’t need to plan your overtakes as there is enough poke in reserve to go past slow-moving traffic.

Right Front Three Quarter

That said, there’s a flat spot post 8,000rpm, and there isn’t much purchase in the top end. Sure, the bike reaches a speedometer-indicated top speed of 151kph, but the progress is slow. What also doesn’t help matters is that the gearbox feels clunky at times, and you need to make an effort to slot gears precisely. On the upside though, the clutch is extremely light to operate, which helps immensely in stop-go traffic.

Front Disc Brake

Another department that requires a lot of work is braking. The brakes on the Keeway K300N are mediocre at best. The front brake lacks bite and almost feels wooden. Even the progression and feel are lacking, and you need to stomp the brake to shed speed. The rear disc offers relatively better stopping power. However, it locks too quickly, and the sudden ABS intervention causes some hair-raising moments during panic braking.

Left Front Three Quarter

On the other hand, the Keeway K300N shines in the handling department. The bike feels nimble on the go, and switching sides is like second nature for the K300N. You can take long sweeping corners or go canyon carving, and the K300N will happily maintain its line.

Right Rear Three Quarter

That said, the ride quality is kind of a mixed bag. And no, it isn’t about being overly stiff or softly sprung, but there’s a distinct disconnect between the front and rear. Now, the K300N is set up on the stiffer side, but it isn’t uncomfortable in any sense. The front end feels compliant over expansion joints, uneven surfaces, and minor potholes. However, the faster rebound at the back results in the rear end bobbing over surface undulations, while it tends to kick back over sharp-edged potholes and bridge joints.

Left Rear Three Quarter

Conclusion

As a product, the Keeway K300N makes for an above-average motorcycle that features attractive and unique styling, and good quality levels. Moreover, the engine is quite tractable and offers good mid-range performance, which is aptly complemented by sharp handling. However, the stiff ride quality and mediocre braking performance leave a lot to be desired. Overall, it lacks finesse in an otherwise decent product.

Left Side View

Now, when you bring its price into perspective, the value-for-money coefficient nosedives completely. With prices ranging between Rs 2.65 lakh and Rs 2.85 lakh, the base variant of the Keeway K300N is priced on par with the likes of the BMW G 310 R and the Honda CB300R, while the top end variant is strikingly close to the KTM 390 Duke. And, all these rivals offer more performance and refinement, better brand recall, and more importantly, a long list of features. Not to mention, the after-sales support is significantly better than what Keeway has to offer.

Right Front Three Quarter

So, if you are looking for an entry-level bike that offers manageable performance, want’s to stand apart from the crowd, and can overlook its shortcomings, you can consider the Keeway K300N. For everything else, you have better options in the market.

Photography by Kapil Angane

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