New rider w/300, early experience - Honda Rebel 300 & 500 Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Hey guys, I have 125-ish miles on my 300, which are the only miles I've been on a bike outside the MSF.
Disclaimer: I have been riding for 3 weeks and don't pretend to have any useful knowledge of motorcycle technique, etc, so please don't beat me up for a possibly stupid opinion here and there lol
This may be useful for people thinking about riding, but are afraid it may be too daunting.


That out of the way....
I landed on the 300 for cost only, otherwise probably would have got a 500. I don't regret it. I'm 39, and just starting riding. I'm not quite as quick/coordinated as I was when I was 17, even the 1986 Suzuki 125 at the MSF felt fast.
So the dealer delivered late night on a Friday, I started bright and early Saturday when I knew very few people would be on the road. The bike was parked in the street in front of my house, I stalled 4 times trying to pull from the curb lol (haven't stalled since though!) I went around the block to an empty church lot in my neighborhood, practiced all the MSF stuff for slow maneuvers, turning, etc. Then headed out around the neighborhood, lots of stop signs, slow turns from a stop, etc. I did that for a few days, then decided to hit the main road around here.
It's straight, single lane, only 35mph....but lots of cars/intersections so I was nervous. I got out on the road, and a car was riding way too close (in reality, they probably were a safe distance behind) so I decided to turn back into the neighborhood. I took that turn like an 18-wheeler, would have gone head on if there was a car coming up the street. The next day, same roads, but less traffic so I was going a bit faster. Decided to turn back into the neighborhood, got flustered, tried to make a 90 degree right turn in third gear (had no idea what gear I was in at the time), almost stalled mid-turn, panicked, pulled the clutch and shifted frantically down to first, continued in neutral through the turn, let the clutch out in first at way too fast a speed, and panicked again lol I went home.
That night I thought ,"How am I going to tell my wife that I spent all this money and can't do it?" I hit up this forum that night and read about other people beginning their journey, and mistakes, and encouragement from other members, so on. I hopped back on the bike the next day, mid-day when everyone was at work, went back on that same road and handled it like a champ (for like a 1/4 mile lol).


Skip to 2 weeks later (rode in the neighborhood, parking lot, and short stretches on high travel roads every day in-between)....I rode for 2 hours in one shot, local roads, 2 short stints on highways (60-65mph in right lane for like one exit length - about 2 miles). It all went very well.


Setting yourself up for success is crucial (in everything you do)....the second time I went on that main road, I went to the next traffic light instead of a side street, because I knew the cross street at the light was about a 45 degree turn rather than 90 degree, just to know I'd be safe and happy at the end of the ride.


I feel scared every time I start throwing my gear on, some days I just cruise around the neighborhood when everyone's at work (I work from home [IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.hondarebel3forum.com/forum/images/HondaRebel3Forum/smilies/tango_face_grin.png[/IMG]) if I don't feel up to dealing with cars. It's all practice and getting comfortable.


Lastly, the topic of top speed on the 300 has been beaten to death on here and I'm not looking to revive a dead thread. I am 230lbs, hit 65 smoothly and comfortably before the end of the on ramp, and had a lot more throttle to give. In 6th "a lot more throttle" may only amount to 10mph more. Does that mean I want to ride cross country on it? Probably not, but it'd be an easy ride 10-15 miles to a nice restaurant in another area around here. A lot is said about it being buzzy at higher speeds. I find it to be buzzy from the time I start it until the time I shut it off lol....it didn't get worse at 65mph.

Last edited by Dan0713; 09-27-2019 at 04:21 PM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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EDIT: I’m not complaining about it being buzzy, I actually like it. I can barely hear the bike so I shift-by-vibration lol
I put a 700hp big block in a g-body car many years ago, with solid motor mounts....vibration through the frame is heavenly IMO 😊

Last edited by Dan0713; 09-27-2019 at 04:41 PM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 06:53 PM
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Your story is much like mine. I got my 300 about 4 and half months ago. Also my first bike, but I turned 61 one month after getting the bike. I'm not as quick/coordinated as I used be, but I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about at age 39. I think you're going about it quite sensibly. Keep it up and you'll see constant progress.

As you break in the bike, you'll see the performance pickup. After the first oil change, I noticed that everything was smoother - less vibrations and easier shifts. Around 1500 miles, the bike seemed even quicker. And you'll also get more out of the bike as your skills improve. Don't push it - let it happen naturally.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 07:43 PM
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It's actually refreshing to hear your story, and others and see that my experience is similar in that Im not the only one lol.

With just under 1100 miles since mid June when I first picked up my 300 brand new, I'm now a lot more comfortable on the road than I remember in the early days when I couldn't even get out of the neighborhood without a major underwear incident lol.

I have absolutely zero plans of going on the highway, and I really don't need to at all, even when I drive out of town, it's quite a nice drive off the highway with a lot more to see etc. That said...*ahem*...I have topped it out before at around 75 (disclaimer: on a closed course...yeah sure let's go with that) with no issues at all, and I do just fine keeping with light to light traffic. The 300 is good enough for now, but I am starting to wish for more in the first 2 gears from a torque off the line perspective...once I'm in 3rd and higher, I simply don't see the need for more (for me).

I'm in my mid 30s, around 200, and I find that my reaction time seems ok. I also took my time, watched a loooooot of motojitsu and ddfm, MC Rider etc. And tried to take it as slow as I felt comfortable. I never got the urge to ride outside of my comfort zone or race or act like an idiot. There's really no rush as long as you enjoy the process. I started commuting to work last month, and I feel I'm commanding my lane and lane positioning a lot better now. I have the most fun on weekends, with literally hours on end on the bike (3 hours nonstop sometimes). Still not racing, but just going out there and enjoying the roads, usually 10 over the speed limit or going with the flow of traffic, nothing crazy.

I can take bends comfortably at normal speeds. Straight line speed and lane maneuvering has been fine too. The only thing I keep biting my nails over is SLOW sharp 90 degrees...I just can't get it for whatever reason, I always feel like I'm too slow through those...better than the alternative, but could be a hazard in rush hour with a line up of cars behind you.

Anyway, take your time and enjoy 🙂
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charp View Post
Your story is much like mine. I got my 300 about 4 and half months ago. Also my first bike, but I turned 61 one month after getting the bike. I'm not as quick/coordinated as I used be, but I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about at age 39. I think you're going about it quite sensibly. Keep it up and you'll see constant progress.

As you break in the bike, you'll see the performance pickup. After the first oil change, I noticed that everything was smoother - less vibrations and easier shifts. Around 1500 miles, the bike seemed even quicker. And you'll also get more out of the bike as your skills improve. Don't push it - let it happen naturally.
It’s great for the story to resonate. I literally just filled my tank for the first time. I had nowhere to go, any excuse to ride.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 08:43 PM
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Charp,

I agree with your post 100%. Absolutely no need to rush it. Also, I could care less about dudes turning up on 600rr's and wtv ripping it like crazy from light to light, or saying 300 is not a "man's" bike. Are you enjoying? If the answer is yes, then do you! How much risk do you want to take? And whats the purpose of the bike to you? 300, 500, or a 1200..if you're having close calls and frustrating experiences on a bike with low cc's that's as forgiving as the Rebel, imagine your trouser accidents on a higher cc bike with way much less room for error! Took a motoguzzi 1200 out the other day...nooooooooope. I am not ready lol. Literally a flinch on the throttle and you're a mile further ahead than you were a second ago. No thanks, I just want to cruise on a Sunday.

Anyway, I find almost 99% of all riders on the road give respect to the fact that you're on the road just like they are, waive, nod, comment positively etc. It's not a competition or who has the bigger swinging...you know.

Also, yes the bike did seem to wake up after a while...but that could just be me getting more used to it and getting more out of it because I'm not too nervous about other tasks at hand...you know, like keeping it upright and in the right gear in the correct lane.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 11:10 PM
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As long as we're all sharing our stories...

I too had zero intention of going on the freeway when I first started, but about 2 months in, I accidentally got on the freeway. LOL! Yeah, I know. How in the heck does one get on the freeway by accident? Well, in my case, I was on a road that ends at stop light. Go left or right to stay on city streets Go straight and you're getting on the freeway. At the time, I was concentrating on situational awareness. SEE - search, evaluate, execute. As I approached the light, it was green, so my attention was on finding hazards. In my defense, it's long on ramp and you can't see the freeway until you've gone through a sort of tunnel-like underpass. As soon as I got through the intersection, it dawned on me where I was, but there was no turning around. Fortunately, there was almost no traffic during that time of day, it was only 1 mile to the next exit, and there was a separate lane that runs all the way to that exit. It wasn't a real a ride on the freeway, but it was my first time going 65 mph. Talk about a death grip.

Since then I've been getting on the freeway (on purpose) for short runs of just 1 or 2 exits. Each time, I get a little more comfortable with the speed and wind. A small bike with no wind screen is never going to be a great bike for long trips on the freeway, but I do want to be able to use the freeway so as to extend where I can ride. Just taking it slow and building up my skills and confidence.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Charp View Post
As long as we're all sharing our stories...

I too had zero intention of going on the freeway when I first started, but about 2 months in, I accidentally got on the freeway. LOL! Yeah, I know. How in the heck does one get on the freeway by accident? Well, in my case, I was on a road that ends at stop light. Go left or right to stay on city streets Go straight and you're getting on the freeway. At the time, I was concentrating on situational awareness. SEE - search, evaluate, execute. As I approached the light, it was green, so my attention was on finding hazards. In my defense, it's long on ramp and you can't see the freeway until you've gone through a sort of tunnel-like underpass. As soon as I got through the intersection, it dawned on me where I was, but there was no turning around. Fortunately, there was almost no traffic during that time of day, it was only 1 mile to the next exit, and there was a separate lane that runs all the way to that exit. It wasn't a real a ride on the freeway, but it was my first time going 65 mph. Talk about a death grip.

Since then I've been getting on the freeway (on purpose) for short runs of just 1 or 2 exits. Each time, I get a little more comfortable with the speed and wind. A small bike with no wind screen is never going to be a great bike for long trips on the freeway, but I do want to be able to use the freeway so as to extend where I can ride. Just taking it slow and building up my skills and confidence.
Same here. Now I feel safer doing short freeway runs than stop and go local runs on my rebel. Itís another experience riding my Honda grom though. I enjoy riding in local roads. Riding a slow bike fast is more fun lol.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 02:52 PM
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Thanks for your post! I dropped my bike in the garage the day the dealer delivered it the beginning of this month. I immediately had buyer's remorse when it went back to the dealer to install a new shift lever. I started like you for the first couple of days. I too was nervous always putting my gear on. I have since found that in such a short time my skills have greatly improved and I'm really enjoying riding. Today I went on my longest ride (25 miles) and felt very comfortable. I'm able to cruise in 6th gear around 55 mph on local streets without getting on a highway (don't intend to). I bought the 500 and I'm glad I did.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 02:39 PM
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Thanks for your post Dan, I can totally relate. Took the MSF course and got my license in March. Bought a Honda 500x at the end of April but it bit me two weeks later. Couldnít ride for months with a broken thumb and started wondering if at my 50-something age should I be getting back at all.

My husband is a great enabler tho and had me sitting on all the different bikes at the local shops. The Rebel just fit better than the X ever did. A few weeks ago the chance came to trade for the Rebel 300, we jumped on it. Itís been a slow process getting back. A lot of parking lot time and short hops around town. But itís been more fun than expected. Yesterday was my biggest day yet - 32 miles.

The nerves are stillthere suiting up and at most intersections but itís getting easier. Seat time brings confidence. Just need to find more reasons to leave the house where Iím not picking up or delivering someone/thing.




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