Just like what any bike in this direct segment should be, the Rebel is your blank canvas. Even with this bare-bones styling, Honda still gave it enough appeal; urban styling, tear-drop tank meaty tires and a few other retro styling cues. Rebel customization has already started with cafe styling taking the lead.
- Motorcycle.comHonda designed the all new Rebel to be a blank canvas for new riders to customize and make their own, which is largely responsible for the Rebel’s minimalist, bare-bones styling. From the blacked-out components, the classic single large round LED headlight, the angled teardrop tank, and the exposed trellis frame, Honda has taken the Rebel in a new direction that I am a fan of. Honda decided not to simply make a miniature cruiser, lead engineer Keita Mikura pointed out, but an approachable bike that shares its styling with big-boy cruisers, including its wide 130/90-16 front tire and 150/80-16 rear with bikes like the Indian Scout.
- MotorcycleCruiser.comNot just in terms of performance, but stylistically the new bikes are a drastic change, one largely for the better I believe. The older model, was frankly a little wimpy—which small bikes don’t have to be! The Rebels hold a nice stance, the 16-inch wheels look great and the seat-tank-fender form a really classic cruiser line. Sure there are a couple things with the new model that I can’t help but gripe about, like the little gap between the gas tank and the frame that you can just barely see through. Or the excess of covers in all of the trellis gaps to hide whatever wires and cables are under there. Regardless, it’s a big upgrade in styling and a much better looking bike in my opinion.
Far from perfect but adequate for the 300 and 500 rebel is handling but overall complements power, suspension, and the chassis. Even those last few areas of the bike can be refined. Cornering ability really stands out, partially thanks to the narrow handlebars. How the OEM tires aid or take away from handling isn't exactly known yet.
- CycleWorld.comWhile Honda offers a choice of two distinct power trains, both Rebels share identical styling and chassis components. The riding position is the same on both, featuring a low 27.2-inch seat height, mid-mount pegs and low-rise bar, all providing a balance of style and control. Backing out of a parking stall is light duty as is slow speed maneuvering. Handling is light and neutral with easy turn in and a very good sense of stability. Cornering clearance is adequate for a bit of spirited play, but grounded in cruiser roots when pushing the pace.
Ride compliance proved up to the task of soaking up some of LA’s more battered roads, and the 43mm fork offered good support under hard braking. The brakes offer plenty of stopping power with intuitive feel in both ABS and standard configurations. The longish reach to the non-adjustable clutch and brake levers seemed an oversight considering the youthful and female sized paws these bikes are likely to attract.
Be warned, its been said many times the Rebel 300 is more of a 6-month bike. If however you're coming from a sporty 250/300, the increased torque might be adequate here. Safest route for longer term ownership is the 500's extra grunt.
- RiderMagazine.comAt the press launch in Venice, California, a hip beach community west of downtown Los Angeles, I spent most of my time aboard the Rebel 500, knowing I’d be hitting a mix of freeways, twisties, beachfront cruises and city streets. The Rebel is just as easy to ride as ever, with a light clutch lever and solid gearbox that willingly offers up neutral at stoplights. With the retuned engine focused on low-end power, it seems to runs out of juice pretty early, but at reasonable speeds and around town, the Rebel 500 has enough get-up-and-go to squirt through traffic, and it hung with 75 mph L.A. freeway traffic without breathing hard. As expected, the 300 is lighter and buzzier, better suited to around town than long freeway stints, and at a starting price of $4,399 it’s also highly affordable.
- Motorcycle.comCompared to the Hyosung GD250 I sampled a few weeks ago, the Rebel is light years ahead in its transmission, and, well, its overall quality. A Rebel 300 rider winds up shifting a lot, flying up through the gearbox from every stop, with first gear barely making it through 15 mph. I could see this bike being great for meek beginners or for simply putting around town. Highway speeds are pushing it but do-able, and with its comfort and handling, the Rebel 300 holds its ground. Still, I’d try to find the extra $1,600 for the more capable Rebel 500.
Almost any bike in this segment should be easy to get on for a wide range of riders and that's what Honda accomplished here. Regardless of which model you get, seat height, pegs and bars all maintain the same position. Motorcycle.com's 6 ft journalist had zero complaints here.
- Motorcycle.comThe neutral riding position fits well with this bike’s overall goal of approachability. I thank my lucky stars Honda had the sense to avoid the tailbone-crunching outstretched cruiser peg position, and that the bars have been positioned in a natural location that has the arms out straight with a slight elbow bend. All together the Rebel’s ergonomics and stature with its low 27.2 inch seat height will fit most riders well and provide plenty of comfort.
- UltimateMotorcycling.comWith the seat sitting just over 27 inches above the pavement, almost anyone can be flat-footed at a stop. My 30.5-inch inseam had no problem with this, of course. By not dropping the seat too much, there’s enough room for comfort between the seat and the footpegs. The low seat makes mounting and dismounting especially easy, in conjunction with the light weight of the Rebels.
A True Successor
Honda went back to the drawing board for this one and it shows. It can be said all these changes we're expected given the current state of the Motorcycle industry, making this a natural response. Already the 300 and 500 are getting decent reviews but how that plays out over the coming months with owners is what we're really interested in.
- CycleWorld.comAs a natural successor to the venerable Rebel 250 that introduced countless folks to street biking over the past three decades, the new Rebel 300 makes use of the 286cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke single found in the CBR300R. Likewise, the Rebel 500 is powered by the same basic 471cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin used in the CBR500R. Honda has altered engine tune to endowed both of these DOHC, four valve per cylinder, fuel-injected models with greater bottom-end delivery than that of their respective sportbike sibling.