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Discussion Starter #1
I have been riding a primo 1999 Rebel for years. Just bought my new Honda Rebel CMX500A. Went riding Saturday. WOW! I am 4'10” / 125lb woman who has limited bike choices. Seat height is not a selection criteria, it is the ONLY criteria. I tried out the following low-seat bikes in the last six months, and liked them all but... in alphabetical order:

- BMW G650 GS – “This is the BMW for short women” he said. Apparently short German women are at least 5'9” tall...
- Harley Davidson Slim – Stylin, but the engine felt too heavy and center of gravity too high for me.
- Harley Davidson 500 & 700 – OK bikes, but I just did not like them, personal preference I guess. Plus the Harley sales staff had this macho male thing going, subtitle but condescending. Grrr. :-(
- Honda Shadow 750cc – looks good but heavy and slow compared to the Rebel 500.
- Honda NM4 670cc – maybe, but a bit long in the arm reach for me.
- Indian Scout and Scout 60 – Beautiful and fits me. Really liked it. It may be my next bike with the Indian reach-reduction parts. But at 100hp/78hp & 560lbs I felt like I needed an intermediate step right now, and it's $4K more.
- Kawasaki Vulcan S 650cc– Good bike for both tall and short people, it can be made to fit with reduced reach kit. But the headlight styling is, well, not to my taste.

The new 408lb 2017 Honda Rebel 500 ABS is perfect for me. Honda removed the old painful square battery boxes so I can finally comfortably flat foot the ground on both sides with 2” heel riding boots. Several other old-Rebel design shortcomings have been fixed too. Best is: I can pass semi-trucks at freeway speeds. 46Hp in the light Rebel frame is AWESOME. We live in rural Pacific Northwest mountain country. Big trucks riding my tail going up long hills used to really irritate and sometimes frighten me. No longer. Drove it up the famous “Cabbage Hill” on I84 out of Pendleton Oregon. LOTs of power. Going 70mph up miles of 7% grade and it could still accelerate out of the corners and into the straight sections. My husband can accelerate on any hill on his Honda Valkyrie. Now I can too. It's about time. The new Rebel no-choke fuel injection is pure water-cooled horsepower magic in the mountain passes. Drop it to 5th gear and you are zoom zoom gone...

The new headlight with glass bezel is very bright. I put a 2013 headlight on my old Rebel so it wasn't bad, but the new 2017 lens design seems to put more light on the road. On the showroom floor, the taillight seemed a little big and square. However now that I have used it, I like it's functionally. Mine holds an oversize 625 lumen LED bulb that just blasts the highway behind and to the sides with red tail light. I will never change it, maybe, unless I do... but it's safe safe safe.

The brakes are amazingly effective. I bought the ABS model, with the hopes of never needing the ABS brake feature to work, but it just seemed like a smart thing to do. The old Rebel fought and dove in really hard braking; skinny tires, small forks and small brakes. The new one – its like it's on rails. Both front and rear work so much better with the modern suspension than the old Rebel. The front brake also seems smoother and easier to pull for small hands. The big Dunlop tires and steering are much more stable. I can feel the improved gyroscopic stability at every speed. Everything about the new 500 Rebel feels safer, faster, better, and more comfortable. Which interestingly enough the small bobber seat is more comfortable for me too. It looks thin, but it's got some rubber mounts underneath and excellent padding for a 120 lb person. Being narrow in front, it is a much better shape than my old Rebel seat, which BTW, I loved – until I got the new one.

On the other hand, it is not a great seat for my tall 300lb husband – too narrow and a bit small. In fact, the entire bike geometry is too small for him. He can ride it, but the seat:foot control distance is too short. Sort of a circus bear sort of image, just like on my old Rebel. This is not a bike for big guys.

My old Rebel had beautiful red paint. I planned, and still may, have my new Rebel painted House of Kolor “classic purple” pearl. But after living with and admiring the Honda fit and finish of the black on black for a couple weeks, I like the black on black badass look. So for now, it stays. A “Spitfire” windshield and Viking leather covered hard bags fit well and give it a completed look.

So in summary, if you are hesitant about the new Rebels modern design features, it's because you don't actually own one yet. Sell your classic unsafe-on-the-highway Rebel 250, and upgrade to a new Rebel 500 ABS. You will thank yourself every time you ride it. Do not wait. Remember: safer, faster, beautiful, and more comfortable.

The Rebel 500 is perfect for the petite wild woman with the perfectly filled leathers who just passed you like you were sitting still. See you out there. :)
 

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I have been riding a primo 1999 Rebel for years. Just bought my new Honda Rebel CMX500A. Went riding Saturday. WOW!
Woohoo! Welcome girl rider!

Loved your write-up - agree with you on so many levels...I also upgraded from my red Honda Rebel 250 to the 500/A which is black. My helmet is red as my old bike but goes well with the black. I also thought I'd want to repaint, but grew to love the black on black look :)

Last weekend we took it from the Bay Area in CA to Monterey through back roads in Santa Cruz mountains and it took about 3.5 hours but was so much fun!

One thing that really bothers me is the seat. I sit at the very front of it because my arms are a bit short (5'4") and that makes my butt very very sore after about 30 minutes. I plan to get a custom seat that will put the pocket closer to the front and I'm thinking either dark red or tan leather, which will give a great look for the bike.
 

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Great write up. Glad to see people with experience on both really like the improvements to the bike.

I think the 500 will turn out to be a great second bike for many, and a destination for shorter statue folks. It will be chosen by some as a first bike also, especially younger males who like the bobber look, and feel they don't really need a beginner bike.

The 250 will likely still dominate the beginner bike market for years to come until parts availability becomes an issue. It is just so much less expensive, and let's the newbie learn without worrying so much about a small ding or scratch that ultimately always happens while learning to ride. It also retains virtually all of its resale value when time to move on. It will be interesting to see if the 300 will eventually displace the 250 in this market before the 250 is obsolete.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Do you have a picture of your bike with the bags and windshield? Which viking bag order number was it? Where did you get the windshield. I am also a 5'0 female rider with a rebel 500!!
Yes - I will get you a photos of my 500 next week. My husband has the handlebars off right now to shorten the front arm-reach with Rebel 300/500 handlebar pullbacks available from HM Racing parts at www.hrpmotors.com. Their Honda Rebel 500 1" pullback has a mounting bracket for the instrument panel cast into it. That is necessary. Normal 1" aftermarket handlebar pullbacks have nowhere to mount the instrument panel. These pullbacks are small enough it should work with stock cables & wires. We will see, they are in the mail...

The Viking bags are found at www.vikingbags.com. The exact bags are: "Honda Rebel 500 Viking Lamellar Leather covered Shock". They are hard ABS with leather cover, hinge top, locking key, and rear shock absorber cutout so it sits much closer to the bike and is slightly narrower than the exhaust pipe. It you click on that specific bag photo on their web site, there is a photo of those exact bags mounted on a yellow Rebel 500. They are currently $384.99 -10% (June 2017) with the hard bag mounting brackets included. These bags do not require the factory accessory Honda bag brackets. I had the smaller semi-rigid soft bags on my 250. They worked great. I think any of the Rebel 500 specific bags would work & look fine on the 500.

The Spitfire windshield is a common small aftermarket windshield. About $100. I had one on my Rebel 250 for a while. When I bought the 500 I asked the Honda salesman to order me a "Clear Spitfire windshield". He knew exactly what I wanted, and got it. When fitting it up, my husband mounted the two handlebar clamp bar receiver holes in FRONT of the handlebars, 1" outside of the Honda clamps. He cut 3 inches off the two long Spitfire support bars so the support bars could be inserted into the handlebar clamps without hitting top of the front fork tree. Yes - I will get you photos. It is the right height for me. Remembering that I am 4'10" tall, my eye sight-line is only about 8" above/over the instrument panel. After the windshield was mounted I took it out and ran it up to 75-80 mph to make sure it was stable, and felt with my hand where the air-stream was hitting my helmet. The air stream was hitting me just below the top of my helmet. Just right. Sit up straight, I see over the windshield; slouch, I see through it. The Spitfire it is about 17" wide, 17" tall. It is not wide enough to protect the handle grips. But - we have real wind here sometimes so I want a windshield that has a small enough profile not to create side wind buffeting problems with trucks. The Spitfire works for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
76-Paw;
Yes I agree - I suspect Rebel 250's will be like the old Honda Trail 90's. The old ones that run will sustain their value. Rebel 250's are great/excellent/easy bikes for new riders and will always have a following.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here's a pic of the windshield on mine, with a few coats of black Plasti Dip on the underside. I got mine from steadygarage.com. Same price as Honda's accessory site (even came labeled as Honda OEM parts), and I had it in 2 days.
It looks great! Thank you for the SteadyGarage info. Nice to know.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Reach Reduction Accessories for short women: photos

As promised, below are photos of reach reduction accessories to create a “reduced reach” woman's bike for small hands and short legs. I am 4'10” tall.

The Rebel 300/500 handlebar pullbacks are available from HM Racing parts at www.hrpmotors.com. Their Honda Rebel 500 1" pullback has a mounting bracket for the instrument panel cast into it. They work with stock cables & wires. Be careful to put the Rebel's longer bolts back in the original holes in the triple tree. They are longer than the pullback bolts. I painted the stainless HRP Allen bolts with black sharpie felt pen.

The adjustable brake and clutch levers are identical to the levers for a Honda VTX 1300 CX. These were ordered from ebay for $20. They fit perfect.

The windshield is a Spitfire. It is the right height on top for me, but later I may get a windshield 2” longer to reduce the gap by the headlight due to the pullbacks being added which raised the windshield.

Wild Woman
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Posted the Saddlebag photos on Viking saddlebag thread

I posted the Viking saddlebag photos and installation comments over on the Viking Saddlebag thread.

Wild Woman
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Reduced reach photos posted.

Do you have a picture of your bike with the bags and windshield? Which viking bag order number was it? Where did you get the windshield. I am also a 5'0 female rider with a rebel 500!!
Yes - Reduced reach photos are now posted. I waited until I got all the reach reduction accessories installed and tested before I took photos. Everything in the photos fits and works perfectly. The adjustable clutch lever really helped reduce effort for my small hands. I got the Spitfire windshield from the Honda dealer, which by the way turned out to be cheaper than most on-line sources. You can also see my Viking Hard Bag photos on the Viking Bag thread.

I think we have the best small womans bike EVER! Ride on sister.

Wild Woman :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Update on Wild Woman's Rebel reach-reduction actions

As I said earlier in the thread, I feel the Honda Rebel 500CMX is the best bike for short women who ride the highway. I have done a lot of reach-reduction things in four months to make the Rebel fit me and make it safe for a 4'10” tall wild woman. Thank you Honda for the great seat on a great bike.

I have replaced the clutch and brake levers with Honda 1300CTX compatible aftermarket adjustable levers. We have also tweaked the clutch cable to release much nearer the handlebar. The front brake goes to full lock only about 1/2” from the handlebar. Small hands need closer control distances.

Added a push&push button motorcycle cruise control system from BreakAway. Small thumb movements to lock and release the throttle. Operable with thick gloves. See the What I added today thread.

Installed 1” handlebar pullbacks and rotated the handlebars more towards the rider. It seems to be enough of a reduced reach that I may keep the stock handlebars. It is much more comfortable on long distances for me. Seems to be working good. Even so, I am mostly using the forward 3/4 of the seat when cruising.

Added locking Viking hard bags to carry my coats and “stuff”. I like to travel in style. The wide bags add front and rear visual profile to a narrow bike. The large bags impede access to the non-existent passenger foot pegs. I ride solo.

Installed a Triumph Thunderbird passenger seat for modest lower back support and to raise the visual profile of the rear fender. I had to mount the hard bags above the fender to clearance the exhaust pipe, shocks, and rear brake caliber. The British tapered seat looks great on the Rebel.

Installed a super bright rear tail light because I present a small visual profile on top of a hard-to-see black on black bike.

Still have the small Spitfire windshield. It is stable and working out great.

And for those small women out there reading this, some models of Harley Davidson woman's leather riding boots come in size 6. They are comfortable and look “biker”. Thick boot soles and heels make flat footed stops possible. Boots are part of the system.

See you out there, screaming down the highway...
Wild Woman on her Rebel 500 ABS
 

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Hi, I have an issue with the seat too.. awful, I cannot ride longer than 30 mins as I get terrible pain in my backside..I think this is due to the lack of padding and my posture.. I too ride up near the tank as the reach to the handlebars makes me stretch..I love my Rebel 500 but I need to address this issue as the ride is not enjoyable with the pain.. I feel that if I can either get the handlebars pulled forward to me I will sit better on the seat..or maybe get the foot controls pushed forward.. then the weight distribution of my body will not be, all on my a**. Other than this problem with the seat my Rebel 500 is the bomb...
 

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Short woman rider also- from AZ

I'm 4 foot 11 inches and 115 pounds. I love it too. I was researching short bikes and while taking my MSF course I thrashed around on a 250. Then saw we had Honda dealership in town which I never saw before (in rural AZ). Rolled up and they had 300s. A 500 delivered that day in the box still. They gave me the coloring page (did you get one?). The next day strolled in and the 500 was together on the floor. A week later it was delivered to my house (I wasn't confident yet on Hwy 69 to ride home 30 miles on what we call Blood Alley yet). It's awesome. Glad I went with it plus I look cool and feel safe.
 

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Did you have to do anything with the cables after you put the new handle bars on? I'm also a short female rider looking for a more comfortable riding position!
 
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