Honda Rebel 500 ABS: An entry level forever bike

    Posted by Shane Kalicharan about 2 months ago

    Motorcycling in Canada isn’t for everyone. For half the year, weather conditions end up keeping many of – saved for the truly dedicated - us off our motorcycles. It’s also not a cheap hobby to get started in either. New riders face a higher insurance premium and once you have some experience in the seat, it’s not uncommon for the natural yearning for a larger, more powerful bike to start buzzing around in your head louder than a 350cc engine keeping up with highway traffic. Enter the new Honda Rebel.

    While it comes in both 300 and 500 configurations, we’re going to look at the 500cc variant of the new Rebel. The new Rebel is a departure from its miniature cruiser-style successor. The high gas tank is still reminiscent of it, but the seating position is more standard and upright, while the exposed frame gives off a naked motorcycle vibe, while chunky 16-inch tires on the front and back almost give it a bobber look. The Rebel 500 has an aggressive and powerful looking presence, no doubt. Especially in the matte grey our Rebel tester was finished in.

    The retro-style ignition, placed on side of the bike by the engine, fires the bike to life with an aggressive, but not overbearing roar. The engine note is snarling and brutish – in a good way – but not so loud that you have to scream over it. This, of course, is easily remedied by some simple exhaust work. But Honda will leave you to do that. In fact, with many aspects of this bike, it seems Honda wants to allow owners to easily modify and customize the Rebel to their own tastes. Engine vibration is minimal and not jarring in any way – even at highway speed.

    Setting off, you find the Rebel has more punch than expected. The 471cc parallel-twin, borrowed from Honda’s CBR500 line, was retuned to fit the Rebel’s new style and now has better low-end torque. The 45-hp engine rumbles along to 8,500 RPM and is mated to a rather effortless and smooth 6-speed transmission. Whether you’re puttering along through a neighbourhood or going up to highway speed, the 500’s engine makes short work of it – as long as you keep your expectations realistic. This isn’t a screaming sportbike or a 1000cc cruiser, even though it kind of looks like a mix of the two. Stopping the Rebel is done thanks to front and rear discs, and of course, the ABS. Honda’s anti-lock braking works very well on the Rebel, but you will notice some of the brake chattering through your handlebars.

    The ride quality on the 500 is quite comfortable. The suspension absorbs rough road surfaces, like those in Toronto, quite easily, and absorbs vibrations from highway sprints, making for a smooth, soft ride. Although sometimes, it is a little too bouncy. Despite the soft ride, the seat on the Rebel 500 is stiffer than we’d like. After an hour in the saddle, the soreness starts to set in. Honda’s accessory list for the Rebel 500 does not seem to include a cushier seat, so you’ll have to go aftermarket if you'd like to change it.

    As you ride along, the Rebel 500 feeds information back to you through a single digital gauge. While it’s a circular gauge, the readout is on a rectangular display. You’ll get a readout featuring the time, speedometer, trip computer and a fuel gauge. While technically not necessary, we’d have liked to see a tachometer and fuel economy reading. The black space around the digital display is reserved for warning lights and the indicator lights for neutral, high beam and the turn signals. We’d have also liked to see separate arrows for the left and right arrow, instead of using the same indicator light for both.

    There is undeniable charm in riding a retro motorcycle. It’s a no-frills, stripped down experience that really connects a rider with their machine and all of its quirks. But sometimes those quirks leave you stranded on the roadside with an oil slick trailing behind you. What the Rebel 500 does is capture that retro feel and look, but add enough modern touches to make it a reliable, easy to ride daily commuter that’s friendly enough for a beginner, but still punchy enough for a veteran. With a plethora of aftermarket and original accessories, easy customization options, and an affordable starting price of $7,599 it’s not likely riders will be in a hurry to replace this one any time soon.


    Latest Articles

    See All
    • From Four Wheels To Two: Here's Why You Should Ditch Your Car For A Motorbike
      From Four Wheels To Two: Here's Why You Should Dit...

      November 14, 2018 - Have a look below, and then follow our beginner tips at the end of this piece if you do decide to say au revoir to your car and bonjour to your brand new motorbike. These are the reasons to opt for the two-wheeled motorbike experience.

    • Things To Do Before Selling Your Car
      Things To Do Before Selling Your Car

      November 14, 2018 - If you are thinking about selling your car, you will want to make sure that you get the best possible price while securing a quick sale. After all, that is what we all want when we sell a vehicle, right?

    • Customize Your Diesel Truck Using These Enhancing Changes
      Customize Your Diesel Truck Using These Enhancing ...

      November 14, 2018 - Sometimes they need a little tweaking to improve their performance or appearance so that you can be even more proud of your truck. If you want to improve your already beautiful diesel truck, here's a few ways to do it.

    • How To Put the Fun Back in Driving
      How To Put the Fun Back in Driving

      November 13, 2018 - If you’re doing the same old, same old every day then, of course, it’s going to become a little boring. Below, we take a look at six ways you can increase the fun when it comes to your vehicle.

    • What To Do Immediately After A Car Accident
      What To Do Immediately After A Car Accident

      November 9, 2018 - Car accidents can be incredibly scary and stressful for all involved, and if you are ever in one yourself it can be a horrible and harrowing experience

    • Dealing With The Inevitability Of The Road Accident
      Dealing With The Inevitability Of The Road Acciden...

      November 4, 2018 - It’s a scary thought that accidents are considered a statistical inevitability. The vast majority of drivers will be in at least one accident in their lifetime.

    • Stay Safe On The Road
      Stay Safe On The Road

      October 27, 2018 - It's the little things like approaching a junction and keeping an eye on any oncoming vehicles before you even think about continuing - that way you're ready to stop if need be. Driving isn't something that should ever be taken lightly. It's a privil

    • Safe Driving Tips Everyone Should Follow
      Safe Driving Tips Everyone Should Follow

      October 27, 2018 - However, a lot of drivers take the roads for granted and so many people end up with petty accidents each year which could be been easily prevented with the simple safety on the roads. Here are some examples of the things you can do this week when dri

    • Overcoming the Fear Of Getting Back in the Road
      Overcoming the Fear Of Getting Back in the Road

      October 27, 2018 - Before, driving was all easy and straightforward, and now it seems like there’s danger lurking at every turn, like your vehicle is less than a convenient machine for getting around, and more a threat. Below, we take a look at some useful tips for get

    • What To Do in a Car Accident
      What To Do in a Car Accident

      October 24, 2018 - At this point, you come back down to Earth and as the panic creeps in, your heart starts racing, adrenaline starts pumping, and the world speeds up as if to compensate for the slow motion effect that took place only moments ago.

    Share This!