The 2006 Honda Rebel: A great bike, with great resale value. Those words describe precisely the bike I own. Back earlier this summer, I was looking for a commuter bike to go to and from work. I originally started with a Honda Elite 80 (2000 model), but found that with its top speeds being from 47-51mph, I was forced to stay on the back roads, which is very inconvienent for going to and from work. Thus started the quest for a decent 250cc bike.
I loved how the Rebel was styled with its classic cruiser looks. I did alot of research on it, and the words "bulletproof", "very reliable", "great starter bike" kept coming up. In fact, these words were used more so than any other 250cc bike combined. So, with a bit of luck on my side, I found someone locally who is military here, who just happened to have a 2006 Honda Rebel they needed to get rid of, as they were about to be relocated. I got a good deal on the bike ($2500). The bike had 1650 miles on it (now, as of this writing, it has about 2000 miles.. and its been about 2 months since I bought the bike).
The bike is guided by a 5-speed powertrain. It has adequate acceleration for a 250cc (actually rated @ 234cc). 1st gear can be a bit hurky-jerky, but does have its use. My main complaint about the shifting, is its too easy to accidentally go into neutral between 1st and 2nd gear, and then its nearly impossible to go into neutral when you want it to (with the bike running). The speedometer also acts as a tachometer as well, giving you a red line indicator for each gear to give you an idea of when you need to shift. You can also tell this by the sound of the engine. Braking is adequate with this bike. It uses a front disc and rear drum brakes, and are easy to use.
This bike has a classic cruiser style to it. My bike is the Pearl White edition, which I think looks really nice. The paint job on it is high quality, with a decent amount of chrome. Being that this bike is a bit smaller than your typical cruiser, it can be more problematic for tall people over 6 ft. tall, as leg room can be cramped. Myself, I am 5'10", and just had to make a minor adjustment on the handlebars to accomodate my legs. Controls on the bike are easy to reach, and easy to use. The gauges are easy to read, however, I do wish they had an indicator on the front panel that told how much fuel was left in the tank.
The Rebel holds 2.0 gallons of unleaded gas, with a reserve capacity of 0.76 gallons. It uses a Fuel Petcock (Fuel Valve) that you must turn ON whenever you use the bike. I have driven 155 miles before going to the Reserve, which gives me between 77-78mpg. Fueling up your Rebel requires you to use your key to open the fuel cap. I typically will use 87 Octane Gas, although you can use anything over an 85 Octane. These bikes are not setup for the Ethanol fuel yet.
The bike has a dry weight of 340 lbs. It can hold a max capacity of about 335 lbs. Myself, I weigh 195 lbs, and the bike reacts very well with my weight distribution.
Space and Storage:
The bike has a small compartment for your insurance/manual paperwork, and comes with a small toolkit. These compartments are located on the sides of the bike. Further, there is a place to set your helmet, with a locking mechanism. You can add aftermarket items like a sissy bar, and saddlebags (with supports) if you choose to do so.
The bike comes with a 1 year, unlimited mileage warranty. Plus, you get a one year membership with Honda's HRCA club, with several benefits.
All in all, the bike has a comfortable seat, which provides decent comfort for most rides. The suspension moves adequately for the bumps, and absorbs most of the impact. Top speed for me on this bike has been 82 mph, which is good for highway travel. Going up hills, the bike does slow some, but I still maintain around 65 mph, even on fairly steep hills. The bike has good manueverability, due to its lower weight, and slightly smaller design. These are the bikes you often see at the MSF courses, as they are great to learn on.
As mentioned earlier in this review, the bike has "bulletproof" reliability, meaning that it can take quite a bit, and yet with just minor maintenance, will last a long, long time. The bike uses an "air-cooled" design, which works well with the size of the engine. Even in the Texas heat, I have no problem with the bike staying suffeciently cool. Doing minor maintenance on the bike, like oil changes, lubing your drive chain, adjusting the brakes, airing the tires, and keeping the bike clean are easy to do, and is quite accessible. Finding parts for the bike is relatively easy to do, as there are many Rebels out there, and many manufacturers that make aftermarket products for this model.
A brand new Rebel, for 2007, runs $3099, before prep charges are added. I got mine for $2500, with 1650 miles on it. You can find a decent used Rebel, for $1000-$1500, with the newer Rebels running from $2000-$3000. Insurance is cheap on these bikes... my rate with State Farm is $160/yr (liability).
All in all, the Rebel has alot of great features, for an attractive price. You cannot really go wrong with the Rebel; from its great gas mileage, to its proven Honda reliability, good resale value, to its ease of use. I strongly recommend the bike for pretty much anybody (except if you are really tall.. then you might need aftermarket handlebars).
Amount Paid (US$):