Pros: Small, nimble, and sips gas at 50mpg
Cons: Small and easily outgrown
Welcome back motorcycle enthusiasts! Here's another in my series of motorcycle reviews. Remember....if you're looking to buy your first bike, start with this Epinion on buying a motorcycle and then come back here to finish reading this review for the Honda Rebel 250.
One of the first bikes I ever owned was a Honda Rebel 250. I was young, inexperienced, and had only ever owned dirt bikes, so the thought of owning a boulevard cruiser was really appealing. I had the opportunity to pick up a Rebel for a pretty good price (I thought), so I took it for a ride, decided in 5 minutes that I wanted it, and took it home. Being young and impulsive, however, took a toll. What I ended up with was a bike that was too small, not powerful enough, and didn't fit my riding style.
As you can see, I'm not blaming the Rebel for all the woes I experienced. A large part of it was that I didn't select the right bike for me. The Rebel, however, is partly to blame, which we will look at throughout this review.
A Little Bit About The Rebel
The Rebel is the smallest cruiser that Honda offers and it's really targeted at beginning riders who have a small frame size. If you're shorter than 5'8" and weigh less than 150 lbs., then the Rebel would we a bike that you might look at for a first bike.
The Rebel has been in Honda's lineup for more than 20 years, having been introduced to the market in 1985. As a result, the design is pretty much bulletproof and you can count on the Rebel to last many, many happy miles.
What About Power?
At 250cc, the Rebel leaves something to be desired in the area of git-up-and-go. While it's certainly no moped, it's designed for a single rider who isn't on the heavy side. Because new riders aren't usually carrying around passengers and lots of camping equipment, the Rebel can certainly hold its own with a single rider.
Those looking to do more than ride around town would probably be better suited looking at the Rebel 450 or possibly one of the 600cc level bikes like the Honda Shadow VLX 600, Suzuki Savage 650, or Yamaha V-Star 650.
What About The Handling?
Being a smaller bike certainly has its advantages and handling is one of them. While no sport bike, the Rebel 250 is capable of making tight turns and, because if it's light weight, is very easy to manuever in a parking lot.
Easy handling makes it a very good bike for around town, but be aware that it's light weight doesn't really suit it for highway riding where high winds might be a factor. Small bikes like the Rebel 250 are easily blown about, which can get dangerous for novice riders.
How About Maintenance?
As I mentioned earlier, the Rebel has been around for a long time and the technology behind the motor and drive train are proven. Rebel owners can look forward to years of great riding if they do the standard maintenance of changing oil and fluids, oiling the chain, and maintaining tires.
How About Fuel Mileage and Range?
Another benefit of being small is fuel consumption. Rebel owners can look for 50 - 60 mpg. Yes...read that again....50 - 60 mpg. So all you Hummer and Escalade owners can justify the fuel consumption of your land yacht by offsetting that with a Honda Rebel. Keep in mind that the fuel tank is only 2.5 gallons, but that will get you 150 mile range, which beats a lot of the larger cruisers.
How about comfort?
Comfort on the Rebel leaves something to be desired if you are shorter than 5'8" and weigh more than 150lbs. The bike really is designed for smaller individuals, so I would highly recommend sitting on a Rebel and taking one for a test ride before you buy. There really isn't any way to make the Rebel 250 more comfortable for passengers, because the design of the bike is so small.
How About The Price?
Pricing on the Rebel 250 is good, when compared with some of the larger cruisers, but when comparing the bike to the 600 and 650 series bikes, it doesn't really make that much sense. MSRP on a Rebel 250 is around $3,000 but you can upgrade to the VLX or another comparable bike for around $4,500. For that reason, if you are looking for a starter bike that you can keep for a while and possibly ride two-up on, you might look at spending just a bit more and going with the larger 600 level bike.
What about accessories?
There are plenty of accessories for the Rebel, but most are for the 450 series. The 250 is seen as a starter bike by most accessory manufacturers, so they don't put a lot of design time into accessories for the 250. If you really look, though, you'll be able to find the chrome you're looking for.
The Final Lowdown
While the Rebel 250 is a great bike and can provide a great in-town riding experience, I wouldn't recommend the bike for larger riders or anyone who plans to ride with a passenger or on long trips. The bike is fine for smaller riders who are staying in-town, but the bike is quickly outgrown and the 600 level bikes are often small enough to provide a good experience for new riders, but big enough that they aren't outgrown as quickly.
Once you have selected your new bike, be sure to check out check out my article on maintaining your motorcycle:
Keep Your Motor Running - Tips For Maintaining Your Motorcycle