Pros: Fuel Economy, Reliable, Put Together Well
Cons: Can't drive it 120 mph (but why do you want to with a 250cc engine?)
I bought my 2002 Rebel as a used motorcycle a month ago from a Honda dealer. It has proven to be a very reliable bike. I'm 24 now and haven't ridden a motorcycle since I was 16. I heard all of the internet rumors about how it was dangerous because it didn't have any "get up and go".
I can say that for myself that that has been totally false. I've been driving it to work every day going anywhere from 40-70 mph. I routinely pull away from cars in town (and I live in a metropolis where the people are speed demons). I also routinely get 65-80 mpg, depending on how much wrist I give it.
I've also driven my Rebel through three severe thunderstorms without a hitch (although I got a little, not A LOT wet). So what another reviewer described as "dangerous" has actually come through for me in several dangerous situations.
Addressing the issue of the shaking. It doesn't shake until you're topping out at 80-90 mph. If you want to go that fast all the time, then why did you buy a 250 in the first place? Something bigger like the 450 or a 750 would be a better buy for you if you associate motorcycle recreation / travel with 90-120 mph.
I've been on the highway with this bike and I was fine. I didn't have to go over 75, and it was doing quite well.
Sure, I might be emotionally attached to it, but it's a solid bike with a big bike look that has great fuel economy.
Another thing that I've heard about this bike is that it's no good for people over 130 pounds or 5'6". I'm 6'2" and 220 and haven't been uncomfortable. The Rebel 250 only weighs between 300 and 400 pounds, so it feels light and maneuverable when you're driving it. If you're a beginner, that means that this bike will feel light enough that you won't feel overwhelmed by it's size.