Tipping the scales at 190kg, the Rebel is pretty light on its wheels at slow speed and has an excellent turning circle, making U-turns a doddle. It’s an easy bike to manoeuvre at walking pace and this, combined with its low seat height, makes it reassuring, easy-going and perfect for less experienced riders.
However up the pace and the Rebel really surprises. Through tight and twisty bends it is an absolute blast, far more competent than it has any right to be and a machine that makes you grin from ear to ear.
Yes, the suspension and brakes are a bit basic, but you can’t half hurl it around from one rather low footpeg to the other and on a twisty set of bends it is an absolute blast. I never thought it would be as much fun as it was and that’s what left me so surprised – it’s a genuinely entertaining bike to ride and that’s something that should be applauded.
The beating heart of the Rebel is a 471cc parallel twin taken from the CB500, but retuned for more bottom end torque. The final result is 44.6nm at 6,000rpm and 44bhp at 8,500, which makes it ideal for A2 licence holders. Honda say the linear power delivery and strong bottom end torque makes it perfect for city riding. The twin has a 180 degree firing order that Honda say, combined with the 2-1 exhaust and shotgun muffler, gives it a heavy duty pulsing feel that befits the bike.
The CB500 engine is what it is and with just 45bhp on tap it is never going to spring any nasty surprises. It’s refined, smooth and has enough grunt to get the Rebel above the national speed limit while remaining extremely versatile in town. The clutch is light, the gearbox a touch clunky but hard to fault in its operation, and the throttle response is nice and precise.
The parallel twin motor - retuned from the CB500 - has been around for a while with no major mechanical woes and the Rebel is well built considering its price point. It’s a budget bike but does appear well built and the styling is funky and different.
Our Honda CMX500 Rebel owners' reviews show a handful of very happy people, and an overall rating of five stars.
The Rebel is bang on the money for the A2-legal market. It’s a touch more than some rivals, but its unique look sets it aside from run of the mill machines and helps justify it price tag. It has an 11-litre fuel tank and will hit a claimed 73.4mpg according to Honda.
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Preload adjustment only on the rear and ABS is the only other highlight. The Rebel is built to a price and you can’t expect too much in terms of extras. It does, however, have a fuel gauge, which is pleasing.
Clearly style is everything on the Rebel, which is why it has been blacked out where possible, with the minimum amount of paint used. Completing the bobber look is a steeply raked 11l fuel tank and fat tyres rolling on 16” cast aluminium wheels. Amid the old-school looks does live some modern technology such as a one-button LCD speedo, hidden ignition and ABS.
Honda say one of the key elements of the Rebel is customisation. The pillion pad can be taken off with the removal of just two bolts and the rear footpegs are just as easy. There is a range of tailor-made accessories such as a rack, saddlebags, screen and 12v socket. The Rebel is available in three colours: graphite black, matte armoured silver metallic and millennium red.