HONDA CMX500 REBEL (2017 - 2019) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £120
Power: 45 bhp
Seat height: Low (27.2 in / 690 mm)
Weight: Medium (419 lbs / 190 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £3,800 - £5,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Honda CMX500 Rebel is a surprisingly fun bike to ride with a unique look and easy-going nature. It was replaced in 2020 by a revised Honda Rebel 500.

It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but those it appeals to will absolutely love it and for A2 licence-holders wanting something a bit different it certainly stands out from the norm.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Equipment

2 out of 5 (2/5)

There isn't a lot in terms of standard Honda Rebel 500 accessories. Preload adjustment is 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 gauge to show Honda Rebel 500 fuel economy, 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.

What about a Honda Rebel custom? 

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.

In fact, Honda say one of the key elements of the Rebel is customisation, and MCN agrees, including it in our Best Custom Motorbikes feature.

Honda Rebel 500 Aviator Nation

For example, in 2017, Honda teamed up with Paige Mycoskie of 1970s inspired California lifestyle brand Aviator Nation to create the Honda Rebel + Aviator Nation (pictured above), which was unveiled at the SXSW festival in Texas.

The Aviator Nation Rebel got a hand-stitched brown leather seat with embroidered Aviator Nation logo, shortened front and rear mudguards, gold tank with Aviator Nation's signature four stripes, brown leather handlebar grips, round mirrors, a smaller brake light and caged headlight.

Mycoskie said: "When I was given the opportunity to customize a 2017 Honda Rebel, I knew that I wanted to create a classic, clean look reminiscent of those heritage Honda bikes. I was inspired by vintage motorcycles from the '70s." 

Specs

Engine size 471cc
Engine type Four-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity -
Seat height 690mm
Bike weight 190kg
Front suspension 41mm conventional forks, -non-adjustable
Rear suspension Twin shocks, adjustable spring preload
Front brake 1x264mm discs two-piston caliper, ABS
Rear brake 240mm disc, one-piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 130/90X16
Rear tyre size 150/80x16

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 73.4 mpg
Annual road tax £67
Annual service cost £120
New price -
Used price £3,800 - £5,500
Insurance group 10 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term 2 year unlimited

Top speed & performance

Max power 45 bhp
Max torque 33 ft-lb
Top speed 100 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 160 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

Other versions

Other Honda Rebel reviews on MCN

Owners' reviews for the HONDA CMX500 REBEL (2017 - 2019)

4 owners have reviewed their HONDA CMX500 REBEL (2017 - 2019) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA CMX500 REBEL (2017 - 2019)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Engine: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Equipment: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £120
5 out of 5 "long term rewiew"
19 June 2020 by Rupert

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £50

After all this years and 30000kms in saddle it's time for "long run" rewiew, still impressed, and after many 700kms days (and one over1000km stretch) in saddle it can handle even bigger riders more than well (me, 184cms in good day). And shines in twisties, too, you can scrap pegs easily. Seat was tweaked a little by me, adding about an inch of foam, it is litle better but still it could be a break dealer for someone, but till now there are options to address that issue (but it appears to be a bit hit and miss there).

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

As bobber- chopper style, ride surprisingly well, alpine roads- no biggie, especially after looking at fatty tires and brakes- you need both of them, it is kinda nature of the beast, so no complaints there.

Engine 4 out of 5

Still, little to revvy motor for me and a bit clunky gearbox in lower gears.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Rust, rust, rust, all to easy rust comes out, triple tree, upper mounts for rear shock absorbers (almost rust solid to mounting posts after only a year), some bolts, shift linkage (to name few) and bike sat under balcony when not in use (as all other bikes I owned). Handlebar switches. They can (and do) malfunction from time to time, especially kill switch (it can cause no-start condition- in run position!), it helps rock switches from time to time. But, other than that, motor didn't skip a beat, low fuel consumption, happy runner...

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Since I am "a do it yourself" person, all service tasks do myself, so only cost for me is service material, it is very easy bike to do your own maintenance, except valves- it requires major job to do and it is kinda must at 24000kms; mine intakes were very tight (under lower tolerance) after 20000kms- something to consider when comes to care for the bike.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Bike itself is good as-is (seat comes on mind here- rework or aftermarket), still very happy with stock exhaust. Stock Dunlops are, ok, good, but I found lately Michelin CommanderII tires, litte more expensive but bike runs so much smoother and after 20000kms stil performs almost like new and still have good behavior on wet and cold roads, so highly recommend them.

5 out of 5 Honda Rebel 500
04 April 2020 by Roy Fern

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £111

Great bike. Easy to ride and handles much better than you think it should.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Surprisingly willing and fun to ride
29 June 2019 by Simon

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £200

After returning to riding motorbikes I was looking for a good re-introduction. Having started riding at 16 on a Honda MT-5 and had various motorbikes and scooters the highlight of which was an Aprilia RS250 Max Biaggi Race rep I wasn't sure which direction to go. That's when I saw the CMX500 Rebel. I was sold on the style and low seat height (I am only 165cm tall) and easy going nature. On the test ride I was surprised by the willingness to respond to being pushed and comfort speeds 'around' the legal limit. I have done 3000 miles in 9 months and am about to embark on a nearly 1000 miles 1 week tour and am really looking forward it. Comfortable, eager to please and great to customise. I've already put a yellow headlight lens, headlight grill, bar end mirrors, Craft ride saddle bags and shortened levers on it. I also can't say I'd like more power, it is what it is and whilst in a year or two I aspire to get an Indian Scout Bobber, for the time being this is really just what I wanted.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Only marked down because the rear brake is a little vague and disc had to be replaced, but this bike is light and the brakes specified do a good job.

Engine 5 out of 5

Willing and surprisingly swift to reach speed limits and can easily be pushed well beyond. Sounds good and is very responsive.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Great, but let down by a rear disc which badly corroded shortly after getting the bike which was replaced quickly under warranty by the dealer.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Cheap to insure and run and gives good MPG. Purchase price is a bargain for me, really good value bike. Parts and accessories also cheap and plentiful, although many come from Malaysia \ Asia but are generally very good quality.

Equipment 3 out of 5

There isn't much. ABS, a basic digital speedo, with usual warning indicators, trip computer but with a nod to more classic origins (round dial). But what there is feels of a good quality and works well.

Buying experience: The dealership I got this from were excellent, fitting a Scotoiler and helping me get back on the road again.

5 out of 5
12 November 2017 by Rupert

Version: 500 ABS

Year: 2017

The look is what sold me. After riding over 4000km's so far, it's excellent value for money, great fuel economy, very good on twisty roads (was kind of surprise to me, after general appearance of bike). Was reading about vibrations, It's not issue at all (that's me), clutch cover could be issue. And seat, most complaints is about seat, ok, it could wear you out, but, after many 500 and more km's in one day, for me works as intended. Would recommend this bike to a friend? Every time.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

In today's manner this bike is commuter and "round-block-runner", but it's more than capable for longer trips. Up to three hours riding time possible (and then refuelling time comes, too). Not very pillion friendly bike.

Engine 5 out of 5

Smooth running, after coming from BMW boxer, is little bit to revvier motor for my taste, but when you got used to this feature, power comes out of motor nice, smooth and predictable.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Some rust on hardware, otherwise nicely built

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Buying experience: Buy from dealer, demo ride, loaded with all accessories, asked price was €6750, negotiated to €6250

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