I love surprises and nothing pleases me more than when you ride a bike that you assume will be fairly run-of-the-mill and it turns out to be quite a charmer. Well I have to confess, Honda’s Rebel certainly sprung a surprise on me.
On paper this quirky oddball doesn’t have a great deal going for it. The look is, well let’s just say it was designed by the same chap who designed the Voltus and leave it at that. It is meant to be challenging and split opinions and it certainly does just that with its 16-inch balloon tyres and slightly awkward stance. And the engine is pretty normal too, a slightly re-tuned CB500 with 45bhp and 33ftlb of torque on tap. Not exactly amazing stuff, but here is the odd part, the Rebel is an absolute scream to ride and that’s what has won me over.
Read more MCN first rides here.
At low speed the Rebel does everything an A2-licence holder could want and is light handling, easy to manoeuvre and has a lovely light clutch action and low 690mm seat height. The parallel twin is nice and smooth and even the riding position is pretty relaxed. But it is when the pace ups that the Rebel starts to shine.
Get the hammer down, thrash that little twin a bit and the Rebel is a genuine surprise in the bends. 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. If you like the look, and I am sure many will, you will absolutely love how the Rebel rides. But if the look leaves you cold, take it for a blast anyway and its spirit of fun may well win you over.
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