Honda’s Rebel has been a staple item on Honda’s motorcycle menu for decades and in the coming year it’s getting modernized. Say hello to the 2017 Honda Rebel 300 and 500.
Editor’s Note: We’ve since test ridden both Rebels. Read or watch our reviews in the 2017 Honda Rebel 300 and 500 First Test Review.
“For many riders who have grown up through the digital age, motorcycles represent a lifestyle and an attitude, a means of expressing their individuality,” says Lee Edmunds, Manager of Motorcycle Marketing Communications at American Honda. “The machines that speak to these riders need to reflect this, to fit with their life while also offering the potential for further individualization.”
Beginning with the engine, the original Rebel’s air-cooled Twin engine is ditched for larger capacity water-cooled engines. The 300 is powered by a 286cc Single similar to what powers Honda’s CBR300R sportbike. And for those looking for extra ‘oomph, the Rebel 500 gets a 471cc Parallel Twin engine, as used in the CBR500R. Both engines use four-valves-per-cylinder and dual-overhead camshafts. Power is transferred to the rear tire via a manual cable-actuated clutch and six-speed gearbox.
Both Rebels roll on a new tubular-steel frame, that Honda says was designed specifically to be narrow at the rider’s inseam, with matching double-sided swingarm. Suspension comes from an upright 41mm fork and a pair of preload-adjustable shocks to accommodate extra weight or a passenger. Sixteen-inch cast-aluminum wheels are used shod in Dunlop 404 rubber. Hydraulic disc brakes are standard and ABS can be added for a small up-charge. With its 3.0-gallon fuel tank topped off Honda claims the Rebel 300 weighs 364 pounds.
The new Rebel is all about customization and it uses a metal rear fender and classic styling bits like the round headlight that sits inside an aluminum housing. Instrumentation is clean and digital and looks similar to what Yamaha now offers with its Star Bolt.
The Rebel is currently in production and is scheduled to arrive in US dealerships next April, 2017.