Is the Honda Rebel 300 a Good Starter Bike?

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Very few motorcycle enthusiasts aren’t aware of the Honda Rebel 300. But, is the Honda Rebel 300 a good starter bike?

The short answer is, all Honda Rebels are great bikes. Period. From their design to maneuverability, traction, braking, control and everything in between (in case, we left something out), the Honda Rebel 300 spells the winner.

Sure, Japanese cruiser motorcycles have won a special place in the hearts of motorcycle enthusiasts. But, many beginners looking for their first ride often wonder, “What’s the perfect starter bike?” While the Honda Rebel 300 shares many of the features that one would look for in a bike, how does it size up against the other options when it comes to starter bikes?

As experts who have owned many motorcycles, including the Honda Rebel models, here we are going to break down the reasons why we think that the Honda Rebel 300 makes a great starter bike.

In this article...


The Honda Rebel Series

We would be remiss if we were talking about the Rebel 300 and didn’t mention the fact that the entire Honda Rebel lineup is fun to ride. The Honda Rebel 300 in particular makes for a fun stepping stone for beginners before they move on to more challenging cruisers.

So, what separates the Honda Rebel Series apart from the rest? The Rebel models from Honda have always been a successful combination: lightweight, low seats, and classic Japanese craftsmanship. The greatest thing is that they accomplish it all with a new, original design that sets them apart from regular cruisers.

On the other hand, some cruisers are only enjoyable when riding slowly, the Rebel takes it to the next level when the roads open up and become curvy. The bike has a 286cc engine along with a slipper/assist clutch. It's also a clean canvas for personalization, with a slew of Honda extras to choose from.

For beginning riders, the options are better than ever, and Honda tends to use components from multiple providers to keep the costs down. The success of both the Sport and Naked versions of the 286cc liquid-cooled engine is a testament to their engineering prowess. The Rebel 300 hit the road in 2017 and was an instant hit amongst bike enthusiasts, and it’s easy to see why.

The first generation Rebel is a slick Bobber-style bike, which was preceded by the second generation Rebel 300 which made its debut in 2020, so it’s relatively new. Along with the second generation, Rebel 300 came with additional features such as the reduced clutch-lever effort of 30% with the assist-slipper clutch. You also get improved gear selection as well as fuel gauges and a full LED this time around.

Rider Comfort

The Honda Rebel boasts a beginner-friendly background that would put others to shame. With its friendly, easy-to-handle demeanor, the small-bore champion has made riders excited since its inception in 1985.

The 2021 model retains the hallmarks of Honda for which it has received many accolades: you get a powerful engine that performs exceptionally well and won't leave you feeling bored any time soon, however, the smaller engine as compared to the 500 is a welcome feature for beginners since it translates to less weight and better maneuverability.

You also get a comfortably low seat and especially short folks will find it quite comfortable when getting on or off the Honda Rebel 300. The ergonomically designed chassis is also easier to handle for beginners, which is one of the reasons why the 300 is the preferred choice for many who are just starting out scratching their motorcycling itch.

The Engine

The Rebel's 286cc engine is liquid-cooled and fits nicely within a diamond-type steel frame, according to Honda. Its peak horsepower of 25 is fast but not intimidating. The engine may loiter at low speeds but the overall experience is a pleasant one. During our testing, the LCD dash indicated a top speed of 91 mph, which was adequate, while still leaving enough power in reserve when passing. The Rebel covers the quarter-mile faster than some of its competitors, with a recorded time of 15 seconds at 75 mph.

The no-BS engine accelerates to 60 mph in just around 7 seconds, which outshines most econoboxes off the line; It should also be mentioned here that engine performance of the Rebel 300 is excellent for its tiny displacement, and riders may develop their abilities by pushing the bike faster.

The cable-actuated slip and assist clutch allows the clutch lever to be pulled with minimum effort. Shifting gears is as accurate as expected; unlike other larger V-twins, you will notice that there’s no sound this time around to signal the gear-changing motion, which is another added advantage. Thanks to its well-thought-of design, the Rebel 300 delivers enough power to accelerate smoothly while on the road.

The suspension is robust as well, with a dynamic feel from the 41mm telescopic fork and twin shocks, letting the rider push their boundaries on twisty routes. Small-bump compliance is useful for absorbing small road irregularities; the rear only reaches the bottom of the Rebel's 3.8 inches of travel when encountering huge bumps. The bike's lightweight is carried low on the bike, making it incredibly nimble when driven down winding roads.

Honda Rebel 300 vs 500

The Rebel 500 is 185 kg (408 lbs) in weight. The difference in weight between the Rebel 300 and the Rebel 300, which weighs around 365 lbs, is not significant, and because the engine is mounted low, the Rebel 300's center of gravity will be higher while sitting.

This may make it more difficult to manage, but only somewhat. But it's still the polar opposite of what you'd expect. A smaller cc bike isn't necessarily easier, but the Rebel 300 is definitely an exception to that rule. Aside from the Rebel 500 being simpler to manage, you'll quickly outgrow the Rebel 300.

The Rebel 300 is a great choice if you are a short rider who isn't concerned with speed as much as getting someplace, as it is simpler to hold upright, which is great for beginners. Crash bars may also be useful if your Rebel 300/500 flips over. Also, the lightweight design of the 300 makes it the ideal choice for beginners since you are going to have more control over the bike while cruising and cutting corners.

Why Should You Get the Honda Rebel 300?

The Honda Rebel 300 has quite a lot going for it. With a sharply sloped front end and large-diameter wheels, the seat is low and the engine is small. Doesn't seem like a novice bike description, does it? Honda deviated from the previous pattern of being hefty and dripping with chrome in order to create a bike that is both current and stylish.

With the exception of the short inseams, the trellis-style frame allows for an incredibly low 27" seat height. The riding posture is relaxing, and the handlebars lie quite nicely just below the typical person's shoulder height, thanks to the mid-mounted controls. Honda wanted the Rebel to have a minimalist design, so they went with a basic LCD display.

Honda introduced LED illumination and better instruments, including a gear position indicator, to the 2020 model. For those looking for affordable urban transportation, the Rebel 300 saddlebag options are available in its accessory catalog.

Honda has long been known for its smooth, dependable power. The Rebel 300's liquid-cooled four-stroke engine is a good fit for the Rebel 300's 364-pound weight. The Rebel 300 shines when it comes to maneuvering in city traffic; yes, you can keep up on the freeway, but don't anticipate much passing power. Compared to the CBR300R, this bike has a wider low-end torque curve, making it easier for rookie riders to get up and running.

The only riders who may have concerns with the Rebel 300's performance are those with a larger waistline, riders who frequently take a passenger, and those seeking for a serious cruiser, such as me. The Rebel 300 is designed to be an urban cruiser with consistent riding characteristics and minimum stops at the petrol station. If you are still on the fence on whether or not you should make the Honda Rebel 300 your first bike, just remember, the Honda Rebel series has been around for over three decades and is still the top choice for beginners, which is a testament to its quality.