Interest in big bikes has been declining globally on an annual basis, with the various motorcycle manufacturers facing a huge issue convincing the younger generation in taking up the leisure activity.

This brings us to the Honda Rebel 500, which was created to entice younger people into taking up the passion for motorcycling.

The perceived danger associated with riding a motorcycle coupled with Asian parents disallowing their children to take up motorcycling added to the global problem of declining sales in big capacity bikes.

Japanese brand Honda decided to pursue the case of getting more young people to take up motorcycling by introducing easy-to-ride bikes. It started the ball rolling since end of 2013 by introducing a trio of 500cc motorcycles during the EICMA Show held at Milan in Italy, with the new CB500F, CBR500R and the CB500X.

The trio of bikes were really easy to ride for the novice riders, while those having more experience and riding skill would find the bikes to be very agile and fast for the money.

The successful trio were followed a year later with the introduction of the Honda CB650F/CBR650F duo, also designed to as easy-to-ride bikes despite featuring an inline four engine, 6-speed gearbox and dual disc brakes for the front, and 85hp available on tap.

What’s missing within the CB500-series trio is a middle-class cruiser, which Honda had rectified in late 2017 with the Rebel 500 as a Model Year 2018 model, utilizing the same 471cc parallel twin engine as the 3 models, but tuned for midrange cruising than for outright top speed.

There is of course, the Rebel 250, which is not available for Malaysia. The quarter-liter Rebel uses the same single cylinder 249cc engine featured on the Honda CBR250R and CB250R Neo Sports Racer.

Continuing with its easy-to-ride concept for new motorcyclists, the Honda Rebel 500 is designed by the Japanese maker to be just that. Why it has been named as the Rebel instead of following its CB moniker used by its 3 models siblings?

This is due to Honda’s heritage of the original Rebel cruiser bike of the 90s, which has been discontinued at the beginning of the 21st Century, and was instrumental of getting American buyers taking up motorcycling.

Hence the new Rebel 500 is geared toward emulating the success of its famed ancestor.

The new Rebel 500 only has 1 limitation for us – its smaller fuel tank capacity of only 14-liter isn’t enough to allow for an uninterrupted journey over long distance as it’s only good to sustain a distance up to 330km, unlike the 420-460km mileage its CB500 siblings are capable of accomplishing!

We find the Rebel 500 to be smooth to cruise around twisty old Federal Routes, including rides into the city and the various towns encountered. The best part of the Rebel 500 is its ability to negotiate most corners without risking scrapping the frontal footpeg of both sides!

With the proven engine, the Rebel 500 is able to outgun most vehicles when riding in the city and urban areas, and it could this quite fast too. However, do not expect the Rebel 500 to be able to outgun most sportsbikes as it has not been designed for that!

Its low seat height also allows shorter riders to ride it without worries.

As the review unit here is a 2018 model, the Rebel 500 comes fitted with an LED headlight, just like its 2017-2018 CB500-series siblings.

Posted by Philip Chong

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