Japanese cruiser bikes have occupied a cherished space in many new riders’ learning tenure. Honda decided to modernize their small-displacement cruiser offering with the introduction in 2017 of the new Rebel 300 and 500 machines.
Though the Honda Rebel 300 shared many components with its 500cc sibling it is very much its own bike, with its own unique character. The Rebel platform takes a simple, raw, cutting-edge style and makes it approachable. The Rebel design is blacked-out, stripped-down, and low-slung, bringing an attitude much larger than the cubic inches beneath the seat.
The choices available are better than ever currently for new riders and Honda smartly keeps the cost of entry low by sharing components across the lineup. Honda proved the strength of the 286cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke, using it successfully in both a Sport and Naked configuration, but in this Cruiser chassis, it now brings appeal to a wide range of new riders.
Let’s break down the Honda Rebel 300.
Our Take: Why You Should Buy A Rebel 300
The seat is low and the engine narrow, with an aggressively raked front end and fat tires on large-diameter wheels. Doesn’t sound like a description for a beginner bike, does it? Honda stepped away from the old standard of heavy and dripping with chrome to deliver a bike that looks and feels modern and cool.
The trellis-style frame allows for an extremely low 27” seat height, and flat-footing at stoplights is not an issue for all but the shortest inseams. Fitted with mid-mounted controls, the riding position is relaxed and the handlebars sit very comfortably just below the average person’s shoulder height. Honda wanted a minimalist look to the Rebel and stayed with a simple easy to read LCD display. Refreshed in 2020, Honda added LED lighting and improved gauges including a gear position indicator.
To live up to the looks requires a decent engine, and Honda has always had a solid reputation for smooth, reliable power. At 286cc, the Rebel 300’s liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke is a nice match with only 364 lbs to hustle around. Getting in and around traffic in the city is where the Rebel 300 shines, yes you can certainly keep up on the freeway just don’t expect much passing power. Tuned for a broad low-end torque curve compared to the CBR300R, the Rebel 300 is easy for new riders to get moving.
Honestly, the only riders that may find issues with the performance of the Rebel 300 will be those like myself with added inches in the waistline, riders wanting to often take a passenger, and those looking for a long-distance cruiser. The Rebel 300 is built to be an urban cruiser that rewards riders with predictable ride characteristics and few stops at the gas pump.
Bottom line: Honda nailed the look of the Rebel with a clean Hipster Bobber style with all possible components now blacked-out. The chassis design delivers great ergonomics and a low seat height while keeping the weight under 400lbs. The 286cc engine does a great job for a solo rider navigating the city, it would not be my choice for long highway rides or two-up riding. Tuned for torque in the lower RPM, new riders should have a fun, easy time developing their skills on the good-looking Rebel.
Reasons to buy the Rebel 300:
27 hp moves this bike well and it has no problem running at 75 mph
How can you not love 71 mpg
The low seat height inspires confidence
Great exhaust note with more rumble than expected
The brakes are good with optional ABS
Quite good cornering clearance
The fat tires and blacked-out design looks great
Affordable and holds its value well
Reasons not to buy the Rebel 300:
Heavy riders will want more power
Solo seat, not set up for 2 up riding ( accessory passenger seat and footpegs available)
Production Run & Notable Model-Year Changes
Production Run & Model Generations
Introduced in 2017 the Rebel is a clean, modern, Bobber-style bike.
First Generation – Rebel 300 (2017-2019)
Monocolor digital LCD
286cc Single-cylinder engine.
Optional ABS brakes
Second Generation – Rebel 300 (2020 – )
An assist-slipper clutch that reduces clutch-lever effort by 30%
Improved gauges add gear selection and fuel level
Full LED lighting
A new suspension tuning with stiffer spring rates improves handling
Owner Reviews of the Honda Rebel 300
Press & Magazines
2017 Honda Rebel 300 Review: First Ride
“The neutral riding position fits well with this bike’s overall goal of approachability. I thank my lucky stars Honda had the sense to avoid the tailbone-crunching outstretched cruiser peg position, and that the bars have been positioned in a natural location that has the arms out straight with a slight elbow bend. All together the Rebel’s ergonomics and stature with its low 27.2-inch seat height will fit most riders well and provide plenty of comfort.”
“The new Rebel is simple and raw but don’t let the minimalistic design fool you; it is a Honda after all and every tiny detail matters. The low, lean silhouette is crowned by an iconic fuel tank, aggressively raked front end, and fat 16-inch tires on large-diameter wheels. The stamped-steel rear fender and narrow frame body result in a stripped form expressing offbeat individuality from every angle.”
2020 Honda Rebel 300 Review (16 Fast Facts For City Cruising)
“The 2020 Honda Rebel 300 doesn’t challenge you to a fight; it gives you a fun time and makes you look really cool. If this is the image and riding style you’re drawn to then, you’re bound to enjoy this nimble, fun moto. It is a fantastic, reassuring motorcycle for new riders, yet capable of fun for experienced motorcyclists.”
Riding comfort – Honda ergonomics seem to suit a wide variety of bodies
The price – Even new, a Rebel 300 can be out the door for less than $5K
Fuel efficiency owners report up to 71mpg with easy cruising
The Sound – the exhaust note carries a surprising rumble
What Owners Complain About
The tail light on the first generation looks old and not matched to the style of the bike
Mediocre gauges on the first generation
Suspension is too soft for larger riders
The Bottom Line
Overall the Rebel 300 rocks. Finding a bike that is modern, well priced, and a great ride is a challenge. Honda really delivers with these new Rebel series bikes, they are a massive update from the older, heavy, chrome-laden Rebel 250’s.
Honda has done an impressive job making a modern Bobber that isn’t intimidating and fits a wide range of rider sizes. Even though parts are shared with the CBR300R and CB300R, in this cruiser chassis the retuning of the 286cc single, gives the Rebel a unique and fun riding experience all its own.
I feel the Rebel 300 shines brightest in the city. Urban rides on the Rebel are relaxed and fun. The riding position works even for riders around 6 feet tall, but anyone that is beyond 200lbs will want the added power from the Rebel 500.
The Rebel 300 is everything you expect from Honda. A solid reliable bike, that will give years of great riding, and even though it is considered a small displacement bike by North American standards, I doubt you will be looking to sell this off anytime soon.
Honda Rebel 300 Competitors
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