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Old 05-24-2014, 06:18 PM   #1
Noctis OP
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Honda Rebel as a first bike?

Hi all,

This is going to be my first 2-wheeler, and I haven't driven a car in a few years. This is a for a 5-mile commute to a college campus(goes uphill quite a bit, hence why I wanted more power), and perhaps even after that for work, could be my last bike(at least until I get my CPA and get a nice pay hike). The consideration is more for reliable transportation, plus motorcycles tend to have their own parking or can park in certain areas not accessible to cars(or between cars).

My first consideration was a Kymco Agility 125, mostly because it's half the price and there might be some more flexibility with parking(locking it to a bike rack, but that may be a legal grey area). Also because my mom is already screaming bloody murder at the modest $1,900 price tag(she's not paying a dime for it of course, but she's still whining) of the Kymco, and the Rebel is twice that. My original plan was to use the Kymco until I finish my Bachelor's and land a new Accounting job, then sell it and upgrade to a Honda Forza($6,000). To me, the Rebel would be cheaper long-term because I probably won't feel any need to upgrade it.

I'm slightly concerned about insurance rates between the two, and whether they might vary in a big way(Progressive gives me a favorable price, but I don't know what the ACTUAL price will be when I actually get the bill).

But a MASSIVE concern of mine is the relatively light curb weight of 331 lbs(which I suppose is why it has great fuel efficiency). I'm 99% sure that thing will get me a citation if I lock it to a bike frame(off-campus anyway). And yet at 331 lbs, two men could lift the thing and toss it into a truck inside of 30 seconds, and no lock in the world would prevent that. Attempting to load up weights in the external cargo I plan to have installed would simply destroy its fuel efficiency.

It may be a remote possibility, especially under a tarp when you don't know how heavy it might be, just that it's large enough to be a Harley-Davidson style motorcycle. But then again, I hear that the professional thieves go into campuses to look for such targets. I would think an unsecured motorcycle would be a juicy target. Though I suspect the other Kawasaki motorcycles I typically see would be in the same dilemma, as I believe those are typically light as well.

Thoughts?

Rebel or Agility?
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Old 05-24-2014, 06:27 PM   #2
welder
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Honda rebels are good little commuters. However not the best for trials
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Old 05-24-2014, 06:43 PM   #3
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A good used small bike from a dealer would be my suggestion. Have you ever rode a motorcycle with a clutch? A japan made bike will be tons more reliable. Yes, you do have to actually lock a bike to an immoveable object. (Or bring it into your bedroom) Nothing wrong with the Rebel, but if you are not familiar with a clutch the new scooters are great.
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Old 05-25-2014, 01:12 AM   #4
Noctis OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lineaway View Post
A good used small bike from a dealer would be my suggestion. Have you ever rode a motorcycle with a clutch? A japan made bike will be tons more reliable. Yes, you do have to actually lock a bike to an immoveable object. (Or bring it into your bedroom) Nothing wrong with the Rebel, but if you are not familiar with a clutch the new scooters are great.
My room is on the 6th floor, so that's not happening

I'm kind of wondering if I could maybe talk to building management and convince them to let me place two buckets full of concrete in front of my mom's car, and I just run a thick chain through those(might look awkward). Motorcycle or moped, I'd need to do that. I only see two other 2-wheelers in the building, and they have about 30 feet of chain wrapped around what appears to be the only two thick pillars that isn't near a fire or garbage access, so I was considering the motorcycle for a bit more weight to deter "casual" theft at home.

As far as clutches go, I believe I drove stick for my driver's license, and I distinctly remember the engine stalling on the road a couple of times when shifting, and I had to restart the engine DAMNED QUICK. It was slightly complicated, and I figure the same potential problem would be making sure I squeeze the throttle when shifting. Clutch doesn't seem like it would be as complicated on a car since they don't stick it right next to the gas petal too. Though it might take a bit of getting used to since that's where the front brake would be on a bicycle.

I also think gear shifting is more intuitive than driving stick since you can only shift up or down and it wouldn't be easy to completely skip a gear because you forgot which direction it was.

A challenge, and I'd need practice(no substitute for that), but maybe worth the extra mileage? It may be limited in complexity since I'd stay off freeways(at least until it's all second nature to me) and might only use 3rd gear at most.


Still, it doesn't seem like solid surfaces would always be available to me when locking the bike. Does anyone here use a form of GPS locator(and perhaps had to test it?). I hear lojack is somewhat unreliable, sometimes due to police incompetence with the system.
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Old 05-25-2014, 01:55 AM   #5
Noctis OP
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Originally Posted by welder View Post
Honda rebels are good little commuters. However not the best for trials
They do use it for Motorcycle Foundation Safety courses though right?

Seems like you could do no better for learning how to ride a manual.
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Old 05-25-2014, 04:04 AM   #6
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You sound like the perfect candidate for a Rebel, it would be tough and dependable and get you to school in style like ezrider. Insure it for theft and buy a disk lock. Take a safety course as mentioned. Buy a extra helmet because the ladies will be all over it.
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:06 AM   #7
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Notwithstanding this is a trials forum,

I taught Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses for more than a decade. We used Honda Rebel 250s as some of our training bikes, mainly because they had the lowest seat height in a market full of people wanting to go buy a Harley but needing less weight and more forgiving power.

The Rebel twin-cylinder engine is a generic workhorse Honda has used in many models. We occasionally had problems with cold starting and running only on one cylinder, especially in cold weather. Training bikes see mainly low-rpm operation which can be hard on the engines because they don't ever get fully up to operating temperature. I expect a bike used for commuting would avoid those problems.

The Rebel suffered from sloppy shifting, mainly because of the long linkage used to connect the feet-forward gear shifter to the actual shift shaft. Bent and broken linkages happened. Again these were training bikes.

The brakes were good for a disc/drum combo at training speeds.

Any motorcycle is vulnerable to thieves. Some suggestions:

Get a bike cover. Out of sight, out of mind.
Keep an ugly bike. If it looks like s**t, it's less an item of desire.
Chain it down to something immobile, with a big chain and padlock.
Get a big dog.

One last thing: if you haven't already, no matter what you buy, take the MSF safety course. It just might save your life.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:31 AM   #8
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I would say that ridenm has it on the head, an older not so nice but great running bike is way better than any lock to prevent theft, than add a disk lock and a cover and you about as good as your going to get without a heavy chain to something solid.

Take the MSF course and be sure to get yourself some decent gear.
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:08 PM   #9
Noctis OP
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Ah yes, but again, used tends to come with some caveats for the most part. I'm wondering if it would be okay to buy it used, then completely work the thing over with some spray paint and 60 grit sandpaper(might make some parts rust though).

Dog isn't an option. Apartment complex, open parking lot, no designated areas for scooters/bikes.
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:15 PM   #10
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Should also add the stupidity I'm hearing from my family about how riding a scooter is okay, but motorcycles are dangerous(even if I don't have a need for speed and will stay off the freeway for a few years). Because colliding with a car at 30 mph on a scooter is fine, you'll walk away from it without a scratch if you're only wearing flipflops. But a motorcycle hits the same car at 30 mph and I have full Kevlar gear with armor plates on top of a full face helmet and armored boots? Oh no son, you could get seriously hurt.

Coworker suggests simply buying it without telling anyone, and I'm damn well considering it.

Another coworker suggested I rent a scooter for a while to get a feel for it, and then I also added onto that by suggesting that I might rent a bike too to see how I handle the manual shifting.

I doubt anyone who ever rides manual ever starts off being magically bestowed the knowledge of perfect gear shifting upon sitting on the seat of their bike, so I figure everyone has to start somewhere.
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Old 05-25-2014, 01:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noctis View Post
They do use it for Motorcycle Foundation Safety courses though right?

Seems like you could do no better for learning how to ride a manual.
Methinks you're not getting it.

While the Rebel is a pleasant enough little plodder, this is not really the forum to ask about it, RideNM's comments notwithstanding (but on the mark as usual ). This forum is about Observed Trials bikes and competition, not about what street bike is a good beginner bike.

However,

There is no better way to learn COMPLETE and TOTAL control of a motorcycle than on a Trials bike. The skills learned in Trials will help you master any bike on the planet, any where, any time, period. That, and you get to meet/hang out with the coolest people on the planet, most of which will become life-long friends. I've been riding for what, 37 years now and I gotta admit that Trials folk are da bomb. I own 17 bikes, everything from XR100R flattrackers to BMW K100RS street bikes. I commute daily on a 1982 Kawasaki GPz 750. I've dragraced, roadraced, flattracked, rallied, earned Iron Butt certificates, and commuted on bikes for years but the most fun I've ever had and the best skill developer I've ever done is Trials. I truly wish I had started it 37 years ago instead of 9 years ago.

So.

Rant almost over. Do you have a local Trials club? Consider looking. Go to their events, get to know them, maybe even try a bike. Yes I know you are in college and things are tight in the money and storage areas. I dragraced my car and commuted/roadraced my first GPz 550 (very unsucessfully) in college in the '80's. Wasn't easy, but it was possible. I'd much rather see you learn on a Trialer than on the street with a Rebel. You will be a much better accomplished motorcyclist later on, and have tons more fun in the process.

Rant off. Let us know what you find.
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brewtus screwed with this post 05-25-2014 at 04:13 PM Reason: Rant....off.....on.....off....oh hell, just look at a Trials bike!!!
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Noctis View Post
My room is on the 6th floor, so that's not happening
Not a problem on a trials bike
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Old 05-25-2014, 04:56 PM   #13
nevgriff64
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Hmmm, not really sure where to put this one but its not Trials specific, lets try Scooter and see what advise you can get there.
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Old 05-25-2014, 05:29 PM   #14
Noctis OP
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Crap, sorry. Labeling is a bit vague here, and I'm unfamiliar with some of the terms(no noob section?).
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Old 05-25-2014, 05:43 PM   #15
brewtus
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Originally Posted by nevgriff64 View Post
Hmmm, not really sure where to put this one but its not Trials specific, lets try Scooter and see what advise you can get there.

Not sure what the Battle Scooter boys can offer here. The Rebel is a 250cc Honda cruiser.





Not a Trials bike. Not a scooter either. Where to put this??

Still, consider Trials. Trust me.
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