It took a while, but manufacturers are finally offering motorcycles designed to get younger people interested in riding. The new crop of scramblers and café racers appeal to the Generation Y youth, which despite their seemingly penniless appearance, actually have enough disposable income to not only buy these bikes, but also to modify them.
Honda is the latest bike maker to offer a motorcycle for the hipster classes with the all-new Rebel 300 and Rebel 500 cruisers, which were revealed in Long Beach, California, just ahead of the Long Beach Motorcycle Show.
Most riders will certainly remember the Honda Rebel, a diminutive, entry-level 250 cc twin that was available in Canada for almost three decades before being discontinued several years ago. The new Rebel 300 and Rebel 500 bear no relation to that bike, other than the model name, though they are designed to attract new riders.
Aside from the unique styling, on which development began in the U.S. and features a swept-back fuel tank sitting high atop the frame, these two machines are also unique in that they both use the same steel trellis frame, and share steering geometry, despite using entirely different engines.
The Rebel 300 uses the 286 cc liquid-cooled single from the CB/CBR300 family, while the 471 cc liquid-cooled parallel twin from the CB/CBR500 family powers the Rebel 500.
Both bikes feature the same, low 691 mm (27.2 in.) seat height, which is a solo saddle, with a pillion pad made optional, and they both roll on fat 16-inch tires (130/60 front; 150/80 rear) for a more muscular appearance than the former, less-than-rebellious Rebel 250.
Another feature meant to appeal to Gen Y youth is that the bikes are designed to be easily customizable, as revealed during the bikes’ Long Beach introduction, where a trio of modified Rebels were also presented. Of particular note is that the rear fender and its mounting struts can be easily removed, giving the bike an abbreviated, bobber-like rear end. Unlike some other companies that have recently released customizable retro-bikes, Honda does not yet offer a line of accessories to modify the bikes.
Both machines will be available in Canada in early 2017, but pricing has not yet been released. In the States, the Rebel 300’s tentative pricing starts at $4,399 US ($400 more than the CB300F), and $5,999 US for the Rebel 500, the same price as the CB500F.