Beginner Bike Spotlight: Honda Rebel (CMX250C)

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2012 Honda Rebel 250 (CMX250C)

Ubiquitous on Motorcycle Safety Foundation ranges and on the road, the Honda Rebel is arguably one of the pillars of the beginner rider bike market. You know what it is at a glance, and there’s no doubt that this bike is a bullet-proof Honda that’ll get you started safely.

The Specs (via Wikipedia.org):

CMX250C Specifications
Manufacturer Honda
Also called Rebel 250
Predecessor Honda CM250C Custom
Class Cruiser
Engine 234 cc (14.3 cu in) air-cooled SOHC two valves per cyl. straight-twin [1]
Bore / stroke 53.0 mm × 53.0 mm (2.09 in × 2.09 in)
Compression ratio 9.2:1
Top speed 70 mph (110 km/h)[2]
Power 16.1 hp (12.0 kW)[2]
Torque 12.4 lb·ft (16.8 N·m)[2]
Ignition type CDI
Transmission 5-speed, chain drive
Frame type Tubular steel double cradle
Suspension Front: 33 mm fork; 120 mm (4.7 in) travel
Rear: Dual shocks with five-position spring-preload adjustability; 2.9-inch travel
Brakes Front: Single-disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear: Drum
Tires Front: 3.00″-18″
Rear: 130/90-15
Rake, trail 30° 40′, 113 mm (4.4 in)
Wheelbase 1,450 mm (57 in)
Seat height 676 mm (26.6 in)
Weight 139 kg (306 lb) (dry)
145 kg (320 lb)[2] (wet)
Fuel capacity 9.8 L (2.2 imp gal; 2.6 US gal), incl. 2.6 L (0.57 imp gal; 0.69 US gal) reserve
Fuel consumption 52–62.6 mpg-US (4.52–3.76 L/100 km; 62.4–75.2 mpg-imp)[2][3]

The Case For The Rebel:

cmx250c-08a1
Picture Courtesy of Honda

A strong showing in the beginner bike market from Honda, the Rebel has been in (and sometimes out of) production since 1985. This bike, barring the Ninja 250, has seen more new riders astride it than possibly all the other beginner bikes in America combined. Nearly thirty years of production means that Honda has building this little beauty down to a science. While not as fancy as other bikes, this bike shines in its “no frills” attitude. While it is stylish, its simplicity is its strong-point, because it literally is what you make of it. With it being in production for so long, you’d be hard-pressed to find a shop that couldn’t work on it, and any part you could possibly break can be replaced from Honda with ease. The aftermarket for this bike is simply staggering, with mountains of options available to make this bike exactly what you want.

The followers of this bike are dedicated and loyal. You cannot find a more enthusiastic group of people for such a small bike anywhere online. These people have seen it all, and can tell you exactly how to fix any issue you can possibly contrive in a tried and tested method that makes your life easier and builds confidence. The downside (or upside) to this is the Rebel can be difficult to get for cheap used, as they hold their value so well that if you want one cheap, you’re probably looking at getting one that’s completely trashed. If you want one used, join a forum and ask questions on what to look for. The people who own these bikes know exactly what to look for in a used Rebel, and what to avoid like the plague.

Since the aftermarket is so big, if you buy a Rebel that you’re not 100% thrilled with, someone will be happy to buy the bits you don’t like, while someone else will happily sell you the bits you do want. The Rebel is arguably the king of the beginner rider scene, and the chance of it being dethroned any time soon is highly unlikely.

Honda built a truly great motorcycle with the Rebel. The power is friendly, the drive-train and handling very forgiving, and a ride that can carry even the most rotund gentleman with ease and comfort. With the Rebel, you’re unlikely to be surprised at any point, as the bike handles just about everything in its stride, rolling over rougher roads and plowing through rain with calm authority. Even the most ham-fisted rider can get this bike down the road fairly well, and a more experienced rider can give bigger metric cruisers a run for their money on city streets. Its longevity in the market is its true endorsement, as no manufacturer would continue to produce and sell a bike for 30 years that was garbage.

My Kind Of Weird:
Old-school Style

rebel4
Image courtesy of BlueCollarBobbers.com

I love the Old-school look of bikes from the 50’s, and one of the things the Rebel can do very well is convert itself into an excellent homage to that look with very little in the way of major modification.

Suggested Mods:

  • “Springer” style seat
  • Classic style rear fender
  • Pillion pad mounted on or above rear fender
  • pannier racks
  • modified exhaust
  • different forks

If I was going to build an ultimate rebel, I’d use the look of the old BSA’s or maybe even the higher-end Brough Superior as a style cue to build something that would keep the average motorist guessing and the Rebel enthusiast drooling.

Final Thoughts:

The Rebel truly is a chameleon, capable of changing into almost any style of bike you could possibly want with just a little time, patience, resourcefulness, and money. I can believe without a doubt that in 50 years, they’ll still be fighting over these bikes, because they’re that good. Go ahead, go test-ride one, you won’t be disappointed.

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Beginner Bike Spotlight:the Kawasaki Ninja 250 (EX250-F) (Gen. 3)

lifted-from-www-advrider-coms-250-ninja-thread
1988-2007 (Generation 3) Ninja 250

Now, as many of my regular readers will have noted, I’m an odd duck indeed. I love the underdog bikes, and I adore bikes that step outside of their established niche (more on that in a bit).

In this post, I shall shine the light on a bike that has seen more beginner riders through their learning phase than most would realize. the Ninja 250. I speak of the “Third Gen” Ninja specifically because of its nearly twenty years of production, thus its proliferation in the US Market. I may touch on the later generations, however in this post I am laboring towards a point, and as such, they need not detain us at this juncture.

The Specs (via Wikipedia.org) :

The Case For The Ninja:

2007-kawasaki-ninja250r-ex250b
Picture courtesy of http://www.TotalMotorcycle.com

With a massive following, the Ninja has been debated, argued, and mused over exhaustively regarding its many vices and virtues. Beloved by beginner riders, MSF courses, and unassuming long term riders, the Ninja sports an excellent record of reliability and ownership. Since this particular generation was in production for nearly twenty years, nearly every facet of the bike has had time to be fettled, massaged, and tweaked to comparitive perfection. If you want to do anything to the bike, there’s probably a post on a forum somewhere that has been made on the topic where many wrenchers have argued every aspect of the post until a concensus was reached. You want to make it faster? There’s posts for that. Want to make a mini-ADV bike out of it? There’s even a few on that too (more on this later).

Since it was produced so long, the aftermarket for this particular bike can be downright staggering. Nearly anything you might want to do with this bike has aftermarket parts designed to meet your needs. Any significant issues with the bike also have aftermarket parts to rectify them, from preformance to suspension and everything in between.

The performance, weight, and handling of the bike lends itself well to new riders, as it has enogh power to get out of its own way, but not so much that it becomes unmanageable to the nervous novice. It is neither too tall for most riders, nor is it so small that most riders feel cramped, rather, it is a marvelous balance of the two. Seasoned riders love this Ninja for its reliable and predictable performance; most riders will not find themselves riding outside their skill levels on this bike, which is good if you want something to get from A to B with as little drama as possible. It is comfortable in the city and out on the twisty backroads and byways. It is a civilized motorcycle with the ability to turn hooligan in an instant, without endangering your life in the process.

My Kind OF Wierd:
The Ninja Adventure

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Image courtesy of http://www.HoizonsUnlimited.com

A small jewel in the ADV rider community, the Ninja makes a surprisingly good mini-ADV bike for beginners and regular riders. While it can’t really handle the hard-core stuff, it can take quite a bit of terrain in its stride if set up correctly.

Suggested mods:

  • Raised/stiffened suspension
  • Aftermarket windshield
  • Multi-surface tires
  • Possible gearing changes
  • Brake modifications
  • Full pannier and top-case rack mounts
  • Aftermarket seat
  • Upgrade lighting

Many riders who try this out opt for raised handle-bars as well, though not everyone does this. It may be scoffed at by the more “hardcore” elements of the ADV community, but for the average ADV rider, the idea seems like a fun diversion from the high-CC bike war that normally consumes the ADV rider community.

Final Thoughts:

The Ninja can be anything to anybody. It is a chamelion with the ability to do many things for many people, and for that, I love it.

 

Choosing The Bike IV: The End Is In Sight

Well ladies and gentlemen, the end is in sight. I have had contact with a fine gentleman who has heard my story and followed my quest, and he has offered me a chance to own one of my Top Five bikes: The Gen1 Cleveland Cyclewerks Misfit.

sale misfit
The Cleveland Cyclewerks Misfit (Gen1) being offered

The owner of the bike and I have spoken a few times in the past regarding this very bike and its sale to me, however at the time things were’nt right for me to even contemplate getting the bike, however now, with my proverbial ducks slowly coming into a row, I can now begin to plan for the future.

I questioned him at length regarding maintenance and upkeep in order to aviod my previous post’s argument: not buying someone else’s problem. He has assured me of the following:

  1. He has changed the fluids regularly.
  2. Regular maintenance has been preformed.
  3. When he parked it for storage, he drained the tank and ran it out of gas.
  4. He pulled the battery so it didn’t cause any other issues during storage.

Having spoken with him at length, I feel confident that I can say this bike will most likely not be another problem child.

More updates later!

Choosing The Bike III: Buying Odd But New

As my goal of getting another motorcycle (that runs) slowly comes into focus, I find myself torn between two categories: New or Used?

On one hand, you have advocates of buying used for your first bike. “Buy it used,” they say, “because then if you lay it down it won’t matter as much!” and “You’re going to out-grow it quickly, so why make a big investment?” Both points do have some merits, however both have their problems.

The “laying it down” argument is quite persuasive, as a beginner rider is almost guaranteed to drop the bike within the first two years at least once. It seems a logical choice to get something that may be a bit battered instead of something sleek, shiny, and new, plus you generally spend less money that way. It can be an ideal situation for a rider with a limited budget (like me) to get on the road with very little in the way of capital. The downside of this can be like the issue I had with the GS500 I bought; you can inherit someone else’s problem, which can cost you more than you bargained for.

The more absurd argument is the “you’ll outgrow it in six months” argument. Usually spouted by a “Squid” or “Billy” with a backwards cap and delusions of MotoGP grandeur. This kind of thinking is not only wrong, but very dangerous. Valentino Rossi himself couldn’t master a bike from scratch in that short of an amount of time, why would you think you could? This is actually a lazy form of peer-pressure, and can get you killed. As I’ve mentioned before: ride your own ride.

Now, you could hunt for a decent used bike, take a knowledgeable friend with you, drive a hard bargain, and come out fairly well in the deal, or you can ponder the new bike market. As I stated before, both options have merit.

New bikes nearly always come with a warranty, are sold by reputable shops, and usually have no major issues right off the lot. Yes, some bikes can have severe gremlins *cough, Yamaha, cough*, however most are perfectly fine right off the lot. You spend more money up front, but get peace of mind that you won’t have to dump a lot of money into the bike within the first year to fix any issues that crop up. Add to that, you can often roll in the cost of gear into the loan when you buy the bike from a dealer, as opposed to buying it all on the side with a used bike.

In this post I’ll be looking at a bike purchase that I would make if I was buying something new. While I’m not initially planning on financing a bike new, I am planning on squirreling away every penny until I can afford to either buy it outright, or have a large enough of a down-payment that any bank would happily finance me. All it will require of me is to work hard, be frugal, and keep the goal squarely in my sights. So, what are some of my options?

Table

Yes, you guessed it: I’m weird and am not looking at the “Big Six” at this time. (LOL)

As a note: The gear would obviously not be able to be added to any financing in most of these bike’s cases, however at this point we’re just looking at price and specs.

The SYM Wolf Classic 150 has a quiet following that is slowly growing in the US market, as buyers are comparing them to the Honda Grom and it’s expensive price tag, and the Misfit has an almost fanatical fan-base that’s really beginning to show on the small-displacement motorcycle market. I’ve posted about these bikes before. The RX3 I’ve only mentioned in passing, so a closer look is really worth it.

So its definitely time to start some serious saving!