Beginner Bike Spotlight: Honda Rebel (CMX250C)

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

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:

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

Image courtesy of

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.