cruiser motorcycles

Honda Rebel 250 Vs Honda Rebel 300: The Best Beginner Bike

Honda Rebel 250 Vs Honda Rebel 300: The Best Beginner Bike

The name “Rebel” has always been synonymous with entry-level bikes in the motorcycling world. The story started in 1985 when the First Rebel was introduced in the 250 cc category by Honda. Despite its small displacement engine, this bike came with an inline twin-cylinder engine with two exhaust pipes on either side. Though it became renowned as the Rebel, it was a part of the CMX series. The Rebel 250 was one of the perfect entry-level bikes for learning purposes and was, therefore, used as the training model by the Motorcycle Safety Federation (MSF).

The next year when the Rebel 250 was discontinued in 2016, a completely new and upgraded Rebel platform was launched with modern styling, a sportier outlook, and a slightly bigger engine. The 283 cc engine used in the Rebel 300 was derived from the Honda CBR model. The all-new Rebel 300 transformed the concept of a conventional cruiser. Continue reading this article to learn about the detailed comparison between the classic Honda Rebel 250 and the modern-day Rebel 300.

2016 Honda Rebel 250
Photo credit: @Maintenance Schedule
2024 Honda Rebel 300
Photo credit: @Honda Powersports

1. Specs Comparison: Honda Rebel 250 Vs Honda Rebel 300

Specs Comparison: Honda Rebel 250 Vs Honda Rebel 300
2016 Honda Rebel 250 2024 Honda Rebel 300
General Info
Manufacturer Honda Honda
Model Rebel 250 Rebel 300
Model ID CMX250 CMX300
Motorcycle Type Cruiser Sporty Cruiser
Introduced in 1985 2017
Current Production Status Discontinued in 2016 Still Produced
Color Options 2016 Models:
Candy Red
2024 Models:
Nitric Orange
Pearl Black
Base MSRP $4,190 Non-ABS: $4,849
ABS: $5,149
Displacement 234 cc 286 cc
Engine Type Parallel-Twin; Four-Stroke Engine Single-Cylinder; Four-Stroke Engine
No. of Cylinders Two One
Valve Train SOHC; Two Valves Per Cylinder DOHC; Four-Valves Per Cylinder
Engine Cooling System Air-Cooled Water-Cooled
Stroke 53 mm 63 mm
Bore 53 mm 76 mm
Compression Ratio 9.2:1 10.7:1
Fuel Delivery System Single 26 mm Diaphragm-Type CV Carburetor Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) with 38 mm Throttle Body
Exhaust Separate Dual Shorty Exhaust Pipes on Both Sides Single Blacked-Out Exhaust
Ignition CDI Ignition Full Transistorized Ignition
Starter Electric Electric
Peak Power Output 18.2 hp / 13.38 kW 27.6 hp / 20.3 kW
Peak Torque 16.8 Nm / 12.4 lb-ft 28.74 Nm / 21.2 Ib-ft
Fuel Economy 84 mpg 78 mpg (Claimed)
Top Speed 79 mph 88 mph
Gearbox Five-Speed Six-Speed
Final Drive O-Ring-Chain Drive O-Ring-Sealed Chain
Sprocket Teeth (Size) 14T/33T 14T/36T
Clutch Multi-Plate Wet Clutch Multi-Plate Wet; Slipper & Assist Clutch
Frame Tubular Steel Double Cradle Frame Steel Diamond Frame with Die-Cast Aluminum Rear Sub-Frame
Front 33 mm Front Fork 41 mm Front Fork
Adjustability (Front) No No
Front Wheel Travel 4.7 in / 120 mm 4.8 in / 122 mm
Rear Dual Rear Shocks Dual Rear Shocks
Adjustability (Rear) Five-Position Spring Preload Adjustable No
Rear Wheel Travel 2.9 in 5.5 in
Front 234 mm Single-Disc Brake with Twin-Piston Caliper 296 mm Single-Disc Brake
Rear Expanding Drum Brake 240 mm Single-Disc Brake
ABS No Optional
Wheels & Tires
Wheel Type Wire-Spoked Wheels Cast Aluminum 10-Spoke Wheels with Black Rims
Front Wheel (Size) 18 in 16 in
Rear Wheel (Size) 15 in 16 in
Front Tire 3.00-18 130/90-16
Rear Tire 130/90-15 150/80-16
Dimensions & Measurements
Seat Height 26.6 in / 676 mm 27.2 in / 690.88 mm
Dry Weight 139 kg / 306 lbs N/A
Wet Weight 145 kg / 320 lbs Non-ABS: 165.1 kg / 364 lbs
ABS: 167.83 kg / 370 lbs
Wheelbase 1,450 mm / 57 in 1,491 mm / 58.7 in
Ground Clearance 150 mm / 5.9 in 149.86 mm / 5.9 in
Fuel Tank Size 2.6 gal 3 gal
Rake 30°40’ 28°
Trail 113 mm / 4.4 in 4.3 in
Height 1,100 mm / 43.3 in 1,092.2 mm / 43 in
Length 2,115 mm / 83.3 in 2,207.26 mm / 86.9 in
Width 815 mm / 32.1 in 822.96 mm / 32.4 in

2. Design & Looks: Honda Rebel 250 Vs Rebel 300

2.1 Design & Looks: Honda CMX250 Rebel

Design & Looks: Honda CMX250 Rebel
Photo credit: @Enduro Team

If you got familiar with the Honda Rebel bikes after 2017 when the Rebel 300 was introduced, you would have an image of a sporty unconventional-style cruiser in your mind. However, if you go back to 2016, the last year model of the Rebel 250, you will be astonished to see how classic this bike was. The Rebel 250 boasts a lustrous chrome finish and an old-school design that you may not find even on some of high-end classic cruisers.

Starting from the front, the Rebel 250 has skinnier, but long-stroke front forks, decorated with a mid-size round headlamp fitted inside a chrome cover. The front end also features a narrow and slim front tire wrapped around an 18-inch wire-spoked front wheel. The single-dial analog meter is connected to decently tall mini-ape handlebars. The handlebars are sufficiently swept back and wide for a perfect big cruiser vibe.

The front fender installed on this bike is a small bobber-style piece and the rear fender is a long and chopped piece, giving a comprehensive view of the rear tire from both rear and side profiles. The Rebel 250 is fitted with a two-piece, well-padded saddle with a small gap between the rider seat and gas tank. The rider seat is quite spacious for riders to easily move to and fro on it. The tail light is mounted on the rear fender, behind the passenger seat. The dual shorty-style chrome exhaust pipes originate from both cylinders and are placed on either side of the bike, ensuring a balanced look.

2.2 Design & Looks: Honda CMX300 Rebel

Design & Looks: Honda CMX300 Rebel
Photo credit: @Honda Pro Kevin Extra

The Rebel 300 arrived in 2017 after replacing the Rebel 250 and it hasn’t changed much since then except for the tail light design. This bike is a sporty cruiser and is aimed to compete with the Harley Sportster series. This bike has a low-slung design with a comparatively taller front end thanks to the long-stroke front fork. The Rebel 300 has a few bobber elements, including the front fender, punched-faced headlight with four LED bulbs, and a solo rider seat. This bike has a similar-sized 16-inch front and rear wheels and sufficiently fat and wide tires.

The Rebel also features naked bike-style handlebars for a sportier stance. The engine and machinery are also visible, giving it a naked bike vibe. The gas tank is installed on top of the slanted frame’s backbone visible from the side view. The rear fender is also a small and chopped piece with a smoothly integrated tail light. This bike has an overall matte-black finish, ensuring a modern vibe, including the stylish 10-spoke blacked-out wheels.

2.3 Verdict

Comparing the looks of both the Rebel 250 and the Rebel 300 in 2024, the latter is more desirable as it has got the trendy vibe with its stylish gas tank, blacked-out machinery, exposed look, low-slung solo seat, perfectly integrated parts, and LED lights. On the contrary, the Rebel 250 has a classic look from the 1980s. Even though this bike was discontinued in 2016, it remained unchanged in terms of styling.

3. Engine & Performance: Honda Rebel 250 Vs Rebel 300

3.1 Engine & Performance: Honda Rebel 250

The Rebel 250 is one of the very few small-displacement bikes that still hold a good reputation and are valued in the used motorcycle market. It is considered to be one of the most utilitarian bikes with bullet-proof reliability. These are one of the very few reasons why this bike is widely used by riders to learn to ride. The engine produces a reasonably better sound than most small-displacement motorcycles due to having twin cylinders.

The Rebel 250 houses a 234 cc parallel-twin engine with an air-cooled heat management system and a conventional single 26 mm constant velocity carburetor. The lackluster 234 cc engine can produce only 18.2 hp of horsepower and 16.8 Nm of torque which most riders will consider boring and outdated. This is the reason probably why this bike was removed from the production unit in 2016.

The reason why this bike is still alive is due to its usefulness as it ensures a notable fuel mileage of 84 mpg despite being carbureted. The Rebel 250 can still be ridden at a top speed of 79 mph. For those beginners and learners who are intimidated by using a bigger bike on highways and open roads, the Rebel 250 is still the best choice to go with. If you ride this bike with the maximum throttle and in the top fifth gear, you can cruise at a constant speed of around 60-65 mph. Above all, the engine runs smoothly without producing excessive vibrations and getting asthmatic. The Rebel 250 accelerates reasonably and the throttle response is also good.

3.2 Engine & Performance: Honda Rebel 300

With only 52 cc more displacement, the Honda Rebel 300 shows a notable difference when it comes to power figures. The 286 cc engine is water-cooled and churns out 27.6 hp of horsepower and a torque of 28.74 Nm which is quite impressive for a 300 cc class cruiser. However, the only downside in the engine department, disliked by most cruiser fans is its single-cylinder construction. Apart from its unconventional sporty cruiser look, this bike doesn’t sound like a cruiser as well.

For a price tag like this, the Rebel 300 makes it to the list of best beginner-friendly bikes which is also fun to ride. The engine delivers enough power output and torque to make riding within the city easier and exciting for new riders. You can also do light cruising on this bike if you are a beginner.

However, for most riders who are way past the beginner level, you will find them complaining about the Rebel 300 as it vibrates excessively if you are riding this bike on highways at its full potential. Also, an extremely narrow and lightweight bike like the Rebel 300 will start to shake dangerously due to excessive air drag hitting the bike at different angles. For this reason, the Rebel 300 is not a perfect option for cruising.

Other than that, this bike can be used for daily commutes and weekend rides. Riding in stop-and-go traffic is also made easier with the Rebel 300 thanks to its comfortably manageable weight. For beginner riders, this bike runs fast enough to keep them satisfied with its performance.

4. Handling Characteristics: Honda Rebel 250 Vs Rebel 300

4.1 Handling Characteristics: Rebel 250

The other most significant characteristics of the iconic Rebel 250 include its low seat height, ease of approachability, perfect handling, and beginner friendliness. This bike is extremely lightweight but at the same time, it stays stable and planted without shaking even if you are cruising at its top speed. The slim silhouette also allows for light and smooth maneuverability while turning corners. You can lean on this bike confidently at high speeds. Overall, the Rebel 250 offers highly confident-inspiring handling as a beginner bike to make sure that a learner rider not only learns straight-road riding but also becomes good at cornering. The ride quality is way better than most of the 250 cc class cruisers, making it stand out from the rest.

4.2 Handling Characteristics: Rebel 300

In modern times, the Honda Rebel 300 is currently one of the lightest and easiest-to-ride beginner bikes on the market. Numerous characteristics make this bike exceptionally smooth to ride, including its low-slung and narrow design. Being a truly modern bike with a sporty vibe, this bike is amazingly light to handle and maneuver. You will not find any issues with this bike when turning even tight corners at both slow and high speeds. It is a perfect motorcycle if you want to learn to ride.

The Honda Rebel 300 may be the simplest and most lightweight beginner bike currently available on the market but it does not compromise on the ride quality. The suspensions are also quite basic but are capable enough to ensure smoothness on paved roads.

5. Comfort & Ergonomics: Honda Rebel 250 Vs Rebel 300

5.1 Comfort & Ergonomics: Honda Rebel 250

Comfort & Ergonomics: Honda Rebel 250
Photo credit: @Enduro Team

Ergonomics and comfort-wise, the Honda Rebel 250 is one of the best-suited and comfortable bikes for shorter riders. This bike is designed for a fully laid-back riding style with sufficiently taller and pulled-back mini-ape bars, making riders grab the bars easily without pushing themselves forward. The foot controls are adequately forward but are not as forward as installed on a true classic V-Twin cruiser with an exceptional wheelbase.

The seat is also quite spacious for riders to adjust their riding style and seating position on the bike. However, it is inherently a smaller bike and it is not as roomy as it looks for a taller rider. The vertical distance between the seat and foot controls is small enough for a taller rider to make him sit in an awkward manner. If you are taller, your knees will be placed above the hip level while riding this bike. Your arms will also get kinked up and you may find it difficult to turn tight corners due to tight space to bend your elbows.

5.2 Comfort & Ergonomics: Honda Rebel 300

Comfort & Ergonomics: Honda Rebel 300
Photo credit: @Top Speed

Despite the sportier stance, the Rebel 300 is still a comfortable modern bike with adequate room for riders to adjust their limbs and reach the bars. Although the ergonomics are not as spacious as you will find on a classic cruiser, they are still adequately fine for regular use. The foot controls are more forward than the mid-mount position. Regarding the back position, the rider must lean a little forward to grab the bars as the Rebel 300 features naked bike-style low-mounted handlebars with hardly any pulled-back angle.

6. Pros & Cons: Honda Rebel 250 Vs Rebel 300

6.1 Pros & Cons: Honda Rebel 250

Honda Rebel 250 Pros Honda Rebel 250 Cons
Classic cruiser styling Smaller for taller riders
Lightweight Low-powered for experienced riders
Nimble Boring for most riders
Agile Very basic and outdated
Perfect for beginners Small fuel tank size
Best bike for learning how to ride Suspensions are quite basic
Capable of light cruising Small wheel travel suspensions
Features a parallel-twin engine Very uncomfortable for taller riders
Comfortable ergonomics
Parts are still available
Exceptional fuel mileage
Reliable engine

6.2 Pros & Cons: Honda Rebel 300

Honda Rebel 300 Pros Honda Rebel 300 Cons
Modern vibe Not an ideal cruiser
Sporty look The single-cylinder engine does not sound good
Blacked-out finish Requires excessive gear shifting
Stylish bike The single-cylinder engine produces excessive vibrations
Lightweight The small engine does not seem to fit perfectly in the motorcycle’s body
Easy to ride and handle Not suitable for riding with a passenger
Good for daily use Not perfect for highway cruising
Admirable fuel mileage
Perfect beginner bike
Highly affordable
Optional ABS
Low seat height and planted design
Standard slipper & assist clutch
Extremely light clutch action

7. Final Verdict: Honda Rebel 250 Vs Rebel 300

Honda has been producing exceptional beginner-friendly motorbikes, particularly the Rebel series, with bulletproof engines for a very long time. The Rebel 250 created a lot of spark among new riders as it became the best beginner bike to learn to ride. Owing to its popularity, user-friendliness, bulletproof quality, and affordability, the Rebel 250 was used by MSF for training and testing purposes. However, the Rebel 250 was discontinued in 2016, and finding an old model in good condition can be a difficult task.

On the contrary, the Rebel 300 is the company’s modern take on beginner-friendly cruisers. With only a 52 cc bigger displacement size than the Rebel 250, the Rebel 300 is a more punchier bike with a decent throttle response and power output. Between the two bikes, the Rebel 300 is comparatively a better option due to various reasons. You can easily find a recent Rebel 300 model at a very affordable price. This bike is perfect for novice riders and can be used for multiple purposes, including daily commuting and light cruising.

The Rebel 300 is also a great platform if you want to start learning how to ride a motorcycle. This bike is lower to the ground, easily approachable, lightweight, handles perfectly, and requires low maintenance. In case you think you have a basic know-how of how to ride a motorcycle and can easily outgrow a 300 cc bike, the Rebel 500 is also a great option to consider.

8. Motorcycle Luggage Bag Options

If the plain and basic look of your beginner bike does not fascinate you, Viking Bags not only assist you in making it look sophisticated and premium, but the company also offers parts to transform it into a better touring machine. At our online store, you can find an array of stylish and neatly designed saddlebags for your Rebel 300/300 ABS and the Rebel 250. Viking Bags also has a wide range of tailor-made luggage bags for the cruiser category, including sissy bar bags, tank bags & pouches, backpacks, tour packs, and tail bags.

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