The Honda Rebel is an excellent entry-level motorcycle because it is easy to ride and does not intimate beginning riders. Potential riders who want a rock solid recommendation on a good learning motorcycle need only look as far as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The Honda Rebel is one of the motorcycles it uses in its certified training courses to teach neophytes how to ride. The Rebel has had a proven track record since it was introduced by Honda in 1985. Furthermore, Honda has made few changes to the Rebel since that time. Count the 2004 Rebel as a model year that is a carryover. The Rebel has classic cruiser styling and lots of chrome. Though Honda did not deliberately market the Rebel to women, its 26.6-inch high seat makes it an attractive riding option for women, as well as shorter riders. Riders taller than six-feet may feel cramped on longer rides.
The Honda Rebel is slightly longer than a bicycle, making parking and maneuvering in tight spaces more comfortable for beginning riders. Since it weighs more than 200 pounds less than standard cruisers, it is easier to move around. While there is room for a passenger, the ride will not be very comfortable for one over long distances. A passenger also cuts down on the gas mileage. Although official estimates are not available, riders report getting 60 mpg to 66 mph per gallon. The 2004 Rebel, as well as other models, has simple instrument panels, consisting of only a speedometer. The Rebel really shines in urban driving and short highway rides; it has a maximum speed of about 75 mph. Rider forums rate the 2004 Rebel high in all categories: overall, performance, quality and reliability, and value. Other riders have found the clutch to be troublesome, with more than a dozen riders going to far as to file complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.