RIDING THE REBEL 500
Jumping from the 300 to the Rebel 500 reveals big steps up in both muscle and smoothness. It's easy to launch from a standing start, and power builds nicely as the engine revs freely and willingly. As with the 300, EFI fuel mapping is spot-on, which goes a long way in feeling comfortable on the bike. The 500 pulls well on twisty mountain roads—you don't need to carry as much speed through a corner as the 300 demands to maintain a brisk pace because there's more oomph available. Like the 300, a gear-driven counterbalancer shaft reduces engine vibration, and this 471cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine is likewise derived from siblings in the Honda lineup, the CBR500R, CB500F and CB500X. (The last CB500 engine we had on the dyno put out about 44 horsepower, just for reference.) However, Honda used new camshafts and EFI/ignition mapping in the Rebel 500 for a broader, more accessible spread of power. So the 500 works well for entry riders, and can also easily serve for all-around street duty including longer trips.