Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?
Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
Photo by Ellen Delis, Lagunas Ojos del Campo, Antofalla, Catamarca

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Ellen Delis,
Lagunas Ojos del Campo,
Antofalla, Catamarca



Like Tree8Likes
  • 1 Post By mark manley
  • 1 Post By Flashdog
  • 1 Post By AnTyx
  • 1 Post By JMo (& piglet)
  • 1 Post By Jay_Benson
  • 1 Post By AnTyx
  • 2 Post By Especiallyweirdone16

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 9 Apr 2023
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 19
Honda Rebel 300 or 500?

Hello,

I’m thinking of buying a Honda Rebel 300 or 500 in the USA and driving through the USA, Mexico and Central America and maybe South America and I’m wondering if that is a good plan.

Some background information.

I’m travelling through South America for over a year now and I love it!!! I started in Colombia with my BMW F750 GS, with low saddle and low suspension and I’m now in the south of Argentina (Rio Grande). I chose the motorcycle because I’m 5’4 (1,62 cm) with short legs and it was the one from which I could make the motorcycle with the lowest seat height (not being a cruiser/chopper). The seat height is 30 inch (77 cm), but I still cannot put my feet flat on the ground. I have trouble maneuver with the motorcycle and taking it backwards. I don’t dear to write down how many times I dropped my motorcycle and fell off my motorcycle. I also had some serious injuries on my ribs and lung in the last year and 3 weeks ago I broke 7 ribs and had a collapsed lung. I decided that I will sell the motorcycle, because I cannot handle it. Some of you warned me that it won’t be easy to handle that motorcycle in South and Central America for a short woman. Now I experienced that myself. I’m near Punta Arenas now and I hope I can sell the motorcycle there.

So, after I am recovered from my injury and have sold my motorcycle I was thinking of going to the USA to buy a Honda Rebel 300 or 500 and drive through some states of the USA and Mexico and Central America and maybe South America again.

I was thinking about this bike because I cannot find a motorcycle not being a cruiser/chopper with a saddle (also with low saddle and low suspension) lower than 30 inch (77 cm). The Rebel is not that heavy (Rebel 300 is 370 lbs (168 kg) and Rebel 500 is 414 lbs (188 kg) including gasoline) and the seat height is 27,2 inch (69 cm). I am planning to have other tires on it (maybe 50/50) and a bash plate and some other things and drive as little off road as possible. I don’t like riding off road anyway, maybe because I tried it on the heavy BMW, but what I don’t like about it is that I have to concentrate so much and I don’t like bumpy roads.

I only looked for reliable brands, because I know very little about motorcycles. I was at a dealer in Argentina which sold BMW and Royal Enfield (my motorcycle got a service there) and the seller said that I should never ever buy a Royal Enfield, because there are so many problems with that brand.

Long story, but I’m wondering if a Honda Rebel would be a good choice for me, and if so, if I should buy a 300 or a 500. I tend to buy a 500, because it weighs only 20 kg more and from reviews I understand that it is way more comfortable (less vibration on the highway, less noice (I don’t like noice…) and more power.

Thanks a lot for advice on this!

Loes
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 9 Apr 2023
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Wessex, UK
Posts: 2,136
A friend who is 5" tall has owned both and said the 300 was underpowered even on Hawaii where they live, I would say the 500 would be a better bet especially on the US mainland.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 9 Apr 2023
Banned
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 31
How much did your friend weigh Mark?
Loes; in the USA you can test ride both if the dealership is halfway decent.
If you are light/small/ skinny then I would be inclined to take the smaller bike and save some money. All the usual suggestions apply; ie don’t carry mountains of stuff etc etc
BTW Honda has a 750 V twin shaft drive custom, “Shadow Aero” with a very low 25.9in seat could be a perfect travel bike, I like shaft drive ikes as you reduce the maintenance
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 9 Apr 2023
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 19
Ha Flashdog,

I'm certainy not skinny! I'm 155 lbs, but I'm not physically strong.

The Shadow Aero is really low! It's heavier, but I will put it on my list; thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 9 Apr 2023
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Tartu, Estonia
Posts: 1,045
One thing I would say is that if you go with a cruiser style bike, assume you won't be going offroad more than a decently maintained gravel road. But I think that is your preference anyway.

The Honda Rebel and Shadow are good choices for reliability. There is also the Kawasaki Vulcan, another small Japanese cruiser. Make sure you figure out what kind of luggage systems are available for your bike, and if you are okay with them.

One option that is not very common in the USA but is maybe worth a look, is a maxi scooter. Something like a Suzuki Burgman, and there are others available - they can be a decent option. Also consider a Yamaha Niken - it has three wheels, so it's inherently stable, and is a full-sized motorcycle that can do highways and carry luggage.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 9 Apr 2023
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 19
Thanks!

The availability of the luggage system is really a point. I was looking for the possibilities for the Rebel and for sure I cannot take as much luggage as I did on the F750!!!!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10 Apr 2023
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: California
Posts: 871
fwiw. I'd echo what Mark Manley suggests - other than the size/weight of the engine these bikes are exactly the same size, so if you're confident with the seat height and ergonomics, go for the 500 (actually 471cc) twin, as it is a far more relaxed motor on the open road, and still very fuel-efficient.

While you could certainly get by on the 300 (286cc) single in typical Central and South American riding conditions - that is presuming you plan to stay off any interstate style multi-lane highways anyway - you might as well go for the more relaxed torque of the twin cylinder version. In either case, both of these engines are well-proven as reliable, low-maintenance and very economic with regard to fuel and servicing costs - so either would provide the ideal 'travel' platform regardless of which chassis you have them fitted to.

As for luggage accessories etc. have a look at what some of the aftermarket suppliers from Thailand offer (where these bikes are assembled, and are also more popular in general) - you can get a luggage rack which replaces the rear/passenger seat pad (note. the pillion seat is standard on the 500, optional on the 300 in the US), and there are also windshields designed to fit this bike too, if that is something that you feel you might need.

The only real limitation with these bikes is the comparatively small fuel tank compared to their sister models the CB500X and CB500F (and R), but in practice you ought to see around 200 miles from a tank unless you are pinning the bike at full throttle - so perhaps another reason to go for the 500 twin?

Personally speaking, I think the way you describe setting up the bike with some all-terrain tyres* and some sort of skid plate and simple luggage system would make for a very nice low-seat all-road touring bike.

*Just be aware that the wheels are 16" front and rear on these bikes, so your choice of alternative tyres is going to be more limited.

Have fun!

Jx

ps. I just had a noodle at the US Honda website and they do actually offer OEM luggage accessories including both a rear rack and a second rack to replace the passenger seat pad, and also saddle back frames - albeit I imagine those are for their own bags, although they could probably be used to support a one-piece throw-over saddle-bag style bag too (Giant loop Coyote etc.).
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10 Apr 2023
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Belper, uk, EUROPE
Posts: 539
First off, ouch, cracked ribs are no fun -7 in one go, that is way more than I have ever managed in one go - and, thankfully, I have never had a collapsed lung. I hope that the recovery is short, sweet and complete.

As regards choice of bike, as has been said, going for a low slung cruiser may limit you to well maintained gravel road or better but don’t forget that there was someone that took a 1951 Haley Panhead through Africa and still went on the rougher routes - details here - so it can be done on just about any bike.

Anyway, good luck with the recovery.
__________________
You will have to do without pocket handkerchiefs, and a great many other things, before we reach our journey's end, Bilbo Baggins. You were born to the rolling hills and little rivers of the Shire, but home is now behind you. The world is ahead.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11 Apr 2023
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 19
Jay_Benson and JMo (& piglet) thanks a lot for your replies! I appreciate it a lot!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11 Apr 2023
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Tartu, Estonia
Posts: 1,045
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnTyx View Post
There is also the Kawasaki Vulcan, another small Japanese cruiser.
I happened to be in the local Kawasaki/Triumph dealer yesterday and had a closer look at these. I think they could be a very good choice. 45kw so not intimidating, but plenty for the highway; and you can get a tall factory windscreen and luggage rack. The factory leather luggage is too small for sure, but you can definitely get some custom fittings for a big set of panniers, and with a rear-seat drybag, it could make for a very interesting long-distance low-seat tourer indeed.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11 Apr 2023
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 19
Thanks! I was also looking at the Kawasaki Vulcan. The weight is 235 kg, so it is heavier, but I think I have to try a couple of bikes and find out how they feel.

I don't have a problem with the kw. It will not intimidate me. The problem is the seat heigh and the weight in combination with the fact if I can reach the handlebars (and also grap the brake) easily when I stand next to the bike.

The thing is also if I will be able to rise the motorcycle myself when it falls. I had a Dustriders Motorcycle Hoist with me to raise my BMW F750 GS, but I prefer not taking that, because it is quite heavy. I will look at the internet if women are able to raise cruisers. I think it is easier, because the weigh is lower than at my BMW.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 11 Apr 2023
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Tartu, Estonia
Posts: 1,045
The weight is lower, and also you have wide platforms/footpegs that the bike leans onto. You can always get big hoop bars fitted - then it won't go past 45 degrees at all!



This is always funny to me when people demonstrate picking up a heavy bike using a 1250GS. Sure - that thing has half a meter of cylinder heads and guards sticking out in each direction, between those and the soft luggage, it's barely past the sidestand angle! Now show me a small person picking up a 1290 Adventure without bags...
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 18 Jun 2023
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
Posts: 2
Owner of Rebel 500

Hi, I'm Mark's friend in Hawaii and owner of a 2023 Rebel 500. It's perfect for a shorty like me (5'1"). It's more responsive and fun to ride than the 300. Like Mark stated, the 300 just didn't have enough power, but hey, it was my first ever bike.
I took a look at this thread because I want to find an "adventure" bike that is low enough where I can plant both feet on the ground and feel safe. The more I read, the more I am inclined to stick to my Rebel 500 and customize it for touring on paved roads. I would not consider this bike for any off-road whatsoever.
The tank IS small. I generally fill up at the 140 mile mark, but you could probably squeeze out 150. I says on the display that I am getting about 59 miles to the gallon, but that's debatable.
I sat on a Kawasaki Vulcan, but the seat was too wide where I couldn't touch the ground. If the seat was replaced with a narrower one, it may do the trick, but it is also heavier than the Rebel. I can, with the right leverage, pick up my bike.
I am also looking at the Triumph Tiger 900-GT Low. I haven't gotten around to the dealership for a look yet, but it may be an option (https://www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk...-900-gt/gt-low)
Thanks for giving me a better idea of what I want in the future.

Last edited by Especiallyweirdone16; 18 Jun 2023 at 21:17. Reason: Additional info
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For sale : Honda XRE 300 in Argentina / Bolivia / Chile / Peru rouzba Bikes sell / want, South America 2 28 Apr 2023 11:07
4 sale now: 2017 Honda XRE 300 Rally Santiago, Chile JSey29 Bikes sell / want, South America 0 14 Feb 2022 20:35
Honda Crf L and Rally 300! Snakeboy Which Bike? 12 13 Nov 2020 08:56

 
 

Announcements

Thinking about traveling? Not sure about the whole thing? Watch the HU Achievable Dream Video Trailers and then get ALL the information you need to get inspired and learn how to travel anywhere in the world!

Have YOU ever wondered who has ridden around the world? We did too - and now here's the list of Circumnavigators!
Check it out now
, and add your information if we didn't find you.

Next HU Eventscalendar

HU Event and other updates on the HUBB Forum "Traveller's Advisories" thread.
ALL Dates subject to change.

2024:

Add yourself to the Updates List for each event!

Questions about an event? Ask here

HUBBUK: info

See all event details

 
World's most listened to Adventure Motorbike Show!
Check the RAW segments; Grant, your HU host is on every month!
Episodes below to listen to while you, err, pretend to do something or other...

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

"Ultimate global guide for red-blooded bikers planning overseas exploration. Covers choice & preparation of best bike, shipping overseas, baggage design, riding techniques, travel health, visas, documentation, safety and useful addresses." Recommended. (Grant)



Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ combines into a single integrated program the best evacuation and rescue with the premier travel insurance coverages designed for adventurers.

Led by special operations veterans, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, paramedics and other travel experts, Ripcord is perfect for adventure seekers, climbers, skiers, sports enthusiasts, hunters, international travelers, humanitarian efforts, expeditions and more.

Ripcord travel protection is now available for ALL nationalities, and travel is covered on motorcycles of all sizes!


 

What others say about HU...

"This site is the BIBLE for international bike travelers." Greg, Australia

"Thank you! The web site, The travels, The insight, The inspiration, Everything, just thanks." Colin, UK

"My friend and I are planning a trip from Singapore to England... We found (the HU) site invaluable as an aid to planning and have based a lot of our purchases (bikes, riding gear, etc.) on what we have learned from this site." Phil, Australia

"I for one always had an adventurous spirit, but you and Susan lit the fire for my trip and I'll be forever grateful for what you two do to inspire others to just do it." Brent, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the (video) series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring!" Jennifer, Canada

"Your worldwide organisation and events are the Go To places to for all serious touring and aspiring touring bikers." Trevor, South Africa

"This is the answer to all my questions." Haydn, Australia

"Keep going the excellent work you are doing for Horizons Unlimited - I love it!" Thomas, Germany

Lots more comments here!



Five books by Graham Field!

Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.



Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80G/S.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 01:15.