– New 2023 Honda Rebel 500 Changes Explained in Detailed Buyer’s Guide / Review (CMX500) –
One of the industry’s best-selling small-displacement cruiser motorcycle models, the Rebel 500 is back for 2023 and with some new paint options being thrown its way!
At the time of typing this, American Honda hasn’t officially released the US spec 2023 Rebel 500 BUT… Europe has! Which gives us a gives us a glimpse at what might coming down the pipeline for us here in the USA on one of Honda’s longest running platforms that used to be the Rebel 250 but now has been split between the Rebel 300 and Rebel 500! Once American Honda has made their official announcement and I can share what our colors will be, pricing etc – I’ll update everything below.
Quick 2023 Rebel 500 Info / Specs:
- 2023 Rebel Model Options / Variations:
- Option 1: Rebel 500
- Price / MSRP: TBA
- Option 2: Rebel 500 ABS
- Price / MSRP: TBA
- Option 3: Rebel 500 ABS SE (also known as Rebel S around the world)
- Price / MSRP: TBA
- Option 1: Rebel 500
- 2023 Rebel 500 Release Date – TBA
- 2023 Rebel 500 USA Colors – TBA
- 2023 Rebel 500 Colors – Candy Diesel Red, Pearl Smokey Gray, Matte Gunpowder Black Metallic, Titanium Metallic
- 2023 Rebel 500 Horsepower – 45.9 HP @ 8,500 RPM
- 2023 Rebel 500 Torque – 31.9 ft/lb @ 6,000 RPM
- 2023 Rebel 500 Front Suspension – 41mm telescopic fork; 4.8 in. travel
- 2023 Rebel 500 Rear Suspension – Twin shock; 3.8 in. travel
- 2023 Rebel 500 Fuel Tank Capacity – 2.95 gal. (0.6 gal. Reserve)
- 2023 Rebel 500 Miles Per Gallon – 61 MPG
- 2023 Rebel 500 Weight – 408 lbs (curb weight) / ABS 414 lbs
- 2023 Rebel 500 Seat Height – 27.2 in.
- 2023 Rebel 500 Wheelbase – 58.7 in.
- 2023 Rebel 500 Changes – Yes, but only in the way of new color options
- 2023 Rebel 500 Review Contents:
- 1. | 2023 Honda Rebel 500 Introduction
- 2. | 2023 Honda Rebel 500 Model Overview
- 3. | 2023 Honda Rebel 500 Key Features
- 3.1 | 2023 Honda Rebel 500 Chassis
- 3.2 | 2023 Honda Rebel 500 Equipment & Styling
- 3.3 | 2023 Honda Rebel 500 Engine
- 4. | 2023 Honda Rebel 500 Videos
- 5. | 2023 Honda Rebel 500 Pictures
- 6. | 2023 Honda Rebel 500 Specs
For many riders in their early 20s – Generation Z, who have grown up through the digital age – motorcycles mean so much more than just transport. They need to represent a lifestyle, an attitude, and allow them to express their own individual identity. These riders’ expectations are different to those of the motorcycling mainstream and the machines that speak to them reflect this. They have to fit in with their life but must also contain the potential for further individualization. Fusing tradition and ground-breaking new ideas and perspectives, the CMX500 Rebel set out to be that motorcycle.
Showcasing a classic, timeless look, but imbuing it with a forward-looking, contemporary style all of its own, the CMX500 Rebel was an instant hit on its introduction for the 2017 season. Its continued popularity ever since – including among female riders, who accounted for 17% of new buyers in 2021 – has helped make it the one of the best selling models in Honda’s lineup.
For 2020, the Rebel received more comfort and practicality thanks to a revised seat and suspension settings, plus a gear position indicator. Both the headlight and taillight were new, and the addition of LED indicators meant all lighting became LED. A refined exhaust system, including new exhaust sensor, ensured EURO5 compliance and more that we’ll dive into below.
Accessible, easy to ride and easy to live with, the Rebel goes its own way but is also a blank canvas, ready for whatever its owner’s imagination has in store. It carries on mechanically unchanged for 2023 but gets three brand new – and suitably cool – standard paint choices and a new contemporary color for the ‘S’ Edition.
Development of the Rebel began in North America, with an outlook geared toward firing the imagination of a younger generation of riders in a different way to traditional cruiser motorcycles. Powered by a 471cc parallel twin-cylinder engine, with strong bottom end torque and a smooth, linear power delivery, the Rebel is A2 licence friendly. It’s also slim, with a low seat height and therefore easy to manage at low speeds. The riding position is relaxed and neutral, with gently outstretched arms matched to mid-mounted footpegs.
The Rebel’s tubular steel frame draws fresh, contemporary lines into stripped-back, fat-tyred ‘bobber’ style. Blacked out to the maximum, with the minimum of paint, it also switches from solo-only to pillion-possible via two bolts.
- 2023 Honda Rebel 500 Colors:
- Matte Gunpowder Black Metallic
- Pearl Smokey Gray
- Candy Diesel Red
- Titanium Metallic (Rebel S)
- * At the time of writing this, American Honda hasn’t announced their colors yet and the options shown above are European spec colors for 2023.
- Recent Rebel 500 Changes:
- New assist / slipper clutch reduces clutch-lever operation load by 30% for reduced effort in stop-and-go situations, and enhances controlled deceleration.
- Revised fork features new buffing on inner pipe for smoother action plus stiffer spring rate and revised oil levels for improved handling and added comfort.
- Shock damper tube now uses nitrogen gas to stabilize damping force, while stiffer spring rate improves handling and a revised bump rubber maximizes reaction force.
- Repositioned and reshaped LED headlight is paired to new LED turn signals and a redesigned LED taillight to reinforce iconic look.
- Updated LCD meter with gear-position indicator and fuel consumption provides pertinent information to the rider.
- The frame includes an innovative rear loop (we talked about this a while back here) that separates the thicker seat from the textured metal mudguard; the bolt-on cast aluminum subframe provides further scope for customization.
- Seat has new thickness and density for increased comfort.
- * All of these Rebel 500 changes / updates happened for the 2020 model year
- Low slung tubular steel frame
- 130/90-16 front and 150/80-16 rear tires
- Compliant, supple damping front and rear; shocks nitrogen charged
To support the Rebel’s low-slung, look its attractive tubular steel frame grips the engine in three places and is designed to be as narrow as possible around the rider’s inseam. The fork spring rates and oil volume are optimized to give compliant damping and a smooth ride. Trail is set at 110mm with 28° rake; the 30° off-set of the forks, combined with 58.7 in. (1490mm) wheelbase, allows a low 27.2 in. (690mm) seat height. Mid-mounted footpegs help ensure a natural riding position, with balanced and neutral steering.
The frame includes an innovative rear loop (we talked about this a while back here) that separates the thicker seat from the textured metal mudguard; the bolt-on cast aluminum subframe provides further scope for customization.
At 230mm apart the 41mm front fork stanchions are set wide for handling rigidity, comfort and style. The tubular steel swingarm has a 45mm diameter and works twin, nitrogen-charged shock absorbers that feature 5 step preload settings.
Dunlop tires are fitted as standard sized 130/90-16 front and 150/80-16 rear. The style of the 16-inch cast aluminum wheels is crisp and simple, with the 296mm front disc acting as mirror to the spoke pattern. A twin-piston front caliper is matched by a single-piston rear.
- Lean and low ‘bobber’ styling
- Negative LCD display with white backlight and gear position indicator
- Pillion pad and rear pegs easily removed for customization
- Factory fitted accessory kit available
Two key words ran headlined throughout the Rebel’s development program: ‘SIMPLE’ and ‘RAW’. But to do so much with so little is an art form in itself, an exercise in minimalist design where every detail matters.
And the Rebel does not disappoint; rolling on fat tires, its low and lean ‘bobber’ silhouette – crowned by the steeply raked 2.9 gallon (11.2L) fuel tank and fat handlebars – sits the rider firmly ‘in’ the machine. From every angle of its stripped form it expresses an off-beat individuality.
Everything that can be is blacked out, which highlights the Rebel’s lithe design as well as underlining the subtle paintwork. All lighting is LED, and the evocative round headlight features a compact 175mm diameter lens and die-cast aluminum mount. The ultra-thin oval tail-light and license plate light match the Rebel’s low-down stance; mini circular LED indicators measure only 55mm in diameter, with a circular position light included in the front indicators.
The speedo is a compact 100mm dial with negative LCD display and white backlight and is both striking and effective and features a gear position indicator and fuel consumption display. The ignition is housed below the left side of the fuel tank.
The pillion, passenger seat and rear footpegs are easily removed (the passenger seat comes standard in other countries but is an accessory you have to add in the USA) and the accessories line-up includes a rear rack, backrest, tank pads and flyscreen, a nylon saddlebag also available alongside the leather items.
What is the Rebel SE / S Edition? An ‘S’ edition, referred to as the ‘SE’ in the USA – now finished in new Titanium Metallic paint for 2023 – comes complete with factory-fit headlight cowl with smoke screen, retro front fork covers and boots and a diamond-stitch style seat.
- 471cc liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder engine
- Assist/slipper clutch aids control
- 120mm ‘shotgun’ style exhaust
The Rebel’s 471cc 8-valve, liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder engine is drawn from the sporty CBR500R. For cruising duties, revised PGM-FI fuel injection mapping and different valve and ignition timings mean its character is shifted away from the high rpm-focused performance of the CBR to a torque-heavy bottom-end output, with smooth and linear delivery throughout the rev-range. Punchy maximum torque of 31.9 ft/lb torque @ 6,000rpm combines with a peak horsepower rating of 45.9 @ 8,500rpm.
It’s a power unit that strikes a great balance between physical size and flexible output. Bore and stroke is set at 67mm x 66.8mm with compression ratio of 10.7:1. Internally the cylinder head uses roller rocker arms; shim-type valve adjustment allows them to be light, for lower valve-spring load and reduced friction.
A silent (SV Chain) cam chain has the surface of its pins treated with Vanadium, reducing friction with increased protection against dust. Inlet valve diameter is 26.0mm with exhaust valve diameter of 21.5mm.
Friction is reduced by the addition of striations on the piston skirt (a finish that increases surface area, introducing gaps in which oil can flow for better lubrication). An AB 1 salt bath process, used after isonite nitriding, forms a protective oxidization membrane.
The crankshaft pins are phased at 180° and a primary couple-balancer sits behind the cylinders, close to the bike’s centre of gravity. The primary and balancer gears use scissor gears, reducing noise. The crank counterweight is specifically shaped for couple-balance and its light weight allows the engine to spin freely, with reduced inertia.
The crankcases use centrifugally cast thin-walled sleeves. Their internal design reduces the ‘pumping’ losses that can occur with a 180° phased firing order. A deep oil sump holds 3.38qt (3.2L). Slick to use up or down the six-speed gearbox is designed to offer effortless changes, especially around town. An assist/slipper clutch makes the shift lighter and smoother, and controls rear wheel ‘hop’ on rapid downshifting.
The 2-1 exhaust scrubs spent gases in its catalyzer, which then speeds them through its first chamber into the second resonator chamber; the sound produced has a heavy-duty pulsing feel that fits the torque delivery. A Linear Air Flow (LAF) sensor and internal adjustments to the 120mm diameter ‘shotgun’ style muffler help the engine’s EURO5 compliance.
A full range of official Honda Accessories are available for the Rebel 500 and Rebel 300 and help create their own custom look. Available accessories include but are not limited to stylish main seat, headlight cowl, meter visor, fork cover, and new saddlebag that can be removed without the use of tools and comes with shoulder straps for easy use when you leave the bike.
Rebel 500 ABS
|Type||471cc liquid-cooled 20º parallel-twin four-stroke|
DOHC; four valves per cylinder
|Bore x Stroke||67.0 mm x 66.8 mm|
|Induction||PGM-FI; 34 mm throttle bodies|
Computer-controlled digital transistorized w/ electronic advance
#520 chain; 15T/40T
41mm telescopic fork; 4.8 in. travel
Twin shock; 3.8 in. travel
Single 296 mm disc w/ hydraulic calipers;
Single 296 mm disc w/ hydraulic
Single 240 mm disc w/ hydraulic calipers;
Single 240 mm disc w/ hydraulic
|Rake (Caster Angle)||
110 mm (4.3 in)
|Seat Height||27.2 in.|
|Ground Clearance||5.3 in.|
|Fuel Capacity||2.95 gal. (0.6 gal. Reserve)|
* Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride. Meets current EPA standards. Models sold in California meet current CARB standards and may differ slightly due to emissions equipment.