Welcome to G Style Motorcycles! Not really a new segment but an addition to our #ThisWeekInTheDriveway series. I definitely didn’t start 2018 thinking about getting a motorcycle, but after a recent review and the journey it took to make that review happen, this is how the year will end. You see I had the chance to review the Polaris Slingshot SLR, but in New York State that requires a motorcycle license or M class endorsement on your license. Not wanting to pass up this chance, I went through the process in the month or so leading up to the review pick up date working on that. I ace my learner’s permit test (18 correct out of 20), took a MSF Basic Rider’s course and received my completion card which allowed me take it to the DMV for my M class endorsement and now I was ready to roll.
Somewhere Between Review Prep & Pick Up Date I Brought a Bike
I completed all the leg work and I was ready to review the Slingshot. But it is New York State, so you need a helmet. Okay I figure I get a decent helmet for $100 bucks and I was ready to go. I had still about a month before the review, and I thought to myself….”The Slingshot doesn’t ride like a motorcycle, it is more car than bike”. During that MSF Basic Rider’s course, I went from never ridden a motorcycle to being able to with nerves move around semi-comfortable around an empty black top. I acquired new skills that would surely go away without more practice time. When would I ever be on a motorcycle again? This revelation let me to think back about a bucket list item I had when I was in my 20s.
Getting a motorcycle was always one of those bucket list items, but as time went on I never got around to it. Back then I wanted a Ninja or some other sports bike and I want to do tricks (think 1994 Ruff Ryders!). Now however I’m older and honestly just wanted to ride, so I knew the cruiser bike was more my speed and had my interest. I got the thought in my head that now might be a good time to get one. I searched the web and when I looked for the best beginner bike, across the net the Honda Rebel came up a lot. It turns out Honda just redid the Rebel, giving it a new design for 2017/2018. Enter the Honda Rebel 300!
The Honda Rebel 300 looked like a perfect bike to start on. It is approachable, affordable, and had a good seat height. I’m not that tall and I can flat foot it while sitting on the bike, and I’ve seen some really short people (about 5’0 feet) be able to do so as well. The Honda Rebel 300 starts off at $4,449, which was a great price for something to learn on and hone my skills but not too expensive I’d cry if I wrecked it (which I really don’t plan to do either!).
First Time Outside the Parking Lot
Unlike during the MSF basic rider course, after I purchased the Honda Rebel 300 I was going to have to pick it up from the dealer and take it home. I would be going speed well above the max of 18 mph I did during the course. I plotted out a course that avoided the highway and along the way the speed limits were 45-55 mph. Again the Honda Rebel 300 is quite approachable and though it wasn’t the motorcycle I learned to ride on, I was able to hop on and feel my way around it quite easily. I did a few laps around the dealership’s build and then I was ready to go. I had to follow the wife back as I didn’t have anything to mount my phone with the GPS yet haha. I’m not a shame to admit she had to pull over and wait for me to catch up as I wasn’t really going cruising yet and just getting up to 45 mph was unnerving at first.
The Honda Rebel 300 (and it’s higher model the 500) doesn’t have an RPM gauge or a current gear in its display. The display is minimal and has the time, fuel gauge, speedometer, and odometer/trip counter. This can be a challenge for some as you start to really learn to ride and get to know your bike. The RPM gauge helps you to know when to change gears, and a gear gauge would be useful to see what current gear you’re in. If you have never driven a manual car as well, it will take a little time to get use to changing the gears at the right time without this information. I was fortunate in this regards as I have driven manual cars and when it came time to shift, I would do so by listening to how the engine sounds. The most challenging point for me is remembering what gear I’m now in. The Rebel 300 has a 6 speed transmission. Knowing when you are in 1st, 2nd, and 6th is pretty easy, it’s that 3rd-5th is where I forget. Again I tend to listen to the engine sounds and adjust accordingly, but it is something to note if you want to pick up this motorcycle as your starting one.
Now We’re Cruising!
At the time of publishing this post, I’ve been riding now since mid summer. My comfort level has increase and I have hit some personal milestones. I’ve become comfortable cruising at the 45-65 mph range, I’ve done much highway driving now, I’ve trek on the bike for about an hour and half from where I live in upstate New York to New York City, and I’ve hit a top speed of 86 mph. If you are considering just local riding I’ve seen people suggest that the 300 will work fine, but if you plan to be on the highway they nudge you to get the 500. I went with the 300 for the cost, and I can say that you can do so too even if you want to do some highway riding. I’ve been able to ride with the flow of traffic at speeds of 65-70 mph without any issue and had some power left to play with if needed. This will be affected by weight and any other cargo you have though. I’m about 230 lbs and with my backpack of tech gear could be another 10 lbs or so and haven’t had any issues. So while the Rebel 500 will give you a little more humph with the engine, it isn’t the definitive answer if you want to save on money as well.
The Honda Rebel 300 and 500 comes in the same colors no matter which model you choose. For the 2018 model, it comes in Candy Lighting Blue, Black, Red, Matte Metallic Silver. If these are the colors you are interesting act now. For 2019 I can see they have changed up the available colors and there are less of them. I’m sure still a great bike, but if these colors choices are the ones you wants, you’ll need the 2018 model.
Here’s To the Journey
So what’s next for this motorcycle era? I’ll be riding the 2018 Honda Rebel 300 until the first flake of snow has fallen and then away for the season. During that time I’ll be doing research on interesting motorcycles we’ll try to review, accessories and tech goodies for those that ride on two wheels. So when next riding season arrives, you’ll know what to pick up for the journey. The 2018 Honda Rebel 300 has a msrp of $4449 + 330 destination charge (Rebel 500 starts at $6199). Has a fuel range of 230 getting about estimate of 78 mpg.