Riding the 2020 Honda Rebel 300 to a variety of places, it’s easy to say, “You really do meet the nicest people on a Honda.” Pull-up on the Rebel 300, and the conversation usually opens with, “Nice bike; what cc is it?” The profile is industrial old school, which I love, and the design gives a meaty impression that belies the Rebel 300’s easy personality. Yes, it looks good, but how does this latest version of the Honda Rebel 300 work?
1. The low seat height inspires confidence, especially for new and shorter riders. I’m 5’ 6” with a 29-inch inseam, and on the Rebel 300, I can reach the ground flat-footed. That, coupled with a low center of gravity, makes maneuvering super easy. No worries about parking, stopping at the lights, and so on—a bonus for newbie riders, along with the simply vertically challenged like me. The Rebel makes me feel comfortable.
2. The Rebel’s riding position is very natural. The new solo seat is fantastic and made me feel snugly settled within the bike. It has a supportive width and doesn’t overheat the nether region, like some can. The footpegs are positioned slightly forward, so they help give the 2020 Honda Rebel 300 that quick-find sure-footing when you stop suddenly, or expectedly.
3. The handlebar position is very user-friendly. The bars make for no-strain riding; they’re shoulder-width and a comfortable height. The grips are slim, and the controls are all friendly to smaller hands.
4. The 286cc single-cylinder motor is a lot more potent than many would expect. With the same engine used in the CB300R sportbike, take-off is effortless on the 2020 Rebel 300. You move out of first gear ASAP, then the DOHC thumper pulls you up through the gears without reluctance. There is no whining or strained high pitch from the motor. Although I saw a stable 92 mph top speed, the Rebel 300 is happy to cruise on the freeway at around 75 mph—not bad for a little single.
5. Around town, the Rebel 300’s motor has pleasant rumble. I enjoyed that the Rebel engine pulses along with a friendly low tone. It is an excellent urban ride.
6. Gear selection and gear changes are natural, and the new clutch helps. The Rebel has easy, light-feeling gear changes, with no clunking and no problem finding neutral. The six-speed gearbox’s ratios are well spaced, so I never found myself in the wrong gear, whether upshifting or downshifting. There’s a new assist-and-slip clutch, and Honda claims a 30 percent reduction in effort. It’s definitely a light touch, making everything easier.
7. The substantial looking Rebel gets respect from other road users. Sometimes a smaller motorcycle can leave you feeling intimidated amongst the trucks other vehicles. However, the Rebel 300 exudes the demeanor of a road warrior of a larger displacement motorcycle. The assertive style, with fat Dunlop tires, gives a substantial look, so drivers allow room for you. Freeway riding, the Rebel is steady when switching lanes and accelerating fast as possible up on-ramps. Around town, you don’t have to fight for your space in a lane.
8. The Rebel has forgiving handling and has impressive cornering clearance. I would consider myself an intermediate rider, and 2020 Honda Rebel 300 enabled me to navigate well on group rides. It goes where I point it, with no dodgy moments. On canyon rides, the Rebel 300 gives me the confidence to play around with the twisty bends.
9. The suspension is upgraded this year for a firmer ride, and is more than adequate. Honda smoothed out the fork action, while stiffening the springs and changing the oil level in the legs. The twin shocks get new nitrogen-charged dampers and stiffer springs. Whenever I managed to hit big bumps, the Rebel 300 held me in good stead. The joints on California’s freeways can be radical, yet I managed to keep my nerve and didn’t feel jarred. While it is stiffer than previously, the Rebel suspension is not too harsh at all for my 140 pounds. On the worn-out road surfaces sometimes found on the high-speed and winding Angeles Crest Highway, the Rebel stayed on-line and felt secure.
10. The optional headlight cowl is discreet, yet effective. At first glance, the Rebel 300 has a naked look. However, a closer look reveals a small headlight cowl ($96) over the new LED headlight. It is amazingly good and keeps buffeting to a minimum. This lack of straining against the wind is aided the seated down in the bike position, as opposed to that perched on top feel. I was perfectly comfortable at freeway speeds
11. The new LCD instrument panel is easy to read at a glance. The dash clearly shows gear position (new), speed, fuel level, and fuel consumption (new), all in a digital format nicely housed in a single retro-round case.
12. Parking up was made super comfy with an easy to use sidestand. Sometimes a sidestand can hide away and be tricky—not so with the Rebel 300. It is easy to flick out and offers a nice angle for parking.
13. The brakes work really well; I felt super safe. When braking gently or firmly with vigor, the disc brakes feel good. The low center of gravity helps this secure feeling, and I experienced zero brown-trouser moments. ABS is available as a $300 option, and I recommend everyone get that upgrade, which this test motorcycle has.
14. The accessory soft fabric saddlebag is a handy size and design. The Rebel 300 I tested had a left-side black-fabric waterproof saddlebag ($106 + $70 mounting bracket). Its rugged looks coordinate with the personality of the motorcycle, and there is also a matching right-side bag available from Honda Accessories. The saddlebag will not house a full-face helmet, but certainly is large enough for essentials and, for me, it’s enough for overnighting. The design cleverly does double-duty as a casual off-bike bag thanks to an over-the-shoulder strap. It clips on and off the Rebel with an easy-action switch and minimal movement. The saddlebag has a full-length zipper, so it closes completely.
15. I love the design of the light fittings, especially the look and finish of the new rear light. In keeping with the overall old-school design, the functional newly LED turn signals have that round bullet-styling, and they’re not of the tiny type that one can hardly see. Likewise, the new oblong LED taillight is neatly tucked in, giving the rear-end an excellent finish. My riding buddies say the headlight is nicely visible. Considering the stealthy low-key paint coloring and matte darkness, the Rebel is clearly visible on the road.
16. The 2020 Honda Rebel 300 doesn’t challenge you to a fight; it gives you a fun time and makes you look really cool. If this is the image and riding style you’re drawn to then, you’re bound to enjoy this nimble, fun moto. It is a fantastic, reassuring motorcycle for new riders, yet capable of fun for experienced motorcyclists.
Photography by Don Williams
- Helmet: Arai Quantum-X
- Communications: Sena SFR
- Jacket: Alpinestars Stella Renne Denim/Leather
- Gloves: Alpinestars Stella Atom
- Jeans: Alpinestars Stella Angeles
- Boots: Alpinestars Stella Kerry Waterproof
2020 Honda Rebel 300 Specs
- Type: Single cylinder canted 20-degrees forward
- Bore x stroke: 76.0 x 63.0mm
- Displacement: 286cc
- Compression ratio: 10.7:1
- Valvetrain: DOHC; 4 valves
- Fueling: EFI w/ 38mm throttle body
- Transmission: Six-speed
- Clutch: Assist-and-slipper
- Final drive: Chain
- Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 41mm fork; 4.8 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Spring-preload adjustable shocks; 3.8 inches
- Tires: Dunlop D404
- Front tire: 130/90 x 16
- Rear tire: 150/80 x 16
- Front brake: 296mm disc w/ Nissin caliper
- Rear brake: 240mm disc w/ Nissin caliper
- ABS: Optional ($300)
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 58.7 inches
- Rake: 28 degrees
- Fork angle: 30 degrees
- Trail: 4.3 inches
- Seat height: 27.2 inches
- Fuel capacity: 3 gallons
- Curb weights: 364 pounds (ABS: 364 pounds)
- Colors: Matte Fresco Brown; Graphite Black Metallic; Matte Blue Jeans Metallic
- 2020 Honda Rebel 300 Price: $4499 MSRP
- 2020 Honda Rebel 300 ABS Price: $4799 MSRP ($5071 as tested)
2020 Honda Rebel 300 Review Photo Gallery