Honda has revealed the exhaust note of its upcoming premium motorcycle which will get launched on 30th September. The solid thumping almost clearly indicates that it is a cruiser and this mystery Honda has a twin-cylinder heart. The cat might not be completely out of the bag but it has shown its tail and that is enough for us to guess its breed. It is most probably the Honda Rebel 500! The 500cc cruiser might have a Japanese origin but by the looks of it, it looks true-blue American!
More details about Honda Rebel 500
Honda India has made it pretty clear in the past that it is getting serious regarding the affordable performance motorcycle segment in India and looks set to bring in its 500cc motorcycles on our shores. Seems like we will be getting the Rebel 500 first and the other 500cc motorcycles including the CBR500R, CB500F and CB500X will follow later.
Honda Rebel 500 overview
Let’s talk about the motorcycle first. Like we mentioned earlier, the 2020 Rebel 500 looks like a true-blue American cruiser. It might prove to be a good alternative for even the Harley-Davidson Street 750, given Honda’s premium quality. The engine is blacked out and so is the frame and other bodywork elements, giving it a sporty look rather than making it look a bit overdone with chrome. It’s fairly simple to look at with bobbed fenders and fat chunky tyres. It features LED lights all around, a circular negative LCD display backlit in white and a comfortable riding posture.
The Honda Rebel’s blacked-out exhaust system blends perfectly with the bike’s overall look. Another critical item in motorcycle design is the headlight. The lamp is bright and precise, while the round nacelle shape, aluminium cast headlight mount and glass lens give the Rebel a character that exudes class. The 2020 Honda Rebel 500’s instrument cluster now includes a gear-position indicator and a fuel-consumption display.
Engine and other specs
The new Rebel 500 is powered by a 471cc, liquid-cooled parallel twin-cylinder engine that’s seen on the CBR500R. The motor makes 46.2PS at 8500rpm and 43.3Nm at 6000rpm, mated to a six-speed transmission and a slipper clutch. Fuel tank capacity is rated at 11.2 litres. The Honda Rebel 500 comes with a claimed mileage of 26kmpl. A seat height of 690mm should be ideal for short riders.
In terms of hardware, the bike comes equipped with a low-slung tubular frame, a 41mm telescopic fork and twin rear shocks from Showa. Its braking setup comprises a single 296mm disc up front and a single disc at the rear. Its 16-inch tyres come wrapped in a 130/90-section front and 150/80-section rear tyre. The entire package weighs in at 191kg kerb. The international version of the Rebel 500 comes with a single seat only with no privilege to accommodate a pillion but if Honda decides to introduce the same package here, it would be a huge risk. We expect Honda to launch a two-seater version here as there is an option to install a custom pillion seat from its wide range of accessories. The 2020 Honda Rebel 500 is offered in three shades: Graphite Black, Matte Blue Jeans Metallic and Matte Armored Silver.
Should Royal Enfield worry?
Some reports in the past have suggested that Honda India is looking forward to taking the fight up to Royal Enfield and to do that, it will surely require a proper, retro-styled cruiser. The Rebel 500 will fit the bill perfectly. Although, currently, there isn’t any 500cc motorcycle available in Royal Enfield’s portfolio, but given the Rebel 500’s twin-cylinder configuration, it will lock horns with the Royal Enfield 650 twins.
Comparatively, the twins draw power from a newly developed 648cc, parallel-twin, air-cooled, 8-valve, SOHC, fuel-injected engine that produces a maximum power of 47 Bhp and peak torque of 52 Nm. It gets a slip-assist clutch with a 6-speed transmission. Even after the recent price hike, the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 remains the most affordable twin-cylinder motorcycle on sale in our country. We don’t expect the Rebel 500 to take this tag away from the Interceptor 650 because that would require heavy localization. But if Honda really wants to make a dent in Royal Enfield’s sales, it will have to price the Rebel 500 aggressively. The Honda Rebel 500’s price could hover in the INR 4-4.5 Lakh mark.
The Honda Rebel 300 makes sense too!
We can’t help but think of the possibility of seeing the Rebel 300 accompanying its 500cc cousin. The Honda Rebel 300 will be priced much lower than the Rebel 500, if it comes here, that is. The Honda Rebel 300 has a 286cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine which churns out 30.4PS at 8000rpm and 27.4Nm at 6500rpm. It works alongside a 6-speed transmission with assist and slipper clutch.
The motorcycle uses 41mm telescopic front fork and twin shock absorbers at the rear. The small 16-inch alloys are wrapped with fat 130-section front and 150-section rear tyres. Brakes include disc on both ends.
Whether Honda brings in the Rebel 500 or the Rebel 300 or in a highly unlikely scenario, both! But there’s one thing for sure, Honda is looking for some serious action in a segment other than gearless scooters and commuter motorcycles, for a change.