The Honda Rebel 250 is probably the bike many of us rode when we were taking our Basic Rider Course. Even though I didn’t know what I was doing back then, when I rode the bike while trying to get my license, I could still tell it was a bit of a turd. A lack of experience meant I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why, though I chalked it up to being used and abused after having gone through the hands of many new riders.
For this Church feature, we look back at the 1996 version of the Rebel 250 and see if current memories align with what MO testers thought of the bike back in the day. Did a new Rebel provide a little more enjoyment than an old, abused one?
First Impression: 1996 Honda Rebel 250
Rebel With A Cause
The Rebel 250 has wandered in and out of Honda’s lineup for several years. For 1996 the Rebel is in, and Honda will probably find it in their heart to forgive you if you didn’t notice this while drooling over the CBR900RR or the Valkyrie.
Yes, the Rebel is back to fill a small but stable market niche for a lightweight novice bike with a low seat. There’s only one way to say it: This bike was made for short people.
Very short people, actually. At a relatively stubby 5’6″, our shortest tester was barely small enough to fit on the bike. The suspension didn’t bottom out and his elbows didn’t touch his knees, but it would have been much more comfortable if the bars, pegs, and seat had all been about an
inch further from each other.