For a lot of American motorcyclists, tradition is important, and many people want something that looks traditional on the outside, even if it is almost revolutionary on the inside. I think that’s what’s happening with Honda’s new Rebel 1100. The profile says cruiser, but a slightly closer look reveals that Honda is done trying to copy Harley with fake cooling fins and chrome plastic gewgaws (although the Fury et al stay in the lineup). The new Rebel takes its liquid-cooled 1084cc Unicam Parallel Twin from the Africa Twin out into the open.
2021 Honda Rebel 1100 DCT First Ride Review
The Rebel’s cruising ergos worried me about the hip flexors at first, but even my old body adjusted pretty quickly to the high pegs under the 27.5-inch seat. I could dangle my 30-inch legs over the pegs when buzzing to stretch them. For me, the handlebars were a bit forward; later I was able to rotate it down and back a bit, where it was near perfect. For me, the thick seat is thinly shaped and comfortable enough.
For sporty use on back roads, the suspension is marked. With 4.3 inches of travel, a 59.8 inches. wheelbase, that fat 18-inch. Front tire and its low cg, the Rebel relies more on stability than fast handling. But that doesn’t mean it’s not as fun as any other motorcycle to pull around corners. Honda claims it has 35 degrees of rake in both directions, but it seems more. The footrests don’t start to creep until it feels like you’re going fast enough on Dunlop D428 cruiser tires. For a sports bike, 509 pounds is a bit swine; for a cruise it is quite light.
The intended setting of the cruise, however, is cruise, and to chatter around town, the Rebel, especially the DCT, is king. The low seat is ideal for stopping and starting. Sitting there in the Rebel on a nice day is as easy as sitting in a car with an automatic, seeing and being seen. Short bikes make you look taller. Oh Yes… I am a bad boy, a rebel. Great bike!
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