How Long Do Honda Rebels Last? 8 Examples

The Honda Rebel is the quintessential beginner’s motorcycle.

Its motor has gone through a few redesigns over the years, never departing too far from its status as a small cruiser equipped with a twin-cylinder somewhere between 250cc and 500cc.

Honda is praised for its reliability, but since the Rebel is a beginner motorcycle, you may be asking yourself how long do Honda Rebels last? Let’s find out.

Here’s the short answer to how long a Honda Rebel lasts:

A well-maintained Honda Rebel can run problem-free for at least 80,000 miles. Since the average motorcycle covers 3,000-5,000 miles per year, a bike with a lifespan of 80,000 miles can last around 25 years. 

How Many Miles Do You Get on a Honda Rebel?

Honda is known for reliability, and it designed the Rebel to be a cost-efficient, hassle-free motorcycle for beginners to learn on.

While some Rebels have spent years being shuffled from first-timer to first-timer, other Rebel owners get so attached to their little cruisers that they keep them for decades,

One rider I encountered clocked 50,000 miles on his Rebel, having bought it with less than 3,000 miles on the odometer.

The only things the owner had done in 50,000 miles of owning his Rebel was to extend the pegs 4″ forward to make it more comfortable for his long legs and alter the seat to make the reach taller, reducing the seat’s hogback shape so he could sit back more.

Besides his daily commute, this Rebel Rider took four trips, averaging around 4,000 miles total.

This shows that he crushes his freeway miles with a wide-opened throttle, averaging 75-80 mph, and after 50,000 miles and 4 tours, he reports virtually no wear-and-tear.

He’s not the only rider I’ve found who expressed with joy his inclination to stack miles on a Honda Rebel.

One Rebel owner has taken a minimum of one cross-country trip per year on his, clocking a whopping  130,000 miles on his bike and claiming he’s had zero problems.

Please also read our article about how long the Honda CBR 650Rs last.

What Is Considered High Mileage for These Models?

We’ve already talked about that magic 80,000-mile life-expectancy number. But to be honest, how many miles a motorcycle has on the clock isn’t always the deciding factor for its life span.

When in the market for a used Honda Rebel, it’s important to keep in mind that the mileage isn’t as relevant as its service history.

80,000 miles may be considered high mileage on a Honda Rebel.

Still, if a Rebel has positive maintenance records, no sign of physical damage, and no oil leaks, there’s no reason it can’t run healthily for much longer.

Honda outlines maintenance for each interval in the Honda Shine’s service manual. Performing these maintenance inspections at each interval and following the service manual could keep your Honda Rebel running for longer.

When considering whether a Rebel is a high mileage, cross-reference the motorcycle’s maintenance upkeep with the service schedule outlined in the Honda Rebel’s owner’s manual.

If you’re thinking about buying a used Rebel with close to 80,000 miles on it but the previous owner regularly maintained the bike, then the mileage count isn’t that significant.

Use the high mileage to get a cheaper deal and cruise out of there like the Rebel-Rider you now are.

Make sure to also read our article about common problems with the Honda ST1300.

How Many Years Does a Honda Rebel Typically Last?

Because the Honda Rebel’s lifespan ballparks around 80,000 miles and the average rider puts about 3,000 miles on their odometer per year, it’s safe to assume that a well-maintained Honda Rebel can last for around 25 years.

For more proof of that number, consider that the Rebel came out in 1985, and there are still bikes from that year ripping around the world.

One rider in the UK claimed he rode his bike to work every day the weather permitted. He noted that his ride was 16 miles each way; 14 of those miles were interstate during rush hour.

The Rebel owner highlights the fact that he has to push 85 mph on the way to work and 70 mph on the way home. And not only does his Rebel perform well without an issue for his commute, but he also takes it 60 miles to the lake on his days off.

He points out that he changes his oil every 1000 miles, more frequently, since the bike’s simple engine design has no oil filter.

Since it only takes 1.6 quarts of oil and has no oil filter, it’s faster and cheaper than maintenance on any other bike he’s ever owned.

This die-hard Rebel-Rider has pushed and cared for his bike like this for 5 years, averaging 15,000 miles per year without a single issue since he’s bought it.

Is the Honda Rebel Reliable?

Like other motorcycle brands that have made style or heritage their namesake, Honda has always put reliability first. To this day, Honda’s name makes motorcycle riders feel secure, and this entry-level pavement-puppy is no different.

Honda Rebels are one of the easiest bikes to maintain, which means previous owners are likely to have kept up with the bike when they had. The more you service your bike, the more reliable it stays.

Doing your own oil and chain maintenance on a Rebel is a breeze, though, and simple and adjustable valves mean you don’t have to get shims to do it. Again, easy maintenance, simple motor, more reliable.

Another telltale sign of the Rebel’s reliability is that riders regularly report 70 miles to the gallon, with some special cases claiming up to 90 mpg.

Fuel efficiency reflects how hard the bike is or isn’t working, so a bike like the Rebel getting mileage that high per gallon indicates a straightforward and stress-free motor you can rely on to do its job.

Also read our article about the common problems with the Yamaha Diversion.

Does a Honda Rebel Last Longer than Other Motorcycles?

Honda Rebels last a long time, and there a few variables that play into this. The first is the availability of parts for Rebels, even for older models.

Many other bikes change drastically year to year, making parts harder to come by.

Because Honda Rebel parts are still in production, working to repair and maintain the older models is less of a hassle. Thus, Rebel owners can enjoy a properly maintained bike for over 80,000 miles at full throttle.

One rider, for example, said that he was able to keep his bike on the road for over 100,000 miles by buying a cheap used Rebel and transferring any parts that wear out from his spare to his daily rider.

This option is unavailable to the owners of a less common, more expensive bike, but readily available for a bike as cheap and easy to maintain as a Honda Rebel.

What Typically Breaks First on a Honda Rebel?

The first thing to go on a Honda Rebel are the valves and the seats, then the ring seal. Once this happens, its oil consumption increases.

Still, one rider claims that although he’s changed the valves on his 97 Rebel, he’s still never had a breakdown, maintaining that he rides as hard as anyone.

After 60,000 miles, he liked his 97 Rebel so much that when he could afford it, instead of buying a new, more advanced bike, he bought a second Rebel!

Another rider claims that the only issue he’s ever had was the handlebar switches.

The owner says his signal switch broke, then came loose in the housing. But a quick switch replacement had his Rebel back in action in no time, and he hasn’t had an issue since.

10 Great Tips to Make Sure your Honda Rebel will Last Long

Here are things you can do to improve the longevity of your Honda Rebel motorcycle: 

1. Keep Your Honda Rebel Clean

Gunk doesn’t just look bad. It initiates the development of rust.

Wash your Rebel at least once a month, and wipe it down twice a week.

2. Keep Your Honda Rebel’s Tire Pressure Full

Pushing on with low tire pressure makes your engine work harder and burns more fuel.

Keeping your tires a few PSI more than the manufacturer recommended amount is ideal for better mileage and your Rebel’s longevity.

3. Keep Your Honda Rebel’s Brake Pads Fresh

In addition to the apparent dangers of reduced stopping power, damaged or soiled brake pads can cause lasting damage to your Rebel’s rotors.

4. Keep Your Rebel’s Chain Tight

A loose drive chain reduces mileage, which means the bike is working harder, but the threat to your Rebel’s longevity doesn’t end there.

If a loose chain pops off, it can damage the casing and other parts of the bike, but an over-tightened chain can snap. Keep your Honda Rebel chain right where it needs to be to enjoy it for years to come.

5. Keep Your Rebel’s Clutch Adjusted

Clutch plates wear down from force, and eventually, the clutch lever loosens, making shifting gears more difficult.

Inspect the bike to ensure the clutch lever has an adequate amount of free play but isn’t too loose. If the clutch lever is too tight, you may end up burning the clutch plates.

7. Keep Your Rebel’s Oil Fresh and Full

Changing the engine oil regularly will keep your Rebel’s motor lubricated and smooth operating.

Also, keep the oil full to the recommended amount and use Honda’s oil blends to enjoy a longer engine life.

8. Keep Your Rebel’s Wheel’s Aligned

Poor wheel alignment forces the motor to work harder, which chips away at its longevity.

Your Honda Rebel will last longer if you occasionally take it to a Honda-literate mechanic and check if the wheel alignment is true.

9. Keep Your Rebel’s Battery Charged

Due to a myriad of functions being powered at once, the battery on your Honda Rebel needs to be charged every few months. If you don’t use the motorcycle regularly, your battery can’t charge

So, if you plan on leaving your Honda Rebel sitting for long periods, charge its battery. Be vigilant about what type of charger you’re using to avoid overcharging and damaging your battery.

10. Keep Riding your Honda Rebel

Keep your motorcycle’s fluids flowing and fresh and avoid corrosion and gunk-build-up by putting your tires to the street, hitting the throttle, and letting your Honda Rebel rip!

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