Rebel with claws

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Words: NZ Autocar
4 Dec 2020

Well Honda did mention it intended to use the Africa Twin engine in other applications and recently the company announced that the Rebel (or CMX500) would be getting a big brother, to be known here as Rebel 1100.

Expect it here before winter next year, and while the bottom line is unclear at present, we’d suggest it should kick off at around $15-$16k mark if US pricing (sub $US10,000) is any indication.

What’s a bit unusual about the larger Rebel is that you will be able to buy it as an automatic, for it features a Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT). The idea is that the Rebel 1100 will ‘suit a variety of rider types and deliver wide-ranging riding experiences’. Expect a premium of around $1500 for the self-shifter.

Honda reckons this has ‘sport-worthy components and a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio’, and the images show the bike in the company of a Fireblade, doing a spot of canyon carving.

The company claims the DCT version weighs in at 230kg. Honda suggests it will have ‘brisk acceleration and exhilarating cornering’.

The engine uses the 1100cc parallel twin from Honda’s big adventure bike, and it features a 270-degree crankshaft design, for that V-twin vibe.

With the optional DCT, riders can select manual shifting if they so choose, and change gears via handlebar-mounted buttons. There are also three riding modes — Standard, Sport and Rain — with varying levels of power, traction control and engine braking.

The chassis geometry is designed to be friendly, stable and agile in equal measure, and while seat height is low Honda reckons you can lean the bike over to around 35 degrees before grounding out. Up front is a 43 mm fork and single disc with a four-piston radial-mount caliper, while twin Showa shocks with remote reservoirs support the rear end. ABS braking comes standard, as you’d expect nowadays.

There will be plenty of customisation accessories available for the Rebel 1100, some to make it more touring-focused. Colours are limited to red or black.

Honda reckons ‘it’s truly a motorcycle for the modern cruiser rider.’ Bluewing Honda suggests the bike will arrive here by mid-2021.

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