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Better Get-up & Go

This is a discussion on Better Get-up & Go within the Rebel forums, part of the Honda category; After reading review after review on the Honda Rebel 250, I've found one consistant complaint: "underpowered - won't go over ...


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Old 12-06-2008   #1
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Default Better Get-up & Go

After reading review after review on the Honda Rebel 250, I've found one consistant complaint: "underpowered - won't go over 70 mph" or "It's only a beginners bike". So I decided to let everyone in on a little secret - IT'S ALL IN THE GEARING!!!
My Dad purchased a 2000 Honda Rebel a little over a year ago and, having ridden it on several occasions, I would have to agree with the fact that at 65-70 mph the engine is screaming. Also, trying to get up to 45-50 when you're pulling out in busy traffic proves to be an exercise in futility.
Honda geared these bikes for beginners, which makes them perfect for the MSF - motorcycle safety courses, but when you get out in the real world, it's nice to have a little more "punch" when you twist the throttle.
The Rebel comes from the factory with a 33 tooth rear sprocket. With this sprocket installed, you really don't even need 1st gear as you'll be shifting to 2nd before you hit 20 mph and once you get up to 65-70 in 5th gear, the engine will be screaming.
NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS and The BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE!

For about $20. at the local Honda dealer, my Dad bought a 30 tooth rear sprocket which is smaller in diameter than the factory sprocket. In about 20 minutes, he and I installed the new sprocket (please do not attempt this if you know nothing about working on motorcycles) and the results: much quicker acceleration, cruising at 65-70 mph easily with top end left, and improved gas mileage (from 75 mpg to 82 mpg) - IT IS A DIFFERENT BIKE!! And we didn't even have to take any links out of the chain - there was enough adjustment.
I NEVER would have considered purchasing a Rebel before as it was like riding a glorified moped and my Dad always had trouble keeping up with me on my VT1100 Shadow (well of course he would). Now we can cruise together at 65-70 mph and when we leave the stoplights, I don't have to wait for that little dot in the rearview mirror to catch up to me.
Now I'm in the market for a 250 Rebel, but the first thing I'll do is change that rear sprocket to either a 30 tooth, or we found out there's also a 28 tooth sprocket available (requires resizing the chain). This one simple modification makes the Rebel 250 safer (pulling out in traffic), more fun (you can cruise the interstate with no problem now) and more economical (as if 75 mpg wasn’t enough!).

Found this in Epinions; it was posted June 10, 2006. Has anyone done this mod? Any opinions on this?
dwayne r is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2008   #2
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Default Better Get-up & Go

Hmmmm. These are incredible sprockets of which he speaks. Magical, even.

Here's the truth: with sprocket changes, you can either increase top end speed, OR increase low end acceleration. This article sounds like it does both, plus prevent baldness and clear up your debts.

Put a smaller sprocket on the rear wheel, and you will, indeed buy yourself some top-end speed in most cases. Another way to look at it, is that your engine is turning a bit slower for a given back wheel speed, so you will also improve your gas mileage a bit. You buy these advantages at a loss of acceleration.

Put a larger sprocket on, and you'll get better acceleration, particularly in low gears. On the other hand, when the bike is 'red-lined', i.e. at its maximum rev limit, the rear wheel will be turning slower. Oh, and for a given speed, you will likely get worse gas mileage.

Buddy was complaining about having to shift too soon in 1st gear? Well, no matter what his PERCEPTIONS are, he just made that worse.

Moral of the story? It is probably a reasonable modification. It will improve your gas mileage, will allow a higher top speed so long as your own weight, windshield and headwind can be overcome, and you'll still have acceleration comparable to that of many small north american cars.

The large print giveth,and the small print taketh away (tom waits)

Brent
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Old 12-07-2008   #3
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Default Better Get-up & Go

Hmmmm. These are incredible sprockets of which he speaks. Magical, even. plus prevent baldness and clear up your debts.
Brent

Hey Brent, Maybe even cure E.D.

Howard
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Old 12-08-2008   #4
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Default Better Get-up & Go

Brent explained it very well...there's nothing wrong with experimenting, but enhanced performance thru sprocket changes would be more noticeable with a larger displacement and/or a greater hp bike. With the 250 Rebel starting out with somewhere around 18 hp, one might be able to make some gains, but the question is whether or not it's worth the time/$$$ spent ? That's something only the owner can answer. If they're happy with it, that's cool.

I'd be more inclined to be content with the 250 Reb pretty much as is....a very good, dependable motorcycle, capable of doing what it was originally designed for...and doing that very well.

The bike lends itself very well to cosmetic changes & various mods, but on the actual performance end, the options seem relatively limited.

Top speed on mine was about 75 mph. After removing the EPA gear & going with straight pipes, the top speed was essentially the same, tho' it got there a bit quicker. The gearing...1st thru 5th....seemed pretty balanced for the bike. On the 450 Reb, the need to shift from 1st to 2nd soon is REALLY noticeable....I can barely get thru a light without having to shift into 2nd on the 450. The 250 Reb also seemed pretty quick off-the-line with the stock sprocket set-up.

Just my own .02........Aesthetic changes ? The options are definitely there. Louder pipes ? Yep, if one chooses that option. Performance gains ? Again, I'd be more inclined to be content with the 250 Reb's performance "as is". YMMV......
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Old 12-09-2008   #5
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Thank you so much for your input. I think I will be content the way it is. What I really need is just LOTS more practice and riding time! :lol: :wink: About the only mods I can see at this time will be to do the seat mod and figure out a way to put a luggage rack with a backrest on. It's a nice bike!!
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Old 12-10-2008   #6
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Default Better Get-up & Go

Hey Howard,
Re your comment:
Maybe, but I think maybe Waitsburg Rose is more 'on the money'
:twisted:
Sorry, I have no self control, but clearly, you don't either.
:lol: Brent

What I really need is just LOTS more practice and riding time! :lol: :wink:
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Old 12-12-2008   #7
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Default Better Get-up & Go

:P YEP.
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Old 12-12-2008   #8
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Default Better Get-up & Go

I am trying the sprocket change. I am still on the first full tank since the change so I do not know what effect it has had on mileage. I went with 30 tooth. Substantial difference in engine rpm's at freeway speeds. I have not noticed and loss of torque in first or second gear. Of course, there has been some loss but the Rebel had so must low down torque the loss is not noticed.
Also 4th gear has now become a viable gear at highway speeds.
The down side is the loss of torque at high speeds. I do not go any faster, in fact my top speed seems a little lower but it depends on headwind.
My recommendation to someone else is to not go lower tyhan 31 teeth.
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Old 12-14-2008   #9
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Default Better Get-up & Go

I went with 30 tooth. Substantial difference in engine rpm's at freeway speeds.
Also 4th gear has now become a viable gear at highway speeds.

My recommendation to someone else is to not go lower tyhan 31 teeth.

the stock ratio is 2.36 (33/14)
you went to 2.14 (30/14)
a drop of .22 ( 9% )

I'm going to try 2.20 (33/15)
a drop of .16 ( 6% )

I'll try ordering a 15 tooth front sprocket today.
I agree with you that there should be plenty of umph to get moving from a stop. And the top speed will be limited by wind resistance.
Anything to, even slightly reduce the buzzyness in it's present high reving state would be nice.
It's not top-end that I'm looking for. For the last week I've been watching the speedo and I only went above 65 once for about 20 seconds. And it was obvious that wind resistance was having an effect at that speed.
So I'm trying to find a happy medium between torque and speed and cost and installation labour.

I'll have to wait till they can get it shipped in...

I used to have a 125cc and it was faster, and it had the same problems to work against, torque and wind resistance aren't just rebel problems.
But it was faster. It had dual carbs and smaller tires but it also was taller.
The rebel has a cross over pipe on the exhaust which is supposed to increase torque, the 125 didn't. The 125 had very annoying and loud exhaust noise, the rebel is very quiet.
The 125 had tubes in the air cleaner that straightened the high speed air flow and helped fight 'reversion' in the flow, the rebel just has a box on the carb for an air cleaner.
The 125 reved high, so does the rebel.

I really think that there is a combination out there waiting to be found. I think that all of the design was to help someone learning to ride and so there is alot of possibilities in the performance direction.

Maybe.
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Old 12-16-2008   #10
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Default Better Get-up & Go

Great post, jxoco & Welcome aboard! :wink:
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