The Challenge: 1000km – 1 Day – 500cc or Less

The first Knuckle Challenge of the year 2019 was marked by difficulties, a slow start and some change on the planned route. Nevertheless, I managed to appropriately test drive the Honda Rebel 500 and even have fun despite the poor weather.

After more than 17 hours on the road and a little over 800 km, we decided for security reasons, to stop the Challenge.

Here is an overview of the Challenge and my feedback on the Honda Rebel 500 2019. By the way, I take this opportunity to thank Honda Motorcycle Canada for their collaboration in the Challenge, it is not an ordinary  test drive and they embarked with our concept a 100%.

Jean-Sebastien Mackay
From the start this Challenge was different, because we had challenged Tous Motards and Pascal Fournier, Quebec YouTubers, to participate. Logistically speaking, we don’t live nearby each other’s, and it was already a challenge itself to find a common date, which explained the chosen date.

Ideally, we would all have preferred a sunny & hot day, but the reality was quite different. At the last minute, Pascal Fournier withdraws from the Challenge. It’s OK, the challenge still holds, and the summer is still young!

Rebel 500 Portneuf route 367
I had taken possession of the Rebel a few days before D-Day and it was ready to go. The bike seems, at first glance, quite capable of the Challenge. Only the footrests seem a little close, which makes me question about comfort after several hours. I’ll find out soon enough, I guess. Just to look at the passenger seat and I understand that it will only serve for short distances, the picture will say it all.

Morning of departure: The weather forecasted less than 1mm of rain and temperatures of about 13 degrees for the whole province, the reality will be quite the opposite. I leave with our support vehicle at 0600 to join our acolytes of Tous Motards. Arrived at our meeting point, it is barely 7 degrees and 1mm of rain has already fallen repeatedly…

Départ Knuckle Challenge avec Tous Motards
It’s a start, the bike with only 20km on the clock, the tires still have a protective coating, so I have to be extra gentle and careful given the cold, windy and rainy conditions.

Rapidly, I am pleasantly surprised of this little Rebel, its geometry makes it a motorcycle easy to handle and puts me in confidence right anyway. Equipped with ABS, it reassures me even more to take the road in these really wet slippery conditions.

After multiple unplanned stops for equipment adjustments or changes, to warm up a bit or do some videos, time flies but adding mileage is slow, very slow.

It is now 12:00 and we are scarcely surpassed Sherbrooke with only 200km on the meter. It’s time for a focus. It is already unlikely at this rate to complete the 1000km, but you never know what the future holds for us.

We do not lose hope and we hit the road again. For now, the bike is fine and I do not feel any discomfort from the machine. A beautiful sound accompanies the engine, Honda has done its homework sound wise. And the 6-speed transmission, no matter how fast, the Rebel does not seem to complain and the engine purrs better than I would have thought. Without a Tachometer, we can only estimate the engine RPM.

The bike was made Bobber style and its minimalist is felt very quickly. The meter is a blatant example. Digital with very little information to offer. Time, mileage and gas, all with very subtle lighting. Despite everything, we can see the information displayed, day and night no problem.

The Honda seems to do about 200km before falling on the reserve, but it is still early to confirm. What I can already say is that the 4-line gas gauge is more than inadequate. A single reserve warning light would have been as convenient… You’ll be the judge. A great opportunity for a transparent tube modification.

A few hours later, we arrive in the Quebec City area. The rain seems to want to stop at our greatest satisfaction. We check on the radar and the trend seems to point us to clouds without rain. Phew, not too soon. Maybe I will be able to ride on dry roads and appreciate even more the handling of the Rebel.

Indeed, we will be entitled to a respite from Mother Nature and my wish will be granted! It is in the region of Portneuf and Mauricie that I will be able to fully enjoy the ride. I’m smiling again and devour the roads while it is still day…

Whether in town, in the countryside or on the highway, the Honda Rebel has its place among the great. Despite a smaller than average size, it is certainly capable of much. With a leg positioning more bent than I would have liked, it lets himself be directed and takes corners as we like and enjoy.

It had been a long time since I took on the 367 and I will have to return to the next Knuckle Challenge! Now, after several hundred kilometers, I am still satisfied and confident towards the Rebel. Consumption seems to stabilize in the 4 liters per 100km. With a tank of 11 liters, it gives you a range of about 200km + before being on the 2 liters reserve.

One thing I noticed that could be improved is the rear suspension. The front suspension reacts very well to our damaged road, but the rear is too rigid in my opinion. There are a lot of places in Quebec or, especially in the evening when it is harder to see the holes, you can see how hard it is. Is it really the bike’s fault or just the reality of our roads…? I’ll leave it to your judgment again!

Time passes quickly despite the miles rolled. We must make a choice and all agrees on a preventive return. The weather really did not work in our favor. So, as mentioned earlier, after more than 17h and more than 800km, it’s over for the first Challenge of 2019.

Jean-Sebastien Mackay

Partial disappointment, but the safety of all was far more important. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Honda Rebel 500 would have passed the Challenge handsomely under normal conditions.

In the end, I strongly recommend to try this motorcycle. A great discovery for me and a very accessible one for all.

For the Challenge and the 800km + rolled, the fuel cost* was $ 49 and a few pennies.

I invite you to watch the Challenge video on our YouTube channel:(Here) and do not forget to subscribe! You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We are always open to your comments so do not hesitate.

I would like to thank Honda Motorcycle Canada for the 2019 Rebel 500 and their collaboration.

I wish you a nice 2019 riding season! We’ll be back soon with another Knuckle Challenge!

Jean-Sébastien Mackay
Knuckle /

*premium gas between 1.44 and 1.59 $ per liter

Honda rebel 500 by night





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