Exactly. The new 2023 Rebel CB1100T DCT machine from Big Red is the simple answer to most every excuse people come up with after saying they’ve always wanted to ride motorcycles but have yet to turn a throttle. Honda should rename it the Stop BSing Yourself Bagger 9000 and mount an equally cheeky ad campaign, something they have done before with historic business and public perception-changing results. The biggest excuse I hear from on-the-fence new riders is “I want to ride a motorcycle but just haven’t found the right bike.” Here’s the right bike, or at least one of them. Let’s wander through more of the excuse list and see how Honda counters with the new Rebel CB1100T Tourer/Bagger/Cruiser.
“I don’t know how to shift a motorcycle transmission.” Understandable and a common complaint in our increasingly automated and voice-controlled world. Manual transmissions are now the realms of oil-stained enthusiasts (self included), and for U.S.-bound Rebel 1100T models, there will be just one transmission option: Automatic. As in, twist and go. As in, as easy to operate as a Vespa (or a Honda PCX). As in, this bike does all the shifting for you, and if you do feel adventurous at some point, you can use push buttons on the handlebars to change gears to your liking in the slick-as-snot F1-inspired dual-clutch 6-speed gearbox. But there’s no clutch lever, no shift lever, and no worries. You can’t blow it up. It won’t let you.
“It’s too heavy.” You’re supposed to ride motorcycles, not dead-lift them. The Rebel 1100T weighs in at under 550 pounds all gassed and ready to ride, and trust me, that’s a middleweight. What happens if you tip it over? I’ve seen women who weigh a buck-five on a good day get a heavy downed bike up in seconds using these things called techniques. Anytime you get involved in a new hobby, learn the special skills needed to enjoy it. And if you add some engine protection bars, it’s not going over very far over. You can do it.
“My spouse won’t let me get a motorcycle.” Can’t help you there. Good luck.
“It’s too impractical.” Despite people using motorbikes worldwide in incredible displays of over-loaded “practicality,” most riders in the EU and U.S. ride for fun – not work. That said, the Rebel Bagger comes with two “bags:” Thirty-five liters worth of locking, watertight hard side cases out back that will safely transport a fair amount of groceries, laundry, camping gear and so on. Need more carrying capacity? Wear a backpack. Still need more? Get a Honda Civic, you’re just fooling yourself.
“I don’t want to be a “biker.” It’s a Honda. Trust me, no one riding a brand of motorcycle that bikers typically choose is going to mistake you for Knuckles or Spyder or Big Pig or ever confuse you with a “biker.” They’ll see your HONDA from a mile away. However, other not-biker types who ride not-biker-type bikes may give you a wave, thumbs up, head nod or peace sign as they go by, so be sure to reciprocate. And FYI, most for-real biker types tend to regular Joes and Jills and are generally agreeable if private people. Maybe you should say hello anyway.
“Riding motorcycles is too dangerous.” If that’s your stopping point, so be it. Everyone has a risk line they won’t cross (well, most people do). On the other side of that coin is this: Honda has loaded up the Rebel 1100T with nearly every modern mototech helper available, including anti-lock brakes, traction control, wheelie control, engine braking control, three ride modes, and cruise control. It has cruise control, OK? Listen, you get one crack at this thing called life, and if you have a long-running itch to ride, get trained, get a bike and GO RIDE ALREADY. Modern motorcycles are as “safe” as they’ve ever been; the biggest problem riders have are bone-headed car drivers who can’t put their damn phones (or drinks) down.
“I’m not tall enough to ride.” If you’re over five feet tall, you can probable handle the Rebel. It’s a cruiser-style bike, so that means a low seat height of under 28 inches. That’s low. And if it’s now low enough, you can get lower seats, even custom-made seats. Bottom line: This is an easy bike to ride for those short on inseam.
“I don’t want a cruiser.” Pro Tip: 200-plus horsepower motorcycles that can achieve low-earth orbit aren’t exactly the best choice to start on. A cruiser with an automatic transmission, low seat, highway passing power, ABS and other safety goodies, plus cargo-carrying ability and even cruise control as stock for $12K? There MAY NOT BE a better beginner bike. With almost 90 ponies in play, Honda’s legendary reliability, a dash of style and a wind-cheating fairing, this is a bike any beginning rider can learn on – and then enjoy for years as skills and a sense of adventure build. But hey, there are lots of options out there.
“I’m not a mechanic.” Here’s how you work on any Honda made since about 1983: Take it to the Honda dealer. Or, take it to your local indie wrench twister. But for the most part, if you take care of your Rebel 1100, it’s going to work fine for thousands upon thousands of miles. You’ll need to keep up some basic stuff like lubricate the chain, check tire pressure and check the oil level now and then, and you should know how to do those things as part of pride of ownership. This is a very low-maintenance bike. Can’t do those things? Ask a riding friend for help, take it to the local dealer or that hipster bike shop down the way. They all certainly can.
“I can’t afford it.” This bike goes for and MSRP of $11,299 before taxes, fees and such, which will put it close to $13K out the door depending on where you live and how good your negotiation skills are. A “bagger” from some other brands can go for three times that much. Unless you’ve been kiting checks and ghosting credit card companies, Honda will very happily finance your new road machine at a low interest rate, seeing how they’re one of the biggest, richest, most liquid companies on the planet. You don’t need to walk in the dealership with a Target bag full of Benjamins. Heck, put it on your airline credit card and use the miles to take a trip that’s been on the same Someday list as “riding a motorcycle.” Just be sure to get a good full-face helmet, armoured jacket, boots and gloves in the deal. If you ask, the dealer might make you a swell deal on all that.
Then, get out there and cross this bit off your Bucket List. the more you ride, the better you get at it. And if you do take to it, a distance-capable motorcycle like the Rebel Bagger can help you cross a lot more things off that list as well.
This story comes from a frustrating, oft-repeated conversation I had with a friend about motorcycles. I don’t work for or get paid by Honda, but I do own one and have owned many in the past, along with motorcycles from numerous other brands. It was a just a good fit for the story. Leave a comment below!
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