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Welcome to the forum. I don't care for Clymer Rebel manuals either as they contain errors. Honda guards it's copyrights pretty zealously, so all the PDF copies of their manual are bootleg, but they do exist. Someone must have drained the carb on your bike, or it definitely wouldn't have run without a thorough cleaning. Think you dodged a bullet on that one.
 

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An hour in chem dip isn't long for a Rebel carb that's been sitting. I generally recommend a week just so folks don't soak, install, find it doesn't work, remove, soak, and so on until it's clean. Think the record here on the forum was five times before it finally got clean.

To me, shifter travel isn't much different on the Rebel than my other bikes. It's usually a good idea to grease the entire shift linkage if it's been sitting a while or has over 3,000 miles on the clock. That would include parts numbers 15 and 2 on this diagram as well as the shifter shaft needle bearings in the left rear case cover. Honda Motorcycle 2009 OEM Parts Diagram for Pedal | Partzilla.com

If the engine is running well, more than likely you assembled the carb correctly. If the carb isn't perfect, the engine lets you know very quickly! Here's a parts diagram of the carb. It's for a first generation 250 but that diagram is more accurate than the later models. Honda Motorcycle 1985 OEM Parts Diagram for CARBURETOR | Partzilla.com There's also a pictorial here: Carburetor disassembly & reassembly | Honda Rebel 250 & 450 Forum (hondarebelforum.com)

I don't use the friction zone much, but the Rebel has one. May be a matter of getting familiar with the bike.
 
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