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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
. . . . . . . . My Quest. Searching For My Ultimate Touring Rebel. . . . . . . . .

One of the first things, is to decide and document the End Goal. Keep a record of every thing, that you think and do.

First is deciding the Motorcycle of choice. then defining the parameter you won't to achieve. Such as :

First and Foremost. If in an isolated situation, and the Rebel is laying on the ground, can I pick it up by myself ?
Will the Rebel be strong enough, to transport the items that I need (not want) to carry ?
Will the Rebel cruise at highway speeds, between 50 & 75% of the engine Redline limit ?
Will the Rebel be comfortable enough to travel on a non stop cross country trip ?
Will the Rebel engine provide an exceptional MPG ?
What is the reliability of the Rebel's engine ?
What is the reliability of the rest of the Rebel's components ?
The List only gets longer from here.

Documentation. The Old Saying. A picture is worth a thousands words. Click on the links below and decide for your self. The first image, was taken the next day, after our trip to Arkansas and back in Aug. 2009. The second image, is a close up view of the screen, of a New Garmin Nuvi 255W. I had purchase, prior to the trip, for documentation purpose. Drag the images to the left to center.

Image of Rebel's instrument area :

http://www.hondarebelforum.com/vbimghost.php?do=displayimg&imgid=1273

Image of GPS Screen :

http://www.hondarebelforum.com/vbimghost.php?do=displayimg&imgid=1272

Research, designing, prototyping, testing has not stopped yet. The Quest continues. Just showing the progress so far.
 

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That is amazing! How do the pups handle the ride?
I'm planning some long distance rides this spring/summer so I'm glad the Rebel can go the distance, but I think I'll keep the cat at home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That is amazing! How do the pups handle the ride?
I'm planning some long distance rides this spring/summer so I'm glad the Rebel can go the distance, but I think I'll keep the cat at home.
The first couple of days was a little rough on the pups. They spend most of the day in an a/c cooled house. Took them a little while to acclimate to being outdoors for more than 30 minutes. More stopping with pets, than with just riders.

More posting about how I arrived at this point with the Rebel. This has been an own going process, over the last 4 years.
 

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I would not attempt to carry a dog on a motorcycle for any distance.

But the Rebel will make an excellent solo touring bike, it is more than capable enough. I am seriously considering making a 3,000 mile round trip on the Rebel in a couple of months. Gotta get some new tires first. My biggest problem was not fitting on it, which I solved by relocating the footpegs farther forward. I intend to use a fork bag, saddlebags, and a T-Bag mounted on the sissy bar. Thats it. When I travel by motorcycle, and I have done plenty of it, I only carry what I absolutely have to have, everything else, like food and even clothes, I buy along the way. For the Rebel trip, I plan to leave wearing old worn out clothes, stop about halfway, and buy some more at a thrift store, take a shower at a truckstop, and put on the new used clothes. I'll just toss the old ones.

The main thing to take with you is stuff to fix flat tires. If the bike is in good shape, by far the most likely thing that will happen is a flat tire. And remember, the Rebel has tube type tires, which means the wheel has to come off, and then the tire has to come off the wheel to replace the tube. The tube can be replaced by just removing one side of the tire from the rim, IF you can be sure that there is nothing still sticking in the tire that will puncture the new tube. Also remember that the Rebel has no centerstand, so you will need a safe secure way to support the bike while removing wheels. Tube type tires and no centerstand are IMO the Rebels biggest problem, and long distance riding makes it even more of a problem.

Other than that, with decent tires, and a good chain, there is no reason you couldn't ride the Rebel across the country. You will give out before it does. I do limit my freeway riding to an indicated 65 mph in the right lane, but I have stock gearing. Jerry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
My Quest. Searching For My Ultimate Touring Rebel

. . . . . . . . . . My Quest. Searching For My Ultimate Touring Rebel . . . . . . . . . .

Another lesson to be learned . Managing a small displacement engine motorcycle. Just Twist the Throttle and Go.

If only it was that simple. The Rebel with stock gearing, will respond very well to the throttle. But we are going to ask more from the Rebel.

We have two variables, that have to be addressed. Speed and weight. An example.

Back in the mid 60's, I was working in a shop that serviced and repaired 18 wheelers. Two engine sizes was used. A 220 HP inline 6 Cummings and a 318 HP inline 6-71 Detroit Diesel. Talking about an underpowered over the road rig.

With a gross vehicle weight of 80,000 lbs. What is our weight to horse power ratio. For the Cummings, it is 364 to 1. For the Detroit Diesel, it is 252 to 1. The Rebel with a 150 lb rider, plus 100 lbs of cargo, plus the weight of the Rebel, at 320 lbs, for a total weight of 570 lbs. With a ratio of 33.5 to 1. So what, gas and diesel engines. No, horse power to weight. The weight could carry less about what kind of engine is pulling the load.

The Cummings engine were fitted with a 10 Speed Road Ranger Transmission. The Detroit Diesel were fitted with a 5 Speed Transmission and a two speed rear differential. Now the end results. Each engine could transport 80,000 lbs. at 70 MPH on a flat level highway. With the engines only rotating at 2,300 rpms. The power band was from 1,800 to 2,300 rpms. Surely the Rebel can be modified, to accomplish more than what it can do now.

This was my first lesson in engine management. Took a few trips behind the wheel. Believe me, it wasn't easy. The key was keeping the rpms in the power band. To do that, you spend a lot of time, glancing at the tachometer. If you let the engine fall below the lower limit by 200 rpms. It took some time to regain the lost rpms. Lesson learned, drive by tachometer, not speedometer.

With a motorcycle that has a reserve of power, this is not a problem. What is a reserve of power. An engine with 45 or more horsepower. For an example. A motorcycle with 65 hp. Cruising at 65 mph. Speed drops to 60 mph. Twist the throttle for 2 seconds, speed increases by 5 mph. Now the Rebel with Power: 17.00 HP (12.4 kW)) @ 8250 RPM. Torque: 18.00 Nm (1.8 kgf-m or 13.3 ft-lb's) @ 5500 RPM. With stock gearing, the top of the power band is around 55 mph in 5th gear. What does that mean. We have to depend on engine rpm's to gain speed over 55 mph. If the Rebel is cruising at 65 mph. Decrease throttle to idle for 3 seconds and speed will drop by 5 mph. In 5th gear, how long to regain the lost 5 mph. Way more than 3 seconds.

What does this all mean. If you ride you Rebel on an all day trip (10-12 Hrs.). Your right wrist is going to become very sore. Why, because you are using the speedometer to gauge your speed. With small displacement engines, their sensitivity to their immediate surrounding is reflected immediately to the performance of the engine.

You will slow down quicker from 65 mph to 50 mph, than you do from 55 mph to 40 mph, in 5th gear. Why, greater wind resistance.

On my Rebel, the speedometer was also a tachometer in 5th gear. Just add two zeros to the speed. Instance Tachometer. 100 rpms for each 1 mph.

Now let's accelerate in 5th gear, from 40 mph to 55 mph. Then do the same from 50 mph to 65 mph. Remember where the most torque is developed. 13.3 ft lb @ 5,500 rpm. At 40 mph the engine is on the low side of the power band. Torque will increase and max out at 55 mph. Now the run from 50 mph to 65 mph. It starts out with only 500 rpms left in the power band. At 55 mph we have maxed out the torque in the engine. Now we must relay on engine rpm to gained the additional 10 mph. Along with greater wind resistance.

Normal daily riding, these factors don't come into play. On a 3 hr. trip one way, you probably won't notice it either. On a 10-12 hr trip thru the rolling hills of North Florida and Georgia. I think you would notice it. I've heard it enough from one of my riding companions.

What is this all boiling down to. To become proficient in managing the engine performance of your Rebel on a long trip. You need a digital Tachometer. Why a digital tachometer. With a digital tachometer, you can see a 10 rpm change. With an analog tachometer, you have to interrupt the reading. Which one did I use. The Tiny Tach Digital.

. . . . . . . . . . To be Continued . . . . . . . . . .
 

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The only tachometer I need on my Rebel is my own senses. The vibration and engine sound tell me more about when to shift than looking at a display. I don't agree with Jerry about everything, but much was lost when the focus of designing modern vehicles went from making machines that were comfortable to use, to making machines that give you the illusion that you are sitting at home in a Barcalounger watching a movie about someone actually going somewhere. I work with motors and compressors all the time, and I can you more about the state of a machine by putting my hand on the case and listening to it than anything else. The fancy meters and gauges only serve to confirm the diagnosis, and give specifics. JMHO.
 

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i have had a couple of bikes that had tachs on them. to tell you the truth, i never paid any attention to them. but thats just me. i have been riding enough years that i just have a nack for nowing when to shift and when to slow it down. but for a new rider, i guess a tach wouldnt be a bad idea until they get the hang of it.
 

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Have to agree with ya'll. Tach is the first thing that lands in the round file on my bikes. IMO, if ya dont know what yer engines doing by the sound and feel of it, ya got no business on a bike. IF your worrying about 10 rpm while your riding, please stop your bike and put a for sale sign on it. Your going to kill yourself or someone else as your NOT paying attention to the most important thing involved with bike riding.

Engine micro management has no place on the highway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The only tachometer I need on my Rebel is my own senses. The vibration and engine sound tell me more about when to shift than looking at a display. I don't agree with Jerry about everything, but much was lost when the focus of designing modern vehicles went from making machines that were comfortable to use, to making machines that give you the illusion that you are sitting at home in a Barcalounger watching a movie about someone actually going somewhere. I work with motors and compressors all the time, and I can you more about the state of a machine by putting my hand on the case and listening to it than anything else. The fancy meters and gauges only serve to confirm the diagnosis, and give specifics. JMHO.
That’s the difference, between well seasoned riders and an a new rider on his/her('s) first motorcycle. One of the comments, that I have read on the Forum, concerning new Rebel Riders. It sound like the engine is going to explode. The engine is making so much noise, I'm scared I'm going to break something. They do not have the experience, or the knowledge of normal operation of the Rebel's engine. They do have the capacity, to look at a Tachometer, and compare it to the specifications of the Rebel's engine. To the Forum Members and Guest. I'm just expression some things, that I wish I had knowledge of, when I first started riding motorized two wheel vehicles. With time and experience, I hope that we all are able to reach your level of knowledge and confidence.

Glad you mention the Barcalounger. I don't have one of those, but I do own two Lazyboy recliners. Over the years, I've had the miss fortune to be severely injured at different times. During those times, I spent quite a lot of time, sitting on them. Being that I find this chair so comfortable. I used the seating dimension, to try and modify my Rebel's seat to come as close as possible to those dimension. With the high price tag on an untried replacement seat. I offered an inexpensive option to try. With the cost of the material under $5.00, and your time. This gave anyone reading the Thread, the knowledge to experiment and see if it was a project that satisfied them.

You are describing the traits of a very talented and dedicated professional, who knows and under stands their chosen profession. Personnel knowledge solves problems. Not even a million dollar piece of test equipment, can solve a problem, unless a trained and knowledge operator is operating the unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i have had a couple of bikes that had tachs on them. to tell you the truth, i never paid any attention to them. but thats just me. i have been riding enough years that i just have a nack for nowing when to shift and when to slow it down. but for a new rider, i guess a tach wouldnt be a bad idea until they get the hang of it.
The personnel knowledge of another well seasoned riders. With time and experience, this is the level that we all hope to attain. Personnel knowledge defines each of us as a Unique Individual. With the tachometer display, it will give the new rider some additional information, that was not available without one. Now the new rider has a reference for the many unique noises that are emmited from the Rebel's engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Have to agree with ya'll. Tach is the first thing that lands in the round file on my bikes. IMO, if ya dont know what yer engines doing by the sound and feel of it, ya got no business on a bike. IF your worrying about 10 rpm while your riding, please stop your bike and put a for sale sign on it. Your going to kill yourself or someone else as your NOT paying attention to the most important thing involved with bike riding.

Engine micro management has no place on the highway.
Spoken by a true bare bone, no frills, minimalist rider. If it doesn't support the basic function of a motorcycle, I don't need it on the motorcycle. From looking at the posted images of his motorcycle. He practices what he preaches. My hat is off to you. You have achieved a level of skill and knowledge that I personally know that I will never attain.

But even the seasoned and experienced riders, all started out at the same place. Their first motorcycle. From that point on, each rider will learn at a different pace and skill level. Only skill and knowledge, acquired over time will determine what we can and can not obtain.

Each Individual rider has to learn the basics. Where do you learn these skills. By operating you motorcycle in what we call, the real world. If we were not allowed in the real world, till we obtained the needed skill. We all would not have been allowed at one time. No motorcyclist, ever allowed in the real world.

As for the 10 rpm. It was used to illustrate the difference, between reading a digital and an analog tachometer. When I am riding my Rebel, I'm always in the scanning mode. One of the items I scan, is the instrument display area.

This includes the instrument lights. Did I leave the turn signal on, after the last turn. Did I accidently turn on the high beam. Is my windshield loose. Is my Speedometer still working. Is my Tachometer still working.

By the same token, if your motorcycle is not equipped with these items. You don't have to check their operations, This gives you more time to look around.

How much time is spent, scanning the instruments. If you train your self to do this, the time is less than 1/10 of a second. The key is not to scan each item at one time. One item each time you scan. Then it becomes a part of your riding knowledge.

A Question. If the rider dosn't management the engine on the highway, who will ?

We all must remember our Own Individual Starting Roots.
 

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if your looking for the ultimate touring rebel, then i will post you some pix of mine when i get the fender bolts back in. i have done a bunch to mine this winter. doesnt even look like the same bike. i am gonna post a thread about it for ya'll. hope you enjoy it when i do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
if your looking for the ultimate touring rebel, then i will post you some pix of mine when i get the fender bolts back in. i have done a bunch to mine this winter. doesnt even look like the same bike. i am gonna post a thread about it for ya'll. hope you enjoy it when i do.
That would be great. Always interested in how other Rebel Riders improve their Rebels. A Thread would be fantastic. By doing that, a lot of Members and Guest, can see how you changed the Rebel to reflect your personality.:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
. . . . . . . . . . And unexpected Real World Test for my Ultimate Touring Rebel . . . . . . . . . .

Their has been some concerns expressed about excess clutch wear and length of clutch life, when the Final Drive Sprocket are changed. Also about the amount of Torque developed from the engine from the gearing change.

When My Rebel was a stock CMX. One of the operating characteristic of the engine. The short time the engine was operating in the Torque Band (5,000-6,000 rpms). This reminded me of watching an in car video of a Pro-Stock Drag Car. Quick shifts thru the gears, letting the engine accelerate in top gear to the Finish Line. I know, I know, not apples to apples. As an example only. Hopefully it brought a smile on your face, or what's the point!!!

When I started Wrenching (50 yrs. ago), I learned real quickly, how much trouble you can get yourself into by ASSUMING. Lesson learned, then as now I measure and document, so I have a record to keep and study if needed.

One of the engine operating parameters that I discovered in my Gearing Search. The Lower the Final Drive Ratio Number, the longer the engine operated in the Torque Band. Now I'm not about top Speed or taking another 5 seconds to cover a 1/2 mile distance. My Rebel will recover the time in the next 1/2 mile.

How is that possible??? Answer : It's posted in some of the charts that I have posted on the Forum.

I'm in the process of rebuilding a camera mount, that I built in 1989 to hold a 6.5 lb. VHS Cam-Corder that would follow the horizon when riding and recording. I then will record and post videos explaining my adventures.

Now the Rebel can carry more than the stated 345 lb. max Safety Rating. But how does it handle the unexpected Air Resistance. When my Rebel was a CMX. At highway speeds, 55 mph and above, in 5th gear, wind gusts would reduce the speed proportional to wind speed. This has been greatly reduced in my Rebel at this time. The following is an account of my unexpected Road Trip.

A little history leading up to the test. My detached garage has very little space left, and the lighting inside leaves a lot to be desired. So, a few years ago, I purchased a 10' X 10' pop up canopy. Erected it in front of my garage. Lots of room and light. But the Florida sunshine and thunder storms finally took their toll. Now it looks like a twisted pretzel.

Spent some time searching on the net for a replacement. Found a nice 12' X 12' on sale, available at a sporting goods store close by (25 miles). It's 3 PM in the afternoon. So, thinking a nice ride on the Rebel to check it out. Arrived at the store, went inside and checked the canopy out. Just my luck, only one left, sale ends today. No rain check or lay away.

Time to consider the options. Take it home on the Rebel, or wait and find another one somewhere else another day. Knowing the limitations, I decided that my Rebel was up to the task. So I purchased the canopy. You should have seen the reaction on the cashiers face, when I told her, now all I have to do is secure the canopy on my motorcycle.

Took the canopy out to the Rebel. Load the canopy on the carrier. Position the canopy length wise on the carrier. With over 60 lbs. extending behind the rear axle, I'd need a Pro Stock Motorcycle Wheele Bar to carry the canopy in this position. Reposition the canopy cross way on the carrier. Slide the canopy side to side to find the balance point. Secure the canopy with 6 bungee cords. The canopy extends more to the right than the left.

Now to decide the route home. Choices are thru two cities with lots of local and county LEO's. It's not that the load is over width. They would see it as over width for the carrier vehicle. So I decide to use interstate I 75 South. From the store to the interstate is only 100 yards. Less travel time to encounter a local LEO and avoid end of day rush hour traffic.

. . . . . . . . . Front View of loaded Canopy . . . . . . . . . .



The canopy box is 52" X 12" X 12" and a weight of 85 lbs. Weight is not that much, less than an average size passenger. Now the air resistance is acting on 624 sq in or 4.3 sq ft of sail area. Man, what a drag. A little humor here.

The weather forecast that day was winds from the SW at 5 to 15 mph, Gusts varying from 25 to 35 mph. Temp in the low 80's.

Turned right to the on ramp of I 75 S. The on ramp is long enough to reach the posted speed limit of 70 mph before having to merge into traffic. Accelerating thru the gears, shifting at 6,000 rpm's. The interstate started rising to an overpass about 300 yards ahead. So I kept the Rebel in 4th gear at 70 mph. Maintaining 70 mph till I crested the overpass. Shifted to 5th, increased speed to 75 mph. With in a few minutes I was clear of the city and started a long climb up a 1+% grade. Added to this was the wind was blowing full force, now traveling thru open country side. Speed started dropping. When the Speedo indicated 70 mph, I downshifted to 4th gear. Increased the throttle and raised speed to 75 mph. Tachometer was indicating 7,200 rpms. During the ride for the next 11 miles, the winds never let up. Lots of gusts, with very short periods of no gusts. My Rebel was able to maintain 75 mph with very little effect. The right front quartering wind was trying to blow me into the center lane. A lot of counter steering practice. A couple of highlights on the interstate ride. I followed a cage and a 18 wheeler at different times. Followed each at 65 mph, till traffic cleared, then passed. When I pulled out to pass, I started counting. Never got to 30 on passing either vehicle.

Exited the interstate for the rest of the trip home. Nice 4 lane divided highways, with very little traffic. My Rebel had no problem maintaining 60 mph at 5,000 rpms in 5th gear for the rest of the ride home.

. . . . . . . . . . Right Side View of loaded Canopy . . . . . . . . . .



. . . . . . . . . . Rear View of loaded Canopy . . . . . . . . . .



This test on My Rebel has proven to Me, that it is very capable of exceeding the Stock Operating Performance Specifications. I know that this last test, along with my Touring trips and Seat Mod, has proven to me, that My Rebel is worthy of the title My Ultimate Touring Rebel.
 

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And what was your sprocket setup on this ride?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

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Great Test!!!!

I really do not see how you could be hurting the clutch.
It really only affects your first gear and that is mighty low on the Rebel.
Honda could have added a sixth gear. You have shown that anytime your rebel can not handle sixth gear, you can always drop back to what everyone else calls Fifth Gear.

Thank you for your post. It helps us to better understand our bikes capability.
 

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You had me a little confused with 70 in fourth. Sorry but it's hard to remember everyones bikes at times. Thanks for reminding us you had the 14/27 set-up, makes more sense now.

So now that you've been using that 14/27 for a while, what speeds do you start to shift at?
 

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Truly no one needs a tachometer. Unless you are pushing the envelope. Soulsearcher really does need a tachometer to keep himself in the power band.

I would suppose Jeff Gordon or John Force would find a tachometer foolish. They know how to shift and they can tell by feel when it is time to shift, but most racers in Nascar or NHRA are not as talented.

When you ride a stock Rebel in town, riding in traffic, you do not need a tach. But when you are trying to stay in a specific RPM range to keep in the sweet spot for the right amount of torque, it would be a pretty good tool to have an accurate tachometer to alert you!
(That is unless you can tell early enough when you are dropping out of the torque range).

I actually have a alarm on my stove to time everything from cookies, turkeys and steaks.
Perhaps I should be good enough to know when something is done, but the alarm makes me just a little more accurate. At least sometimes it does.

Yes, most times we do not need assistance as to when to shift into fifth.
31 Miles per hour works for one driver, 35 MPH for another.

Some shift at 45 for highway, others might wait till 55 for interstate. There are a lot of right answers and no one needs to be exact. but when you NEED to stay in a power band, it is GOOD to know exactly where that band is and how wide it is.

I used to Guess when a steak was done, but now I find the timer to be a great help in getting it done properly each and every time..

I do not think it is time for Soul Searcher to put a for Sale sign on his Rebel, but if he were to sell his, I would be wanting to at least take it for a test ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You had me a little confused with 70 in fourth. Sorry but it's hard to remember everyones bikes at times. Thanks for reminding us you had the 14/27 set-up, makes more sense now.

So now that you've been using that 14/27 for a while, what speeds do you start to shift at?
Normal fun rides, 20, 30, 45, 55. Merging from stops, into highway speeds (55-70) mph traffic, 25, 40, 55, 65 shifting between 6,000 to 6,500 rpms.

At present, have been running this sprocket set up for 15,000+ miles.

Speedo error check with GPS. My Rebel's Speedo indicates 3 mph fast from 50 to 80 mph.

When my Rebel was stock, I could use the Speedo for a Tach in 5th gear. Just add two zeros to the speed and that was my Rebel's engine rpms.

With my present set up, I can use the Tach in 4th gear, to indicate my GPS speed. I use the first two digits of the Rebels engine rpms.

So far, I have only tested the Rebel to 7,800 rpms in 4th gear. Then shift to 5th gear. On flat level pavement, the Rebel will maintain the speed at 6,800 rpms.
 
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