If you’re like most riders, your first bike wasn’t your best—or anybody’s. With little money to spend, and maybe disapproving parents watching you like unpaid truant officers, you had to sneak home some barely running heap of parts and keep it hidden, riding it only when the coast was clear and working on it the rest of the time.
Motorcycling has changed a lot since then, and the typical crappy first bike has been replaced by stellar small- and medium-displacement beginner bikes like Honda’s Rebel 500, which combines the styling of an urban cruiser with the heart of a friendly, versatile motorcycle. Weighing in at just over 400 pounds, it’s powered by a gas-sipping 471cc parallel twin engine that’s easy for rookies to live with.
But cruisers aren’t known for their day-to-day practicality, especially when it comes to carrying the necessities of daily life like your phone or tablet, school supplies, or the purchases from a late-night run to the Kwik-E-Mart. The Legend Gear line from SW-MOTECH includes several handy ways to pack your stuff in luggage styled to match the urban sensibility of the Rebel 500.
In addition to looking cool, Legend Gear is practical, with wet-weather liners and a versatile strap design for multiple mounting options. The LR-1 Tailbag/Backpack has 17.5 liters of storage and is made of weather-resistant synthetic leather and canvas with a waterproof inner PU coating. In the Rebel 500’s case it mounts directly to the rear fender using the included adhesive protective clear plastic to preserve the paint so no tail rack is needed. When you reach your destination, take off the bag and deploy the backpack shoulder straps for easy off-bike carrying.
On days when you don’t need the capacity the LR-1 provides, but still want to bring along small stuff like sunglasses or a flat-tire repair kit, there’s the 1.6-liter LA5 Tool Bag. It comes with numerous loops and tie-down straps for universal fit, and can be used as a belt bag or waist pack, too, with the included waist/shoulder strap. The outer pocket has a water-resistant zipper, and the inner compartment is padded to protect fragile cargo. The LA5 comes in brown or black and is made of synthetic leather and waxed canvas with an anodized aluminum buckle.
Nothing lights a fire under the Rebel’s already smokin’ visual appeal like a set of Metzeler ME888 wide whitewalls and red rim-strip tape. Together they liven up an otherwise dark and featureless part of the bike, complement the street-smart styling, and lift the Rebel above its budget-bike intent.
Cruisers aren’t known for their long-haul chops on the highway, where wind blast turns the relaxed riding position into a workout. The MRA Roadshield Classic windshield takes the load off your upper body at freeway speeds, and looks good doing it with its classic shape and your choice of clear, smoke, all blue, or all black. The mounting kit is sold separately; for the Rebel use the universal kit, and you can fit the Roadshield to another bike.
Drivers on their phones or fiddling with their nav system might not see how cool your Rebel looks, so give yourself extra conspicuity with a set of Denali DR1 2.0 LED lights. The DR1s come with spot lenses already installed that throw a beam of bright light far into the night, and include a set of hybrid lenses that give a broad spread of light near the bike along with long-distance illumination. The hybrid lens also makes you much more visible to oncoming cars.
For the ultimate in “Back off!” warnings, there’s the Denali Soundbomb Compact Horn. It mounts on the Rebel with bike-specific hardware and will wake up even the most oblivious driver who wanders into your lane.
The Honda Rebel 500 is a great bike for beginners and shorter riders to start with, but the addition of a few well-chosen accessories makes it even better. What are you going to do with your Rebel? Let us know in the comments below.