New CFMoto 450CL-C vs Honda Rebel 500: The 500cc Metric Cruiser Comparison


  • 2023 CFMoto 450CL
    2025 CFMoto 450CL-C

    The 450CL-C is CFMoto’s first cruiser motorcycle. It competes in the much-popular 450-500cc segment, aiming to take on established Japanese names like the Kawasaki Eliminator and Honda Rebel 500. To stand out, CFMoto has loaded the CL-C with impressive features, a 449cc engine, and a premium design with likable attention to detail.

    Pros
    • Premium design
    • Loads of featues
    • Strong price point
  • A couple rides a pair of 2022 Honda Rebel 500s
    2023 Honda Rebel 500

    The Honda Rebel 500 is an agile cruiser squarely set in the mid-displacement range. Ample low-end torque and high-end performance make the Rebel 500 suitable for riders looking for a sporty standard as well as new riders looking for a confidence-building starter bike. Features such as all-LED lighting and LCD instrumentation combine with updated styling to make the Rebel 500 a modern ride with classic charm.

    Pros
    • Punchy 471cc engine
    • Simple, neo-retro design

If you’re a fan of entry-level metric cruisers, there’s a strong chance the credit for your interest goes to the Honda Rebel 500. After all, it started the trend of modern small-capacity cruiser bikes in the United States seven years ago. Since then, the Rebel has been a relevant player, fending off competition from all kinds of rivals. The sales figures continue to be strong.



But now, CFMoto has joined the party. It has launched its first-ever cruiser, the 450CL-C, in America to take on the entry-level cruiser segment by storm. The MSRP is low, the feature list is big, and the design is premium–a perfect recipe to lure in all kinds of riders. So can the newest metric cruiser beat the OG Rebel on paper? That’s precisely the question our 450CL-C vs Rebel 500 comparison is about to answer.

In order to bring you the most up-to-date and accurate comparison possible, we’ve relied on information sourced straight from the manufacturers (CFMoto and Honda). For information regarding our ranking and grading procedures, please refer to our methodology policy.

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Design And Technology

The 450CL-C checks all the right design boxes. Up top, there’s a round LED headlight, followed by an indented teardrop fuel tank and a slim fender. This is topped by a chopped rear fender to create a bobber-like tail end. A closer look also reveals charming attention to detail. You can find old-school silver fins on the engine case, bar-end mirrors on the handlebar, and our favorite, a belt drive at the rear. Chunky stanchion covers, spoke-like alloy wheels, and a dual-barrel exhaust round off the aesthetics in style.

Things are much simpler on the Rebel 500. Honda calls it ‘raw and simple’, which sums it up quite well. You get a quad-projector LED headlight up top, flanked by round turn signals and a puny fender. Then, there’s a peanut-shaped tank that drops down to integrate with the single saddle (yes, there’s no pillion seat as standard). The tail end completes the package with a chopped fender and a horizontal LED brake lamp.

As for color choices, the Rebel comes in three options–Matte Laurel Green Metallic, Pearl Black, and Pearl Smokey Grey. These have a solid finish (with no graphics) and all-black mechanicals. On the flip side, CFMoto sells the CL-C in two liveries, namely Bordeaux Red and Nebula Black. The former has a dual-tone red-silver tank, while the latter has a plain black finish. Overall, we think CFMoto has done a better job in the design department, courtesy of its standout attention to detail.

CFMoto 450CL-C TFT
CFMoto

And it’s the same story in terms of technology. The Rebel 500 is simply no match for the feature-loaded 450CL-C. Part of the reason seems to be the lack of updates from Honda, which is why the Japanese cruiser continues with only a negative LCD instrument cluster and all-LED lights in the name of features. In contrast, CFMoto has thrown in plenty of modern-day tidbits, as you can see below.

Features

CFMoto 450CL-C

Honda Rebel 500

All-LED lights

Yes

Yes

Instrument cluster

TFT

Negative LCD

Dual-channel ABS

Yes

No (available for extra price)

Smartphone connectivity

Yes

No

Traction control

Yes

No

USB port

Yes (type-C, fast charging)

No (only accessory)

Pillion seat

Yes

No (only accessory)

Engine Performance And Capability

2020 Honda Rebel 500 Press Shot (4)
Honda


CFMoto and Honda both follow the same approach here. They’ve equipped their cruisers with a parallel-twin, liquid-cooled powerhouse, sourced from its other motorcycles but tweaked to suit the cruiser characteristic. Each bike also comes with a six-speed transmission. But there are some notable differences and a clear winner.

Powertrain Comparison

You must’ve heard about “no replacement for displacement”, and that’s prevalent here too. The Rebel 500 has a bigger 471cc powerhouse than the CFMoto’s 449cc mill. This helps it produce 45.5 horsepower and 32 pound-feet, both higher than the CL-C’s 40 horsepower and 31 pound-feet figures. To make matters worse, the Honda also runs a lower compression ratio, meaning it should run cooler and calmer.

CFMoto 450CL-C Engine
CFMoto


But it’s not a clean sweep. The CL-C’s power output kicks in at 8,000 RPM, 500 sooner than the Rebel. This means the Chinese cruiser should have a good low-end grunt and tractability. As for efficiency, Honda claims 65.6 miles per gallon for its cruiser, meaning a 195-mile range from its three-gallon tank. CFMoto hasn’t revealed the efficiency figures, although we know it has a bigger 3.17-gallon tank.

Specification

CFMoto 450CL-C

Honda Rebel 500

Engine

449cc, twin-cylinder

471cc, twin-cylinder

Power

40 horsepower at 8,000 RPM

45.5 horsepower at 8,500 RPM

Torque

31 pound-feet at 6,250 RPM

32 pound-feet at 6,000 RPM

Transmission

Six-speed (belt-driven)

Six-speed (chain-driven)

Compression ratio

11.5:1

10.7:1

Claimed efficiency

NA

65.6 miles per gallon

Tank capacity

3.17 gallons

3 gallons

Ride And Handling

CFMoto 450CL-C Cruising
CFMoto

Like the feature department, the Rebel 500 shows its age here. It has a tubular steel chassis, suspended on simple 41 mm telescopic forks and dual shock absorbers. Braking is via a 296 mm front disc and a 240 mm rear disc. In contrast, the CL-C rides on 37 mm upside-down forks and a monoshock to serve as the more modern offering. It also has a bigger 320 mm disc up top.

The story isn’t all that different in the dimensions department. The 450CL-C weighs nine pounds less than the Rebel 500 while offering 1.4 inches of extra ground clearance. It also has a sharper wheelbase, meaning easier traffic-slicing shenanigans. You can check the detailed dimensions below.


Specification

CFMoto 450CL-C

Honda Rebel 500

Chassis

Tubular steel

Tubular steel

Front suspension

37 mm USD forks

41 mm telescopic forks

Rear suspension

Monoshock

Dual shock absorbers

Wheels

16/16-inch alloys

16/16-inch alloys

Front brake

320 mm disc (four-piston caliper)

296 mm disc (two-piston caliper)

Rear brake

220 mm disc (single-piston caliper)

240 mm disc (single-piston caliper)

Weight

399 pounds

408 pounds

Pricing And Availability

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This is where the CFMoto lands its biggest punch. It sells for $5,699, a sizable $800 less than the Rebel 500’s starting MSRP. To make matters worse, the ABS-equipped Rebel is a whopping $1,100 pricier than its Chinese rival. Considering the CL-C only falls short in the engine department, there’s no denying it’s the more value-for-money option between the two metric cruisers. You could even use the money you save to throw in some performance mods, which would offset the power deficit to an extent.

We know trust and reliability are two big concerns with CFMoto, but the company is really serious about the American market. It’s set up a new headquarters in Plymouth, along with an extensive dealership network of 300 dealerships across the nation. So would you bestow your trust in the new CL-C and get a better product (on paper)? Or stick with the trusted but dated Rebel?

CFMoto 450CL-C

$5,699

Two-year warranty

Honda Rebel 500

$6,499 (non-ABS)

Two-year warranty



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