The Rebel's fuel consumption averages 52–62.6 mpg‑US (4.52–3.76 L/100 km; 62.4–75.2 mpg‑imp), with refills needed at around 190 miles (310 km). The 1996 Rebel had the best fuel economy, 62.6 miles per US gallon (3.76 L/100 km; 75.2 mpg‑imp), of the 352 past and current models tested in the 2010 Motorcycle Consumer News (MCN) Performance Index. By 2012, the 1996 Rebel's fuel economy had been exceeded by several models on the MCN Performance Index, led by the Yamaha Virago 250 at 66.9 mpg‑US (3.52 L/100 km; 80.3 mpg‑imp). Its maximum speed is 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), and 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) time is 11.86 seconds, with a 0 to 1⁄4 mi (0.00 to 0.40 km) time of 17.86 seconds at 68.55 mph (110.32 km/h). Its wet weight is 320 lb (150 kg).
It has a single disc brake in the front and a drum in the rear. The only gauge is a speedometer that includes gear recommendations based on speed; there is no tachometer. The transmission is a standard down-1st, up-2nd to 5th 5-speed.
The September 1985 issue of Motorcyclist magazine, when the Rebel was first introduced, said, "by targeting the bike to a young audience, such as those who watch MTV, Honda hopes to attract newcomers and expand the motorcycle market ... Honda is not marketing this motorcycle as a woman's bike."
According to American Honda, 2016 will be the last model year for the Honda Rebel 250 to be sold there. The entirely new version which is derived from the CBR250R was unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motorcycle Show in Japan.