The cruiser motorcycle market has evolved into a more modern and diversified market segment lately. After several years of stagnation and dismay, manufacturers have finally moved with the times. At one time the cruiser market had several bikes like this, as many cruiser buyers always appreciated simplicity bikes like the Shadow. But over time, emissions warrants also increased, and keeping multiple versions of an older 750 V-twin made little sense. He got a stay of execution when he received the fuel injection, but in 2013, Honda decided it was time to upgrade its lineup and the RS VT750RS was phased out.
Now, with the blessing of depreciation, a bike like the Shadow just might make some sense.
10/10 Classic lines
One option Shadow got was the red, white, and blue colorway. It looks quite stunning with this color scheme which accentuates the classic lines of the bike.
It’s a simple-looking cruiser, with twin shocks in the rear, a comfortable seat and the usual rake up front.
9/10 High quality fit and finish
No Honda product leaves the factory without passing rigorous inspection, and it shows. The fit and finish of these bikes is impossible to compare given the price.
Even when new, these bikes were quite affordable at under $10,000 (out the door) and, as you’d expect, they’ve held up pretty well over the past decade.
8/10 Reliable and efficient
What that changed a bit was the fuel injection system. It may seem strange to say now, but back when it came out, most cruisers were air-cooled and carbureted.
It’s neither, it’s a modern, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected motorcycle. It might add a layer of complexity with its cooling system, but there’s no denying it’s more efficient with a healthy 56 MPG rating.
7/10 Comfortable cruiser
Normally cruisers will have forward controls, but this one doesn’t…and it works. It has fairly standard mid controls and makes the bike even more comfortable with a very good steering triangle.
While it can rack up the miles, it’s somewhat limited by its rather small (2.8 gallon) tank and, therefore, only has a realistic range of around 150 miles.
6/10 great commuter
The tank size may limit its ability as a road cruiser, but it makes for a pretty decent commuter with such great fuel economy.
With the added comfort, getting around a city is arguably what this bike was always meant to do. If you buy this bike only to ride around town, you will never be disappointed.
5/10 Accessible seat height
Affordable, but exceptionally large for a cruiser at 29 inches. It is, however, well within the reach of smaller cyclists.
The taller seat height translates to a lot more leg room than some other bikes with mid controls, making it even more comfortable.
4/10 Heavy for beginners
With so many little things that scream “beginner friendly”, there’s one rather unfortunate thing that counts against it.
He weighs 500 lbs. While it’s about the height of a full-size cruiser, which it technically is, it’s just way too heavy for a novice. A new rider may be able to straddle the seat and flat foot of the bike, but when they fall it will hurt and they may not be able to get the bike back up.
3/10 Hopelessly undernourished
To haul those 500 pounds around Honda, it seemed good to just give the bike away a huge 40 horsepower. To put this into perspective, the KTM Duke that weighs half as much actually makes 44 horsepower.
You might hope the horsepower figure is low because they tuned it to produce more torque, but sadly, that’s just not true. 45 lb-ft is enough, but barely.
2/10 Low maintenance
Any bike in such a low state of tune is bound to be reliable, and it most certainly is, therefore, it won’t cost anything at all to run.
If you’re willing to service it yourself, that’ll lower the cost of ownership even further, but even if you’re not, there are Honda dealerships everywhere, so you’ll never run out of spares.
This is a superb entry level cruiser, which will get you up to highway speeds like any other bike, and also offers great value.
It’s definitely not the fastest bike in the world, but it was never meant to be, it was designed to ride at a calmer pace for riders who are never in a rush.