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2004 Honda Shadow

Honda ShadowHonda Shadow

In Europe's diverse motorcycle market, low-riding American Customs command a special place in the hearts of many riders owing to their easily appreciated attractions of easy-riding style and performance, reasonable purchase price and low running costs compared to other motorcycles of the same comparable displacement. Never meant to compete on highest power figures or fastest acceleration, although Honda does have some strikingly powerful examples in its line-up, cruisers are more about sitting back and enjoying the pleasures of the open road and all the sensations of rumbling down the road without a care in the world and with a minimum of effort, and looking good while doing it.

Honda's range of custom cruisers covers the entire spectrum of displacement classes, from the impressively styled and outfitted Shadow 125 to the monstrous super V-twin power cruiser, the VTX 1800. In the 750cc class, the VT750DC Black Widow has been an especially popular model, offering strong performance and a lean, aggressive look, while still being relatively easy on the pocketbook. Powered by essentially the same engine, the VT750C2 Shadow also provides ample performance in a well-rounded retro design that offers spacious comfort for two without excessive size and weight, or running costs. Positioned higher up the displacement ladder for a full-bodied reserve of performance, yet far enough away from the litre and over class to allow them to offer a fully satisfying alternative that is also less expensive to insure and maintain, these two VTs have proved to have consistent appeal to newer riders with their comfortable proportions and easy operation and relatively lighter impact on the pocketbook. In order to build on these attributes and attract a more diverse range of new cruiser riders, it was felt that the time was right for developing a new model that combines the most desirable aspects of these two mid-displacement cruisers with a new set of priorities that can more effectively accentuate the Shadow's overall appeal.

Development Concept

In formulating their ideas for the next generation of Shadow cruiser, Honda's American Custom development team started out with several fundamental goals. Primary among these was creating a new variation on the Shadow's proven design that would offer greater appeal to newer and less experienced riders with features that not only enhance the enjoyment of riding, but also reinforce a rider's confidence, and with it help develop better riding skills.

One of the team's first design objectives was to give the new Shadow a lower seat height that could appeal to an even wider range of both new and experienced riders with a supremely easy reach to the ground and easier, more confident control which smaller stature entry and re-entry riders would most appreciate. And to ensure that the new Shadow is just as easy to maintain as it is to ride, a new shaft final drive system was also made a top priority.

Power, of course, would be supplied by essentially the same 750cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine used in the Shadow's current versions, with fine tuning done to emphasise the engine's feel of pulsating torque and power from virtually anywhere in its broadly accessible rev range, while making a wide range of acceleration available between shifts with the simple turn of its throttle.

Above all, it was important to give the new Shadow a unique sense of style with original lines and lots of chrome detailing to make it really stand out in a crowd. A modern look with a touch of recognisable 'retro' influences that hearken back to an earlier, simpler time, yet proportioned to provide a perfect fit for riders of all sizes, ages and ranges of riding experience, as well as an especially easy bike for women riders to enjoy to the full.

All these features and more now come together in the latest generation Honda V-twin Custom: the all-new Shadow. A new generation of 750cc V-twin cruiser that opens a whole new chapter on the cruising experience, with eye-catching style and proven Honda reliability at a remarkably reasonable price, for the best fit and best styling at the best value money can buy.


If the new Shadow demonstrates anything, it's a sharp focus on eye-catching style. Low-slung, street-cruising style that makes a rider feel like the world's roads are there for the taking. Combining design aspects of its two forerunners, the VT750C2 Shadow and VT750DC Black Widow, this new Shadow was conceived for a more potent blend of low-rider looks combined with superb riding comfort that continues to feel right even after hours of watching the world float by from the big easy chair of its saddle.

The new Shadow's profile is long, low and muscular, with large shrouded front fork tubes the first to grab attention as they surround the wide-profile front tyre with the shine of bare metal. Mounted on glistening zinc-plated and resin-coated wirespoked wheels, the Shadow's fat tyres provide another popular point of attraction with a timeless look of retro-cruiser style that seems to span decades.

Without a doubt, the central role in the Shadow's new design from its rider's perspective is played by its long, beautifully tapered stretch fuel tank. Prominently positioned on its crown is a large, attractive chrome-plated speedometer assembly that incorporates all gauges and indicator lights into its neo-retro design. The largediameter dial of this fully electronic speedometer provides an instantly recognisable readout of cruising speed while still managing to remain discreetly out of the direct line of sight when focusing on the road ahead.

A Panoramic View of the Road

One primary objective of the new Shadow's design was to provide one of the widest, most uncluttered views of the road ever seen from the seat of a cruiser. Complementing its stylish tank-mounted speedometer, the Shadow's handlebars were also simplified in look and design so as not to distract from view of the road ahead. Rather than being held by large, ornate castings, these wide, comfortably positioned bars use welded-on standoffs, which are directly rubber-mounted into the top surface of the Shadow's cast aluminium upper triple-clamp for a cleanly simplified design that effectively damps out most of the high-frequency buzz of vibration felt at the grips. Beyond the lazy curve of the bars, only the vivid reflection of the sky as seen in the polished chrome surface of the headlight's large casing lies between the rider's eye and the unravelling road ahead.

With its elongated bullet shape and immaculately polished shell, the Shadow's VTX-style headlight provides a strong point of visual focus and a brightly illuminated view of the night-time road ahead. This bullet-shaped aero look also carries through to the Shadow's newly designed indicators, which complement the bike's long lines with discreetly stylish curves. Mounted on the rear mudguard, the Shadow's large, angular taillight borrows its styling curves from the unit used on the VTX, but features a less prominent shape that more smoothly integrates into the lines of the oversized mudguard. Beneath it, a new rear license plate holder features attractive new chromeplated covers to add a final touch of class to the new Shadow's tail.

Low Saddle-Type Solo Seat

The Shadow's saddle-type solo rider's seat is easily one of the lowest and most comfortable in its class, giving riders of all inseam sizes and levels of riding experience an easy and confidence-inspiring reach to the ground when at stop. This lower seat height also offers a closer, more strongly felt proximity to the road rushing by underneath, which dramatically enhances the cruising sensations that really set American Custom cruisers apart from the rest.

Sitting atop the rear mudguard behind the rider's seat, the Shadow's large and comfortable pillion seat can be easily detached with the removal of three bolts, for an ultra-clean look of custom cruiser style when set up for solo street prowling.

Sleek Aero Styling

The new Shadow's deeply valanced front and rear mudguards feature more distinctive 'aero' lines, tapering back at their bottom edges to contribute an unmistakable image of flowing motion to the machine's overall design. This expression of rearward flow also extends through the engine's chrome-plated teardrop aircleaner, its straight, new rear mudguard bracket/grab rails, its new bullet-shaped indicator shells, and even the license-plate holder, all underlined by the massive, chrome-plated two-into-one exhaust system reaching back along its lower right side.

The Shadow's mudguards and sidecovers, as well as its chrome-plated aircleaner and engine side covers are all constructed of lightweight yet rugged moulded resin, which reduces weight while offering the added benefit of remaining impervious to the onset of corrosive rust after years of exposure to the elements. The resin construction of the engine's beautiful chrome-plated aircleaner and engine covers further contributes to a reduction of both annoying mechanical noise and engine heat.

Slim, New Frame-Integrated Radiator

To emphasise the clean and stylish look of its attractively laid-out engine, the Shadow's high-capacity radiator was also completely redesigned with a slim new look that seems to disappear from view when seen from the side. Discreetly integrated into the space between the frame's double-cradle downtubes, the radiator's slim new profile frees up space between the engine and front mudguard to focus attention on the Shadow's engine, chrome and bodywork, for a crisp, traditional look of cruiser style.

Colouring Concept

The new Shadow debuts on the European motorcycle scene in two traditional Honda cruiser colours that never fail to attract admiring looks: A luxurious solid black that highlights the Shadow's metal and chrome like no other colour, and a deep, rich candy red that solidifies the Shadow's ties to the rest of the Honda custom cruiser lineup. Graphics are kept to a bare minimum, with only a 'Shadow' mark on the sides of the fuel tank.


  • Black
  • Candy Wineberry Red


    The Shadow's torquey and responsive 52 V-twin engine is essentially the same unit that provides power to its 750cc predecessors. Featuring dual spark plugs and three valves in each cylinder, and fed by a single 34mm CV carburettor that enhances its powerful feel, this engine comes alive with a satisfying surge of throbbing acceleration from deep in its powerband, and reacts with instant authority to each twist of its throttle. An increase in compression compared to its predecessors combines with new computerised ignition timing maps linked to the carburettor's new throttle sensor to contribute to a stronger feeling of performance and acceleration. And while peak power was reduced slightly compared to its earlier iterations, performance is noticeably stronger throughout the engine's powerband, particularly in its low-tomidrange rev range, where easy-going cruiser riders prefer to spend most of their riding time. High revs and peak power figures are simply not what cruising is about, though the engine's retuned performance and lower transmission ratios combine with a quiet and smooth shaft drive to deliver a deeply satisfying surge of acceleration at every twist of the wrist.

    To achieve the new Shadow's longer and lower proportions, the engine was completely redesigned to allow the frame's central backbone to be lowered, and with it the seat and fuel tank. The engine's crankcase features newly designed sidecovers for a longer look, and its crankshaft features a large-diameter main shaft and journals for enhanced strength and ensured reliability. Crowned by shorter heads and eyecatching chrome-plated covers, the engine's liquid-cooled cylinders are new one-piece cast aluminium units with cast-in fins that provide a traditional air-cooled look that also contributes to the attractive uncluttered simplicity of its design.

    Quiet, Maintenance-Free Shaft Final Drive

    The new Shadow also departs from its chain-driven predecessors by featuring a new enclosed shaft final drive which provides smooth and silent operation with little in the way of maintenance and its associated grime and hassle to detract from the pleasure of owning and riding this superb new custom cruiser. The Shadow's new shaft drive system also contributes to a stronger sensation of the engine's power pulses, while providing a more direct delivery of power to the tyre for a more impressive-feeling surge of acceleration.

    Low-Emissions 2-into-1 Exhaust System

    Beautifully polished and chromed eye-catchers, the curved pipes of the Shadow's attractive 2-into-1 exhaust system flow into a long, large-diameter slashcut silencer designed to deliver a throaty rumble of V-twin power that never fails to excite.

    In the interests of minimising the Shadow's impact on the environment, and providing satisfying performance while staying well within Europe's exhaust emissions regulations, the system features a set of three catalytic heat tubes which work in concert with the engine's exhaust port Air Induction system to greatly reduce emissions of harmful exhaust gases. The engine's Air Induction system was also refined with the incorporation of a separate aircleaner that maintains a higher ambient pressure than available within the main aircleaner to help increase the volume of fresh air introduced into the blast of hot gases exiting the exhaust ports for more complete combustion.


    The latest generation of Honda's popular line of 'Long and Low' American cruisers, the new Shadow offers one of the lowest seat heights available in a largedisplacement cruiser, and certainly the lowest in the current 750cc class, for a laidback cruising experience without peer. This was achieved with a newly configured double-cradle steel frame that uses a large-diameter round-section single tube backbone and pressed steel pivot plates that combine to lower the overall height of the chassis, and by extension the fuel tank and seat. The new design also features a cast sub-frame for the seat rails supporting the Shadow's large, deeply valanced rear mudguard.

    A Visceral Feeling of Power

    The feel of the engine powering up to speed is an integral part of the cruising experience, and the new Shadow's frame delivers with a 'seat of the pants' transmission of just enough primary vibration to feel the full exciting rumble of acceleration, but never enough to become a backside-numbing irritation. To keep secondary vibration from numbing other extremities, the Shadow features solid damper weights installed in its rubber-mounted handlebars and solid-mounted step plates with hollow rubber step pads that inhibit the transmission of annoying buzzes of vibration to the hands and feet.

    Suspension, Wheels and Brakes

    Ensuring relaxed and responsive handling while projecting a glistening retro look, the new Shadow's massive shrouded 41mm hydraulic front fork provides a full 116mm of compliant axle travel that comfortably soaks up the bumps while offering confident control in virtually all riding situations. The fork's long stanchion tubes are gripped by a massive billet aluminium upper triple-clamp, which provides a distinctive design and a shimmer of bare metal to complement the impressive look of the fork and headlight. Tying the two stanchions together is a solid, 4mm-thick brace plate mounted under the wide valanced front mudguard that ensures optimal rigidity and confident control.

    The Shadow's rigid swingarm integrates the new shaft drive into its left-side arm for both a clean look and cleaner, quieter operation. The lack of a chain also eliminates the need for a chain guard, thus providing a simpler and cleaner overall look. An attractive pair of chrome-plated conventional dampers support the swingarm, and are tilted forward to offer both a soft and comfortable ride and precise control that's best appreciated when the road starts snaking its way through the hills. Both dampers offer five steps of spring preload adjustment to ensure the best setup for cruising solo or enjoying the countryside with a friend in tow.

    Like its predecessor, the VT750C2, the new Shadow rides on fat tyres front and rear. Wrapped around beautifully glittering zinc-plated and resin-coated wire spoke wheels, both its large 120/90-17 front tyre and big 160/80-15 rear tyre present a wide footprint that grabs attention (and the road) with impressive authority. Strong and confident braking performance is provided by a responsive hydraulic dual-piston calliper gripping a wide, 296mm drilled rotor between its sintered metal pads. At the rear, a conventional 180mm leading/trailing drum brake takes up duty to slow things down in a hurry. The rear brake's foot pedal linkage is now routed out of sight under the side of the engine, further contributing to the new Shadow's cleaner and less cluttered looks.


    New Honda Ignition Security System (H.I.S.S.) - The European version of the new Shadow will also be equipped with Honda's highly effective H.I.S.S. (Honda Ignition Security System) for sound prevention against rideaway theft. Mounted under the left side of the seat, the Shadow's ignition switch is programmed to only accept either of the two keys that are originally supplied with each machine. Since the engine is totally disabled at the very heart of its digital ignition system, no other key can turn the switch or start the engine, and neither can the bike be hot-wired and ridden away. A blinking red indicator LED on the Shadow's tankmounted instrument panel warns off potential thieves with an attention getting display.

    Optional Equipment

    The new Shadow is also equipped with a wide selection of optional accessories, which have been specially designed by Honda Access Corporation for the finest in fit and finish. Among other offerings, these accessories include:

  • A pillion backrest and carrier that enhance both pillion passenger comfort and convenience with a sturdy mount to lean on or load up.
  • A large-coverage fork-mounted windscreen, which provides ample protection against the wind while featuring the attractive accent of chrome-plated stays.
  • A handsome set of 18-litre black leather saddlebags with metal buckles, studs and chrome-plated mounting stays.
  • A beautiful black split leather tank belt which provides a stylish accent and features a small built-in pocket for extra riding convenience.
  • A large-capacity 17-litre leather top case which locks onto the rear carrier for secure transport. Its black leather finish is highlighted by polished buckles for an appropriately 'western' look.
  • Chrome swingarm pivot covers which provide an attractive accent by covering the swingarm pivot area with shiny discs that have been meticulously buffed and polished for a smooth, long-lasting finish.
  • A compact and handy leather handlebar pouch of cylindrical design, which provides a convenient place to store tools or other small belongings.
  • A chrome front mudguard rail set which protects the front mudguard's gorgeous paint finish with a stylish flash of chrome.
  • A chrome-plated radiator guard set which helps protect the radiator from damaging impacts while also dressing up the bike. As always, Honda fit and finish are flawless.
  • Chrome front mudguard trim which adds a retro touch that never fails to catch the eye. This chrome trim mounts on the front mudguard in minutes, and provides a classy look that lasts for years.
  • A chrome front mudguard tip which provides a crowning touch to the mudguard's optional trim, complementing the Shadow's look of retro style with an attractive panache.
  • Chrome rear mudguard trim completes the Shadow's retro look with a dash of chrome sparkle on its tail, providing a perfect complement to the new Shadow's classically aggressive lines.
  • A durable, water-resistant cycle cover designed to protect bodywork against weather and the sun's UV rays. Manufactured from breathable fabric which allows the vehicle to dry while covered, it features lower ties to keep the cover from flapping in the wind and damaging paint. Two holes built into the lower front edge facilitate the attachment of a U-lock.
  • Specifications Shadow (ED-type)

  • Engine Type - Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 6-valve SOHC 52 V-twin
  • Displacement - 745cm3
  • Bore x Stroke - 79 x 76mm
  • Compression Ratio - 9.6 : 1
  • Max. Power Output - 33.7kW/5,500min-1 (95/1/EC)
  • Max. Torque - 64.2Nm/3,000min-1 (95/1/EC)
  • Idling Speed - 1,200min-1
  • Oil Capacity - 3.2 litres
  • Fuel System, Carburation - 34mm VE-type carburettor w/ throttle sensor
  • Aircleaner Viscous, cartridge-type mesh net filter/
  • Fuel Tank Capacity - 14 litres (including 4-litre reserve)
  • Ignition System - Fully transistorised electronic
  • Ignition Timing - 13 BTDC (idle) ~ 24 BTDC (5,500min-1)
  • Sparkplug Type - DPR7EA-9 (NGK); X22EPR-U9 (ND)
  • Starter - Electric
  • Battery Capacity - 12V/12AH, ACG Output 333W
  • Headlights - 12V 55W x 1 (low) / 60W x 1 (high)
  • Clutch - Wet, multiplate with coil springs
  • Clutch Operation - Mechanical; cable-actuated
  • Transmission Type - 5-speed
  • Primary Reduction - 1.763 (67/38)
  • Gear Ratios - 1 - 2.400 (36/15), 2 - 1.550 (31/20), 3 - 1.174 (27/23), 4 - 0.960 (24/25), 5 0.852 (23/27)
  • Final Reduction - 3.091 (34/17)
  • Final Drive - Enclosed shaft
  • Frame Type - Double-cradle; steel tube
  • Chassis Dimensions - (LxWxH) 2,505 x 965 x 1,123mm
  • Wheelbase - 1,639mm
  • Caster Angle - 34
  • Trail - 160.9mm
  • Turning Radius - 3.2m
  • Seat Height - 658mm
  • Ground Clearance - 130.8mm
  • Dry Weight - 237.9kg
  • Kerb Weight - 254.3kg (F: 116.5kg; R: 137.8kg)
  • Max. Carrying Capacity - 180kg
  • Loaded Weight - 404.3kg (F: 139.5kg; R: 264.8kg)
  • Suspension Type - Front 41mm telescopic fork, 116mm axle travel, Rear - Dual conventional dampers with 5-step adjustable spring preload, 90mm axle travel
  • Wheels Type - Steel rim/wire spoke, Rim - Size Front 17M/C x MT3.00, Rear - 15M/C x MT3.50
  • Tyre Size, Front - 120/90-17M/C 64S, Rear - 160/80-15M/C 74S
  • Tyre Pressure, Front 200kPa, Rear 200kPa (with passenger: 250kPa)
  • Brakes Type, Front - 296 x 6mm hydraulic disc with dual-piston calliper and sintered metal pads, Rear - 180mm leading/trailing drum
  • Price - 4999.00

    All specifications are provisional and subject to change without notice.