My Scooter

Posted: April 18, 2012 in little Honda
Tags: ,

I’ve had my 2007 Honda Shadow Spirit 750 C2 for about a month and a half now, and I’ve put about a thousand miles on it over a mix of in-town, county highways, and good ole I-35, also some gravel. I’m far from an expert, but I think I can share some initial impressions.

First, the elephant in the room–handling. Yes, the bike has a 21″ front wheel, and yes, it does feel goofy and tippy at first. However, once you practice your low-speed maneuvering it’s very easy and predictable. The bike is a middleweight at 505lbs wet, which makes it very nice in town and stable on the highway. It has enough weight that an 18-wheeler won’t blow you out of your lane, but it’s light enough to respond to body english. The 25″ seat height also makes it feel very stable at any speed. Gravel is still tricky, but everything with road tires is tricky on gravel. Oh, and while I’m on the seat, it is a gunfighter style seat that offers basically no padding for a passenger. The seat is comfortable up front though. If you plan to ride alone, you can get along just fine with the factory seat.

The brakes aren’t “sporty” by any means, but they respond in a linear and predictable fashion and will stop you quickly enough, even in “oh shit” situations (I’ve only had one so far). I wish it had a disc rear brake, but the drum works. This bike isn’t fast by any means, so the brakes aren’t super aggressive. I haven’t felt the brakes even hint at locking up, even under a few practice emergency stops from 70mph.

The 750cc powerplant is liquid cooled, and has a 5-speed transmission. This model being the C2, is shaft driven. I’ve seen claims on the interwebs that this motor is rated at 44hp and 46ft/lbs. So it isn’t fast. I’m guessing 0-60 is about six seconds, and mine tops out at 105mph. The engine isn’t rapped out, it just won’t go any faster. I’m guessing the 0-60 time is around six seconds, and 60-80mph roll-on is kinda anemic, even when you kick down to fourth gear and give it the beans. However, it will comfortably cruise at and above the 70mph speed limit here in Iowa. The good news is that what the little engine lacks in power, it does make up for in fuel economy. If I keep my cruising speed down to 65 or 70mph, I can get nearly 60 miles per gallon. I averaged 58.4 miles per gallon last time I took it out on a two-lane where the speed limit was 55. I was going a little over, but only a little.  It has enough power to ride two-up at highway speeds, but as I mentioned, you’ll want a different seat. On that note, if you want to ride two-up with bags and a shield, I’d just get an 1100 or 1300.

It isn’t a power cruiser or sport bike, but it is really a fantastic beginning bike. All of the controls react in a very linear and predictable fashion. It will go fast enough to keep up with your friends who have bigger bikes, though they will out accelerate it. I do want to get a more powerful bike, if only for the roll-on power. I don’t think it’s really worth the money to put a hypercharger and aftermarket pipes on a small bike. In the motorcycle world, it’s especially true that “there’s no replacement for displacement”. If I can find empirical evidence that a hypercharger and pipes can get me say, 10 more horsepower, I would do it, but for now my only planned upgrades are a set of decent saddlebags.  Maybe a shorty windshield. I hate being pelted by bugs, even in my helmet.

Things I would change about the bike? Well, I would rather it had a disc rear and 10 more horsepower. But if it had those things then there would be no reason to buy the Shadow 1100. I love my little Honda and if I can afford to, I’ll keep it instead of trading it for a VTX 1300 in a couple of years. Heck, if there are meaningful engine upgrades, I may just stick with this little guy until stuff starts to break.

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