Honda Shadow VLX Review
The Honda Shadow is a motorcycle that has been around for decades. Between 1988 and 2008 Honda produced the VLX version of the Shadow (also known as the VT600c). It is a great introductory cruiser with enough power to make highway riding comfortable and easy. After all, that’s what cruisers do best and this Shadow is at home on the open road! Read on to find out why you should consider the VLX if you are a fan of cruisers.
Engine and transmission
The VLX is powered by a 583cc V-twin engine. This is the sweet spot in engine size that allows you to easily learn how to ride without doing wheelies or burnouts on accident. This bike was also heavily inspired by Harley Davidson engines, right down to the semi single pin crank. That means around town you will have a great sounding motorcycle that puts out an aggressive exhaust note without being overly loud. Even stock this bike sounds great.
The one interesting thing about this bike is it comes with a 4 speed transmission. Most bikes these days have 5 or 6 gears, but not this shadow. That means that it will be working a little harder if you are going 65mph or higher, but that’s nothing that this bike can’t handle. Still, it leave you wishing you sometimes had a higher gear when you are riding for more than a few hours at a stretch.
Oldy but a goody
The VLX version of this bike was discontinued after 2008 so you should be able to pick up one of these motorcycle extremely cheap. It was replaced by a larger engined Shadow RS which comes in at 750cc’s. The brand new Shadow RS would still make a decent beginner motorcycle, but you would have to be careful with the extra power. Plus, why buy something brand new when you can get an even better starter bike for a lot less dough?
The Shadow VLX would make an ideal bike for someone who thinks a Honda Rebel 250cc bike might be a bit too small for them, but they don’t want a bike that is over 650cc’s. It’s also a great bike if you want something inexpensive that will last you a while. Sure you can always sell your first bike a year after you get it, but this Shadow would easily last many years into your riding career if you so desired.
Great for short riders
The bike comes in at 439 lbs which isn’t the lightest bike out there, but sometimes that weight will help with stability when you are on the freeway. The seat height on this little monster is also quite short. 27.2 inches which is awesome for shorter riders.
That short seat will also help you flat foot the bike if you are average height to help manage the weight. If you are shorter than 5’6” it can make riding a sportbike a little awkward without modifications, but you would feel right at home on this Honda Shadow.
This is an absolutely badass motorcycle that you will love if you are a fan of cruisers. Really the only thing that makes it less than ideal is that 4 speed transmission. If it had one more gear it would make riding on the freeway a bit easier. Even with that limited transmission, this thing will cruise all day at high speeds. Look on your local craigslist or cycletrader and see if you can pick up one of these bikes for cheap. You won’t regret it!
- Perfect V-twin engine size at nearly 600cc’s
- Inexpensive since it’s discontinued
- Low seat height
- Amazing sound
- Could use one more gear in the transmission
- Maybe a little heavy for smaller riders