Sunday, March 9, 2014
This is my Honda Shadow 750. I'd decided on a cruiser style, and there was a selection of these for small money. Since Honda has been making variations of this model for over 40 years, there's a huge after market for customization options.
It weighs about twice what the Rebel does, but has three times the horsepower. This makes it both peppier off the line as well as having a higher top end. I rather doubt that I'll ever test what that is - I was doing 60 in third gear yesterday. The Honda wouldn't top out there, but would be getting close. I haven't gassed it up, and so don't know the mileage it gets. I'm sort of expecting 50 MPG or so, compared to the 70+ I get from the Rebel. The engine sounds much more like a "real" motorcycle (throatier) without being obnoxious.
It was an almost effortless step from the Rebel - controls are essentially identical, so it was just size and weight difference. The bike is very well balanced and easy to control even at very low speed (as opposed to the V-Strom I tried some time back). The seller was quite some distance away - almost to Alabama - but this gave me a ~ 80 mile ride to get used to things. This is going to work out just fine.
One difference between this and the Rebel is that the Shadow has a shaft drive (just like your car) rather than a chain. This will reduce the maintenance (nice), likely at the cost of a lower top speed (additional weight and more power loss between engine and wheel). Since the Shadow has more power than I'm likely to need - at least until I get it loaded with luggage - this isn't really a concern.
It also has a rear drum brake instead of the typical disk break. I'm not sure that this will make any difference. Feel free to chime in with a comment on this.
Another difference (and this is a big one) is that the engine is liquid cooled, with a radiator. This will add some maintenance (flush the cooling system) but hopefully will help the engine run cooler than an air cooled V Twin. We'll see when things warm up later this year.
This bike had essentially no customizations. I picked it over others that were kitted out pretty nicely because it had very low mileage, and was the newest of the bikes I was looking at. While I'm pretty confident in Honda's reliability, newer and ridden less seem to be an investment that's worth while.
The ride home convinced me that my upgrade priority list needs to look something like this:
1. Windscreen or fairing. This easily cruises at highway speed, but the wind blast at 70 MPH is pretty bad. If I want to take this on trips, this needs to be reduced.
2. Saddle bags. The Rebel doesn't have them, and while I sometimes take a backpack to the store, bags will be a lot more convenient.
3. Sissy bar. I have the original rear seat, but a back rest for anyone riding 2 up is a nice addition. I'm not sure how frequently this will happen, which is why it's down the list.
4. Luggage rack. A weekend trip probably will take more luggage than will fit into the bags.
5. Bluetooth speakers for my helmet. Long rides, tunes. 'Nuff said.
So there you have it. Trip reports as I take them.