2004 Honda Shadow Review


The Honda Shadow has been a staple in the Japanese manufacturer’s line-up of motorcycles since 1983, but it wasn’t until 1984 that the Shadow was sold in the United States. Initial models were 500 cc and 750 cc, but the 750 cc engine was reduced to 699 cc so it could be imported into this country. When tariff restrictions on Japanese motorcycles of 750 cc or more were dropped in 1985, Honda began importing Shadows with more powerful engines. Following Honda’s practice, not too many changes were made to the Shadow bikes over the years, with Honda sometimes skipping a model year, and re-introducing a bike that had been thoroughly revised. Honda produced five models of the Shadow in 2004: Shadow Sabre, Shadow Spirit, Shadow Aero, Shadow VLX, and Shadow VLX Deluxe. The Spirit, with a 1099 cc motor, is considered the most popular model; Honda introduced the Spirit 1100 in 2001. In 2009, Motorcyclist Online magazine ranked the 1995 Honda Shadow No. 43 in its list of the 50 best used bikes to buy, commenting the engine is ""asthmatic but runs forever.""

The Honda Shadow is a mid-range classic cruiser. It looks sufficiently like a Harley-Davidson, the DynaGlide in particular, to appease riders who want, but can’t afford, a Harley. While the Shadow can hold its own on the road with Harleys at speeds of more than 100 mph, its muffler system is not as loud as a Harley nor does the Shadow vibrate as much. The smaller Shadows make good entry-level motorcycles, while the Shadow Spirit, also known as VT1100C, is deemed a good motorcycle for a rider getting back into the sport. Owners say the Shadow is reliable as long as basic maintenance is performed in a timely manner. In 2004, the Shadow Spirit was available in black or pearl blue.

New For 2004

  • The Shadow Aero was redesigned, giving it more of a retro look that looks like a bigger cruiser.

2004 Honda Shadow Specs

  • Model: Shadow Spirit
  • Engine Type: V-twin, four-stroke
  • Bore and Stroke: 87.5 mm x 91.4 mm
  • Compression Ratio: 8.0:1
  • Valve Train: SOHC
  • Induction: Carburetor
  • Ignition: Digital
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual
  • Final Drive: Shaft
  • Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gallons
  • Estimated Fuel Economy: 47 mpg
  • Brakes (Front): Single disc
  • Brakes (Rear): Expanding brake (drum)
  • Suspension (Front): 41 mm fork
  • Suspension (Rear): Twin-sided swing arm, with adjustable spring pre-load.
  • Wheelbase: 65 inches
  • Rake: 32.6°
  • Trail: 6.3 inches
  • Seat Height: 28.7 inches
  • Curb Weight: 553 pounds
  • Tires (Front): 110/90-19 tubeless
  • Tires (Rear): 170/80-15 tubeless


  • Chrome backrest trim, with or without an emblem
  • Cruiser shield and mounting brackets
  • Magnetic tank bag
  • Cycle cover
  • Chrome front fender ornament
  • Chrome backrest with pad
  • Chrome round and square tube rear carriers
  • Chrome oil filler cap

Key Competitors For The 2004 Honda Shadow

  • Yamaha V Star 1100
  • Suzuki Intruder 1400
  • Moto Guzzi California Aluminum
  • Kawasaki VN 800 Classic
  • Harley-Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster Custom