The Honda VT 750, also known as the Honda Shadow Aero, was a V-twin cruiser motorcycle, a liquid-cooled V2 four-stroke with a top speed of 94 miles an hour fueled by a single overhead cam.
The Shadow Aero is widely considered one of the best starter motorcycles in the game, making it a hot ticket among young road Turks looking to get into riding. But how long do Honda VT 750s last?
Find out in this article.
Here’s the Short Answer to How Long Honda VT 750s Last:
A well-maintained Honda VT 750 can last for over 70,000 miles. There are VT 750s that have been on the road for over 20 years, with over 100,000 miles on them. That said, significant factors like service, storage, riding, and ownership habits will affect the lifespan of a Honda VT 750.
How Many Miles Do You Get on a Honda VT 750?
You can get over 70,000 miles on a VT 750 that’s been serviced per the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. Ownership habits like storing the VT 750 away from the elements and corrosive chemicals and riding it regularly and responsibly are variables that affect the Honda VT 750’s longevity.
But don’t take out word for it; we’ve crawled the forums to find some real-life examples of high-mile Honda VT 750 Shadows alive and thriving in the wild.
- One VT 750 rider we heard from has an odometer reading of 41,234 miles. This Shadow owner keeps this bike in the garage on a trickle charge, only riding it on weekends.
- Another VT 750 Shadow enthusiast bought a used 750 with 20,000 miles on it only to pack another 48,000 miles themself, totaling his odometer up to 58,009 miles.
- A third VT 750 Shadow rider posted a picture of their odometer to prove the 82,848 miles, all original and counting.
- In the Honda VT 750 Aero forum, I heard from the owner of a 2004 VT 750 Aero with over 100,000 miles on the clock. He rides regularly and takes it to Honda for routine service.
- And finally, a longtime Honda home mechanic claimed he clocked 127,000 miles onto his VT 750 Shadow Aero, and this guy says he rides her rough, often. What’s his secret? Regular engine care.
The most significant factor to how many miles a Honda VT 750 will last is the owner’s attention to engine care.
A well-cared-for Honda Shadow Aero will long outlast an identical Aero that regularly goes 10,000 miles without fresh oil.
Maintaining your Honda VT 750 according to the service schedule Honda outlines in the bike’s owner’s manual can keep your Shadow on the road for over 70,000 miles.
Essential maintenance is part of motorcycle ownership, including oil and filter changes and replacing or detail cleaning your air intake filter.
The Honda VT 750 Shadow is liquid cooled. This means that coolant needs to be inspected, topped off as needed, and replaced per the intervals Honda lists in the service schedule.
A liquid-cooled engine ensures your bike stays cool all the time, not just in hot weather. That said, liquid-cooled motors are sealed, and therefore are devoid of airflow.
If a Honda VT 750 isn’t topped off with coolant, its engine can overheat and seize.
Servicing your oil, air cleaner, brake fluid, and engine coolant will keep your Honda VT 750 Shadow on the road for way more than 70,000 miles.
Failing to do so, however, will shorten the number of miles your VT 750 will last.
What Is Considered High Mileage for These Models?
The used market considers a Honda VT 750 Shadow to be high-mileage after 45,000 miles, as it does all medium cruisers in the Honda Shadow class. That said, a well-maintained VT 750 can last more than double that amount; there are more reliable indicators of a VT 750’s lifespan than the mileage.
The most accurate indicator of whether a Shadow’s lifespan is often the motorcycle’s history.
Look at it like this, would you rather have a bike that’s been dropped repeatedly but only has 10,000 miles on the clock, or a 20,000 mile VT 750 that’s been ridden responsibly and well maintained?
Just because a Honda Shadow VT 750 is considered high-mileage doesn’t mean it’s not in good shape; look into the Shadow’s maintenance history for a more accurate assessment.
For example, a high-mileage Honda VT 750 with only one owner is more desirable than a low-mileage Shadow, the first bike for three different riders as they learned how to balance, while they learned not to redline the engine.
- The best way to know whether a Honda VT 750 has a long life left isn’t the high mileage but the owner’s use habits.
- See if the owner can provide service history records. If they can, chances are they cared for their Shadow with attention to detail.
- Interview the owner to find out more about how the VT 750 was stored and ridden and if it had any previous owners.
- If there isn’t a service history, ask the previous VT 750 owner specific questions like how often they got the brakes serviced, how regularly the coolant had to be topped off, or who changed the oil and how often.
- If they don’t know the answers to these questions, chances are they didn’t ride very often.
- Or maybe they rode all the time but didn’t keep up with maintenance.
Either way, regular service and upkeep are more valuable than the mileage in determining the lifespan of a Honda VT 750.
It’s not that high mileage isn’t a factor at all, but a Shadow’s value depends on multiple factors.
A VT 750 might be considered high mileage after 45,000 miles, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the purchase.
You may get more than a decade of riding for just a few grand by buying a Honda VT 750 at a low price due to it being considered high-mileage.
How Many Years Does a Honda VT 750 Typically Last?
A Honda VT 750 can typically last around 17 years, provided it’s ridden responsibly and regularly and winterized before long storage periods. A VT 750 will last longer if it’s stored out of the elements and away from corrosive chemicals and if it’s serviced regularly.
A few factors that can shorten the number of years a Honda VT 750 typically lasts are:
- Prolonged or regular exposure to extreme weather, both hot or cold
- Owner adherence to Honda’s engine maintenance schedule outlined in the VT 750’s owner manual.
- Inspecting and maintaining tires, brakes, valves, battery, etc.
- How the owner rides the VT 750, how hard they push the engine, and how rough they set the idle.
Is the Honda VT 750 Reliable?
The Honda VT 750 is widely considered one of the most reliable cruiser motorcycles for a variety of its features; namely, it’s a powerful, mid-sized, liquid-cooled engine and its shaft-driven transmission. Shaft-driven transmissions require less maintenance and incur minor wear from standard operation.
Reliability is generally considered a question of engine integrity. The VT 750 has a liquid-cooled engine to boast in that category, but the reliability of its shaft-driven transmission does a lot of heavy lifting.
The VT 750 is made even more reliable by its 34mm constant velocity carb, a feature that makes crisp and reliable throttle response the norm. There’s plenty of torque in the bottom end of the VT750’s RPM range, meaning the Aero doesn’t have to work hard to take off.
Honda’s reputation for reliability comes from engineering motors that function as a car, with solid revs in the mid-range. A strong mid-range makes downshifting and accelerating smooth, a sign that the engine isn’t pushing itself past its limit and will perform reliably for the long haul.
These liquid-cooled V2 motors don’t have to overwork themselves, making them as reliable as a Honda car.
Does a Honda VT 750 Last Longer Than Other Motorcycles?
A Honda VT 750 lasts longer than other medium cruisers due to its robust, sealed, and liquid-cooled V-twin motor and shaft-driven transmission. Shaft-driven transmissions require less maintenance than the chain drives on other bikes. Shafts experience minor wear, helping VT 750s last much longer.
In the case of the VT 750 Shadow outlasting the competition, less CCs are more.
Due to the lightweight motor and the inherent throttle response of the VT 750’s carb and shaft drive, its 45 horsepower feels like more.
Horsepower isn’t always indicative of power compensation. Just because other bikes can put out 100 hp doesn’t mean that they’re not working towards blowing their heads at every flick of the throttle.
The Honda VT 750 Shadow is a mid-range machine. It’s tuned to provide adequate power for the long run, not to peak early and struggle up the high gears like other motorcycles.
The sheer superiority of Honda’s engineering makes the VT 750 Shadow last longer than other motorcycles.
What Typically Breaks First on a Honda VT 750?
The first thing to break on a Honda VT 750 Shadow is the starter relay. If your VT 750’s starter relay fails, the energy impulse won’t make it from the battery to the starter motor, and your Shadow’s engine won’t start. You’ll hear the relay’s noticeable clicking noise during failed starting.
To get a clear picture of how the relay fails, let’s consider how it functions:
- Your starter relay sends a signal to your battery as you push your starter button.
- That signal triggers your battery to fire a jolt of electricity.
- The energy your battery releases zaps your starter motor, triggering the spark that turns your engine over.
- The electrical impulse that ignites the entire process can’t reach the starter motor without passing back through the starter relay.
- The starter relay boosts the VT 750’s battery current in completing the electrical circuit required to ignite the bike’s engine.
4 Great Tips to Make Sure your Honda VT 750 will Last Long
Here are tips to help you get the best out of your Honda VT 750:
1. Service Your VT 750 Per the Owner’s Manual
This is perhaps the most critical step you can take to ensure that your Shadow lasts past 70,00 miles.
- Make sure to check the engine oil quality and level before and after every long ride
- Replace the oil per Honda’s specifications and maintenance schedule
- Make sure to use the Honda recommended grade of engine oil
- Oil consumption increases during summer and reduces during winter, so top up according to the season
- Keep up with other maintenance, like brake pads and fluid, air filter, tires, and engine coolant
2. Brake-in the VT 750 Properly
Honda had certain rules about breaking in the VT 750 during the first few hundred miles of the motorcycle e’s life. Follow them religiously and have the dealership perform the 500-mile post-break-in service to ensure there aren’t any engine issues.
3. Ride Your VT 750 Regularly and Properly
One of the most effective ways of extending the life of your VT 750 is to ride it correctly and regularly.
- Avoid sudden and hard accelerations
- Avoid sudden braking
- Avoid high revs and redlining
- Don’t let the bike sit unused without proper preparation
- Ride often
4. Store Your Honda VT 750 Properly
Store your Honda VT 750 away from the elements, either with a tarp, tent or inside a garage. Indoors is ideal, but be sure you’re storing your VT 750 away from corrosive chemicals like pool cleaner, as airborne chemicals can cause corrosion and shorten the lifespan of your VT 750 Shadow.