Honda Shadow 750 Problems: 4 Known Issues (Explained)

The Honda Shadow 750 is a popular bike amongst new riders.

It is easy to handle, reliable, has a great fuel economy and is inexpensive to purchase.

Though this bike is popular amongst newbies, you may encounter a few problems during your ownership.

Below is a list of the most common problems owners report about the Honda Shadow 750 motorcycle:

1. Underpowered Engine

The Honda Shadow 750 is powered by a 745cc engine. This mid-range engine size gives you just enough power to allow you to ride safely on highways but not enough to get you into (too much) trouble.

One of the most common complaints among Shadow riders is that the bike can feel underpowered at times. This is due to the bike’s weight and gearing ratio.

Note that some Honda Shadows came with chain and sprocket so owners could easily make the bike more suitable for highway riding, but some were shaft-driven and that means no modifications were available.

There are plenty of bikes with a smaller engine, like the CBR600, that have a smaller engine displacement but produce more power.

Bikes (like the CBR 600) are geared to be fast and powerful, despite their physical size. In fact, it’s because of their small size that make these bikes feel like they have more power. 

The Shadow is a heavier bike compared to the nimble CBR600RR and is designed to cruise down the highway at a moderate speed.

The bike can hold highway speeds comfortably. But if the bike is loaded with extra weight (luggage or passenger), or you want the feel of having extra power, you may experience the feeling of being underpowered. 

Some riders, however, have modified or changed their gears to produce more power. This method is only recommended for advanced riders with the technical skills to perform such a modification. 

It should also be noted that gear modification can only be done for bikes that are gear driven. There are a few variations of the Honda Shadow 750 that are shaft driven, making it impossible to make such modification.

Please also read our article about how long the Honda Shadow lasts.

2. Petcock Rebuild (Recalled)

Be prepared to rebuild the fuel petcock (and carburetor) or unit if the bike has been sitting for an extended period.

The Honda Shadow 750 is notoriously known for having leaky petcocks. The problem stems from the diaphragm in the fuel valve being defective and causing fuel to leak out. 

This is bad for several reasons. The obvious would be that you can lose fuel quicker than usual but the most hazardous problem of leaking fuel is the possibility of fire. For this reason, Honda issued a recall on the fuel valve diaphragm for the 2007 and 2008 Shadow 750s. 

If you’re riding or just purchased a carburetted model of the Shadow 750, take it to an authorized Honda powersports dealer and ask the service department to check the VIN for recalls.

Luckily, this problem is limited to carburetted models of the Shadow 750, which stopped being made in 2009. 2010 Honda introduced the Shadow 750 with electric fuel injection, thus rendering the traditional fuel valve obsolete.

You should also be reading our article which talks about 3 Most-Common Problems With Honda VT750 Shadow

3. Starter Switch Going Out

Some Honda Shadow owners have reported problems with the buttons on their handlebar controls, particularly the starter switch.

The problem most often occurs when the bike has been sitting for an extended time and debris and dust collect under the buttons. This causes the buttons, the starter switch, to stick in place.

Some riders have reported having to take apart the control to clean and inspect it. Sometimes, purchasing a new control assembly was needed to fix the issue.

Make sure to also read our article about how long the Honda CBR 650R lasts.

4. Uncomfortable Seat

Another complaint from Honda Shadow 750 riders is the rider’s seat. It’s been described as narrow and stiff, leading riders to make frequent stops on long journeys to give their bum a rest. 

In addition to an uncomfortable seat, there is also a lack of space for luggage.

Some new riders find that they enjoy taking long rides, alone or with a partner, but can’t comfortably do so on the small chassis of the Shadow 750. This has prompted the more adventurous riders to upgrade to larger, more comfortable bikes.

If you feel you’ve been plagued by the uncomfortable seat, there are many seat upgrade options from aftermarket vendors. Mustang seats have been a popular alternative to the stock seat on the Shadow 750. 

Also read our article about common problems with the Honda Valkyrie

General Pros and Cons of Honda Shadow

Below, I summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the Honda Shadow:


1. Low Center of Gravity

The Honda Shadow has a low center of gravity, making it an easy bike to handle for new or small riders, despite its large appearance.

A low center of gravity helps the bike to feel lighter when pulling it up from its kickstand.

Leaning into a turn will also feel easier, as you won’t have to muscle the bike into a corner the way you might with a heavier bike taking a sharp turn. This is one of the major reasons this bike is so popular among new riders.

2. Low Cost

Another reason Shadows are popular is that are cheap. Many Shadows can be found listed for around $5,000 and under.

The condition of the bikes listed at low prices is usually in excellent condition as well. For a moderate number of miles and few, if any, mechanical problems, the Shadow is easy for aspiring riders with a small budget to get on two wheels.

3. Good Gas Mileage

In general, Honda Shadows are known to get between 45-50 miles to the gallon. No matter what your skill level is, saving on gas mileage is always a good thing.

Yet another reason this bike is popular among students, commuters, and new riders. Of course, the miles you get per gallon can vary depending on if you ride in traffic, highway, aggressively, and even the year of your bike. 

4. Reliable and Long Lasting

Honda has spent the last 72 years building a reputation for selling reliable vehicles. They have limited problems cosmetically and mechanically.

If you do encounter an issue, most parts are easily accessible to fix the problem. Creating a bike that starts every time and can be enjoyed by riders of all levels is one reason the Shadow has been one of Honda’s most popular models.


  1. Underpowered engine
  2. Leaky petcock
  3. Faulty starter switch

What Do the Reviews Say?

Low saddle height, manageable power characteristics and friendly handling make this bike a breeze to ride, and its enthusiastic engine provides good grins.”

“Whether you’re looking for a stylish ride for those weekend excursions, a practical, fun-to-ride commuter machine, or a user-friendly bike to get you started, or re-started, in the great sport of motorcycling, the Shadow is a proven winner.”

-Road Runner magazine

What’s the Resale Value of Honda Shadow?

Year        Miles        Price 

2020         New           $7,699

2016          2,000         $6,900

2014         8,000          $5,000

2013         15,000        $4,500

2012         4,500         $5,300

Final Thoughts

The Honda Shadow is an excellent bike for riders of any level. It has great handling that gives newbies the confidence to graduate to bigger, more powerful bikes.

The Shadow is also nimble and gets great gas mileage, making it a great commuter bike for urban areas.

However, just like any other vehicle, it’s not without its flaws. Its defective quirks like leaking petcocks and sticking starter switches are the most bothersome issues of this bike.


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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.