Honda Shadow 750 Problems: 10 Known Issues (Explained)

The Honda Shadow 750 is a popular choice amongst new riders. It is easy to handle, reliable, has 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.

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.

You can check with your dealership if you are unsure if your model comes with a chain and sprocket or is shaft-driven.

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 makes 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 enthusiasts, 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 modifications.

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

Petcock Rebuild (Recalled)

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

The Honda Shadow 750 is notorious for a problematic petcock. 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 common problems With the Honda VT750 Shadow

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 starter button and switches to stick in place.

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

However, before cleaning or replacing the starter switch assembly, follow the proper starting protocol:

  1. Place the kill switch in the off position.
  2. Place the motorbike in neutral.
  3. Switch the key to the “on” position.
  4. Check that the fuel switch is turned on.
  5. Raise the sidestand.
  6. Pull the clutch lever.
  7. Start the engine by pushing the starting switch.

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

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 backside a rest.

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 an 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.

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

Carburetor Blockage Concerns

While many secondhand Honda Shadows have minimal miles and reasonable pricing, consumers should be cautious of potential faults caused by the motorcycle’s lack of activity. One of them being carburetor problems.

The issue is frequently caused by old gas, which can deteriorate if not stabilized.

This is especially important for VT750s built before 2011, which have carbureted engines that might be damaged by old gasoline.

Petrol deterioration can cause deposits to accumulate in the carburetor, notably in its jets, affecting the smooth flow of fuel to the engine.

Fortunately, troubleshooting this problem usually entails using a carburetor repair kit and replacing the gasoline tank with a new one.

Prospective Honda Shadow buyers should take an extensive ride, making sure to go through all the gears. Given that carburetors have separate jets that open at different places in the engine’s RPM range, it’s critical to get the motorbike up to speed and propel the engine near to redline at least once.

This aids with the detection of any possible fuel supply difficulties, which may manifest as a loss of power or the engine bogging down.

Even with post-2011 Shadows with fuel injection, a thorough test ride is still required to uncover any underlying fuel system faults.

Also, read our article about common problems with the Honda Valkyrie.

Bank Angle Sensor Recall (2010-2016)

The bank angle sensor plays an important role in shutting off the engine if the motorbike tips over. However, if the sensor wrongly detects a tip-over when nothing has happened, an unintentional engine shutdown may result.

As a result, Honda issued a recall for motorbikes manufactured between 2010 and 2016.

While riding, the engine may experience vibrations leading to potential contact between the bank angle sensor wire and the wire harness joint connector. This contact then rubs against each other creating a result in a loss of sensor signal. This increases the risk of stalling while riding and, consequently, increases the likelihood of an accident.

Through this recall, Honda aims to repair the bank angle sensor and adjust the joint connector to eliminate friction-induced wear. The change tries to remove the possibility of sensor failure.

Transmission & Gearbox Issues

Honda Shadow bikes are prone to a transmission and a clutch problem, which can impair overall performance.

The clutch of the motorbike, which connects the engine to the gearbox, can wear out or be damaged over time.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficult gear changes
  • Partial disengagement
  • Sliding or stuck clutches
  • Vibrations
  • Diminished power

These concerns are made worse by factors such as age, wear, adjustment challenges, and contamination.

The Honda Shadow gear shifting issue appears as difficulty shifting gears, grinding noises, or gears sliding during acceleration. Worn clutches, gearbox troubles, and shift linkage defects all contribute to these difficulties.

Transmission slippage is another typical issue that happens when the motorbike fails to sustain speed despite the engine being turned on.

Wearing clutch plates, low transmission fluid, broken transmission belts, or defects in transmission gears or shift forks are all possible causes. Recognizing indicators such as power failures, burning odors, or shifting difficulties is critical for quick diagnosis.

Certified mechanics should tackle these concerns, emphasizing the significance of regular maintenance, including gearbox fluid changes on a regular basis, to avoid slippage and other troubles.

Battery Issues

A drained battery, which is required for starting the engine and powering different electrical components including headlights and the horn, is a common electrical issue with Honda Shadow bikes.

A dead battery can be caused by leaving lights on, inactivity for lengthy periods of time, or a faulty charging system.

Here are some symptoms of a dead battery in your Honda Shadow:

Difficulty Starting: If you try to start the engine and get no reaction, you may have a dead battery. The starting motor requires adequate electrical power, which is absent when the battery is dead.

Dimming Lights: Dim or flickering lights on your Honda Shadow indicate a weak or failing battery. The battery is unable to maintain full brightness.

Clicking Sound: A clicking sound upon engine starts, rather than the customary cranking sound, indicates a dead battery. Insufficient power stops the starter motor from starting the engine.

Slow Engine Crank: If the engine cranks slowly or takes longer to start than usual, it might be a sign of a failing or weak battery. The battery in this situation lacks the power required for the average cranking speed.

Preventing battery problems calls for maintaining a charged and healthy battery. It’s clear that with a dead battery, you will encounter starting problems.

Suspension & Braking Issues

The Honda Shadow’s suspension system provides a smooth ride and good road stability, but elements like shock absorbers and fork seals can wear out over time.

Excessive bouncing, increased vibrations, and a bumpy ride are all signs of wear, resulting in decreased stability and faster wear on other suspension components.

Brake pad wear is another issue that many bikes have, including the Honda Shadow. Stopping efficiency declines when brake pads wear out over time, creating a safety risk.

Inspect and replace worn brake pads on a regular basis to solve concerns such as squeaking, and reduced braking power.

Damaged lines, worn seals, or piston leaks can all cause brake fluid leaks in the Honda Shadow’s braking system as well. A mushy brake pedal, decreased braking performance, and fluid collecting beneath the motorbike are all symptoms for you to look for.

Fuel System Challenges

Honda Shadow bikes rely on fuel injectors to provide enough fuel to the engine. Impurities or debris in the fuel system can block injectors over time, causing a variety of problems.

Lower fuel efficiency, decreased power output, rough idling, and engine misfires are all symptoms.

Clogged injectors can cause a rough idle, instability at low speeds, stalling, and delayed engine starts. Due to the reduced fuel economy, the bike may have a smaller fuel range on a single tank of petrol, perhaps resulting in emission-related issues.

To avoid blocked fuel injectors, use high-quality gasoline and replace the fuel filter on a regular basis.

Fuel additives can aid in the cleaning of the system and the prevention of injector deposits. If the injectors are already blocked, they must be professionally cleaned or replaced by a specialist.

Exhaust system leaks, on the other hand, are also a regular source of concern for Honda Shadow owners.

Wear and tear, as well as corrosion caused by exposure to the environment or continuous usage, can develop cracks or holes in exhaust system components, resulting in leaks.

Loose connections, which are frequently kept in place by bolts or clamps, can also lead to leaks, resulting in decreased performance and increased exhaust noise.

Leaks can occur when gaskets used to seal connections become damaged.

General Pros and Cons

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

Pros Con
Low Center of Gravity Underpowered engine
– Easy handling for new or small riders

– Feels lighter when pulling from the kickstand

– Easier leaning into turns

– May lack sufficient power for some riders’ preferences



Low Cost Leaky petcock
– Affordable price, often around $5,000

– Good condition for the price

– Budget-friendly for new riders

– Potential fuel system issue leading to fuel leakage



Good Gas Mileage Faulty starter switch
– 45-50 miles per gallon

– Cost-effective for students and commuters

– Varied mileage depending on riding conditions

– Potential starting issues

– Possible reliability concerns

Reliable and Long-lasting  
– Honda’s reputation for reliability

– Limited cosmetic and mechanical problems

– Easily accessible parts for repairs


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 the 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.


Honda Shadow 750 MPG 

MTB 12334 VT750 Safety Recall, Fuel Leakage Service Bulletin 08V141-7306

Motorcycle Road Test: Honda Shadow Spirit 750

Honda Shadow Spirit 750 C2

Common Issues with Honda Shadow Motorcycles

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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.