The Honda Shadow line of motorcycles is a line of cruiser motorcycles the Japanese manufacturing company based on the increasingly popular American muscle-cruiser style.
The Shadows mirror their American contemporaries by stocking a V-Twin engine, updated with liquid-cooling.
Two of the most iconic Shadow models are the various 750cc and 1100cc iterations, including the Aero, ACE, Spirit Shadow, Shadow Phantom, and the Shadow Sabre, but how fast do 750cc and 1100cc Honda Shadows go?
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Here’s the Top Speed for Honda Shadow 750s and 1100s:
Although the top speed for the Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 is listed at 112 MPH, various riders have proven speeds of 120+ MPH on their 1100cc street rod cruisers with videos and photos. The 750 Shadows reach 95 MPH. The Shadow line’s secret power source is its liquid-cooled, 45-degree powertrain that runs on three valves per cylinder.
What Is the Fastest Recorded Speed on the Bigger Honda Shadow Models?
The Honda Shadow Sabre was a street rod muscle bike that could top 120 MPH, thanks to its 1100cc, liquid-cooled, SOHC 45-degree V-twin engine, which packed three valves per cylinder.
The Shadow 1100’s bigger sibling, the Shadow VTX1800, punches the pavement with 115 ft pounds of torques at 3,000RPM on a smoother-shifting gearbox than you’d expect on a Big Twin.
But how fast can the Honda Shadow VTX 1800 go?
While there have been several claims that the Honda VTX1800 can hit 140 MPH, the highest I’ve seen proof of is 134 MPH; still plenty fast for a Big Twin cruiser.
Is the Honda Shadow 750 Fast Enough?
A 750cc Honda Shadow is fast enough to ride on the highway anywhere in North America, as its top recorded speeds are 95+ MPH, and the highest Speed Limit in America is 85 MPH.
Even the previous 750 cc Shadows could be 70-75 MPH without feeling shaky enough to sketch out the rider.
Like we said earlier, the highest speed limit in the U.S. is 85 MPH (Highway 130 in Texas), meaning there’s no place the Shadow 750 models can’t compete with highway speeds.
Even the older models that chill in the 70s are fast enough for highway speeds since most states cut the highway limits off around 5-70 MPH, anyway.
Even if you’re fortunate enough to be ripping the 130 into the Texas Hill Country, 75 is plenty fast for the right-hand lanes.
But don’t take our word for it; here are some real-life examples of Honda Shadow 750s that prove it’s more than fast enough for highway riding:
- An SRK Cycles video on YouTube showed a 300-pound passenger go from 0-60 MPH in 6.65 seconds. In the same video (linked below), the rider cruises with Fastlane traffic between 80-90 MPH, joyfully addressing viewers through his Go Pro audio as he effortlessly rips and roars along with the cars and trucks.
- In another video from the same channel, the rider proves the bike to be more than fast enough by showing a Honda Shadow 750 taken to the highway with a combined rider/passenger weight of 400 pounds. The goal was to show that this beefy, mid-sized moto-cruising monster can compete with highway traffic regardless of the rider’s weight, stature, and body type.
And that’s not all; a quick crawl through the Shadow sites yields testimony after testimony of riders praising their 750s ability to rip highway miles at full speed.
- “Those 750 Shadows will really surprise you with the power. I am 6’3” 280lbs, I rode a friend’s Shadow, a few years back at 75-80 mph on the highway for several hours. That thing had tons of power. They are excellent bikes.”
- “As a 400+lb man who is also 6’3, who currently rides a 2007 Shadow Aero 750… yeah, I was surprised at how well that bike does [at high speeds]. I have no complaints. I certainly want to upgrade to a bigger bike, but considering I had pretty much no riding experience before, this was the perfect “starter bike” for me. I’ve had it for about 2 years, put 5,000 miles on it.”
- “I live in Germany where I’m able to ride 160 km/h (100mph) on a highway with my Shadow Aero 2014. The seat is very comfortable. It’s a great shaft driven bike. It has enough torque and power to ride 50 km/h in the very final gear at 1500 rpm, which is nice. I have no desire revving high the engine and no one is in my way.”
So there you have it; not only is the Honda Shadow 750 fast enough to get close to clearing 100 MPH, it’s fast enough to safely co-ride with cars and trucks at highway speeds.
Note: If there’s one thing a particular 90s movie about dinosaurs taught us, it’s that just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should—consult the owner’s manual for your specific year and model Honda 750 Shadow and follow Hondas riding instructions to be sure the particular 750 you’re on can handle the speeds you need it to before attempting to ride on the highway.
Have These Models Been Modified?
So far, we’ve mentioned some historical MPH figures associated with the 750cc, 1100cc, and 1800cc Honda Shadows; 95MPH, 120MPH, and 134MPH, respectively. All these figures can be easily achieved on stock Honda Shadow models with zero modifications.
There are aftermarket upgrades available that can increase the speed of the Shadows, but tampering with your stock setup always comes with at least a slight performance cost in other areas.
For more information on making your Honda Shadow 750 or 1100 faster, read on.
How Well Do These Models Handle High Speed?
The Honda Shadows 750 and 1100 models typically handle very well at high speeds.
Most of the Shadows have a relatively low center of gravity, giving them an edge in aerodynamics.
The 750, in particular, is incredibly lightweight for how much weight it supports and how powerful its engine is, giving it the power to handle great even while you’re rip-roaring and road-roasting.
Multiples of the 750 models also came with a lightweight wheelbase, adding to the bike’s effectiveness at high-speed riding.
Furthermore, in recent years, even the base model Shadow 750 produces 45 HP without trying, not to mention the higher specs on the more feature-rich models up the food chain, though still in the 750 range.
And finally, the comfortable “lounge” position is great for cruising, but it also makes high-speed riding more comfortable for the rider.
How Can You Make Honda Shadow 750 Faster?
There are multiple aftermarket parts available to make your Shadow 750 faster. If you’re on a brand new Shadow, be wary of upgrades, as they can void your factory warranty.
That aid, consult your neighborhood Honda expert before attempting any of the installations listed below, as using non-Honda parts can damage and have adverse effects on your engine performance.
1. Upgrade to an Adjustable Suspension
While some of the newer Shadow 750s have some pretty spiffy suspension packages, that hasn’t always been the case; bikes have come a long way since their 1986 iteration.
If your trusty steed is an older or base model Shadow, adding an adjustable suspension improves handling at high speeds.
A more dynamic suspension allows improved handling and eliminates any excess resistance that might be straining your momentum. The customizable compression settings will enable you to integrate your brake with your body type and riding style.
2. Professional Suspension Adjustments
This is a bonus tip to tack on to the last section—if your Shadow 750 is loaded with adjustable shocks, you can gain a few more speed points by getting your suspensions tuned by a professional.
You get the most integrated riding experience by fine-tuning your suspension over time based on real-time feedback. If you’re a savvy home mechanic, adjust it as you go based on any lags or shock upsets you experience while riding.
If you prefer to take your bike to a Honda-literate pro-wrencher, developing a relationship with one technician and chatting about your riding experiences can result in adjustments that increase handling, performance, efficiency, and, by proxy, makes your Shadow 750 go faster.
3. Install High-Performance Brakes
If you plan to roast roads at limit-pushing speeds, steel braided brake lines and high-performance brake pads are required to maintain your Shadow’s stopping power.
See, this is why we gave you a disclaimer upfront. Your Shadow is engineered to be a dynamic, efficient, actual Honda class system.
The clincher is this: if you start swapping out parts to gain performance in one attribute, like speed, you need to upgrade the interacting components to maintain your Honda-motors signature and dependably dynamic operation.
This isn’t just here to help you stop; high-performance racing brakes are made to stop at high speeds while utilizing lightweight materials.
An excellent high-end disc brake system has more surface area for increased stopping while also being fabbed from lighter-than-stock materials!
4. Swap Out for a Lighter Wheelset
This is another area where motorcycles, in general, improved over time.
But the fact remains that, like all vintage bikes, the Shadow 750 had some heavy wheels in the old days.
Suspension upgrades can only do so much if your wheels are lagging on your momentum.
If you’re in the business of conducting speed-oriented upgrades, why not swap out your wheelset to shed some weight and boost your speed?
5. Only Use Honda-Recommended Tires
You’re off to a great start if you’ve got adjustable suspension and had it adjusted by a pro. If you swapped out your wheelset for some lighter rims, the following order of operations is to install high-performing tires intended for the type of riding you do most often.
If, for example, you ride rain or shine and live in an area where the weather swings back and forth, you can get some all-weather Commander 3’s sized to fit the wheelset, which should match the spec dimensions in your owner’s manual whether they’re stock or upgrades.
On the other hand, if you hate wet weather and refuse to ride in the rain, all-weather tires won’t provide the ideal traction on the hot, dry pavement.
The way your tires interplay with your wheels and suspension is critical. We suggest talking to a pro and doing extensive research during the selection process, keeping your riding style and habits.
6. Exhaust Upgrades and Power Commander Installation
These days, kits are available for the 750 Shadow models that upgrade everything from the header pipes to the air intake to the fuel mapping to the throttle response and everything in between.
If you update the air and not the pipes or vice versa, you need to make sure your new parts can play well with the features that came on the bike via research or a Honda tech consultation.
It would be best if you also had the engine thoroughly re-tuned to account for the intake and exhaust upgrades, or your air-fuel ratio will shift and affect performance.