When one thing has been round for 4 a long time, it’s often due to a mix of inherent high quality and common likability. Check out Rider journal, for instance. Subsequent yr, we have a good time our fiftieth birthday. There’s a cause for that. However high quality doesn’t dwell in a vacuum. To outlive – and even higher, to thrive – there needs to be change. Honda has succeeded find the following step within the evolution of the Honda Shadow Phantom, and the corporate hopes the modifications, mixed with a 40-year historical past, will assist the bobber-style bike succeed within the middleweight cruiser market.
The Spirit of 750
The Honda Shadow was launched in 1983 with two choices. The bigger of the 2 cruisers featured a liquid-cooled 745cc 45-degree V-Twin with SOHC and three valves per cylinder. It had a 6-speed gearbox, a slipper clutch, and shaft remaining drive. Greater than 19,000 Shadow 750s have been offered that yr.
Associated: Retrospective – 1988 Honda VT800C Shadow
There have been a number of different chapters within the Shadow story, but when we’re following the lineage to the Phantom, vital mileposts included the shift to a 52-degree V-Twin in 1988 with the 583cc Shadow VLX. The 52-degree V discovered its approach to the bigger displacement 750cc Shadow ACE in 1998, which dropped right down to a 5-speed gearbox, chain remaining drive, and no slipper clutch. The Shadow Phantom was launched in 2010 with blacked-out styling (the exhaust was nonetheless chrome), the introduction of gasoline injection, and a return to shaft drive.
The 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom sees the blacked-out styling now carried by way of the exhaust – an excellent look that represents a extra fashionable attraction. It nonetheless encompasses a liquid-cooled 745cc 52-degree V-Twin, however machine-cut cylinder head fins add a pleasant visible distinction that makes the engine pop. There’s additionally a brand new two-tone paint scheme on the tank (Deep Pearl Grey or Orange Metallic), LED turnsignals, fork boots, shortened fenders, and a brand new single seat (a passenger seat and footpegs can be found as equipment).
Colin Miller, American Honda assistant supervisor of public relations, stated members of Generations Y and Z are extra interested in Honda’s Insurgent platform, partially due to its extra aggressive styling, and Honda is leveraging a few of that type with the Shadow Phantom. Whereas the Shadow Aero nonetheless has the extra laid-back look of a conventional cruiser with a swept-back handlebar and extra relaxed seating, the revamped Phantom takes a extra modern method, with a brand new handlebar and clamp that places the rider in additional aggressive ahead place. A graphic through the presentation confirmed the handlebar place near that of the Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight.
And from a customization standpoint, whereas the earlier mannequin’s rear fender and license plate holder was one piece that needed to be minimize if a buyer needed to make modifications, the holder on the brand new mannequin could be unbolted to assist customization.
One other vital replace to the Phantom is its stopping energy. Braking within the entrance continues to be offered by a 2-piston caliper gripping a 296mm disc, however the earlier rear brake drum has been changed by a 276mm disc and 2-piston caliper, and a brand new ABS model is offered for an additional $300.
Entrance suspension journey has been elevated by half an inch (to five.1 inches) however stays the identical 3.5 inches within the rear courtesy of twin shocks with five-position spring-preload adjustability. In any other case, seat top is basically the identical at a really cruiser-like 25.6 inches. Though gasoline capability has been bumped 0.2 gallon to three.9, curb weight of the 2024 mannequin is 6 lb lighter at 543 lb.
Unlocking the Phantom Zone
The middleweight cruiser market exploded through the Covid pandemic. The wave crested in 2021, however Miller stated Honda is hoping the Shadow Phantom will herald each new riders and current cruiser followers searching for one thing new. I don’t know in regards to the youthful technology – in additional methods than simply their driving preferences – however I can say this Gen X cruiser man positive loved the journey.
The very first thing I seen when firing up the bike was the rumble, which was surprisingly satisfying for a Japanese bike with the inventory exhaust. The Phantom continued to impress as we rolled by way of the streets of San Dimas, California. After we examined the 2013 Shadow Aero, it made 44.7 lb-ft of peak torque on the rear wheel, with greater than 40 lb-ft out there between 2,200 and 5,000 rpm. I appreciated that degree of low-end grunt when pulling away from intersections on the town, and it held its personal as we climbed 6,000 ft on State Route 39 to Crystal Lake.
Associated: 2013 Honda Shadow Aero Evaluate
The rear suspension was just a little squishy in among the bumpier components, however that was doubtless a results of the preload being set for somebody just a little lighter than my two-plus payments. Thankfully, the brand new saddle is sweet and soft and didn’t give me any grief through the 4 hours I used to be on it.
The pull on the clutch lever was just a little heavy, and I might fee it “medium.” Since I personal an older cruiser, it’s not something new to me, however many bikes in the present day are outfitted with slip/help clutches, and when you get used to this function, you discover when it’s not there. I used to be okay with the lever pull – though a slip/help clutch would’ve lightened it – however there was a second going up the twisty, slim one-way path to Crystal Lake the place a fast downshift, mixed with some particles within the street, gave a hop of the rear wheel on a curve that was just a little bracing.
At simply $8,399 ($8,699 for the ABS model), the 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom might not have all of the bells and whistles, however it’s a very enticing proposition for both a brand new rider or somebody trying so as to add one other steed to their steady from a phase with out numerous competitors.
Solely Breath and Shadow
I had just one different subject with the Phantom. The bike has a good 27.4-degree lean angle. Nonetheless, after I put the arch of my boot on the forward-mount footpegs, if I didn’t need my toe resting on the brake pedal, the heel of my boot discovered the street floor earlier than the pegs did. This required a shifting of my proper boot to varied positions, none of which have been as comfy or confidence-inspiring as having the peg positioned straight underneath my arch.
This isn’t to say that I used to be high-speed slaloming up the canyon. In truth, I used to be probably the most conservative of the riders that day on the winding SR-39. As to these peg scrapes, I used to be as soon as suggested by my colleague and editor-in-chief of our sibling publication American Rider, Kevin Duke: “Journey your personal journey, however problem your limits when your confidence grows.”
So I did. Most riders gained’t deal with the Honda Shadow like a sportbike, however it definitely responded to my prodding sufficient to make it a spirited journey up the winding SR-39. In terms of driving my very own journey, I wish to cruise, take within the surroundings, breathe the air, and get my coronary heart pumping sufficient to recollect I’m alive.
If you’re of a like thoughts, you’ll be very proud of the Phantom. And for these of you questioning if it’ll haul just a little ass, the Phantom has one thing for you as nicely, as I can attest based mostly on the taillights winking within the distance forward of me from among the different riders in my group.
The brand new Phantom has introduced the Shadow into the sunshine, and it appears to be a vibrant future certainly.
2024 Honda Shadow Phantom Specs
- Base Value: $8,399
- Web site: Powersports.Honda.com
- Guarantee: 1 yr., unltd. miles
- Engine Kind: Liquid-cooled, transverse 52-degree V-Twin, SOHC w/ 3 valves per cyl.
- Displacement: 745cc
- Bore x Stroke: 79.0 x 76.0mm
- Transmission: 5-speed, cable-actuated clutch
- Remaining Drive: Shaft
- Wheelbase: 64.6 in.
- Rake/Path: 34 levels/6.4 in.
- Seat Peak: 25.6 in.
- Moist Weight: 543 lb
- Gasoline Capability: 3.9 gal.
- Gasoline Consumption: 56 mpg (claimed)