MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2006 Honda Shadow Aero

Big bike look and feel without the big price

By Teri Conrad

If youre looking for the amenities and handling of a big bike without a big price tag, then you owe it to yourself to check out the 2006 Honda Shadow Aero. Its retro-styling, extremely low seat height and big-bike handling make this 750cc motorcycle appealing for a wide range of riders. I ride a Honda Shadow Spirit 750 and have always been pleased with its performance and reliability, but I was intrigued by the additional features and handling of the Aero.

Unlike other 750cc cruisers, the Aero has a big, beefy feel, yet is light, nimble, and incredibly easy to maneuver.

With an incredibly low seat height of 25.9 inches, fuel capacity of 3.7 gallons, and a dry weight of 519.4 pounds, the Aero appeals to a variety of riders from beginner to expert. Its easy to maneuver, extremely responsive and very comfortable.

This model is shaft driven which is low-maintenance, as opposed to a chain-driven model which requires lubing at frequent intervals. If you plan to do a lot of riding a shaft drive is definitely something to consider on any model. The single 34mm constant-velocity carburetion system provides crisp throttle response every time you crank the throttle making it a breeze for cruising along scenic country roads with the wind blowing past you. Power is delivered over a wide rpm range and theres plenty of torque at the start and mid-range, great for when youre downshifting to accelerate. The Aero shifts smoothly requiring very little clutch lever effort from the rider.

Does the low seat height lend itself to some scraping of the pegs? Yes, on curvy roads, the pegs can touch the pavement with little effort, but there#39;s a lot more cornering clearance that you#39;d expect with such a low bike.

Its sturdy 41mm front fork delivers confident handling and maneuverability. While executing a U-turn on a narrow two-lane road so I could circle back and take in the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean on our test ride, I found the Aero had a decent radius. I was able to whip the bike around pretty easily.

A dual-shock rear suspension offers a five-position spring preload adjustment option so you can adjust the shocks when you have additional weight, like when youre packing for those long weekend getaways. For braking, the Aero uses a single 296mm disc with twin-piston calipers in the front, and a 180mm drum in the rear. The 25.9-inch seat height was perfect for me at 5 feet 7 inches allowing me to firmly plant my feet on the ground when coming to a stop.

At 5-feet-7, Teri sits comfortably on the Aero. Inseamed-challenged riders, those much shorter than Teri, will find the low seat appealing.

The Aero makes its footprint with a Bridgestone 120/90-17 tire in the front and 160/80-15 in the rear. Some appealing features of the Aero are the tank-mounted speedometer set in an attractive chrome instrument housing, and a striking classic-styled halogen headlight. Something I particularly liked about the Aero was the handlebar position. It had a low-and-wide feel, no uncomfortable stretch to the bars. Theyre placed right in front of you. Plus, there was little to no vibration thanks to the rubber-mounted cushioning.

We were told two helmets could fit on the small helmet lock next to the rear tire. Indeed, they did.

Heres an added benefit to buying a new Aero or any new Honda. Each new motorcycle purchase includes a one-year complimentary membership for an individual in the Honda Riders Club of America (HRCA). This exclusive membership includes discounts, travel benefits, roadside assistance, a one-year subscription to Honda Red Rider Magazine, access to the HRCA Clubhouse Web site, as well as access online to Honda Common Service Manual. There are a number of available accessories to outfit the Aero to suit your riding style and tastes. Visit

Hard to believe this big-looking motorcycle is considered a middle-weight at 750cc. Don#39;t let the displacement fool you. This bike has strong, solid power.

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 745cc
Seat Height: 25.9 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons
Dry Weight: 519.4 pounds
Colors: Black, Candy Dark Red, Black/Candy Orange, Dark Brown/Black, and Metallic Silver/Pearl White
Price: $6,599 – $6,899

WRN Recommendation:
The Aero is suitable for confident beginners and expert riders alike. Plus, shorter riders will love it. Its that low to the ground and maneuverable. The retro-styling, and big-bike looks and performance will also appeal to advanced riders despite it being only 750cc. It glides easily in and out of turns, and the horsepower is there when you need it. The broad, low-slung scoop riders seat and detachable thick-cushioned pillion for the passenger provide enough comfort for a full day of riding. If youre looking for the most bang for your buck in a cruiser model, then you wont be disappointed with this Aero.

About the Author
Teri Conrad is a freelance writer and photographer based in Southern California. Some of her publishing credits include: Iron Horse, Ride Texas, Women Riders Now, Biker Ally, Friction Zone, Adventure Sports Outdoors, Portrait of Achievement, and Accelerate magazines. She can be reached at

23 thoughts on MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2006 Honda Shadow Aero

  1. Had a Honda 350 ages ago. Now retired, I thought I’d get a cruiser. When I saw this Honda Aero it was love at first sight. I’m the third geezer to own it, which is why it only has 3,000 miles. I love the seating position. However, how do you keep the bike from tipping over when you have to stop? It seems like the slightest bit of lean when you’re checking traffic on a cross streets starts a tipover that’s irrecoverable. I’ve had numerous Angels of Mercy happen across my predicament and stop to bail me out. It’s hard for me to believe other user comments about the bike’s balance. Am I doing something wrong or do I need training wheels?

    1. Richard, make sure that when you are stopped that your front wheel is pointed straight ahead and the handlebar is “squared off.” Stopping (and slowing) with the wheel turned, on any motorcycle, causes the bike to lean to one side and want to fall over.If you don’t have the physical strength to hold the bike up with the handlebars turned slightly, you may want to consider a smaller, lighter motorcycle or a trike.

  2. I bought a used 2006 Honda Aero as my first bike about a year ago. Wow! I love it. It fits me to a tee (I’m 5 feet 8 inches) and I don’t care what anyone thinks, not that it matters because I get compliments from everyone. My brother rides a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic and he loves my “little Honda.” It’s tangerine/black, and is accessorized with a windshield, light bar, Vance & Hines pipes, bags, backrest, highway bars, LEDs, floorboards, and more. It looks as good as any bike on the road in my humble opinion. It’s definitely not just a “girls bike.” No offense intended.

  3. I have a 2004 Aero an I love it! This bike has travelled about 8,000 miles with me and as a rider of about one year, every mile has been a pleasure. Plus the maintenance (or should I say lack of) for these models is fantastic! Just follow the recommended maintenance schedule and you too will love this bike!

  4. I bought a 2007 from a friend of mine. Had a Harley Dyna Low Rider and I enjoy this bike better. It holds two people better, not that I didn’t enjoy the Harley. Still want another, but this Aero is an awesome bike. I have had not one problem with this bike.

  5. After reading all of the positive reviews on the Aero, it’s confirmed…this will be my next bike after I’ve mastered my skills on the Rebel. I will, however, have to modify the seat as it is too wide for my feet to comfortably touch the ground (I’m 5 feet 3 inches). The local dealership told me that I could either order a different seat or have an upholsterer shave the width down and/or slope the seat’s sides to match the angle of my legs.

  6. OK, I’m a guy who is 5 feet 11 inches. I know this is a women’s site but I have to say I have to get a Shadow Areo after reading all the great things you say about this bike. I haven’t ridden bike in like 20 years and that was a Ninja 1000. I’m older now and don’t need the speed, but my legs aren’t what they used to be. I tried this bike; got on and off it with ease and it feels good to sit on, but I asked a guy walking by in the bike shop how I looked and he told me it was a girl’s bike; that I need a bigger bike with more power. But I like this bike a lot. And after reading your comments I’m going tomorrow to buy it: a 2009 blue and grey. It’s so pretty.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Joey. This is not just a women’s website, but a site for all riders, just like yourself. Good luck with the new bike!

  7. We recently purchased a used ’08 Aero for the spouse and she adores it. My first bike was an ’04 Shadow 600VLX (a 4 speed bike), then I moved to a ’98 750 ACE. The amazing connection here is that we discovered that the Aero is a morphed combination of both lines. It has VLX’s weight, rear tire and handle bars, long ACE forks with a nice rake and fork covers. Shaft drive reduces maintenance and grease all over the rear tire. Looks great, handles nicely and is the perfect first full size bike. If I had started with an Aero instead of the VLX, we would still have it. If only it had the hydraulic lifters of the discontinued 1100 models (eliminating valve adjustments), it would be the perfect all around motorcycle. Some people knock it because of the chrome-plastic covers and plastic fenders but those are a big plus here on the Oregon Coast because of the salt air. Rust and aluminum corrosion issues are greatly reduced plus they help keep bike weight down. Very nice bike, highly recommended.

  8. My husband has a 2006 Aero. He’s 6-feet-1. It has power enough for him that he’s keeping it. I got to ride it for the first time yesterday. I’m 5-feet-8 and the bike was comfortable and handled easy. I couldn’t believe the get up and go. Wow! I have been hesitant to get rid of my Rebel 250 for something bigger, now I am on the hunt. Your article convinced me that this beautiful classic low slung bike is just what the lady ordered.

  9. I am 66 years old, 5 feet 7 inches and 130 pounds and have been riding two months. I already have decided that a 250cc bike is great to learn on, but not big enough for the country riding I want to do. The Honda dealer recommended a beautiful used 2006 Shadow Aero he has. Based on what I have read here, I am going to get it and know I will be able to handle extra weight. Thanks for all the good reviews.

  10. I purchased a 2006 Aero a week ago. I hadn't ridden in 30 years so I wanted to not start out on a new bike in case I was too clutsy at my older age to ride. I am 5 feet 4 inches. Bike fits perfectly. I have practiced in a parking lot with low speed maneuvers and am catching on again. On the road I can easily keep up with my husband on his V Star 1300. I have only ridden around 75 road miles but it handles well. Rode about 40 miles in heavy wind yesterday with no problem.

  11. I bought my Aero in March of 07. I was kind of scared at first being only 4 feet 11 inches. On my first ride out I went 300 miles getting it from Tampa to Miami. Needless to say I am a lot more comfortable and have lots of fun even if I am still on my tippy toes. It is a good bike and my husband just got his endorsement and is trying to steal my ride (hahaha).

  12. I got a 2006 Aero shortly after passing my safety course — was a little hard to adjust from the training bike to the Aero, but once I got used to the power, it was great. The Aero is well balanced and easy to maneuver, nice ride and low enough for my 29-inch inseam. I agree with everything Teri said — great bike

  13. I bought a 2006 Shadow Aero (orange/black model) six weeks ago and finally was able to bring it home a few days ago. What a bike! I was only able to ride it for a short time as the weather hasn't been the nicest, but just that short time made me fall in love. This is my second motorcycle but definitely my favorite! It's like it was made just for me.

  14. I absolutely love this bike. I bought my 2007 Aero (two-toned, silver/gray as in the photo) before I completed my MSF course so she is my first bike, probably my last. Me and “Lolita” have definitely bonded. I've read some test ride reviews from a magazine and the guy reviewer (I will not disclose) just trashed the Aero. What was he drinking I want to know!?

    From day one I found the bike to be so comfortable. It fit me like it was made for me. (I'm 5 feet 7 inches, 126 pounds). She was so forgiving for a newbie rider, perfectly balanced and so agile. Really boosted up my confidence. She has enough spunk and controlled power for a cruiser. I love the retro look (my husband has Harleys) and I have added a windshield, engine guards, floorboards, rear fender solo rack and front and rear fender rail guards. Chrome candy! I get more compliments on this bike from even the guys. Next may be hard saddlebags to match.

    PS: I haven't scraped a floorboard yet- even on tight, windy roads!

  15. Well, I was not able to find a used 750 Aero, so I went ahead and purchased a new 2008 one and in the first three days I logged nearly 250 miles — wow! I do really love the Aero. The 750 has plenty of power and the bike fits my size really well. Before I picked it up from the dealer I had them install a windshield, saddlebag support bars, and engine guards. Later I will add floorboards.

  16. This article has been very helpful. I used to ride a Honda 305 Super Hawk back in the 60s, but had not ridden since then. This past summer I purchased a 150cc
    bike and used it to get my endorsement, and have been having the time of my life riding just about every spare minute. Now I want a full sized bike and have been unsure of what to purchase until reading this article, which inspired me to do some talking with local bike shops and other more experienced riders. They all agree that the Shadow Aero would be a great bike for me.

    I am 70 years of age and am just thrilled with riding and am looking forward to getting an Aero. Your article has really convinced me that it would be great choice. It sounds like it would also fit my body size, as I am 6 feet 2 inches and weigh 220 pounds. For a man my age, I am in very good physical condition, but would like a bike that is relatively easy to maneuver. Sounds like from the article the Aero is my choice.

    Thank you so much for doing such a good job. You made my search so much easier. I just hope that locating a good used 750 Aero will not be too difficult. I can hardly wait. Thanks again!

  17. I bought a used 2006 Aero just a few months ago. I absolutely love this bike. It is my first motorcycle, and won't be my last. I love the handling, and the classic look. Turns heads everywhere I go. When I bought the bike it had a custom paint job I wasn't particularly fond of. I have him in the shop now waiting for a custom job from my imagination. When we stripped the paint, I found the original paint is exactly like Teri Conrad's. If the paint could have been saved, I would have kept it. Too much damage was done by the previous owner.

    I have adopted him now, and can't say enough about this bike. I will surely buy another Honda, and have been looking at the VTX1300, though I admit, that will be a couple of years down the road. I love my Aero that much.

  18. I bought a used Aero a few weeks ago partially on the basis of this very informative article. I have ridden it nearly every day since I bought it and she's right on with her review. I find it much more stable at low speeds and planted at stop signs than my last bike. At 5 feet 2 inches (with boots on) I can reach the ground flat footed. It's also much more stable in the wind and at high speeds. A great bike!

  19. I enjoyed reading the article. I am picking up my motorcycle tomorrow. I brought a Aero Shadow 750 2008. I am hoping it will be an exciting adventure for me. I last rode a motorcycle back in the 80s. Wish me luck.

  20. I just bought a used 2006 Aero yesterday and this article was very informative. Can't wait to get started riding my Aero.

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