READER MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2008 Honda Shadow Spirit C2 750

By Sherry Brody, Litchfield Park, Arizona

Sherry's height: 5 feet 2 inches

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I purchased my Honda Shadow Spirit with only 400 miles on it. I love this bike! The bike is approximately 600 pounds but is weighted very well. Before I purchased this bike, I was riding a Honda Shadow VLX 600, which was very top-heavy. I bought the Spirit with the red windshield, engine guard and saddlebags already on it. I dont like the look of saddlebags in general, so I removed them and use a hip pouch and/or a backpack.

??The day I purchased the bike, I ordered a custom Corbin seat. I asked Corbin to design the seat according to my height and inseam (27 inches) so the seat would move me slightly forward and closer to the ground. After my husband installed the Corbin seat, I decided that even with the new seat, I still wanted to have my handlebars come in a bit and back farther. Honda does not offer any other handlebar or riser with this bike. The risers the bike comes with are about 9 inches, and the bar is a “drag bar,” meaning it is almost straight across. My arms did not have enough bend and my shoulders would ache.

This photo was taken with the original Honda Shadow Spirit handlebars. In order to be more comfortable, Sherry installed aftermarket Harley-Davidson handlebars.

I purchased a pair of Harley-Davidson handlebars. I rode the bike to a Harley-Davidson dealership, and their service guy brought a couple pairs out into the parking lot and laid them on top of my bars so I could see the difference in the bars they carried. The Honda dealer installed the new bars, which are fantastic. Because these bars were completely different than the ones the bike comes with, all of the cables had to be changed out (the turn signals, horn, clutch, brake lever, throttle, etc.). The cables had to be routed under the tank to have a clean look, and it took two weeks for all of the cables to come in and to change everything out. I knew this would be an expense, as I had read reviews on the Internet before I purchased the bike. Many women loved the bike as I do, but the handlebars seemed too far of a reach for them as well. The cost for the work was $1,000, and I think it was a fantastic investment.

My second-choice bike was the Harley-Davidson 1200L Sportster. If I had bought the Sportster, it would have needed a kickstand extension, windshield, engine guard, a new seat and handlebars, and the back end would have had to be lowered an additional inch. The cost for the six items I would have needed on the Harley-Davidson verses the seat and handlebars I needed on the Honda was higher, and in my opinion, the Shadow is a meatier and prettier-looking bike.

It took a couple hundred miles to get used to the drum brakes. My rear disc brakes on my old bike would grab quicker. The drum brakes need to be depressed a bit more, but I no longer notice since Ive just put 1,000 miles on the bike in just four weeks.

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18 thoughts on READER MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2008 Honda Shadow Spirit C2 750

  1. I am so happy with the 2008 Honda Shadow Spirit 750 I just bought upgrading from my beginner Honda Rebel 250. I am new to riding and at 5 feet 7 inches and 125 pounds I feel very comfortable on the Shadow. My husband rides a Harley Fat Boy custom and I had no choice to upgrade to keep up with him. I will be changing the seat on the Shadow as it does have a seat that doesn’t seem to comfy on long distance rides.

    1. Be sure to check out Mustang Seats. They have been a big supporter of WRN for many years and offer a large selection of seats.

  2. I thought the same thing and changed out the handlebars. Lucky for me there was a local handlebar manufacturer. I went with mini-apes in black. I also changed out my exhaust for some Vance and Hines, which I promptly sent in to get ceramic coated black. You can thank me for your Corbin seat! I lent them mine for the prototype. If you want to see my handlebars and mirrors just go to the Corbin site. The blue Honda pictured is mine. When I picked it up they let me choose the leathers and design (not the one pictured) and gave me the solo seat as well as the dual cruiser in return for the loan!

    1. Way to go Cyndi for taking the initiative with Corbin seat. That’s the way it’s done. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I just bought a 2008 Honda 750 Shadow Spirit. I love the bike, however I am also having problems with the handlebars. The reach is too far for me. This was a great article, but regarding Sherry changing out her bars: is there anyway to find out what bars she changed to and how they look on the bike? I am having a very difficult time finding bars.

    1. The handlebars Sherry has on her Shadow are mini ape hangers, item #56079-93T from Harley-Davidson. The photo in the story shows those bars.

  4. Pretty bike! Congrats! Very resourceful of you! I had an 2005 Sportster and found it top heavy. I now have a 2006 750 Shadow Spirit and find that the weight is evenly distributed. I've been riding it for about two years and have 4200 miles. I'm not a long distance rider, but love to ride, just the same!

  5. I also have a 750 Honda Shadow and absolutely love the bike. Since I'm 5 feet 8 inches the bike fits me perfectly. I tried a few bikes but fell in love with mine before I got around the block. When I returned to the dealership, they looked surprised that I was back so quickly but I told them, “When you find the right one, you just want to make it your own.”

    The only problem I'm having is finding saddlebags I like. I want the hard ones, but Honda does not make them for the Shadow. However, I did find an excellent custom bike shop here in Concord that not only will paint my bike to match my helmet, but will custom make carriers for the sides of my bike that will not detract from the clean lines.

    Glad you enjoy your Shadow. They are highly dependable and have more than enough power for freeway riding!

  6. So…she's got a Honda-Davidson! Glad it fits now!

  7. I bought a Honda Shadow Aero (750), my first bike, nearly four months ago. I have put 700 miles on it so far and I love it. I am 5 feet 7 inches, so height is not an issue for me to overcome, but I did not want to deal with a lot of weight or the output of a lot of money. I love the retro look of my bike which is candy apple red and creamy white. I did put a windshield on it (tinted black on the bottom) – very important right now in cold New England, and a “sissy bar” to which I attach a travel bag/box for my commute to work (school teacher) as I do not like saddle bags. I have recently purchased a padded jacket and unpadded overpants for protection and warmth. Both were great finds online. Feminine and practical. I plan to ride into the fall and winter as long as the roads are dry. My commute is my wake-up call. Who needs coffee?!

  8. I now ride a Honda Shadow 1100, but before this one had a Shadow 750. I also did not like the drag bars that are factory on the bike. I had the Honda dealership change the bars on my 750 for a set that were for a 600 custom Delux. Also adding a riser. This made the bike have the reach I wanted and fit I wanted. My new bike(1100) has a set of bars that I also thought I would be changing since they are almost “Z” bar style but after riding them a few miles I found the fit to be very comfortable and quite nice.

  9. I too would love to see a closer look at the bike after all the fixings! I have a 99 Honda Shadow Ace 750 and am also having the same problem with the handlebars and not the mention that I'm also reaching for the clutch. I'm only 5 feet and had to have my bike lowered. I have no problem with the weight of the bike just the handlebars and clutch.

  10. Good for you! Great looking bike too!
    If there is a will, there's a way. Thanks for sharing your experiences and secret!
    I'm also 5 feet 2 inches with a 26-inch inseam so I know your plight about finding a bike that “fits.” My ride is a 2007 Low Rider, which I had lowered another 2 inches to reach the ground flat footed. Regarding your seat, unfortunately, I'm no longer the skinny gal I once and found after buying several seat styles, I found I needed something with substantial cushion on those longer rides. I bought an “Air Hawk” adjustable seat cushion (instead of a gel pad) and added it to my stock seat. It only raised me up about 1/4 inch but it's enough to eliminate my leg numbness and rear end agony and still be flat footed. It's like riding on a cushion of air, which in reality, I am.

  11. $1,000? Honda didn't have an option for you?

    This summer I bought a 2008 Suzuki Boulevard M50 knowing from the start that I would most likely need to switch out the bars for more pullback. After trying some riser spacers designed and manufactured by a member of the forum on, it was confirmed that I needed different bars. Luckily I ran across another forum member who had tried a set of Flanders bars on his M50. Ultimately they were too narrow for him. He sold them to me for $50 shipped and I was lucky enough to have a knowledgeable neighbor help me install them. We did need to re-route the cables and hoses but not replace any. So my only other cost was the cold beverages bought for my neighbor in gratitude.

    Prior to finding the Flanders bars on the forum I was leaning towards ordering V Star 650 bars. The bars alone would have run about $120 and I was told by that dealer that they only order braided cables. So if replacement had been necessary those would have been a bit more expensive. Still I think we had estimated that total cost at not more than $500.

    I'm a little baffled that you had to drop $1k! I know the cable thing can be expensive, but geesh! In the future, I would encourage you to comparison shop and especially to try some place other than a Harley dealer.

    But, in the end comfort = safety, and I'm glad the solution worked for you.

  12. I understand your dilemma. I, too, am 5 feet 2 inches but have a 29-inch inseam. I opted for the Harley-Davidson 1200L and tipped the handlebars back on 2 1/2 inch risers. I changed out the dual seat for the Nightster solo seat and the fit is perfect. The cost was under $100.

  13. I would love to see a pic of the bike after all the work has been done. I too love the Honda Shadows, but don't like the handlebars.

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