Honda Shadow RS

The roadster style ride began making a comeback in 2010 and manufacturers jumped on board by re-introducing old model styling with modern day technology. Polish it all up, accent it with some chrome and retro colour and you have yourself a present day motorcycle in a vintage package. Introducing their 2010 lineup, Honda added the Shadow RS and even thought it skipped a year, is in production again for 2012.

The RS is standard cruiser not to be confused with the Shadow Spirit 750 custom cruiser. The looks and styles between these two models are different.

In its introduction year, the Shadow offered two colours – Metallic Gray and Pearl White (USA). Production in 2012 will add Candy Blue (USA only) to its colour options.

Classic lines, spoked wheels with a 100/90-19 front and 150/80-16 rear tires, 41 mm front fork with 4.6 inches of travel and a spring styled rear suspension with 3.5 inches of travel.

When I first looked at the bike I had images of those old school helmets – before full face was an option – you know, the ones where visors were snapped on for protection and the badasses that didn’t ‘need’ a visor wore those cool goggles that you would only see in old military movies usually on the eyes of a rider behind the handlebars of a bike that had a sidecar.

I remembered the days as a child when motorcycles actually looked like that. The flat ‘banana seat’, paired with the somewhat square gas tank, basic handlebars and big chunky foot pegs with flat square brake lever and a chunky shift lever. As my dad would sit me on the seat in front of him in the driveway of his dealership, I would dream about the day I would be big enough to ride one.

It was my day.

I sat on the bike, looked at the one guage offering all the necessary information – speed, odometer & tach – and even the heat of the day took my mind back to that Prairie summer in the 70’s sitting with dad in the driveway.

Sitting on the 2010 bike, my first impression was that it was designed with either an entry level or smaller rider in mind. The bike offers the basics. With feet planted on the ground, the bend at my knees was about 120 degrees. The low seat height of 29.4”, paired with raised foot pegs to enhance ground clearance, provide the rider with a ninety-degree seated position.

Marketed as a ‘torquey 745cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine’ the Shadow has plenty of pep. The five-speed transmission performs well at various RPM. Compression ratio is 9:6:1.

Heading down Highway 97 for a cruise around the lake, the bike was like riding on air. Easy to maneuver, light from the side to side and effortless corning. Curb weight for the 2012 Shadow RS is 503 lbs – easy to upright with proper technique for any sized rider.

The roadster style fuel tank holds 2.6 gallons of fuel including a .7 gallon reserve. Fuel economy is 56 mpg so you can affordably commute to and from work. The bike may look like it has no storage for commuting but with added accessories like saddlebags, a rear carrier or a front pouch, you should be able to pack just what you need.

My cruise around the lake (three hour journey) was shortened after navigating several traffic lights where stopping the Shadow became a painful experience. It had nothing to do with the single 296mm twin piston caliper front disc brake or the rear drum. The problem was me.

Each and every time I had to stop the bike, and take my legs off the pegs, I ended up smacking my shin into those beautiful, large, retro-styled square pegs while planting my feet on the pavement. I consciously tried to avoid the recurrence of this pain but it seemed that for my height, my leg length and my positioning on the bike, the shin bruises were unavoidable.

Albeit this is a minor complaint and probably wouldn’t have been as bad if I had been wearing shin high boots, but in my summer ankle biters, and after the first couple of times, I was timing the lights, practicing my clutch control and putting on my best low speed balancing act to avoid any further stops.

The 2012 Shadow comes with a transferable one-year unlimited-mileage limited warranty and offers extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.

MSRP for 2010 model $7,799.00 in the press release but at the new manufacturer’s discounted price is $5,899.00 for the 2010 model.


  1. Richard Robinson

    Enjoyed the review. I own a 2013 Shadow RS and so far am quite satisfied. I am a returning rider. Started again in 2008 on a Suzuki 400 DRZ given to me by a friend. That was a great bike that got me back into riding. But now that I’m in my 50s, I just wanted a stylish, reliable bike for basic street riding. The Honda Shadow RS is perfect for that purpose. And the retro look is a plus. This thing feels very well-built and doesn’t intimidate you with its power. It looks mean but feels more gentle. Again, perfect for cruising on a beautiful day. And being a Honda, I expect this bike to last long after its paid for, for which I thank the good Lord!

  2. Savage

    I’ve owned eight different Bikes during my career as a motorcyclist and have had the opportunity to test ride many more. Currently own a 2010 VT750RS and it is without a doubt one of the very best looking and best riding motorcycles I’ve had the pleasure … good on ya Honda!


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