The sportiest cruiser with a 21-inch front wheel and low 25.7-inch one-piece gunfighter seat, the Shadow Spirit 750 C2 exudes street-rod style with handling, comfort and quality levels only Honda can put together.
When Honda’s design and marketing teams sit down to discuss upgrading an existing model, careful consideration is given to the current customer profile. Who are they? What do they like about the bike? What can Honda offer more riders like them? In the case of Honda’s Shadow Spirit 750-the best-selling custom in the company’s lineup with a heritage that reaches all the way back to 1983-some might speculate that it’s best to leave well enough alone, but that would not be the Honda way. In the same manner that Honda has taken the flagship Gold Wing to a new level of sophistication with each subsequent introduction, the 2007 Shadow Spirit 750 C2 has a whole new attitude. And it’s better than ever.
The engineering team’s three-fold goal was to make the new Shadow Spirit 750 look longer and lower like a larger-displacement machine, without sacrificing the friendly ergonomics and ease of handling that appeal to so many first-time and reentry riders. To accomplish this, the bike was fitted with a new single-backbone frame first introduced on the Aero. This produces a wheelbase that is more than an inch longer (65.0 vs. 63.8) while simultaneously stretching the ergonomic envelope to accommodate physically larger riders. Smaller riders were not ignored, however, as the rider triangle between the seat, handlebar and footpegs was kept as close to the previous model as possible. An added benefit is a seat height that is even lower than before-25.7 inches compared to 26.6. Nothing gives a rider confidence like putting both feet flat on the ground.
To emphasize the street-rod styling of the new Shadow Spirit 750 , the designers added a 21-inch front wheel and 90/90-21 rubber for a narrow, custom look that also provides light steering feel. A newly designed handlebar offers a sporty, upright riding position. The lightweight aluminum radiator is now out of sight between the frame downtubes, while a gunfighter-style seat and a teardrop-shaped air cleaner cover add to the hot-rod aura. Shorty fenders (the rear one now boasts a custom, integrated taillight), a chromed, tank-mounted speedometer/instrument housing and twin, bullet-style mufflers-all signature elements of the Spirit blueprint-were redesigned to complement the V-twin’s new low-slung attitude.
Perhaps the biggest news for Spirit 750 lovers is the all-new shaft drive. A feature popular with new and experienced riders alike, Honda’s shaft-drive system provides miles and miles of smooth, reliable operation and is virtually maintenance-free. Despite the larger frame and added weight of the shaft drive, the dry weight of the Shadow Spirit 750 C2 is just 7.5 pounds heavier (503.5 vs. 496) than last year’s model. Which means it is still as easy to maneuver in parking lots and low-speed turns as it ever was.
Of course, all the essential goodness of the original Spirit 750 remains. At its heart beats a 745cc liquid-cooled 52-degree V-twin with a bore and stroke of 79mm x 76mm. Both connecting rods are bolted to the same crankpin, delivering the rumbling cadence and torque that so many riders especially seek out. The Shadow Spirit 750 C2 features SOHC heads with three valves per cylinder and a 9.6:1 compression ratio, now fed by a 34mm constant-velocity carburetor in place of the traditional Shadow dual-carb system for ample acceleration and passing power. Coupled with the wide-ratio five-speed transmission, the Spirit also delivers surprising economy.
The 41mm front fork now provides 4.6 inches of suspension travel, and the dual rear shocks (with five-position spring-preload adjustability) offer an ample 3.5 inches of compliance. Bringing it all to a stop is a single 296mm drilled disc with a twin-piston brake caliper up front and a 180mm drum brake in the rear. Sharp-eyed observers will note the front brake has moved to the right side from its traditional position on the left-side fork leg. This change was made to counter the effects of adding weight onto the left side of the machine in the form of the shaft-drive system.
Honda has graced the new Shadow Spirit 750 with lots of chrome and dramatic new colors. Paint options include Ultra Blue Metallic, Black/Flame, Red/Flame and classic Black. Owners can select from a long list of Genuine Honda Accessories, including Touring, Chrome and Billet options, to personalize their ride.
With the 2006 introduction of the Spirit’s sibling, the Shadow Aero, fans of retro-styled customs found the perfect ride. And now for hot-rod aficionados of all sizes and experience levels, there can be only one choice-the all-new 2007 Shadow Spirit 750 C2.
Shadow spirit design: inside the process
New motorcycles do not roll out of the designer’s pen intact, like some magical three-dimensional extrusion. The design process is long, arduous and guided by many factors.
Nobody knows the process better or can speak more eloquently on the subtleties of motorcycle design than Martin Manchester, executive designer for Honda R&D Americas. So when we had questions about the new Shadow Spirit 750 C2, we went straight to Manchester-who was accompanied by Seiji Yamaguchi, motorcycle division manager for Honda R&D Americas-for a little insight.
Redesigning one of the best-selling cruisers in the line is a challenging task. Stray too far from the original concept, and you risk alienating current customers. Stay too close, and you won’t spark the interest of new customers looking for something different. It is a fine balancing act, one that Manchester knows well.
"The Spirit 750 is a remarkably successful motorcycle," said Manchester. "But we needed to update it with a completely new chassis and new styling. The Spirit styling has been well received, so we wanted to stay close to that general concept of minimal bodywork in a compact, lightweight machine. We wanted to bring that forward, add more value and make it look more contemporary. One of the ways to do this was to create a big-bike image without really changing the dimensions radically. Physically, the dimensions have not changed dramatically in the Shadow Spirit 750 C2, but the appearance of it, the sense of scale, gives the style of a bigger bike."
"We wanted to try to get separation from the current machine and also maintain some styling cues. The 21-inch front wheel added some of the character we were looking for. It was a key element that gave some separation from the previous machine and contributed to a big-bike look and feel."
In comparing the new 750 C2 with the previous machine, the swingarm is three inches shorter, but the wheelbase is three inches longer. We asked Manchester what accounts for this.
"That’s the benefit of the shaft drive because the swingarm pivot no longer has to be close to the countershaft as it does in a chain-drive system," said Manchester. "This created more space for us to work with, and it helps achieve the Shadow Spirit 750 C2’s lower seat height."
There are some familiar components on the Shadow Spirit 750 that came from the Aero. Why weren’t these components redesigned?
"One of the goals was to make sure the machine got to market with an attractive price," said Manchester. "But a major emphasis still had to be on styling elements, such as the 21-inch front wheel."
Students of Honda’s cruiser line of motorcycles should note that the C2 is the first Honda custom sold in the U.S. that uses a 21-inch front wheel. Why did Honda go in this direction?
"We did customer research and showed them bikes with both a 19-inch front and a 21-inch front," said Manchester. "Overall, customers responded positively to the longer proportions and 21-inch wheel. We also introduced a lot more horizontal lines in the bike-in the exhaust system and other components-that added visually to the long and low look. The longer rear fender also contributes to the longer proportions. Also, things like the size of the headlight and taillight contribute to the look of a bigger image. Fenders stayed narrow and long, and we wanted to make sure we had a lot of air space around the engine so you can see through it, like a true custom. We had to create a balance between a bigger-bike image but not one that would be intimidating to people."
"Minimal bodywork is a characteristic with the bike, as are the relatively small fenders and small body parts. The side covers are relatively small, so they don’t completely fill up space. The headlight is small compared to some retro approaches. Everywhere, parts are relatively small so we can achieve minimum body, maximum machine. The proportion of the body parts relative to the engine helps create the big image."
"From there we wanted to update the image. The previous Spirit 750 was a timeless design, not really dated one way or the other. We wanted something more contemporary, so the straight-cut rear fender is a little more of a backyard style, a designer characteristic. The integrated taillight is cleaner, and the grabrail section has a sharper, more sculpted shape. These little design elements give the bike more character. And the teardrop shape of the airbox cover and the gunfighter seat that fairs into the rear fender bring the design forward a bit."
"The triple-clamp offset adds to the long look as well. From a design point, you want to create additional clearance for the 21-inch wheel. But also from a styling standpoint, you can create a more raked-out image with offset."
While most of the styling changes that combine to create the C2’s unique look are minor, it is the subtle interplay and juxtaposition of carefully scaled and sculpted pieces that give this particular model of motorcycle art its distinctive character. Just wait until you see and ride the newest Shadow.
New for 2007
A 21-inch front wheel for a narrow, custom look and light steering feel.
Sleek one-piece gunfighter-type seat.
Newly designed handlebar offers sporty, street-rod feel.
New custom, integrated taillight design.
Sleek two-into-two exhaust system features bullet-style mufflers for a classic street-rod style.
Incredibly low 25.7-inch seat height.
Shaft final-drive system provides smooth and reliable low-maintenance operation.
New colors include Ultra Blue Metallic, Black/Flame, Red/Flame and Black.
Big-bike looks and feel at a very attractive price.
Classically styled headlight.
Tank-mounted speedometer features attractive chrome instrument housing.
745cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine produces impressive power over a broad rpm range.
Crankshaft features long-stroke design along with high-mass ACG to produce strong V-twin feel and low-rpm torque peak.
Single 34mm constant-velocity (CV) carburetor offers crisp throttle response.
Three-valve cylinder-head design utilizes two spark plugs per cylinder for excellent combustion efficiency and high power output.
Finned cylinders enhance appearance and give a big-bike look.
Aluminum radiator maintains consistent engine temperature for optimum performance and long engine life. Mounted between frame rails for enhanced appearance.
Wide-ratio five-speed transmission.
Reliable electric starting system.
CD ignition with electronic advance offers dependability and is maintenance-free.
Air-injection system reduces emissions by injecting air into the exhaust ports to ensure complete combustion.
Innovative frame design features large, steel tube backbone reaching back from cast steering head to rear of the engine case for simplicity and strength.
Sturdy and responsive 41mm front fork features large-diameter chrome-steel shrouds and large billet-aluminum triple-clamp for a distinctive retro look. Delivers confident, neutral handling and plush 4.6-inch wheel travel.
Large 4mm-thick fork brace mounted under fender enhances rigidity.
Dual-shock rear suspension features five-position spring preload adjustability and eye-catching chrome covers, while offering 3.5 inches of wheel travel for a smooth ride.
Single front disc brake with twin-piston caliper grips a 296mm drilled rotor between sintered metal pads. Rear brake is drum type.
Shaft final-drive system provides smooth and reliable low-maintenance operation.
Speedometer is set into the front of the fuel tank for classic retro styling.
Tank-mounted speedometer features attractive chrome instrument housing.
Instrument lights mounted inside meter for optimum visibility.
Chrome highlights include cylinder-head cover, air-cleaner cover, left and right engine sidecovers, brake and clutch lever brackets, rear brake pedal, shift lever, swingarm pivot cap, ignition switch cover, handlebar, rear shock covers and headlight.
Solid aluminum footpegs with wide rubber trim bands project a custom-made look.
Handlebar is positioned low and wide for a comfortable feel and is mounted on rubber-cushioned risers to reduce vibration.
Broad, low-slung solo seat with detachable passenger seat.
Stylish 3.7-gallon fuel tank.
Brilliant, 60-/55-watt halogen headlight.
Large, custom-styled taillight and attractive retro-styled turn indicators.
Steering-head lock and helmet lock for added security when parked.
Transferable one-year unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.
Purchase of a new, previously unregistered Honda unit by an individual retail user in the United States qualifies the owner for a one-year complimentary membership in the Honda Rider’s Club of America(R) (HRCA(R)). Benefits include roadside assistance, online access to the Honda Common Service Manual, six issues of the bimonthly Honda Red Rider(TM) magazine, travel discounts, trip routing and MSF reimbursement, plus access to the HRCA Web site (www.hrca.honda.com). For details on the HRCA, dealers should call (310) 783-3958, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
Touring Accessories: Custom Windscreen, Lower Wind Deflector, Leather Saddlebags (three styles: Studded, Fringed and Plain), Synthetic Leather Saddlebags, Leather Tank Belt (Studded and Plain), Leather Front Pouch (three styles: Studded, Fringed and Plain), Leather Touring Bag (three styles: Studded, Fringed and Plain), Saddlebag Liner Set.
Chrome accessories: Light Bar, Spotlight Visors, Backrest with Pad (available in Tall and Low styles), Backrest Trim (available in Tall and Low), Rear Carrier (Square-Tube), Passenger Grabrails, Radiator Guard, Allen-Bolt Inserts (three sizes: 5mm, 6mm and 8mm), Throw-over Saddlebag Supports, Driveshaft Cover.
Billet accessories: Master-Cylinder Cap (four styles: Fluted, V Design, Neo-Retro and Chrome), Handlebar Clamps, Swingarm Pivot Cover Set, License-Plate Frame (three styles: Fluted, V Design and Neo-Retro).
Additional accessories: Cycle Cover.
Engine Type: 745cc liquid-cooled 52o V-twin
Bore and Stroke: 79mm x 76mm
Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
Valve Train: SOHC; three valves per cylinder
Carburetion: Single 34mm constant-velocity
Ignition: CD with electronic advance, two spark plugs per cylinder
Transmission: Wide-ratio five-speed
Final Drive: Shaft
Suspension Front: 41mm fork; 4.6 inches travel
Rear: Dual shocks with five-position spring preload adjustability; 3.5 inches travel
Brakes Front: Single 296mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Tires Front: 90/90-21
Wheelbase: 65.0 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 34o 30’
Trail: 158mm (6.2 inches)
Seat Height: 25.7 inches
Dry Weight: 503.5 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons, including 0.9-gallon reserve
Colors: Ultra Blue Metallic, Red/Flame, Black/Flame, Black
Meets current EPA standards.
California version meets current CARB standards and may differ slightly due to emissions equipment.