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  #1  
Old 01-24-2010, 04:32 PM
JohnMack76 JohnMack76 is offline
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Vulcan 750 vs Shadow Spirit 750

I have been riding a Vulcan 750 for several years now and am considering trading it in for a Shadow Spirit 750. I do a lot of short trips in the city, so the poor charging system is a real drag. And I hate having to waiting 15 minutes for my bike to cool down before I can restart it... I don't have the tools, the skills, or the space to work on it (R/R relocation, adjusting the pickup coils, etc). I will miss the power, the great web forum, and all the other perks of owning a Vulcan.

My first bike was a rebel and it was great. I drove it everyday for a year and a half, including the winter months, and never had any problems. The biggest problem I had to deal with was hitting the starter switch twice when temperature dropped below 15. I never had to charge the battery. Ideally, I would like that same experience with a bigger bike. The only thing that keeps me from going back to a rebel is my wife loves riding on the back and I want more engine on the longer trips. I'm guessing the closest thing will be another Honda.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this or the differences between the two bikes. I searched for a while this afternoon and couldn't find a site for the Shadow Spirit like we have here for the Vulcan so, aside from my rebel experience and Honda's general reputation, I don't have much to support my decision.

Thanks,
John

Last edited by JohnMack76; 01-24-2010 at 04:51 PM. Reason: Changed by Thread Notification to receive email notifications
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2010, 05:33 PM
VN750Rider/Jerry VN750Rider/Jerry is offline
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Well, the way I see it, the Shadow Spirit has some significant problems compared to the Vulcan 750. As long as the engine in your Vulcan is still good, I would keep it. Don't know what your starting problem is, mine starts fine hot or cold.

IMO, the Shadow Spirit is a great looking bike, probably the best looking 750 Shadow Honda has ever made. But, Honda, and all motorcycle manufacturers these days it seems, have a habit of making great LOOKING bikes, while cutting way to many corners to keep their profit margin up. While the Shadow is a solid well made bike, it is lacking some of the really important features that make the Vulcan 750 such a great bike, both for commuting and cross country riding.


First, the Shadow has wire spoke wheels, which mean tube type tires. It also has no centerstand. That means when (that's WHEN, not if) you get a flat tire, you are SOL. There is no way to fix it on the road, whether you are a thousand miles from home, or just down the block. Either way, your stranded. The Shadow is also chain drive, And again, properly maintaining a chain drive without a centerstand is not easy. I used to believe that maintaining a chain drive took a lot more time than a shaft, but with the Vulcan I found out it actually comes out about the same overall, due to the spline lube thing.


I also own a Rebel, an '04 that I bought a few months ago, as something to play with and modify. It has the same issues as the Shadow, but is much smaller and lighter. To lube the chain, I just put a piece of 2x4 under the sidestand, then lift up the right side of the bike and put a block under the swingarm to hold the wheel off the ground. For flat tires, I fabricated an emergency centerstand, which requires removing the right footpeg bracket, placing a piece of 2x4 under the sidestand, bolting the support I made to where the right footpeg bolts to, lifting the bike up, and extending the support to where the bike is off the ground. I have also done this with a number of dual sport bikes. But I cant see being able to lift the Shadow like that. The centerstand, cast wheels, and tubeless tires are the main reasons I originally bought my first Vulcan 750, then I found out a lot of other things I liked about it. and a few things I didn't, mainly the spline thing, and the issues I've had with the cam chain tensioners.

So, after having said all that, IMO, the Shadow is not nearly as practical as the Vulcan. The flat tire thing alone would keep me from owning one. Jerry.
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2002 Vulcan 750. Engine out, awaiting new stator and some other parts:
CA emissions removed
Air injection removed
Left front brake removed
Decel throttle cable removed
Nanny switches removed
Honda Rebel 250 mirrors
Kawasaki extended backrest
Kawasaki rack
Kawasaki saddlebag brackets
Rear turn signals relocated.
Kawasaki bolt on leather saddlebags
Headlight and brakelight modulators
WestCo battery w/tender
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  #3  
Old 01-24-2010, 08:10 PM
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theauhawk theauhawk is offline
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Take heed, JohnnyMack--Jerry is right....

The Shadow 750 is indeed a reliable bike (it's a Honda, right?), but by trading to the Honda, you'll give up a lot of nice features that are pretty much exclusive to the Vulcan 750 (in the cruiser world).

If you are having to wait for your Vulcan to cool down to restart it, a few easy changes can partially or completely solve your problem. Changing the battery out for a stronger one will help (like a sealed, maintenance-free unit...a great example is the "Deka" brand model #ETX15L). You can also change out your spark plugs to NGK iridiums (see "iridium" threads for the right part # and how to do this swap correctly). It's pretty easy also to check major electrical connections (like the battery terminals) to make sure they are clean and tight. Corroded connections need to be cleaned of course with the proper electrical spray cleaner (i.e., one that won't attack plastics) and then coated with dielectric grease.

When I did the above, I noticed that starting my bike got much easier--in hot conditions, or cold. Be sure your technique with the choke is right, too!

If you're unhappy or suspicious of the bike's charging system, you might send a private message to a nearby tech-savvy forum member and ask them to help you relocate your bike's regulator/rectifier. At least one of the forum members here makes a ready-to-go relocation bracket for the rectifier. While you're at it, installing a bike-ready voltmeter on the Vulcan will help you monitor your bike's charging system, so you never are caught by surprise if something goes out. Obviously, stators and rectifiers fail on other bikes, too--not just on the Vulcan.

Whenever you have new tires put on the bike, make sure the bike's driveshaft splines are properly lubed, with the appropriate moly paste (do a forum search on "moly" for where to get this paste, and brand/part #).

If you do all the above, and protect the bike from moisture exposure when it's not in use, you'll have a much better experience with your Vulcan.

All this described here is far cheaper and less hassle than shopping for & swapping bikes.

Be proud of your Vulcan 750--she is the LAST of her kind!
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  #4  
Old 01-24-2010, 08:47 PM
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I bought a new Honda 700 Shadow in the 80s and put over 23K on it in a year, the only problem I had was with the rectifier going out... I kept the bike well maintaned and think it was just as good when I sold it as when I bought it, it seemed to be a very good bike except for the rectifier, which went north on me 3 times, all when I was as far from home as I was going...
No cell phone back then, so I would have to push it off into the woods and hide it, then hunt a house and try to call someone to come pick us up, no fun... (a volt meter would have helped)
If not for a cell phone later I may never have rode again...
My 80s Shadow was much more like the 750 Vulcan than the bulky looking Honda Shadows of today, much sharper in my opinion, not yet a fat copy of the BT Harleys...
BTW- It was shaft drive and had cast wheels, a very good bike other than the rectifier bit IMHO...
I think the next year they were 750s...
Have a good one...Old Dog...
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Last edited by Old Dog; 01-25-2010 at 08:19 AM.
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  #5  
Old 01-24-2010, 09:49 PM
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flitecontrol flitecontrol is offline
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I've had absolutely no problems on warm or hot starts. I started life with my Vulcan with iridium plugs and a new MF battery, based on the recommendations from this forum.

PM sent on the RR.
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_____________________________________________
"Black Beauty"
1989 VN750 acquired December, 2008, 6,711 miles
Currently 23,298 miles

Old Blue
2001 Honda CMX250 Rebel acquired July, 2008

1987 VN750 project bike, acquired August, 2009, 33,000 miles and balancer sticking out of the case, currently awaiting attention and parts
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  #6  
Old 01-24-2010, 10:58 PM
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I rented a Shadow 750 3 years ago, I did not like it as much as the Vulcan. It is lower and I was dragging pegs alot, I was on the California PCH north of San Fransisco so it was fun.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:23 AM
VN750Rider/Jerry VN750Rider/Jerry is offline
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I have the WestCo AGM battery, standard NGK plugs, about 5,000 miles on them, and a few months ago, I removed and cleaned the starter. It was full of black dust. I used about 2 full cans of contact cleaner on it, and replaced the o-ring. That made a very noticeable difference. I have not used the iridium plugs, but I would if I had any starting problems. The long and short of it is, if you are having starting problems, something is wrong, and that something can be fixed.


If you do get a Shadow Spirit 750, or any other bike with tube type tires and no centerstand, make sure you have a really GOOD road service plan, and a cell phone with really good coverage, you will need both.

I'm from the old days of motorcycling, when most bikes had tube type tires, but they also had centerstands. I learned how to replace tubes out on the road. Even my '66 Triumph Bonneville had a centerstand.

I know there are a lot of people out there that cannot fix a flat tire under any circumstances, but back in the old days, those people did not ride motorcycles. Back then, motorcycles were dirty greasy machines (they all leaked oil), and you had to be willing to get your hands dirty, and learn at least some basic mechanical skills to keep them going. But at least the Japanese bikes and the British bikes had centerstands. IMO, after wheels and an engine, a centerstand is the most important part of a motorcycle. Jerry.
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2002 Vulcan 750. Engine out, awaiting new stator and some other parts:
CA emissions removed
Air injection removed
Left front brake removed
Decel throttle cable removed
Nanny switches removed
Honda Rebel 250 mirrors
Kawasaki extended backrest
Kawasaki rack
Kawasaki saddlebag brackets
Rear turn signals relocated.
Kawasaki bolt on leather saddlebags
Headlight and brakelight modulators
WestCo battery w/tender
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:33 PM
JohnMack76 JohnMack76 is offline
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Thanks for the helpful info... I appreciate the stories, and the wisdom. If I can get the bike up and running at an optimal level, I would be very happy. I put in the MF battery and demanded the dealer lube the spline when I first got the bike, so I have that going for me. I ordered the plugs and flitecontrol has been kind enough to help me with the R/R relocator.

I have done a little maintenance on the bike, but not as much as I like. I live in an apt and park on the street, with no good place to work on the bike. I can do some basic maintenance on the street, but it's not ideal.

My bike does need some attention, it has been knocked over a couple times and needs the 6,000 mile maintenance, so my next step is to find a decent shop. I have asked around for years, but can't seem to find a local FLIB. I may see if there is something in a neighboring state or county. Worst case, I take it to the dealer where they charge $100 per hour for labor. Anyway, thanks for the help.
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:09 PM
VN750Rider/Jerry VN750Rider/Jerry is offline
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Sometimes I forget how lucky I am. I am an auto mechanic by trade, I have a 2 car garage, a large fenced in yard, a covered back patio, and a huge storage shed with a concrete floor in the back yard. I currently own 5 bikes, plus I'm keeping my youngest daughters dirt bike here, because she has no safe place to keep it. All the bikes are kept indoors. Jerry.
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I am a motorcyclist, NOT a biker.

2002 Vulcan 750. Engine out, awaiting new stator and some other parts:
CA emissions removed
Air injection removed
Left front brake removed
Decel throttle cable removed
Nanny switches removed
Honda Rebel 250 mirrors
Kawasaki extended backrest
Kawasaki rack
Kawasaki saddlebag brackets
Rear turn signals relocated.
Kawasaki bolt on leather saddlebags
Headlight and brakelight modulators
WestCo battery w/tender
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  #10  
Old 01-25-2010, 07:17 PM
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flitecontrol flitecontrol is offline
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You need to find a friend with extra garage space, plenty of tools, and an understanding wife!
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I'm keepin' all the left over parts. I'm gonna use 'em to build another bike!
_____________________________________________
"Black Beauty"
1989 VN750 acquired December, 2008, 6,711 miles
Currently 23,298 miles

Old Blue
2001 Honda CMX250 Rebel acquired July, 2008

1987 VN750 project bike, acquired August, 2009, 33,000 miles and balancer sticking out of the case, currently awaiting attention and parts
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