First Look: 2010 Honda Shadow RS

The newest VT750 is Sporty-er than it looks

The 2010 Shadow RS is the newest in a long line of successful Honda 750cc cruisers, dating all the way back to the original 1983 VT750 Shadow. Compared to its more sinister-looking sibling (the also-new 2010 Shadow Phantom), the RS swings toward practicality and fun. Styling screams sportster, and the RS, while somewhat modest, looks right. The venerable 745cc liquid-cooled 52-degree V-Twin is back with improvements; Programmable Fuel Injection is the big news for 2010.

I recently had a chance to sample the new Shadow RS, and came away impressed. Most small cruisers just don't work well for guys my size (6' 3"), and as a result I had low expectations. I was shocked to find that a) it fit me, b) it was comfortable, and c) it was fun! Critical in all of this revelation is a riding position that is more like a standard motorcycle's. The pegs are farther back than a typical cruiser, and the seat well-padded. You sit more "on it" than "in it", which for me is a very good thing. Another impressive thing about the RS was the motor. It's surprisingly capable and feels stronger than some 900s I have ridden over the years. Fueling is impeccable, and the feel of the motor is decidedly thumpy. It sounds great and pulls strongly, with plenty of beans for highway riding. Ground clearance is better than most, and the suspension-though basic with rear preload adjustability only-works well. The single front disc and rear drum combo offer plenty enough power. There is no plastic feel to this Japanese cruiser; rather it has very high quality look and a solid (but not heavy) feel to it.

MSRP is $7799, and the RS is already in dealerships. It's a very simple motorcycle, and that's the beauty of it. For those who want bells and whistles, there are approximately 20 Honda Genuine Accessories in the catalog for it already. We plan to compare the new Shadow RS to the Harley Sportster 883 and Suzuki C50 in a future issue, so stay tuned.

2010 Honda Shadow RS

MSRP: $7999
Colors: Gray, White

Engine: 745cc liquid-cooled v-twin
Bore x stroke: 79mm x 76mm
Valve train: SOHC, 3 valves/cylinder
Compression ratio: 9.6:1
Transmission: 5-speed
Final drive: Chain

Wheelbase: 61.5 in.
Rake/Trail: 32 degrees/5.3 in.
Front suspension: 41mm fork; 4.6 in. travel
Rear suspension: Dual shocks; 3.5 in. travel
Front brake: 296mm disc; twin-piston caliper
Rear brake: Drum
Front tire: 100/90-19
Rear tire: 150/80-16

Seat height: 29.4 in.
Fuel capacity: 2.8 gallons
Wet weight: 507 lbs.

Between The Lines - 2010 Honda Shadow RS