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2010 Honda Shadow RS First Impressions


by Marc Cantin ,

Honda 750cc cruisers have proven to be most popular over the years, leading Big Red in unit sales until the advent of the CBR125R, a different machine altogether. Spying an opportunity to take more sales away from the competition, Honda has come in 2010 with the compact and almost brutish looking Shadow RS, a cruiser based on the VT750 platform with some clear “Standard” traits of behaviour.

Big guy on a relatively small bike. This is the classic standard position, ideal for urban and suburban running around. Add a couple of saddlebags and you are ready for a weekend of relaxed touring on an economical and comfortable bike. (Photo: Rob O'brien)

We rode the RS on the streets of Savannah, GA, at Honda’s annual spring press event, and even took it on the Roebling Roads track nearby.

Proven, bullet-proof drivetrain and chassis
Given the standard 745cc liquid cooled V-Twin, with a single overhead cam on each cylinder, three valves per cylinder and electronic fuel injection, this new-for 2010 model start life on the right foot. The well-proven powertrain uses a wide-ratio 5-speed gearbox and chain drive to the wheels, to transmit a comfortable 45,5hp at 5,500 rpm, with a maximum torque of 45.6 lb-ft at 3,250 rpm, and a nice flat torque curve starting as low as 2,000 rpm.

The double down tube cradle also comes from the previous VT750 models, as do the single front disc squeezed by a two-piston caliper and the rear drum brake, the standard front fork, and the two rear shock with adjustable preload.

Chassis specifics such as fork rake, tires sizes, suspension travel (A generous 100mm at the rear) and basic equipment are clearly away from the classic cruiser configuration.

Ergonomics – User-friendly as can be
The seating position come under the definition of “standard” more than cruiser, with a higher seat to unfold the legs, mid-mounted footpegs and grips that allow you to sit up normally rather than have to lean back or forward as on more traditional cruiser models.

The easy-to-read round analog speedometer and basic idiot lights make riding the RS simplicity itself, especially as this cluster is mounted above the headlight rather than further back on the fuel tank, so wearing a full face helmet does not force you to look down far enough to lose sight of the road.

All the infoirmation you need, and high mounted so you can look at it easily, even when wearing a full-face helmet. (Photo: Bill Petro)
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