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Discussion Starter #1
thinking about getting a starter bike for the girlfriend. Been looking at a 07 shadow 1100 spirit and a 04 1300 vtx. Would look for a Vulcan 900 classic but none in my area for what I can buy these Hondas for. Google searching is not getting me any where. So who owned or can give me input on these Hondas??
 

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thinking about getting a starter bike for the girlfriend. Been looking at a 07 shadow 1100 spirit and a 04 1300 vtx. Would look for a Vulcan 900 classic but none in my area for what I can buy these Hondas for. Google searching is not getting me any where. So who owned or can give me input on these Hondas??
I've owned a VTX 1300C (Custom) for a while. Really nice bike with good available power. They are still carb'd, though. Put a good set of pipes on it and it will sound really good. As for the 1100, I don't know much about them. I did test ride one once and it felt peppy enough. I don't think you could go wrong with either one. The 1100 does have a different sound than other v-twin engines due to having 3 valves per cylinder.

I'd suggest looking both up on YouTube and let her watch and listen.

On a side note, does the girlfriend have any previous riding experience? If not, you may want to get something like a Shadow 750 to get her going. You don't want to throw too much bike at her until she's comfortable. One accident is all it would take to change her mind forever.

Good luck!
 

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Came from an '87 Honda Shadow 1100 before getting my Vulcan. The VTX will be too much of a bike for her as a "starter" bike, Maybe after a year or two of riding. Depending on her confidence, the 1100 shadow may be too much too. Search around for a 750 shadow, they're not that "slow" and usually are for sale everywhere for pretty cheap (a lot of people use them as starters and then move on).
 

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Had a 750 shadow,Great bike,took road test,very peppy,no issues except bent the rear rim,my fault,good starter bike
 

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Discussion Starter #5
They both have cobra pipes., Windshields, cobra floorboards. Shadow also has drivers backrest, luggage rack, and crash bars. Both around 8000 miles. Hard to tell a difference in sound on you tube. The guy with the vtx is asking 3500 firm. The shadow is at a harley dealer they are asking 3200 bet I could get it for 2500 or less. I have learned the shadow does not require valve adjustment there hydraulic. The vtx isn't.. Both shaft drive. I would like to teach my son how to ride on it to he is 17 about 6ft 1 pushing 265. Thinking either bike would be a good choice. But leaning towards the shadow because of weight 578 vs 678.
 

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Good Starter Bikes

When I took my MSF course they said a good rule of thumb is to get nothing bigger than a 650CC for a cruiser as a starter bike. I felt too big for the bike, and got a Vulcan 900 Custom. I would say the extra weight does hurt with your learning curve, but at the end of the day you have to go with what you are comfortable with. The heavier weight of my bike (especially being my first bike) took me longer to ride confidently. Slow turns were always the toughest, great to practice in a parking lot. My wife got a Suzuki S40 with 650CC and it is a great bike for her.
 

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When I took my MSF course they said a good rule of thumb is to get nothing bigger than a 650CC for a cruiser as a starter bike. I felt too big for the bike, and got a Vulcan 900 Custom. I would say the extra weight does hurt with your learning curve, but at the end of the day you have to go with what you are comfortable with. The heavier weight of my bike (especially being my first bike) took me longer to ride confidently. Slow turns were always the toughest, great to practice in a parking lot. My wife got a Suzuki S40 with 650CC and it is a great bike for her.
This seems like solid advice! Its a lot more fun and confidence inspiring to push a smaller bike to its limits, then to be hesitant of fearful on a larger bike.
 

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The new Rebel 500 would be the ultimate starter bike for someone new to riding. ABS and a sweet parallel twin engine (I have a CB500F). I agree with those above who have stated that the VTX and the Shadow are too big to start on.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Well thanks for your option's here. But I think I am going with the shadow 1100. The weight difference is not that much compared to rebel 500. Shadow shaft drive vs chain. I would guess the shadow to be smooth on the highway. Duel pin crank and geared little bit high. 5th gear is lugging the motor at 55mph. So I guess it wouldn't be like the Vulcan 900 I had looking for 6th gear at 70mph. But I still need to test ride the shadow again. The first time I did it was so cold out. Froze my a** off. The dealer is holding the bike for me until I decide if I want it. I am waiting for a nice day to test ride it again. Thanks
 

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If you like the Shadow 1100, go for it. It certainly is a great bike.

Just so you know: 07 shadow 1100 is 577 lbs. 15 Rebel 500 is 408 lbs.
 

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Well thanks for your option's here. But I think I am going with the shadow 1100. The weight difference is not that much compared to rebel 500. Shadow shaft drive vs chain. I would guess the shadow to be smooth on the highway. Duel pin crank and geared little bit high. 5th gear is lugging the motor at 55mph. So I guess it wouldn't be like the Vulcan 900 I had looking for 6th gear at 70mph. But I still need to test ride the shadow again. The first time I did it was so cold out. Froze my a** off. The dealer is holding the bike for me until I decide if I want it. I am waiting for a nice day to test ride it again. Thanks
400 lbs vs. 550 for the 1100 is a considerable difference. And 68 lbs of torque for the 1100 vs. 31 for the 500 will make things interesting for a beginner.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The power isn't much it is geared for the highway. Also you lose like 20% to the rear wheel on a shaft drive. I believe its around 2.5% on chain drive and 5% on belt drive. So that 68 lbs of torque is now down around 50. I also believe you have to be comfortable on the bike to. I am guessing at 6' 1" weighting around 260. Being on a 500 would just suck.
 

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The power isn't much it is geared for the highway. Also you lose like 20% to the rear wheel on a shaft drive. I believe its around 2.5% on chain drive and 5% on belt drive. So that 68 lbs of torque is now down around 50. I also believe you have to be comfortable on the bike to. I am guessing at 6' 1" weighting around 260. Being on a 500 would just suck.
Your girlfriend is 6'1"? Then yes, a bigger bike wouldn't be as much of a concern. I still wouldn't recommend the 1100 cruiser for a first bike, but I wish you well.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Oh god no she is around 5' 6" about 150. But I forgot to mention this would be a starter bike for her and my son. After talking to her she has no interest in riding her own. She would rather be sitting on the back. So now it would be teaching my 17 year old son to ride now. He about 6' 1" and 260ish. Or a lighter bike to have around if I wanted to ride it.
 

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I had a 1100 Shadow but mine was the Sabre. You can take a looksee in my garage to the left. I had the bike for many years and was one of the best handling bikes I have ridden. Plenty of power and never had any issues with it.
 

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I had a 1100 Shadow but mine was the Sabre. You can take a looksee in my garage to the left. I had the bike for many years and was one of the best handling bikes I have ridden. Plenty of power and never had any issues with it.
I had a 2003 Sabre VT1100C2 for my first 8 years of riding. I'm 6' 3" and was 260# (and 55) when I got it. It's a little big for a starter bike, but it was the smallest bike that I felt comfortable on with my bad knees. Once I got used to it, I never looked back. I loved that bike. I rode it on a 7000 mi cross country trip, pulling an HF Tag-a-Long trailer. It was totaled in an accident a couple of years ago or I might (probably would) still be riding it.

The 1100s are solid bikes. Easy maintenance but a few things you should know: 1 - some of them like to eat stators, but they aren't too bad to replace. Always replace with an aftermarket stator (I liked Electrosport's), especially if you want to run high draw accessories like heated gear. 2 - Some like to use a bit of oil. Nothing you can do about it. Just accept it. 3 - The wet clutch can be very particular about the oil you use. Each seems to have its own preference and that can change over time. Mostly it's a problem downshifting into first when the engine is hot. Get the right oil and it is smooth as can be. The wrong oil will have you stomping repeatedly on the shift lever at every stop trying to get into 1st. 4 - The stock seat sucks! Get a better seat before you take any long rides. 5 - Some tend to blow the carb boots off. If it suddenly starts to run rough, that's the first thing to check.

"Oil, gas, ride." That was a motto of the Sabrehood (now defunct forum originally originally composed of Sabre and other 1100 owners) because of the overall ease of maintenance of the 1100.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think the sabre and spirit use a different seat. So I might be good there. Thanks on the oil heads up. I usually use mobile 1 or Castrol synthetic 10w40 Hope that works. The bike is an 07 spirit 1100 with about 8400 miles. I would like to think all the bugs would be worked out since that was the last year they where made. Along with how long they where in production 15 years or so.
 

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The sabre is a one piece seat and the spirit is a two piece that's a little thicker and deeper. You can swap them btw if you like the look of one I've the other. I rode an 03 spirit 1100 for a few years, piled up the miles. I'm 6'2" and it didn't let me stretch out enough like the nomad does. One aesthetic thing to note, you'll have a tough time fitting bags with real size as the exhaust gets in the way. Most parts are interchangeable between sabre, spirit, ace, and aero too, I did a lot of swaps with my old one. You took take a look at the shadow forum too, nice people over there as well.
 
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