HONDA VT125 SHADOW (1999-2007) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"The littlest Shadow looks the part, is beautifully finished, very reliable and is relatively gentle"

Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding

"The littlest Shadow looks the part, is beautifully finished, very reliable and is relatively gentle"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

If you’re ultimately yearning for a mammoth cruiser but have yet to perfect the art of riding one, the Honda VT125C Shadow is the bike for you. The littlest Shadow looks the part, is beautifully finished, very reliable and is relatively gentle and forgiving for the novice rider. The Honda VT125C Shadow is a bit lardy, and rather expensive, but an excellent entry level machine for custom fans.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Wide, plush seat, forward footrests and high bars make for laidback riding, California style on the Honda VT125C Shadow. Brakes and suspension are ample; nothing’s too extreme. The Honda VT125C Shadow is heavy for slow-speed work and ground clearance is a problem if you get too excited in corners. The Honda VT125C Shadow  does burble along beautifully, though.

Engine 4 out of 5

Honda VT125C Shadow has a liquid-cooled, 90° V-twin. It pumps out more power than other 125s (think Honda’s CG with its meagre 10bhp) but it carries a hell of a lot more weight (add about 45kg) so, while it works wonders, the Honda VT125C Shadow is underpowered for such a heavy motorcycle. Smooth and torquey down low, the Honda VT125C Shadow's shortcomings only really show up out on the open road, ie: precisely where you’ll want to take it!

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Honda VT125C Shadow's finish is fantastic, as is the engine, plus Honda parts and servicing offer owners reassuring back up. Up close, you can see why the Honda VT125C Shadow's pricier than its counterparts: it’s a “proper” looking motorcycle, well at home amongst larger cruiser types, and that sleek 2–1 exhaust is a winner. Lovely.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

For a 125cc cruiser, the Honda VT125C Shadow costs a packet. Rivals such as Suzuki’s GZ125 Marauder and Kawasaki’s EL125 Eliminator are massively cheaper. However, they’re pretty basic. The Suzuki VL135 Intruder is the Honda VT125C Shadow's main rival, at a similar price, but lacks the build quality and has a few less bhp. The Honda VT125C Shadow holds its value well. Find a Honda VT125C Shadow for sale.

Insurance group: 4 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Chrome, chrome everywhere… The Honda VT125C Shadow has a tank-mounted “instrument pod”, including electronic speedo and rev counter; good mirrors and lovely, spoked wheels topped off with stylish mudguards. Honda VT125C Shadow extras are plentiful and include a pillion back rest, a screen, luggage and masses of chrome

Owners' Reviews

12 owners have reviewed their HONDA VT125 SHADOW (1999-2007) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA VT125 SHADOW (1999-2007)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.2 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 out of 5
5 out of 5

probably the best 125

02 April 2016 by Dukie

I owned a vt 125 as my 2nd bike and used it as a daily commuter about 30 miles a day even in the snow. loads of extras. just a joy to own and super easy to work on as everything is exposed and accessable. I had 70mph out of it, it will do 65 all day... Read more long. and I used it get 88mpg out of it. I sold mine 5 or 6 years ago. My girlfriend now owns one and has toured London - France 3 times on it without it missing a beat the last 3 years. Thanks to panniers and rear racks and after market accessories she can carry everything she needs for a tour. I take my 500 so hats off to her. I used her bike today and thanks to the tall rev limiter I beat an rs4 in a mini drag race as he needed extra shift compared to the vt125 (I'm saying its fast enough). the bike is super light and agile but is limited by low pegs. My girlfriends bike has also been used off road a bit on gravel trails and sand thanks to the chunky stock tyres. the only down side i think is that its mirrors are wide for city centre filtering. no other weakness really

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Fantastic little bike. If only there were a 250cc version.

02 April 2016 by Stuart

A great little town hopper! Will happily cruise along at 60+ mph without a problem. Does what you expect from a 125cc. Low centre of gravity and the extra 'oomph' the V-Twin pumps out compared to other 125's more than makes up for its 'lardy' feel to... Read more it. Great for learning on. A real head turner!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Laid back feeling about the bike and makes you relax due to the seating position. Takes a while to get used to the wider bars but is comfortable. Single disc front brake and rear drum brake. Again, nothing special and does the job for a 125.
Engine
4 out of 5
For a 125cc it does exactly what you expect! This bike, despite its weight, is not slow by any means. Has a lot of usable low and mid torque making it ideal for urban riding and for new riders.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
A lot of chrome to keep clean! Needed replacement chain and sprockets after 8k miles. Chain was original.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Fuel economy is only slightly less than you expect from a 125 commuter. From my estimates based on a mixture of urban and faster riding, 100 miles usually requires a 5-6 litre top up at the pump.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Plenty of accessories out there! Whether you are looking for something practical or to improve the look, there is a lot.
Buying experience

Bought privately. Was in great condition. These bikes can sell for in the region of £2000, give or take £500.

5 out of 5

29 September 2015 by no name

Overall this bike is just perfect for getting around on with comfort, and the best part is that it doesn't look anything like a 125cc at a glance. It's slightly quicker than most other 125cc's as well because of it's V-Twin engine. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Simply - A Beautiful Bike

26 July 2012 by ecafisac

I have always been fascinated by cruisers and as a new rider, I have recently bought this bike as my first bike, to help get some miles under my belt and practice my skills. The riding school bikes were so old and boring that I couldnt take it... Read more anymore. However after much searching I came across the Honda Shadow and I fell in love with it. I was tempted by cheaper bikes, to learn on, but I wasnt happy and I am glad I held on. Honestly I have to say that this is a fantastic bike, a good size, wonderfully styled and easy to ride for a novice. Its very comfortable to ride, with a nice soft seat, the build quality, fit and finish are top notch and its plenty fast for me. I just look forward to riding it everyday - its truly, quite simply - a beautiful bike....

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Fantastic looking Cruiser for learners

31 October 2011 by mikelawson8

Ilove this bike! I bought it after failing my first attempt at Mod 2 'cos it was obvious I needed more practice than just the training time I was getting at the bike school. I was getting very frustrated looking at my 650 Dragstar that I couldn't... Read more get on and use! I was lucky enough to find an 11 year old Honda VT125 Shadow on eBay that had done only 35 miles in its first 10 years, (with SORN notices to prove it) and had £1500 spent on it on Highway Hawk extras. It looks stunning - everyone thinks it is a 750cc or 1000cc cruiser and no-one believes it is a 125cc! I find it a bit easy to scrape the footpegs and the engine does struggle a bit uphill (though it can stretch to 70mph on a bit of a downwards slope), but for commuting, at over 80mpg, it is brilliant. I think I'll carry on commuting on it even after I pass my test unless it gets very windy in which case I'll probably go on the dragstar. Highly recommended!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Is it a 500?

14 January 2010 by SIII

I was not going to get a 125 as being a big chap I looked a little silly on a cg etc. Spotted this in a dealer and could not believe it was only a 125. Having done CBT on a VanVan this bike is a revelation. It is so comfy and easy to ride, gear... Read more change easy, throttle smooth. I also do not see where they got their tank range from! I did 140 miles and could only get 8 litres in the tank, this equates to around 80mpg. Not sure about getting 80mph, so far have managed only 65, but as I said I am a big chap. For any adult sized person looking for a learner you will not go wrong with the VT 125. Is quite expensive compared to other 125's but this bike is not built like your average 125. Go sit on one and you will just feel the quality and comfort. Didn't get into biking for a cruiser was going to go sports/tourer but the upright comfy position is just so nice and am seriously looking at triumph thunderbird for my 1st big bike!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Great Bike

15 September 2008 by mcgrubb

The spec's given here is nothing like my bike. Top speed 80mph (Head down bum up). Fuel Average 75mpg - 90mpg Average Range on 1 tank is 260miles i can get 190 miles on £11 worth. This is a great bike nice and smooth ride, corners well for a... Read more cruiser. I often get the bottom of me boot rubbing the road but i love it, tells me im being a muppet 8D. All in all its a lot of money, but you get more bike for your money compaired to suzuki or Kawasaki equivelents. Best bike i've every owned.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Born again

12 September 2008 by Dave'C

Bought the bike new 3 months ago to get used to riding again before sitting my big bike test. Failed the test but not bothered, the little shadow is a great piece of kit to look at and to ride. I get around 200 miles to the tank (and I'm 16 stone+)... Read more and I've had 75 MPH regularly so I'm more than happy to stick with the 'wee shadow' until next year when I will try for the new test.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Love it!!

30 March 2008 by gigglesme

Had this bike for 2 months. fantastic, my first geared bike, comfy , easy to understand looks bigger than it is, extremely reliable, absolutely love it, will never get rid!! lots of cleaning though!!! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

A Great Bike

17 March 2008 by lloydy1

This is a wonderful first bike, not sure what people are saying about it being slow or heavy, it's smooth around town and in traffic and will get up to 80 mph on a decent straight without much hassel. Its a beautfully finished custom so if riding... Read more with your knee down is your bag then there are probably other bikes for you. Otherwise this is a great first bike just get a well serviced second hand one for better value.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
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Read all 12 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued 2007
Original price £3,299
Used price £1,700 to £2,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 4 of 17
Annual road tax £17
Annual service cost £100
Performance
Max power 15 bhp
Max torque 8 ft-lb
Top speed 70 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 52 mpg
Tank range 145 miles
Specification
Engine size 125cc
Engine type 4v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 14.5 litres
Seat height 680mm
Bike weight 146kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake 240mm disc
Rear brake 130mm drum
Front tyre size 100/90 x 17
Rear tyre size 130/90 x 15

History & Versions

Model history

1999: Honda VT125C Shadow launched. Only minor changes since.

 

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

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  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Side view
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  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Front view
  • HONDA VT125 SHADOW  (1999-2007)
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda VT125C Shadow motorcycle review - Side view
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