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"

  • At a glance
  • 125cc  -  15 bhp
  • 52 mpg  -  145 miles range
  • Low seat height (680mm)
  • Suitable for A1 licence

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.

Value & Running Costs 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

9 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.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.1 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 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....

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
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

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
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.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
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
5 out of 5

Excellent first bike

18 August 2007 by Anonymous

Bought a 2006 Honda Shadow 125 for £1699 with 3500 miles on the clock and in mint condition and I'm very pleased with it. Excellent bike to learn to ride on, with a nice light clutch, 125cc V-twin engine and very forgiving to mistakes. The only... Read more real niggle I have is the lack of rev counter...much anger! Being a cruiser the seating position is very, very comfortable, and while I've not been on any super long trips on it yet, I really feel like I could just ride it all day long. Fuel economy is excellent aswell. MCN must have made a mistake with their calcuations because I've covered 140 miles on a tank and only needed to fill up with 8 litres! Brilliant! I don't know what the reviewer is saying about it being lardy, underpowered and too heavy for slow traffic, though. It's a crusier with a learner legal engine...what do you expect?! Of course it's not as flickable as, say an RS125 would be but that said, it handles very nicely, it does reach 70 (eventually) and filtering on it can be a laugh, but is fairly easy to manage. Ground clearance is no problem either, unless you really do go nuts as if you were on a sports bike! As for storage, mine came with a pair of lovely leather panniers which are adequate for small/medium sized items but will not fit a helmet. You might be able to squeeze a jacket with no spine protection in one though. Also, if you intend to take pillions frequently it would be wise to invest in getting the bacrest/rear rack. While the rear seat is very comfy, theres nothing behind your back which lowers confidence a little. Because of the rear rack included, you now have the option of adding more storage too, if you so desire. Overall, an excellent first bike thats easy to use. Get a well cared for 2nd hand one though, the price from new is very expensive.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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

nice

24 July 2007 by 2 pricey 4 u

nice little learner bike Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 9 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued 2007
Original price £3,299
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 4 of 17
Annual road tax £17
Annual service cost -
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

  • 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 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