HONDA VT600 SHADOW (1992 - 2002) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Power: 54 bhp
Seat height: Low (27.2 in / 690 mm)
Weight: Medium (432 lbs / 196 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Honda VT600 Shadow is pretty much the antithesis of the original chopper credo. If the first true chops were all about bad boy, bristly individuality, the 600 Shadow is about as soft, unthreatening and unoriginal as it gets. It’s bland, novice-friendly and safe and predictable, but you’;ve really got to ask yourself if you want that sort of thing. Neither is it anywhere near as versatile as Yamaha’s XV535 Virago.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
2 out of 5 (2/5)

More softness, but not to universal success. The Honda VT600 Shadow’s riding position is more laid-back than rivals such as the Yamaha Virago putting more weight on your backside and making it less comfortable over distance. Nor is it a handler with that short travel rear suspension, kicked out forks, skinny front tyre and weedy brakes. Good for shorties, though…


Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Honda VT600 Shadow's engine is soft, soft, soft. Detuned, three-valve, liquid-cooled shaft drive V-twin  is about as unthreatening as a 600cc motorcycle engine gets. That said it’s smooth, effective in a commutery sort of way and rock solid reliable. Just don’t expect adrenalin overload.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Being a Honda is a plus in terms of build quality. Being a budget one, knocks it down a peg or two (the suspension and brakes are strictly bargain bin, for example). Overall, however, the Honda VT600 Shadow, holds no fears under it’s metalflake paint and as its engineering is massively understressed, you shouldn’t fear any thrashed examples, either…

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Honda VT600 Shadow is one of the pricier bikes in the class (compared to rivals such as the Yamaha XV535) when launched and rarity keeps its value up, too. But unless you’re completely sold on the style, you’d be much better off with the better (and more plentiful) Yamaha XV535. Find a Honda VT600 for sale.


3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Honda VT600 Shadow is fairly run of the mill. The Shadow’s been given what you’d expect from a middleweight, budget-priced cruiser, no more and no less, and being a custom, that doesn’t add up to much so don’t plan on taking pillions often or going far.


Engine size 583cc
Engine type 52-degree 6v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel tube double cradle
Fuel capacity 11 litres
Seat height 690mm
Bike weight 196kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Single 296m disc
Rear brake 160mm drum
Front tyre size 100/90 x 19
Rear tyre size 170/80 x 15

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 43 mpg
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 11 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 54 bhp
Max torque 38 ft-lb
Top speed 111 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 13.7 secs
Tank range 110 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1992: Honda VT600 Shadow launched.
1993: New graphics, larger fuel tank, indicators now mounted on bottom yoke.
1997: New direct air injection system, new single carburettor.
2002: Honda VT600 Shadow discontinued.

Other versions

Owners' reviews for the HONDA VT600 SHADOW (1992 - 2002)

3 owners have reviewed their HONDA VT600 SHADOW (1992 - 2002) 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 VT600 SHADOW (1992 - 2002)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Engine: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
4 out of 5 Fun 1st ride!
09 February 2021 by Kel

Year: 1992

Low center of gravity works perfect for this short girl! I love it!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

It's a very basic street bike. No frills, bells, & whistles. Some may not like that, that I prefer it this way!

4 out of 5
04 February 2016 by Ride it like a courier

Year: 1997

Solid commuter, head turning cruiser. I ride 230 miles a week rain wind snow or shine, A roads and City. No issues with power or build quality, i can manuver it through heavy tight traffic with no problem and it polishes up amazingly compared with some of my previous selection of bikes. Brakes could be far better, more responsive but cruiser brakes always seem poor. Corrosion in the expected places but treat a bike right in the right and it will reward you.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
3 out of 5 Good to be back!
06 August 2007 by steveh46

Perfect 'starter' cruiser for born again biker. Will cruise happily at 80-90, very reliable, good fun and still turns a few heads. Just returned from 500 mile one day trip, no problems at all!

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
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