cruiser motorcycles

Honda 1100 Shadow Spirit: Detailed Specs, Background, Performance, and More

Honda 1100 Shadow Spirit Detailed Specs, Background, Performance, and More

Honda has traditionally offered a wider choice of two-wheel models than any other motorcycle manufacturer. You might have seen Honda’s brand name on many other products these days. This company builds SUVs, cars, power equipment, robotics, and more, selling these products around the world. However, one vehicle, in particular, is responsible for the brand's success: the motorcycle.

The company has a wide range of motorcycles to choose from that can suit your comfort and lifestyle. The most common types are cruisers, touring motorcycles, and sport bikes. If you are looking for a bike for everyday riding,  a low seat height, softer suspension, and optimal power, a cruiser motorcycle is a great option. These bikes are comfortable to ride around the city or even on longer motorcycle roads. Honda offers a wide range of cruiser motorcycles with its Shadow lineup.

While talking about cruiser motorcycles with softer suspension, low seat height, and optimal power that are part of the Shadow series, the Honda Shadow Spirit 1100 comes to mind. In this post, we’ll be discussing detailed specs, background, performance, and more about this bike.

1. A Brief History of Honda 1100 Shadow Spirit

By the early 1980s, Honda had consistently been the winner both in manufacturing the best on-road and dirt motorcycle. The company was only lacking a collection of American cruiser motorcycles, which was largely owned by Harley-Davidson at the time. So Honda came up with the Shadow series to compete with Harley’s cruisers in the market. The Shadow series represents a family of cruiser-type motorcycles made by Honda. This lineup features motorcycles with liquid-cooled 45 or 52° V-twin engines ranging from 125 to 1100 cc engine displacements.

In 1983, Honda launched the Shadow series with the VT500C and VT750C in an effort to meet the American cruiser market. After a short time, the U.S. imposed tariff restrictions on imported Japanese bikes with engines larger than 701 ccs. To overcome the situation, Honda reduced the VT750C’s engine size to 700 ccs. In 1984, this bike was sold as a VT700C. After one year, the restrictions ended and the company expanded the Shadow line to an 1100 cc bike, the VT1100C.

1.1 VT Class 1100 cc

In 1985, the V-Twin 1100 (VT1100) model was launched by Honda and remained in production till 2007. All these models utilized the same 1099 cc displacement engine; the Honda VT1100 engine received only a few changes during its production years.

1.2 1985-1986 Production Year

The VT1100C was launched as a larger model based on the 750/800 cc variants in 1985. The models from 1985 to 1986 had dual horns below the headlight, dual front disk brakes, square turn signals, and one exhaust pipe on each side. These models had fuel and temperature gauges on the fuel tank, and dual gauges on the bars for the tachometer and speedometer. They had a 1099 cc (67.1 cu in) SOHC liquid-cooled V-twin engine combined with a five-speed transmission gearbox and shaft drive. These engines from the 1985 and 1986 model years were greater in performance than later model engines for having a longer stroke and smaller piston. This allowed this first generation to produce approximately 76 horsepower.

1.3 1987-1996 Production Year

In 1987, Honda gave a brand new look to the VT1100C with a lower seat, a longer wheelbase, 13.0-liter fuel tank, an extended fork of 41 mm, and a weight of 265 kgs. The exhaust pipes were on the right side of the bike and both horns were relocated to the sides of the engine. The engine maintained its 1099 cc displacement but was only capable of producing 63 horsepower due to its shorter stroke and larger pistons. Also, the transmission was reduced to a four-speed transmission with a hydraulic actuated clutch. In 1991, the company ceased the production of the VT1100C after selling the excessive stock from 1990 and continued the production again in 1992 with a stamp on the seat “Made In The USA.” This bike styling remained unchanged until 1996.

1.4 1997 Honda Shadow Spirit - VT1100

In 1997, Honda replaced the standard model with the Shadow Spirit, the same basic engine but with more chrome. This model was also updated with a five -speed transmission and cable-actuated clutch. Also, the most notable changes were applied to the frame and body compared to the previous models. Horns were relocated to the front of the bike and the front exhaust was redesigned along the bike frame.

2. Honda 1100 Shadow Spirit At First Glance

The Honda 1100 Shadow Spirit is powered by a smooth-running 1099 cc 45° V-twin engine which produces massive low-end and mid-range power. The engine’s broad power output is coupled with a five-speed transmission that provides exceptional rideability around town and on open highways . Its three-valve cylinder-head design takes advantage of the two spark plugs per cylinder for efficient combustion and high power delivery at all rpm.

This bike has a cable-operated high-capacity nine-plate clutch and maintenance-free hydraulic valve-lash adjusters, which make routine valve adjustment any easy task . Also, the bike has many other maintenance-free features including digital ignition and automatic cam-chain tensioners. The Shadow Spirit 1100 features the dual 36 mm constant-velocity carburetors that provide excellent throttle response at all speeds; its shaft final-drive system offers a smooth drive and virtually maintenance-free operation. To start the engine and utilize all these functions, the bike has a reliable electric-starter system.

The 1100 Shadow Spirit is equipped with a specially designed steel frame which puts it in a long and low custom stance. Its large 41 mm extended front fork allows 6.3 inches of plush yet responsive travel. This bike is a comfortable ride with its dual chromed shock absorbers that feature an advanced internal valve system. This machine has impressive stopping power which comes from its large-diameter front disc brake with a twin-piston caliper, combined with a strong drum rear brake.

This bike is moved on heavy-duty and lightweight five-spoke cast-alloy wheels and its massive 170/80-15 rear tire gives a radical custom look. Best of all, the Honda Shadow VT1100C has a relaxed and comfortable riding position acquired from its low 28.7-inch seat height and long, low chassis. Additionally, the bike features:

  • The bike has a large 4.2-gallon fuel tank, giving you an unstoppable cruising range on highways.
  • The Shadow Spirit handlebar has switches and controls with internationally approved ISO graphic symbols.
  • The bike has high-level comfort for both rider and passenger with its custom saddle and padded passenger backrest.
  • The Shadow Spirit 1100 illuminates the road ahead with its powerful halogen headlight.
  • This bike gives you a satisfying feel with its convenient push-to-cancel turn-signal switch and comfortable padded wider handgrips.
  • The bike completes its glossy look with polished aluminum handlebar switch housings, triple clamp assembly, chromed side panels, and dual staggered mufflers.

3. Honda 1100 Shadow Spirit: A Buyer’s Guide

3.1 How much does the Honda Shadow VT1100C weigh?

The Honda Shadow VT1100C has a classic cruiser styling and a muscular four -degree V-twin engine with massive low-end and mid-range performance, making this motorcycle stand out in its class. It is estimated that this bike weighs around 252.2 kg (556.0 lbs ) dry.

3.2 What are the most common problems of Honda VT1100 Spirit Shadow?

The Honda VT1100 is a bike motor that is utilized most famously in the Honda Shadow Spirit 1100. Here we have a list of the three most common problems with this bike.

  • The driveshaft splines will wear out if you don’t grease them every 50,000 miles.
  • If your stator shorts out, your battery will be left dead after a few cycles of ignition.
  • If the rectifier runs hot and fails, keep an eye on the old stator for exposed wires or melting wire coating. If there are any signs of over-exposure to heat, it may be causing damage.

3.3 Does Honda Still Make VT1100?

The Honda VT1100 is the motorcycle engine used in Honda Shadow Spirit and made its debut in 1985, remaining in production until 2007. Over the last 22 years of production, there were minimal changes made to the design of the Honda Shadow Spirit.

4. Honda 1100 Shadow Spirit Specifications

4.1 Engine and Transmission

Engine Type V2, four-stroke
Displacement 1099.0 ccm (67.06 cubic inches)
Bore x Stroke 87.5 x 91.4 mm (3.4 x 3.6 inches)
Valves Per Cylinder Three
Fuel System Carburettor. Two 36mm CV
Fuel Control Single Overhead Cams (SOHC)
Ignition Digital, two spark plugs per cylinder
Cooling System Liquid
Gearbox Five-speed
Transmission Type Shaft drive

4.2 Chassis, Suspension, Brakes, and Wheels

Rake (fork angle) 32.0°
Trail 153 mm (6.0 inches)
Front Suspension 41 mm fork
Front Wheel Travel 160 mm (6.3 inches)
Rear Suspension Dual shocks with five-position spring-preload adjustability
Rear Wheel Travel 99 mm (3.9 inches)
Front Tire 110/90-19
Rear Tire 170/80-15
Front Brakes Single disc
Rear Brakes Expanding brake (drum brake)

4.3 Dimensions and Capacities

Dry Weight 252.2 kg (556.0 pounds)
Seat Height 729 mm (28.7 inches) If adjustable, lowest setting
Wheelbase 1651 mm (65.0 inches)
Fuel Capacity 15.89 liters (4.20 US gallons)

4.4 Other

Starter Electric
Model ID VT1100C

5. Aftermarket Parts and Luggage Options for Honda 1100 Shadow Spirit

Honda designed the 1100 Shadow on a specially shaped steel frame that gives it a long and low custom stance. The bike has classic cruiser styling with excellent use of chrome on its various parts. Many riders love the vintage shape of their bikes while others want to customize their bikes to their satisfaction and pleasure. For the latter , there is a wide variety of aftermarket parts available at Viking B ags such as fairings, crash bars, backrests, and handlebars.

You can always select the desired part to attach to your bike and making it more admiring among your community. Many riders love to go on camping trips or adventure tours; they always have the option to attach a good quality sissy bar to keep their posture relaxed. Try mounting a luggage bag to help keep your belongings secure when carrying them with you. Also, you can replace the seat with comfortable solo and passenger seats that suit you best while traveling.

If you are using your bike for daily riding you can always attach a pair of premium quality saddlebags to carry your daily essentials like your mobile, documents, raincoat, and more.There are several ideas for personalizing your bike but in the end, it depends on the owner.

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