cruiser motorcycles

Honda Shadow Aero 750 Vs Yamaha V-Star 1100

Honda Shadow Aero 750 Vs Yamaha V-Star 1100

1. Honda Shadow Aero Vs Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic

The Honda Shadow Aero 750 and the Yamaha V-Star 1100 are the two most eligible classic-looking cruisers competing with each other for a long time. However, 2008 was the last production year of the V-Star 1100. Meanwhile, the Shadow Aero 750 is still successfully produced for the global market. Both bikes have almost similar genres and styling. These bikes boast a classic cruiser body with full-coverage fenders, chrome finish, and custom styling. Performance-wise, the Shadow Aero and the V-Star 1100 are different bikes due to their unique engine sizes, classes, and categories. Continue reading this article to learn about the detailed comparison between the Honda Shadow Aero vs the Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic.

2. Specs Comparison: Honda Shadow Aero Vs Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic

2024 Honda Shadow Aero
2008 Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic
General Info
2024 Year Model 2008
Honda Maker Yamaha
Shadow Series V-Star Also Known As: DragStar
VT750C Model ID XVS1100 / XVS1100A
Cruiser Motorcycle Type Cruiser
2003 Introduced in 1998
Still Being Produced Current Production Status Discontinued in 2008
$7,949 (2024 Non-ABS Model) Base MSRP $8,799 (Original/Factory Price)
Around $4,000 (For models that are older than 2010) Used Bike Price Around $3,500
745 cc Displacement 1,063 cc
52° V-Twin Four-Stroke Engine Engine Type 75° V-Twin Four-Stroke Engine
Liquid-Cooled Cooling System Air-Cooled
9.6:1 Compression Ratio 8.3:1
76 mm Stroke 75 mm
79 mm Bore 95 mm
Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI); 34 mm Throttle Body Fuel Delivery System Dual 37 mm Mikuni Carburetors with Throttle Position Sensor
SOHC; Three Valves Per Cylinder Valve Train SOHC; Four-Valves Per Cylinder
Performance Figures
44.9 hp at 5,500 rpm Horsepower 62 hp / 45.2 kW at 5,750 rpm
65 Nm / 47.9 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm Torque 85 Nm / 62.7 lb-ft at 2,500 rpm
111 mph Top Speed 110 mph
56 mpg Fuel Economy 53 mpg
Wide-Ratio Five-Speed Gearbox Five-Speed
Shaft Final Drive Shaft
Wet, Multi-Plate With Coil Springs Clutch Wet Multi-Disc
Steel Frame
Steel Frame
Double-Sided Swing-Arm Swing-Arm Double-Sided Swing-Arm
41 mm Front Fork Front 41 mm Telescopic Front Fork
No Adjustability No
5.5 in / 140 mm Front Wheel Travel 5.5 in / 140 mm
Dual Rear Shock Absorbers Rear Link-Type Single Rear Shock
Five-Position Spring Preload Adjustability Adjustability Preload Adjustable
3.6 in / 91.44 mm Rear Wheel Travel 4.4 in / 110 mm
206 mm Single-Disc Brake with Two-Piston Caliper Front 298 mm Dual-Disc Brake with Dual-Piston Caliper
276 mm Single-Disc Brake Rear 282 mm Single-Disc Brake with Single-Piston Caliper
Optional ABS No
Wheels & Tires
Wire-Spoked Steel Black Wheel Wheel Type Wire-Spoked Aluminum Chrome Wheel
17 in Front Wheel Size 16 in
15 in Rear Wheel Size 15 in
Bridgestone® Tire Brand Dunlop®
120/90 R17 64S Front Tire 130/90-16
160/80 R15 74S Rear Tire 170/80-15
Dimensions & Measurements
26 in Seat Height 27.9 in
560 lbs Wet Weight 628 lbs
64.5 in Wheelbase 64.8 in
5.1 in / 129.5 mm Ground Clearance 5.5 in / 139.7 mm
3.7 gal Fuel Tank Capacity 4.5 gal
6.3 in Trail 5.2 in
34° Rake 33°
44.3 in / 1,125.2 mm Height 43.3 in / 1,100 mm
96.8 in / 2,458.7 mm Length 97 in / 2,464 mm
36.2 in / 919.5 mm Width 37.2 in / 945 mm

3. Overview: Honda Shadow Aero

Overview: Honda Shadow Aero
Photo credit: @Rider Magazine

3.1 The Introduction of the Shadow Series by Honda

The Shadow lineup is one of the longest-running cruiser series by Honda, which is still being produced in large numbers. The first Honda Shadow bike, called the Honda VT750C (NV750 in Japan) was revealed in the motorcycle market in 1983. These Shadow bikes, including the new and old models with the 750 cc engine size, are the most sophisticated and favorite of many riders who prefer user-friendly bikes at an affordable price range.

3.2 The Most Classic Shadow Bike – Shadow Aero

Out of the whole Shadow 750 series, the one with the most classic-looking vintage vibe is the Shadow Aero. Apart from its conventional cruiser look, this bike also boasts highly relaxed ergonomics. The Honda Shadow Aero, after being introduced in 2004, has remained simple and the same with only a few major changes over time. Honda, being one of the major motorcycle producers with the ability to integrate high-end tech equipment in its bikes, decides to keep the Shadow Aero basic and old-school even in 2024.

3.3 Upgrades over Time

The Honda Shadow Aero replaced the Shadow ACE and the chain-driven Shadow Spirit models. Though the Shadow Aero uses the same engine platforms, there were a few tweaks made to ensure a better peak power and torque delivery. The seat height was also lowered in the Shadow Aero by using a completely redesigned steel-tube frame.

In 2011, the Honda Shadow Aero received the Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) for the North American market.

In 2013, the company also introduced the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) as an optional feature in the Shadow Aero.

4. Overview: Yamaha V-Star 1100

Overview: Yamaha V-Star 1100
Photo credit: @Cycle World Super Store

4.1 A Brief Overview

The Yamaha V-Star 1100 is the middleweight cruiser with a punchier engine in the V-Star family. The series is also known as the DragStar in different parts of the world other than North America. The first V-Star 1100 was produced in 1998 and after a successful production run of a decade, this bike was discontinued in 2008.

The purpose behind the manufacturing of the Yamaha V-Star cruisers was to compete in the market captured by the Honda Shadow series. Considering the aim, the V-Star cruisers have done a great job.

4.2 Still Relevant in the Used Bike Market

Despite being an old cruiser, the V-Star 1100 is still quite relevant in the used motorcycle market due to its reliable and authentic performance capabilities. Both the V-Star 650 and the V-Star 1100 models enjoyed a huge fan base worldwide due to being easily customizable. Owing to their huge popularity, several aftermarket companies still produce parts and accessories for the V-Star series, helping these bikes stay alive in the used bike market.

5. Design & Looks Comparison: Honda Shadow Aero Vs Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic

5.1 Honda Shadow Aero

Regardless of its true classic vibe and entry-level nature, the Honda Shadow Aero has a middleweight cruiser look thanks to the extended and heavy front and rear fenders, large round headlamp, highly sweptback handlebars, and a separate-piece well-cushioned passenger seat. The fuel tank-mounted gauges, wire-spoked wheels, fat tires, and both chrome and blacked-out finish give a true traditional cruiser vibe. Despite being a base-level bike, the Honda Shadow Aero feels like a bigger bike with a longer wheelbase. It is a complete cruiser and the heaviest in the Shadow lineup.

5.2 Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic

The Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic is an upgraded version of the Honda Shadow Aero with a decent fit and finish. It is more compact, wide, bigger, and powerful with a slightly laid-out engine layout. The 75° angle between the two cylinders ensures a planted look. Due to being a more premium bike than the Shadow Aero, the motorcycle parts, along with the engine and machinery are flawlessly assimilated within the frame, making it look more modern and trendy than the Shadow Aero. At the same time, this bike boasts a premium vintage look with its full-coverage front and rear fender with graphics and badges on different parts of the bike. The chrome on this bike makes the Yamaha V-Star 1100 stand out from its competitors. The rider seat is quite comfortable, well-padded, and low-slung, along with the separate passenger seat attached to the rear fender.

The V-Star 1100 also features traditional wire-spoked wheels with adequately wide and chubby well-treaded tires for better traction and acceleration. The handlebars on this bike are sufficiently wide and pulled back for a plush riding experience.

6. Engine and Performance Comparison: Honda Shadow Aero Vs Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic

6.1 Honda Shadow Aero

The Honda Shadow Aero is one of the most easygoing bikes available in the market at an affordable price range. Considering its capabilities and performance, it feels bigger than an entry-level bike and smaller than a middleweight cruiser, which makes it more desirable for beginners.

The Honda Shadow Aero features one of the most reliable powerplants ever produced by Honda. The proven 745 cc liquid-cooled, 52° V-Twin engine technology serves as an overall power-packed package for smooth and thrilling rides. The engine churns out a peak power output of 44.9 hp at 5,500 rpm and a noteworthy torque of 65 Nm at 3,500 rpm. The Shadow Aero picks up the pace quite nicely, making rides smoother. There is a little bit of buzz you will feel at the handlebars because of the engine; however, it is not harsh. As you get going and open full throttle, this bike will run smoothly but the engine may not feel as responsive as a motorbike with a bigger engine.

Regardless of its entry-level engine and performance, you can confidently take this bike for highway cruising and on longer rides but you can get bored if you are an experienced rider. Also, riding with a passenger is not as thrilling on a 750 cc bike as you can enjoy on a middleweight cruiser. Considering the engine power and its overall characteristics, the Honda Shadow Aero is a perfect bike for beginners for multi-purpose uses, including city traveling, daily commuting, and highway cruising. The final shaft drive, along with the light clutch provides a smoother ride experience.

6.2 Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic

Comparatively, the Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic is a far better bike in terms of performance, stability, and capabilities. This bike is a highly reputable model in the imported cruiser segment with an admiringly reliable build and satisfying performance. The 1,100 cc engine makes the V-Star a highly favorable bike for all kinds of uses, including cruising, riding long distances, touring, and much more. The engine confidently allows riders to go on long-haul journeys with a passenger.

The 1,063 cc 75° V-twin engine installed in the Yamaha V-Star 1100 is borrowed from its predecessor, the Yamaha Virago 1100 with certain tweaks to improve the torque delivery. The redesigned engine delivers a reasonable peak power of 62 hp and a torque of 85 Nm. The good thing about the engine is that the horsepower is evenly distributed across the rpm range and together with the shaft final drive, the ride quality of this bike is further improved. The 1,063 cc engine in the V-Star 1100 ensures a praiseworthy low-end torque to make sure this bike never disappoints you with its performance.

Being an older bike, discontinued in 2008, it featured twin Mikuni carburetors to ensure that riders can enjoy a crisp throttle response. The exhaust note produced by the exhaust system is also quite addictive.

7. Ride Quality & Ergonomics Comparison: Honda Shadow Aero Vs Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic

7.1 Honda Shadow Aero

Honda Shadow Aero
Photo credit: @Motorcycle News

The Honda Shadow Aero is one of the most perfect bikes in terms of ergonomics. This bike is highly comfortable and is designed with the utmost perfection to make sure that almost all types of riders, including taller and average-sized, can comfortably sit on this bike and ride confidently.

This bike looks bigger and bulky; however, most of the weight is centered low. The 26-inch seat height also makes it easily approachable for most riders. Riders can comfortably balance this bike with both feet touching the ground when parked or stopped at a traffic signal. The legroom is quite spacious and the buckhorn handlebars are sufficiently pulledback to fall within a comfortable reach of the rider, ensuring a relaxed upright back posture. However, the handlebars are quite low-mounted which urges the rider to ride this bike in a slouched position. This position can become uncomfortable and painful for your back if you are riding constantly in this posture.

7.2 Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic

Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic
Photo credit: @Top Speed

Ergonomics-wise, the Yamaha V-Star 1100 Custom provides a similar spacious rider triangle, usually found in most old-school cruisers with a conventional design. However, there are a few differences that make the V-Star 1100 Classic a more premium option than the Shadow Aero. Firstly, the inclusion of the forward-mounted floorboards allows riders to place their legs comfortably on long-haul rides and highway cruising.

Though the 27.9-inch seat height is slightly taller than the Shadow Aero, the dip in the rider’s seat and frame design provides a little lower back support to the rider for a laid-back cruising experience. Due to its laid-out 75° V-Twin engine style, this bike has a slightly longer wheelbase which makes the seat and handlebars position slightly distant from each other. Despite being fitted with low-mounted pulled-back handlebars, riders may need to extend their arms to grab the bars. The passenger seat is also well cushioned and together with the powerful engine, it is a more suitable bike for a relaxed two-up riding experience than the Shadow Aero.

8. Pros & Cons: Honda Shadow Aero Vs Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic

8.1 Pros & Cons: Honda Shadow Aero

Honda Shadow Aero Pros Honda Shadow Aero Cons
Admiringly comfortable ergonomics Base-level performance capabilities
Low seat height Heavy front and rear fenders
Ideal beginner-friendly bike Overall heavier in the entry-level category
Vintage styling Not a perfect option for two-up riding
A perfect combination of lustrous chrome and blacked-out finish Not an ideal highway cruiser
Affordable Low fuel tank capacity
Wide and comfortable seat
Smooth throttle response
Overall smooth riding experience
Light clutch operation
Produces negligible buzzing at the handlebars

8.2 Pros & Cons: Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic

Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic Pros Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic Cons
More powerful Heating issue
Smooth power delivery Starting issue due to overheating
Crisp throttle response Bigger and heavier
Ideal middleweight cruiser Full-size heavyweight fenders
Perfect for highway cruising and long-haul tours Excessive vibrations
Good for experienced riders Stiff suspension
Reliable Ineffective stock headlight
Stylish classic cruiser
Appealing lustrous chrome finish
Comfortable ergonomics
Well-cushioned comfortable seat
Aftermarket parts are easily available
Handles well
Good value for the money
Produces satisfying exhaust note
Adequate fuel tank size

9. Final Verdict: Honda Shadow Aero Vs Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic

In terms of reliability and their unique categories, both the Honda Shadow Aero and the Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic are great bikes with exceptional value for the money. The V-Star 1100, despite being an older model, is undoubtedly a better bike between the two, but it does not mean that the Shadow Aero is average. The Shadow Aero is a reputable beginner-friendly cruiser with a vintage look and smooth overall performance. Meanwhile, the V-Star 1100 carries a more powerful powerplant and has a bolder middleweight cruiser look.

Comparing both the Shadow Aero and the V-Star 1100 in a single frame, the latter bike takes the lead in almost every department, including looks, engine displacement, performance, and handling.

There are several ways through which you can provide an exclusive look to your cruiser. To start with, installing top-quality saddlebags specially manufactured for your Honda Shadow Aero and the Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic is a preferred option. To improve the storage capacity further, Viking Bags has a versatile range of luggage bags available at its online store, including tank bags, backpacks, tail bags, roll bags, and sissy bar bags. To support your back during the ride, Viking Bags also offers sissy bar pads/backrests for your Honda and Yamaha bikes.

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