cruiser motorcycles

Honda Shadow Phantom 750 Vs Yamaha DragStar 650

Honda Shadow Phantom 750 Vs Yamaha DragStar 650

1. Overview

Honda and Yamaha have been the two most prominent players in the entry-level motorcycle market for decades. Honda with its Shadow series and Yamaha with its V-Star/DragStar lineup have ruled the market at their peak and even today, these bikes are one of the favorites of those looking for supreme-quality used motorbikes.

Talking about the simplest bike ever produced by Honda, the Shadow Phantom does a great job as a beginner-friendly bike. The Shadow Phantom is one of the remaining Shadow cruisers still being produced, along with the Shadow Aero due to its popularity among young and novice riders.

On the other hand, another dominant entry-level cruiser by Yamaha which is still relevant and competitive even in today’s world of motorcycles, despite being discontinued in 2017, is the Yamaha DragStar 650. This bike is the smallest in the V-Star series, yet a highly effective model that gives a proper mid-weight cruiser vibe. Continue reading this article to learn more about the 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom and the 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650.

2017 Honda Shadow Phantom
Photo Credit: Cycle World
2017 Yamaha DragStar 650
Photo Credit: Total Motorcycle

2. Specs Comparison: 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom Vs 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom

Specs Comparison: 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom Vs 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom
2017 Honda Shadow Phantom
2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom
General Info
Honda (Japanese Brand) Maker Yamaha (Japanese Brand)
Shadow Phantom Model DragStar 650 Custom Also Known as V-Star 650 Custom
Custom / Cruiser Motorcycle Type Custom / Cruiser
2010 Introduced in (Year) 1997
Still Being Produced Current Production Status Discontinued in 2017
VT750C2B Model ID XVS650
Gas Tank-Mounted Gauges Instruments Gas Tank-Mounted Gauges
Matte Black Metallic Color Options White
$7,699 Base MSRP $6,990
Around $4,500 Used Motorcycle Price (Estimated) Around $4,000
Engine Specs
745 cc Displacement 649 cc
52° V-Twin; Four-Stroke Engine Engine Type 70° V-Twin; Four-Stroke Engine
Two No. of Cylinders Two
Liquid-Cooled Engine Cooling System Air-Cooled
Three Valves-per-Cylinder; SOHC Valve Train SOHC; Two Valves-per-Cylinder
9.6:1 Compression Ratio 9:1
76 mm Stroke 63 mm
79 mm Bore 51 mm
Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) with a 34 mm Throttle Body Fuel Delivery System Mikuni Twin Carburetor BDS28
Separate Dual Chrome Shotgun-Style Exhaust Pipes on the Right Side Exhaust System Separate Dual Chrome Long Exhaust Pipes on the Right Side
Digital with 3D Mapping; Dual Spark Plugs-per-Cylinder Ignition Transistor Controlled Ignition
44.6 hp/33.5 kW at 5,500 rpm Horsepower 40 hp / 29.2 kW at 6,500 rpm
65 Nm/47.9 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm Torque 51 Nm/37.6 ft-lbs at 4,000 rpm
97 mph (Estimated) Top Speed 90.1 mph (Estimated)
56 mpg Fuel Economy 49.42 mpg
Shaft Drive Final Drive Cardan Shaft Drive
Wide-Ratio Five-Speed Gearbox Five-Speed
N/A Clutch Multi-Plate Wet Clutch
Double-Cradle Steel Frame Frame Steel Frame
Traditional Swing-Arm with External Shocks Swing-Arm Tube Type, Steel Triangulated Swing-arm
41 mm Front Fork Front 41 mm Aluminum Telescopic Front Fork
Non-Adjustable Front Adjustability Non-Adjustable
4.6 in Front Wheel Travel 5.5 in / 140 mm
Dual Rear Shock Absorbers Rear Link-Type Single Rear Shock
Spring Preload Adjustable Rear Adjustability Preload Adjustable
3.5 in Rear  Wheel Travel 86 mm / 3.4 in
296 m Single-Disc Brake with Twin Piston Caliper Front 298 mm Single-Disc Brake
180 mm Rear Drum Brake Rear 200 mm Expanding Drum Brake

17-inch Wire-Spoked Blacked-Out Wheel Front 19-inch Chrome Wire-Spoked Wheel
15-inch Wire-Spoked Blacked-Out Wheel Rear 15-inch Chrome Wire-Spoked Wheel
120/90-17 Front 100/90-19
160/80-15 Rear 170/80-15
Dimensions & Measurements
25.8 in Seat Height 695 mm / 27.4 in
64.6 in Wheelbase 1,610 mm / 63.4 in
129.5 mm / 5.1 in Ground Clearance 140 mm / 5.5 in
6.3 in Trail 102 mm / 4 in
34º Rake 35º
549 lbs Curb Weight 233 kg / 513.7 lbs
3.7 US gal Fuel Tank Capacity 4.23 US gal
32.9 in Width 880 mm / 34.6 in
94.3 in Length 2,340 mm / 92.1 in
43.9 in Height 1,075 mm / 42.3 in

3. Looks and Design Comparison: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Yamaha DragStar 650

3.1 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom

The highly simplest and sophisticated, Honda Shadow Phantom is one of the most basic motorcycles in the Honda lineup. There is nothing fancy and flittering about this bike as the 2017 model is only available in a matte black metallic. The blacked-out finish provides this bike with a dark theme. However, the presence of glowing chrome shotgun-style dual exhaust pipes perfectly blends with the overall color scheme of this bike. There is a small piece of slim fender towards the front and a chopped rear fender with an integrated tail light nicely fitted at the end, along with the number plate bracket and bullet-shaped turn signals.

The matte black bulbous-looking front fork is precisely slanted which in turn gives this bike a planted stature. The lower-to-the-ground design of this bike makes it one of the most approachable cruisers in the entry-level category.

To keep the front end more inclined, the steering head is extended slightly forward from the gas tank. The gas tank on this bike looks slim from the side profile but it is decently wide from the top angle with the tank-mounted gauges resting on top. The gunfighter-style single-piece saddle is attached nicely to ensure good control during the ride. The seat is quite pointed and narrow from where it touches the tank and gets wider to ensure the rider stays comfortable. There are also several bobber elements on this bike, including the small round headlamp, blacked-out wire-spoked wheels, and chubby tires.

3.2 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom

The other fine-looking entry-level cruiser is the 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom which may sound small, considering its engine size but aesthetically, it gives a true mid-weight cruiser vibe. This bike features several lustrous chrome parts, including long exhaust pipes, cylinder heads, front forks, tank-mounted gauges, and side mirrors. The front wheel is a 19-inch large piece with wire-spoked rims and a narrow tire profile for better flickability and linear performance. Whereas, the small 15-inch rear wheel is protected by an excessively fat tire for better road grip and acceleration. The well-cushioned rider seat is quite neatly fitted with the frame. However, the passenger seat is quite uncomfortable and less padded.

The Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom carries a similar front fender as the Shadow Phantom. Meanwhile, the chopped rear mudguard is stylishly designed with an extended slash-cut tail end which houses the tail light and license plate bracket. This bike also comes with a small blacked-out headlamp cover with a chrome bezel.

4. Engine & Performance: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Yamaha DragStar 650

4.1 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom

Everything on the 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom is quite base-level, but when put together in one piece, the result is quite commendable. The smooth-looking bike performs ever more smoothly thanks to the liquid-cooled 745 cc V-Twin engine with a proven track record of reliability and performance. The base-level engine churns out a decent 44.6 hp of horsepower and 65 Nm of torque which is readily available. The ride quality offered by this bike can make you smile if you prefer smooth power delivery over abrupt engine responsiveness.

These base-level power figures and performance may be less exciting for expert and intermediate riders but they make a perfect entry-level bike for novice riders. The 2017 Shadow Phantom can offer a great learning platform for riders who want to take a start from somewhere. You can also find the 2017 model at a very affordable rate which is another great advantage for beginners.

4.2 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom

Regardless of this bike’s true middleweight cruiser look and custom styling, it is a highly beginner-friendly motorbike thanks to the base-level 649 cc V-Twin engine. The air-cooled entry-level powerplant churns out impressive low-end torque and mid-range horsepower for a relaxed cruising performance. Most of the power delivery is produced at a usable range between 35 mph to 70 mph. The power and torque delivery at low rpm levels makes the Yamaha DragStar 650 a responsive bike, ensuring smooth highway performance.

The Yamaha DragStar 650 may not be an ideal cruiser for quick acceleration and rapid throttle response to attract skilled riders. However, it makes a perfect beginner bike for its ideal base-level features and performance.

5. Ride Quality: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom

5.1 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom

The 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom is one of the easiest-to-ride bikes in the entry-level used motorcycle market. There may be several used bikes from major motorcycle brands that ensure a highly laidback conventional cruiser ergonomics; however, what makes the Shadow Phantom the smoothest cruiser bike is its low-slung structure and low-centered mass distribution. It makes this bike extremely lightweight, especially while turning tight corners. The Shadow Phantom allows perfect maneuverability and control at both low and high speeds, making it a highly suitable and safe bike for beginners.

5.2 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom

Due to being a stripped-down version, the 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom boasts a nimble profile. This bike has a shorter wheelbase, trail, and rake compared to the Shadow Phantom but has a marginally bulkier look thanks to the greater fuel tank capacity. Also, being a lighter bike between the two and its narrower front tire profile, the V-Star 650 Custom flicks quite comfortably, making it easily maneuverable for beginners.

The V-Star 650 Custom is designed specifically to target new riders as it turns out to be a highly user-friendly bike due to its low seat height and low weight. The bike handles just fine while turning corners. With its larger fuel tank size of 4.23 US gal, the V-Star 650 Custom is a preferred option for long-haul cruising.

5.3 Suspensions Comparison

Both the Shadow Phantom and the V-Star 650 Custom feature road-oriented firmer suspensions which do not react nicely while attempting to maneuver on unfriendly bumps and obstacles.

6. Comfort: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom

6.1 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom

Talking about the ergonomics and riding position, the 2017 Shadow Phantom model provides riders with an adequately spacious rider triangle despite having a low-slung overall design. It fits perfectly with both vertically challenged and taller riders thanks to the forward-mounted foot controls. Besides being stylish and adequately pulled back, the handlebars are fixed on marginally tilted risers for a more approachable riding position. The rider can enjoy a plush riding experience on this bike while maintaining an upright back posture.

6.2 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom

The DragStar 650 Custom has a more laidback cruiser ergonomics which is perfect for long-mile journeys. The availability of a roomy rider triangle, including the leg space, and confident-boasting arms and back position are perfect for both vertically challenged and taller riders. The handlebars are highly sweptback and low-mounted and fall naturally in a relaxed position. However, the arms’ position sits quite low which can compel the rider to sit in a slightly slouched position, causing lower back pain.

Note: To make the Shadow Phantom and the DragStar/V-Star 650 Custom fit you perfectly, considering if you are a taller rider, you can make amendments to these bikes to completely transform the ergonomics, rider triangle, and how this bike feels by installing from a wide array of aftermarket parts easily available in the market.

7. Resale Value: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom

7.1 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom

If you get the time to check the 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom’s listed price on notable used motorcycle selling platforms, you will find out that this bike has a good resale value. You would be lucky if you found a 2017 Phantom model for approximately $4,000. Most of the 2017 year models are listed on these bike-selling sites at a price of around $5,000. Though this bike ensures a good resale and holding value, it is not good news for those who are looking to buy an old and used Shadow Phantom. The main reason why even the old models are still in demand is because the Shadow Phantom is still being produced and is one of the best-selling models in the current Honda lineup.

7.2 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom

On the contrary, the 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom is also a high-rated and high-priced model in the used bike market. If you are looking for a used V-Star 650 Custom from the 2015-2017 year models, more chances are that you will have to spend more than $5,000.

8. Pros & Cons: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom

8.1 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom

Pros & Cons: 2017 Honda Shadow Phantom
Pros Cons
Low-slung design Low-powered
Low center of gravity Entry-level performance
Nimble bike Slow for experienced riders
Smooth ride quality Very basic
Adequate power output No tech equipment
Good for beginners Dull color schemes
Lightweight Not ideal for riding with a passenger
Basic, but Stylish low ground clearance
Appealing fat tires  
Low-cost model  
Liquid-cooled engine  
Good resale value  

8.2 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom

Pros & Cons: 2017 Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom
Pros Cons
Conventional cruiser aesthetics Air-cooled engine
Looks bigger Basic performance capabilities
Stylish rear mudguards Not ideal for skilled riders
Fat rear tire No advanced feature
Comfortable ergonomics The passenger seat is uncomfortable
Good for beginners Not good for two-up riding
Handles well  
Lightweight bike  
Comparatively better gas tank capacity  
Comparatively better looking than the 2017 Shadow Phantom  

9. Conclusion: Which is the Better Bike?

Comparing 2017 models of the Honda Shadow Phantom and the Yamaha DragStar/V-Star 650 Custom, there are probably very few similarities in terms of engine and performance. Both these bikes have small-displacement engines, perfectly suited for new riders, but the differences in their designs and aesthetics play a key role in making the Shadow Phantom and V-Star 650 Custom unique from each other.

However, the one bike that has a slight edge over the second bike is the Honda Shadow Phantom due to being more user-friendly, easy to ride, and approachable. The Shadow Phantom is marginally better in terms of power output, road performance, ease of handling, and maneuverability due to its low-slung design.

Meanwhile, the Yamaha DragStar 650 Custom is also one of the most stylish used bike options for beginners, having a mid-weight cruiser look and overall decent performance capabilities.

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