cruiser motorcycles

Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Honda Rebel 500

Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Honda Rebel 500

1. Overview: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Honda Rebel 500

1.1 Honda

Honda is undoubtedly the largest automobile manufacturer, the best regarding reliability, and an exemplary motorcycle manufacturer that started from scratch and in no time reached the heights of success. This brand truly deserves to be praised for its consistency and remarkable marketing strategy that has always been on top of its competitors.

1.2 Honda Cruiser Lineup

Honda may not be the biggest producer in the cruiser market as it was not the company’s majorly focused product. Instead, the company prefers to stay more versatile with a diverse range of automobile products. However, it still manages to stay in the competition quite successfully with its established cruiser lineups, namely the Shadow and the Rebel series. Both these cruiser lineups have been in production for quite a long time now and are known for their reliable build and sophisticated performance.

1.3 Best-in-the-Business Entry-Level Cruisers

In the entry-level cruiser market, the Honda Shadow Phantom and the Honda Rebel 500 have successfully stayed on top of the most successful bikes due to various positive reasons. Apart from reliability, these bikes offer everything that a novice rider requires in a motorcycle. Continue reading this article to learn about the detailed comparison of two of the best beginner-friendly Honda cruisers, the Honda Shadow Phantom vs the Honda Rebel 500.

Best-in-the-Business Entry-Level Cruisers
Photo credit: @Honda
Best-in-the-Business Entry-Level Cruisers
Photo credit: @Honda

2. Detailed Specs Comparison: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Honda Rebel 500

Detailed Specs Comparison: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Honda Rebel 500
2024 Honda Shadow Phantom
2024 Honda Rebel 500
General Info
Honda – Top Japanese Automobile Manufacturer Manufacturer Honda – Top Japanese Automobile Manufacturer
2024 Year Model 2024
Shadow Phantom Model Rebel 500
VT750C2B Model ID CMX500
Bobber-Style Cruiser Motorcycle Type Cruiser
Middleweight; Intermediate-Level Category Entry-Level Bike
2010 Introduced in 2016
One-Year Limited Warranty with Unlimited Mileage Warranty One-Year Limited Warranty with Unlimited Mileage
Honda Shadow Phantom
Honda Shadow Phantom ABS
Trims Honda Rebel 500
Honda Rebel 500 ABS
Honda Rebel 500 ABS SE
Non-ABS: $8,399
ABS: $8,699
Base Price Non-ABS: $6,499
ABS: $6,799
ABS SE: $ABS SE: $6,999
745 cc Displacement 471 cc
52° V-Twin; Four-Stroke Engine Type Parallel-Twin; Four-Stroke Engine
Two No. of Cylinders Two
Three Valves Per Cylinder; SOHC Valve Train Four Valves Per Cylinder; DOHC
76 mm Stroke 66.8 mm
79 mm Bore 67 mm
9.6:1 Compression Ratio 10.7:1
Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) Fuel Delivery System Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) with 34 mm Throttle Bodies
Separate Blacked-Out Short Dual Exhaust Pipes Exhaust System Two-Into-One Exhaust Pipe
47.9 lb-ft / 64.94 Nm Torque 31.94 lb-ft / 43.3 Nm at 6,000 rpm
44.6 hp Horsepower 45.9 hp at 6,300 rpm
56 mpg Fuel Economy 63.5 mpg
Meets (Current EPA Environmental Protection Agency) and CARB (California Air Resources Board) Standards Emission Standard Meets (Current EPA Environmental Protection Agency) and CARB (California Air Resources Board) Standards
Five-Speed; Wide-Ratio Gearbox Six-Speed
Shaft Drive Final Drive O-Ring-Sealed Chain
Standard; Wet Multi-Plate Clutch Clutch Hydraulically-Operated Wet Multi-Plate Clutch with Slipper & Assist Function
Steel Tube, Double Cradle Frame Frame Tubular Steel Frame
41 mm Front Fork Front 41 mm Telescopic Front Fork
5.1 in Front Wheel Travel 5.5 in
Five-Position Spring-Preload Adjustable Dual Rear Shock Absorbers Rear Dual Rear Shock Absorbers
3.5 in Rear Wheel Travel 3.7 in
296 mm Single Disc Brake with Twin-Piston Caliper Front 296 mm Single-Disc Brake with Dual-Piston Caliper
276 mm Single Disc Brake Rear 240 mm Single-Disc Brake with Single-Piston Caliper
Optional ABS Optional
120/90-17 Front 130/90-16
160/80-15 Rear 150/80-16
17-inch Wire-Spoked Wheel Front 16-inch 10-Spoke Cast Aluminum Wheel
15-inch Wire-Spoked Wheel Rear 16-inch 10-Spoke Cast Aluminum Wheel
25.6 in Seat Height 27.2 in
543 lbs / 246.3 kg Curb Weight 408 lbs / 185 kg
64.6 in Wheelbase 58.7 in
3.9 gal Fuel Tank Capacity 3 gal
6.3 in Trail 4.3 in
34° Rake 28.0°
5 in Ground Clearance 5.4 in
42.1 in Height 43 in

3. Color Options: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Honda Rebel 500

2024 Honda Shadow Phantom Color Options
Color Options Model Availability
Deep Peal Gray (Available for both ABS and Non-ABS Trims)
Orange Metallic (Available for both ABS and Non-ABS Trims)
2024 Honda Rebel 500 Color Options
Pearl Black (Available for ABS and Non-ABS Trims)
Matte Laurel Green Metallic (Available for ABS and Non-ABS Trims)
Pearl Smokey Gray (Available for only ABS SE Trim)

4. Pros & Cons: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Honda Rebel 500

4.1 Honda Shadow Phantom’s Pros & Cons

Honda Shadow Phantom Pros Honda Shadow Phantom Cons
Comparatively bigger engine than the Rebel 500 Lacks the sixth-gear
Produces greater torque Low ground clearance
Classic cruiser build Underpowered for experienced riders
Preferred choice for long-distance riding Lacks the thrilling top-end power
More comfortable ergonomics Slower compared to the Rebel 500
Good for beginners and intermediate riders Slow acceleration
Can also be used for city traveling and daily rides Heavyweight for beginners
Old-school look Difficult to maneuver on turns and corners for beginners
Addictive V-twin engine sound Low cornering clearance
Highly customizable Base/entry-level performance
Low seat height Lacks the dual-disc brakes
Easy to ride and handle Fundamental instrumentation
Looks good with luggage bags and accessories Lack of tech features
Cleaner look with the shaft drive
Requires less maintenance
Easily manageable powerband
Easy to work on
Comfortable solo rider seat
Good for highway riding

4.2 Honda Rebel 500’s Pros & Cons

Honda Rebel 500 Pros Honda Rebel 500 Cons
Modern aesthetics Comparatively smaller engine than the Shadow Phantom
Trendy riding style Produces low torque
Sportier stance Comparatively less comfortable
Good for daily commutes and city travel Not designed for long-distance rides
Better power-to-weight ratio Lacks the dual-disc brakes
Good for beginners The solo seat is slightly uncomfortable for long and continuous rides
Produces a slightly better horsepower than the Shadow Phantom Slightly uncomfortable for taller riders due to narrow ergonomics
Comparatively accelerates quicker Fundamental instrumentation
Better throttle response Lack of tech features
Equipped with a six-speed transmission Not an ideal cruiser

5. 2024 Upgrades Comparison

Upgrades for the 2024 Year Model
2024 Shadow Phantom Upgrades 2024 Rebel 500 Upgrades
New Paint Schemes
The 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom features new and vibrant dual-tone color options with stylish graphics and a complete blacked-out finish.
Visual Upgrade
The 2024 Rebel 500 is now available in two fresh-looking and plain paint jobs, including “pearl black” and “matte laurel green metallic”, and “pearl smokey gray” color option for the Rebel 500 ABS SE variant.
Separate ABS Trim
The Shadow Phantom is now available with the ABS as a separate trim.
Parts Upgrade
There is an inclusion of a solo seat and flat sporty-style handlebars.
Modified Parts
The front fork is slightly modified in the 2024 year model, along with redesigned fenders, a new air cleaner cover, and cylinder fins.
A Small Change in Dimensions
There is a small decrease in the seat height and curb weight, along with a 0.2 gal increase in the gas tank size.

6. Engine & Performance Comparison: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Honda Rebel 500

6.1 Honda Shadow Phantom

The Shadow Phantom carries a V-Twin powerplant with a 52° angle distance between the two cylinders which highlights its true cruiser nature. The most striking feature of this bike is its low overall height which makes it a highly functional and approachable bike for almost every rider.

With the base-level 45.46 cu in powerplant, you must not expect this bike to perform like a mid-weight cruiser. You may not get the feel of the top-end power delivery and abrupt throttle response while riding this bike, but it is good for smooth city rides and making its way through busy traffic.

You can also maintain a constant speed of 60 mph on this bike without the engine and handlebars producing any vibrations. The 45.46 cu in V-Twin powerplant generates an impressive torque of 47.9 lb-ft and a horsepower of 32.8 kW.

6.2 Honda Rebel 500

The Rebel 500 is an unconventional sporty cruiser that offers a comparatively more instantaneous throttle response than the Shadow Phantom due to being a lighter bike with an overall slim profile. The 28.74 cu in inline-twin powerplant helps keep the size and the weight on the lower side. The 28.74 cu in engine generates a decent torque of 31.94 lb-ft and an impressive horsepower of 33.76 kW.

6.3 Verdict

Being a classic cruiser, the Honda Shadow Phantom has a better torque-producing capability. This bike produces 15.96 lb-ft more torque than the Honda Rebel 500 which isn’t a surprise as this bike’s engine is 16.72 cu in bigger than the Rebel 500. However, the peak power output is 1.3 hp less than the horsepower produced by the Rebel 500.

The difference in the power and torque figures is due to the nature of these two bikes. The Shadow Phantom is manufactured to provide riders with a comparatively relaxed cruising experience and the ability to carry luggage and passengers on long-distance rides. This is the reason why the Shadow Phantom produces a greater torque output than the Rebel 500.

7. Riding Style & Position Comparison: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Honda Rebel 500

Riding Style & Position Comparison: Honda Shadow Phantom Vs Honda Rebel 500
Photo credit: @Rider Magazine

7.1 Honda Shadow Phantom

The Shadow Phantom proves to be a highly suitable bike for vertically challenged and even tall riders as this bike offers one of the lowest saddle height options in its class.

Though the 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom looks like a true old-school cruiser with vintage styling elements, the 2024 handlebars upgrade has completely transformed the riding style and feel of this bike. Replacing high swept back handlebars with straight and flat-style handlebars urges riders to lean a bit forward to grab the bars, promoting a slightly sportier stance. However, the foot controls on this bike are still forward mounted which allows riders to stretch their legs comfortably while cruising and long-haul riding.

7.2 2024 Honda Rebel 500

2024 Honda Rebel 500
Photo credit: @Cycle World

The Rebel 500 shares a little resemblance to the Sportster Iron 1200 when it comes to riding style and bike stature.

The Rebel 500 features an unconventional cool-looking cruiser design which in today’s world is highly liked by young riders. Unlike most cruisers with foot controls that are installed closer to the front wheel, this bike comes fitted with mid-mounted controls. Nonetheless, the foot controls are not placed directly below the seat which causes riders’ legs to kink up. The straight-style bars on this bike also promote a slightly sportier riding stance.

8. Handling Comparison: Shadow Phantom Vs Rebel 500

8.1 Shadow Phantom

Both the Shadow Phantom and the Rebel 500 have a reputable image among new riders because of their highly agile nature.

The Shadow Phantom brands a low saddle height with most of its body weight centered lower to the ground, making it an easy-going bike. However, new riders can find it slightly difficult to get used to handling this bike due to being a heavier bike in the base-level cruiser category.

8.2 Rebel 500

What makes the Rebel 500 an exceptionally nimble machine is its lightweight build, shorter wheelbase, and upright structure. The low curb weight of this bike is a trademark feature of this bike thanks to the inline-twin engine which drastically improves the stability and control.

9. Looks & Design Comparison: Shadow Phantom Vs Rebel 500

9.1 Shadow Phantom


The Shadow Phantom is a classy retro-modern bobber with a planted profile. Despite having a comparatively larger 17-inch front wheel, the bike still sits lower to the ground due to a chopper-style front end.

Traditional Cruiser Styling

The Shadow Phantom boasts a true vintage style due to being fully laced with retro-bobber elements, including:

  • Round headlamp
  • Gas tank-mounted gauges
  • V-twin powerplant
  • Well-padded solo seat
  • Peanut-shaped gas tank
  • Chubby tires

Meanwhile, the matte black finish ensures a pure retro-modern look.

9.2 Rebel 500


The Rebel 500 brags a unique build with a higher front end compared to its tail section. The gas tank is also mounted in a diagonal manner. The main reason why both bikes boast a completely different style, regardless of being built by the same manufacturer, is because of their distinct frames and chassis used in the construction of these bikes. The Shadow Phantom utilizes a steel tube double cradle frame, and the Rebel 500 is built around the tubular steel frame.

Modern Build

The Rebel 500 boasts a completely modern look. The engine parts, frame, and rods are completely exposed, giving it a naked bike vibe. The 2024 model is equipped with a solo rider seat, perfectly integrated into the frame.

This bike also boasts a modern bobber look with a round headlamp, bobber-style front and rear fenders, and a minimalist design. The taller front-end look is mainly due to the inclusion of a long-stroke parallel-twin engine and diagonally-mounted slim gas tank.

Sportier Stance

Like the Honda Shadow Phantom, the Honda Rebel 500 also comes with sporty-style handlebars that promote a sportier stance. This bike also features fat tires wrapped around bronze-colored rims in the ABS and non-ABS trims.

10. The Better One

To declare the winner between the 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom and the Honda Rebel 500, it is important to discuss the criteria for what makes a motorcycle better than the other. The Honda Shadow Phantom is a better bike of the two due to several advantages it has over the Rebel 500. To start with, this bike has a bigger engine displacement size, better torque-producing capability, and falls under the true classic cruiser category which is highly popular in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Most riders prefer the true look and feel of a sporty cruiser. The Honda Shadow Phantom has one of the shortest seat heights and roomy rider triangles, making it a perfect, easily approachable, and affordable cruiser for beginners and intermediate-level riders.

This bike has a trendy look, attracting mostly young and new riders. If your major consideration while buying a new motorcycle is the low weight, the Honda Rebel 500 is a better choice. It is a perfect daily commuter for beginners looking for a lightweight bike with tremendous handling and maneuvering capabilities. It is also cheaper than the Honda Shadow Phantom. Compared to the ABS models, the Rebel 500 is $1,900 cheaper than the Shadow Phantom.

In the current Honda lineup, you will not be able to find a proper classic touring bike. However, here at Viking Bags, we can help you transform your Honda cruiser into a fully functional touring bike. The high-quality, finely-stitched luggage options include saddlebags for both Shadow Phantom and Rebel 500 ABS, tank bags & pouches, backpacks, and tool bags. There are also sissy bars and backrests available at the online store that will perfectly fit your Honda cruiser.

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