cruiser motorcycles

Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Vs Honda VTX 1300R

Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Vs Honda VTX 1300R

The two most authentic middleweight cruisers from the past that made a significant impact during their era with their style and performance are the Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 and the Honda VTX 1300. Both these bikes have several identical elements due to being manufactured by Honda; however, they belong to different series. The Sabre belonged to the Shadow series which has always been the face of Honda cruisers since its introduction. Meanwhile, the Honda VTX series offers more powerful options that are only made for some riders due to being extremely heavier.

The Honda Shadow bikes are more popular and best-selling Honda cruisers because these bikes cover a bigger market. The Shadow series has the best 750 cc class models that fit most riders. However, if you want more power out of the engine, the Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 offers great style, impressive durability, and smooth power delivery, and the weight is also quite manageable.

On the contrary, the Honda VTX1300R is a bigger version with more torque and power-producing ability for riders looking to ride longer miles. The rider must possess adequate skills to manage the weight of this bike. If you are capable enough, the VTX1300 becomes as easy to ride as an 1100 cc cruiser. Continue reading this article to learn about the detailed specs and performance comparison between the Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 vs the Honda VTX1300R.

1. Specs Comparison: Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Vs Honda VTX 1300 R

Specs Comparison: Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Vs Honda VTX 1300 R
Honda VT1100C2 Shadow Sabre Honda VTX 1300 R
General Info
Manufacturer Honda Honda
Model Shadow Sabre 1100 VTX 1300 R
Model ID VT1100C2 VTX1300R
Motorcycle Type Custom / Cruiser Cruiser
Introduced in (Year) 2000 2002
Discontinued in (Year) 2007 2009
Color Options (2007 Models)
Candy Black Cherry
(2009 Models)
Metallic Silver
Metallic Black
Bright Blue Metallic
Original Base Price $8,699 $9,999
Used Bike Price $2,500-4,000 $4,000-5,000
Displacement 1,099 cc 1,312 cc
Engine Type 45° V-Twin; Four-Stroke Engine 52° V-Twin; Four-Stroke Engine
Cooling System Liquid-Cooled Liquid-Cooled
No. of Cylinders Two Two
Valve Train SOHC; Three Valves Per Cylinder SOHC; Three Valves Per Cylinder
Compression Ratio 8:1 9.2:1
Stroke 87.5 mm / 3.44 in 104.3 mm / 4.1 in
Bore 91.4 mm / 3.6 in 89.5 mm / 3.52 in
Fuel Delivery System Dual 36 mm Constant Velocity (CV) Carburetors Single 38 mm Keihin Constant Velocity Carburetor
Ignition Solid-State Digital; Two Spark Plugs Per Cylinder Digital with 3-D Mapping, Two Spark Plugs Per Cylinder
Exhaust System Two-Into-Two Exhaust; Separate Dual Chrome Mufflers Two-Into-Two Exhaust; Separate Dual Chrome Mufflers
Peak Horsepower 67 hp / 49.28 kW at 5,500 rpm 74 hp / 54.42 kW at 5,000 rpm
Peak Torque 91 Nm / 67 lb-ft at 2,700 rpm 123 Nm / 90.7 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm
Fuel Mileage 45.5 mpg 40 mpg
Top Speed 107 mph / 172.2 kmph 113 mph /182 kmph
Gearbox Five-Speed Five-Speed
Final Drive Shaft Drive Shaft Drive
Clutch Wet; Multi-Disc Multi-Plate, Wet Clutch
Frame Steel Steel, Double Cradle Frame
Front 41 mm Telescopic Front Fork 41 mm Telescopic Front Fork
Adjustability (Front) No No
Wheel Travel (Front) 4.7 in / 119.4 mm 5.1 in / 129.54 mm
Rear Dual Rear Shock Absorbers Dual Shock Absorbers
Adjustability (Rear) Five-Position Spring Preload Adjustable Five-Position Spring-Preload Adjustable
Wheel Travel (Rear) 3.9 in / 99.1 mm 3.7 in / 93.98 mm
Front 316 mm Single Front Disc with Dual-Piston Caliper 336 mm Single Disc with Dual-Piston Caliper
Rear 276 mm Single Rear Disc with Single-Piston Caliper 296 mm Single Disc with Single-Piston Caliper
Wheels & Tires
Wheel Type Machined Cast-Aluminum Wheels with a Satin Finish Custom Cast Wheels
Front Wheel 18 in 19 in
Rear Wheel 15 in 15 in
Front Tire 120/90 R18 110/90-19 
Rear Tire 170/80 R15 170/80-15
Seat Height 27.2 in / 691 mm 27.5 in / 698.5 mm
Wet Weight 612 lbs / 277.6 kg 710 lbs / 322 kg
Dry Weight 577 lbs / 261.7 kg 669 lbs / 303 kg
Wheelbase 64.6 in / 1,640.8 mm 65.5 in / 1,663.7 mm
Ground Clearance 5.5 in / 140 mm 5.1 in / 130 mm
Rake 32.7° 32.4°
Trail 161 mm / 6.34 in 149 mm / 5.9 in
Fuel Tank Capacity 4.2 gal 4.8 gal
Length 96 in / 2,440 mm 101.4 in / 2,576 mm
Width 38 in / 965 mm 37.8 in / 960 mm
Height 46 in / 1,160 mm 44.3 in / 1,125 mm

2. Trims: Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Vs Honda VTX 1300 R

2.1 Trims: Honda Shadow Sabre 1100

The Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 was produced in only one variant. However, there were several color options to choose from. If you want to make any changes to this bike to make it look good, perform differently, and be suitable for multi-purposes, including highway cruising, long-mile journeys, and cross-country touring, there are tons of aftermarket parts still available in the market.

2.2 Trims: Honda VTX 1300

Trims: Honda VTX 1300
Photo credit: @Northern Road Kings

The Honda VTX 1300 was produced in three different trims for three different styles of riding:

Honda VTX 1300 C

The first one is the Honda VTX 1300 C with a stripped-down custom cruiser look. This variant has a light bobber-style front fender and a lightweight chopped rear fender. This bike also has a stylish rim and a single-piece saddle. To provide it a sportier look, it came with risers-mounted flat handlebars with a small pulled-back angle, ensuring a marginally sportier stance. The VTX1300C is the lightest variant in all three models.

Honda VTX 1300 R

The Honda VTX 1300 R has large and plain chopped front and rear fenders, providing it a more extended look. The rider and passenger seats installed on this variant are separate pieces and the handlebars are adequately swept back to ensure a more comfortable cruising experience. The exhaust pipes are also quite long with a slash-cut tail design.

Honda VTX 1300 T

As the “T” in the model name indicates, the Honda VTX1300T is the touring variant in the VTX1300 series. This bike features a tall windscreen, floorboards, saddlebags, and a passenger backrest. The handlebars are taller and highly swept back for a relaxed touring experience.

Out of all the three Honda VTX1300’s Trims, the one closest to the Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 and falls under the same category is the VTX1300R.

3. Looks: Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Vs Honda VTX 1300 R

3.1 Looks: Honda VT1100C2 Shadow Sabre

Looks: Honda VT1100C2 Shadow Sabre
Photo credit: @Cycle World Super Store

The Honda Shadow Sabre was named the hot rod of the Honda cruiser lineup and it was one of the best-sellers of its time. This bike is one of the best-looking Honda cruisers with bulkier looks that gave good competition to Harley Davidson bikes. If you are a big guy and want to ride something that justifies your requirements and looks appropriate while you are sitting on it, you should try riding a Honda Shadow Sabre 1100.

This bike has loads of shiny chrome and oversized parts, making it a perfect imitation of a Harley Davidson full-sized cruiser. Regardless of being built with oversized parts, the designer’s attempt to fit and pack all the parts closely to make the bike look compact is commendable. The cylinders of the V-Twin engine are closely fitted together, leaving no space between them.

The fuel tank is also quite round and bulbous and can carry a decent amount of fluid in it. This bike also has a round-shaped extended chrome headlight cover and there is a single-dial gauge fixed to the triple clamp. The front and rear fenders are chopped but they are long and heavy with a classic tail light.

The Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 also features a gunfighter-style single-piece saddle for two-up riding. The one thing that most cruiser fans find missing on this extraordinary cruiser is the wire-spoked rims which the company has ditched in favor of machined cast-aluminum wheels with a satin finish.

3.2 Looks: Honda VTX1300R

Looks: Honda VTX1300R
Photo credit: @Auto Evolution

Another iconic and powerful cruiser by Honda with a more aggressive and sharp look is the Honda VTX1300R. Look-wise, this bike has a trendier and bolder look, making it a more desirable cruiser in the old bike market. However, due to being built with a more capable large-displacement engine, this bike is not suitable for every rider. The “R” in the model name stands for “Retro” due to its vintage-style large front and rear fenders. The gas tank is also quite extended with the tank-mounted gauges installed on top of it. The gas tank is large enough to carry 4.8 gal of gas in it without compromising its sharp and curvy look.

The engine has longer strokes, ensuring a taller front end. However, the rider seat still sits quite low, which results in a longer wheelbase. The headlight installed on this bike is one of the most stylish you can find on a cruiser as it extends to ensure a slash-cut end look and a curvy top. The two-into-two separate exhaust pipes also feature a slash-cut tail design. The Honda VTX1300 also came stock with rider floorboards.

4. Engine & Performance: Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Vs Honda VTX1300R

4.1 Engine & Performance: Honda Shadow Sabre 1100

Despite being slightly low-powered than the VTX1300, the Honda Shadow VT1100C2 Sabre is not a beginner motorcycle. Being an 1100 cc category motorcycle, it is a perfect cruiser for riders who are experienced enough to switch to their second bike because the 1,099 cc displacement is no joke. On top of the engine power, the size of the Shadow Sabre 1100 is something that a new rider cannot manage safely. Being an old cruiser model, this motorcycle came with a carburetor to ensure fuel delivery to the engine. It may be a drawback for most experienced riders, but as you ride this motorcycle, the carburetor works as smoothly as a fuel injector does.

The Honda VT1100C2 Shadow Sabre’s 1,099 cc V-Twin engine produces a swift throttle response and the power output is also phenomenal. The engine churns out a horsepower of 67 hp at 5,500 rpm and a notable torque of 91 Nm at 2,700 rpm, making this motorcycle perfect for highway and long-distance riding. Make sure to stay focused and alert while riding this motorbike especially if you are accelerating because it picks up the pace quickly.

On top of its impressive engine power, the Honda Shadow Sabre has a smooth shaft final drive and offers a smooth clutch pull. Above all, this motorbike also produces a great sound which gives riders a more powerful vibe. This motorcycle is exceptionally fun to ride and you can find it at a fairly good price.

4.2 Engine & Performance: Honda VTX1300R

The Honda VTX1300R is made for riders looking for a good-looking bigger bike with enormous power and torque. Being a high-powered middleweight cruiser, it can be a perfect second bike if you have a good riding experience. However, one must consider the weight of this bike before you buy it.

The Honda VTX1300R is a perfect package in terms of power, reliability, and affordability. This bike has so many things to offer and you can find it at a low price in the used motorcycle market. The VTX1300R has a 1,312 cc V-Twin engine and a single CV carburetor to deliver fuel to the engine. The large-displacement engine delivers a massive torque of 123 Nm at 3,000 rpm and a horsepower of 74 hp at 5,000 rpm.

Despite being high-powered, the Honda VTX1300, like the Shadow Sabre 1100, also came with a five-speed transmission. Such bikes like the Honda VTX1300 with a large-displacement engine are massively large, heavy, and powerful. However, being fitted with a 1,300 cc engine, they are not as over-the-top powerful and quick as more performance-oriented bikes. This is because they are designed for comfort and more torque to go long miles. If you ride the bike gently and don’t excessively twist the throttle, the Honda VTX1300 is an easy-to-ride bike.

5. Comfort & Ergonomics: Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Vs Honda VTX1300R

5.1 Comfort & Ergonomics: Honda VT1100C2 Shadow Sabre

The Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 is a big cruiser with plenty of room to sit and adjust your limbs. On top of its smooth and sleek styling and aggressive power output, this bike is also quite easy and comfortable to ride thanks to its rider-friendly ergonomics. The legroom is comfortably wide and the seat position is also quite low. Like the overall motorcycle’s design, the handlebars on the Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 are also quite wide and swept back to make sure the rider sits in an upright back posture.

Despite being a bigger and fat-looking cruiser, it does not come with stock touring equipment, like windscreen, saddlebags, and floorboards. However, you can still find a wide range of aftermarket parts for this bike to make sure you do not miss out on any fun on a long-haul tour.

5.2 Comfort & Ergonomics: Honda VTX1300R

The “R” variant in the Honda VTX1300 series is one of the finest and complete cruisers in the used bike market available at an affordable price. This bike is large and offers quite a spacious rider triangle for taller riders to ride comfortably for long hours. This bike came with forward-mounted floorboards for riders to stay comfortable on long-distance journeys. The buckhorn-style handlebars are extra wide and are sufficiently pulled-back for riders to ride with a straight back position and to have better control of this bike.

6. Handling & Maneuverability: Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Vs Honda VTX1300R

6.1 Handling & Maneuverability: Honda VT1100C2 Shadow Sabre

The Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 looks large and heavy but as soon as you sit on this bike and start riding, it feels quite stable and smooth. This bike is surprisingly agile and flickable to help you take turns confidently. However, it is only applicable to those who are experienced and have previously ridden a heavier bike like this. If you have even intermediate-level riding skills, you can confidently take this bike for a ride. The Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 not only makes turning corners easy but also ensures a remarkable linear performance.

6.2 Handling & Maneuverability: Honda VTX1300R

On the other hand, the Honda VTX1300R is a heavier bike than the Shadow Sabre 1100. Apart from having a bigger engine, this bike is also bigger and has heavier parts, making it extremely difficult to maneuver. Considering the heavier mass of this bike, it feels quite intimidating at first to lean on this bike. Also, one major thing that causes the rider to lose confidence while leaning this bike to turn a corner is its wide body, particularly the floorboards. The ground clearance is also on the lower side, making leaning a more difficult task to perform. However, as soon as this bike reaches a moderate speed, the handling becomes easier. Considering the weight factor, it is not a beginner-friendly bike.

7. Pros & Cons: Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Vs Honda VTX1300R

7.1 Pros & Cons: Honda VT1100C2 Shadow Sabre

Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Pros Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Cons
Fat and bold looks Heavyweight bike
Retro-style big fenders No fuel gauge
Buckhorn-style wide handlebars Starter issues
Quick throttle response Lacks fifth gear
Praiseworthy power delivery Electrical issues
Accelerates well
Handles perfectly
Admiringly agile
Comfortable bike for cruising
Low seat height
Satisfying exhaust note
Highly reliable bike
Perfect fit and finish
Maintenance-free shaft drive
Low center of gravity
Good fuel mileage

7.2 Pros & Cons: Honda VTX1300R

Honda VTX1300R Pros Honda VTX1300R Cons
Good-looking bigger bike Excessively heavier bike
Perfect fit and finish Difficult to handle and steer
Classic styling Difficult slow-speed maneuvering
Large fuel tank size Low ground clearance
Highly comfortable Low cornering clearance
Good for riding with a passenger Difficult to lean
Good value for the money
Extremely reliable
Low-cost used model
Loads of chrome parts
Maintenance-free shaft drive

8. Final Verdict: Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 Vs Honda VTX1300R

The Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 and the Honda VTX1300R are the two most esteemed and renowned high-power cruisers in the Honda lineup of the 2000s. Both these bikes were designed for trained riders who can manage large and heavy cruisers like these. On top of their powerful and torquey powerplants, these bikes are also one of the coolest-looking cruisers in the used motorcycle market.

Choosing one bike between these two can be a difficult decision if you are looking for a big and reliable cruiser bike at an affordable price range. However, considering the performance and capabilities of both these bikes, the Honda Shadow Sabre is a more valuable option than the Honda VTX1300R. Despite being a slightly smaller bike in terms of displacement size, the Shadow Sabre 1100 produces almost similar power output and is one of the few heavyweight cruisers that is admiringly agile and nimble. This bike is highly flickable and easily maneuverable at both slow and high speeds, regardless of its extraordinary width.

On the contrary, the Honda VTX1300R is also one of the most reliable clean-looking classic cruisers with great value for the money. However, this bike is extremely heavy for most riders, making it difficult to lean and maneuver.

9. Aftermarket Parts and Modification Options

The reason why the Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 and the Honda VTX1300 are still desirable in the used motorcycle market is that the aftermarket parts are still being produced and available. Viking Bags, a reputable motorcycle luggage bags and aftermarket parts manufacturer offers a variety of solutions to increase your motorcycle’s storage capacity. The luggage bags especially designed for cruisers available at the Viking Bags’ online store include Roll Bags, Handlebar Bags, Backpacks, Tank Bags & Pouches, and Sissy Bar Bags. The most in-demand items at the online store are the saddlebags. Visit the website and click on your particular make and model to find the best-fitted bags for your bike. The company also offers specially designed saddlebags for your Honda Shadow Sabre 1100, Honda VTX1300R, VTX1300C, VTX1300S, and VTX1300T.

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