cruiser motorcycles

Honda VT1100C2 Shadow Sabre: Detailed Specs, Background, Performance, and More

Honda VT1100C2 Shadow Sabre Detailed Specs, Background, Performance, and More

The majority of riders look for the same things while purchasing a potential cruiser: a large V-twin engine, a badass look, and a kicked out fork. The VT1100 Shadow Sabre has it all with a huge front wheel, punchy acceleration, and maintenance-free hydraulic valve adjusters. The Shadow Sabre VT1100 was a part of Honda’s classic Shadow line-up for eight years and is still on several cruiser riders' top ten used-bike lists.

Come and discover the detailed specs, performance and history of this famous Honda cruiser in this read.

1. A Brief History of Honda VT1100C2 Shadow Sabre

The Honda Shadow Sabre VT1100 is a cruiser bike that debuted in 1985 as part of Honda's larger Shadow Series. The Shadow motorcycles feature liquid-cooled 45° to 52° V-Twin engines with displacements ranging from 125 to 1100 ccs.

The Honda Shadow Sabre, based on the Honda VT1100 engine, was introduced in the year 2000 with a different design from the current Spirit versions that had replaced the earlier Shadow ACE models.

Although the concept for Shadow Sabre was developed many years ago, Honda did not put this bike into full development until after the 1998 Bike Week in Daytona where they observed a strong trend toward performance cruisers.

In the beginning, the Shadow Sabre was a hot red motorcycle of the Honda’s cruiser line that quickly became the street rod of the Shadow series. It was equipped with the same 1100 cc V-twin engine that had existed in the previous Shadow line-up since 1985.

The VT1100C2 was called “a bold new street rod” by Honda.

The most notable feature of Shadow Sabre was the front cast aluminium wheels. Moreover, the Shadow Sabre's transmission had a lower rear gear ratio compared to other Shadow 1100 models. This improved the bike's acceleration over standard spirit bikes, but it also resulted in higher engine RPMs at motorway speeds.

The 2000 model had an evil look with chromed parts, deeply balanced fenders, a 4.4 gallons fuel tank and low seating for two. It also offered plenty of customization options e.g. luggage bags, handlebars, etc. for the riders.

The 2001 Shadow Sabre was launched with a striking black painted engine and sweet color schemes (a contrast of chrome and black). A major change was the size of the fuel tank being reduced to 4.2 gallons in this model.

The next models featured a few changes in the design and color, but the major specs remained the same throughout, all being powered with the 1100 cc V-twin engine.

This renowned Honda cruiser retained the chrome accent of big-bore cruisers without drastically changing  the style for seven years (2000 – 2007).

The VT1100 Shadow Sabre was discontinued in 2007 due to the release of the VTX1300 and low sales rates. However, its name was used again in the 2010 Honda VT300C custom line.

2. Honda Shadow Sabre VT1100C2 at First Glance

Honda Shadow Sabre VT1100C2 at First Glance
Photo Credit: @jmmotorsports

The Honda Shadow Sabre VT1100C2 is built around the ACE frame and has the same basic engine as the Spirit model. This distinct street-rod machine is a useful choice for both vacations and  the daily commutes.

Neither too big nor too small, the Honda Shadow Sabre is proof of Honda’s ability to create a bike with a strong personality.

Powered with the 1100 cc v-twin-engine, this cruiser displays massive cast wheels which represent the compact attire of this machine.

The first thing you notice when riding this bike is its comfortable riding position. The seat height is low at just 27.2 in. The bars are wide, low and comfortable. The footpegs are forward-mounted like all the other Honda cruisers.

If we talk about the engine, the Shadow Sabre VT1100C2 has a 45° cylinder spread with a dual-pin crankshaft for the perfect balance and rubber engine mounts that absorb vibrations that get past the gaskets. The 1099 cc V-twin has a  power output of 68.9 hp. The Shadow Sabre also possesses a seemingly unflappable chassis, strong brakes, and smooth suspensions.

Although it runs a little short on power, the short gear system from the five-speed transmission to the shaft final drive gives Sabre its own spotlight shoutouts. The 4.2-gallon fuel tank gives the Shadow Sabre VT1100 a good range for what was designed to be a short-haul vehicle  in the mid-40s.

This bike is not all about the engine as  the ergonomics and handlings are equally good. This small cruiser allows decent cornering and the overall freeway performance is also pretty great.

The same short gear system which makes Sabre stand out in town works against it on the highway, as the high speeds can make the engine work harder than a normal big V-twin. However, the rubber engine and dual pin crank help to prevent the engine from becoming annoyingly loud.

3. Honda Shadow Sabre VT1100C2: A Buyer's Guide

3.1 What's the Value of Honda Shadow Sabre VT1100C2?

Model Price
2000 $2755
2001 $2850
2002 $2975
2003 $3235
2004 $3400
2005 $3685
2006 $3970
2007 $4225

3.2 Is the Honda Shadow Sabre VT1100C2 a good bike?

The 1100 cc Honda Shadow Sabre is a good, versatile bike: tough, fun, and easy. It has a smooth engine that requires  low maintenance and a spotlight to illuminate your surroundings .

3.3 What are the issues with Honda Shadow Sabre VT1100C2?

The chrome and aluminium surfaces on the bike require regular cleaning and care. In most climates, the shiny bike parts can get rusted and corroded.

When buying the bike, make sure to watch for corroded aluminium wheels, damaged radiator fins, and dirty engine oil that can clog hydraulic lifters. 

3.4 What replaced the Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 cc?

The 1100 cc Honda Shadow Sabre was replaced in 2011 by the new VTX line, the 1300 cc VTX1300. Since then, the Shadow brand has been limited to a single 750 cc cruiser available in Aero, Spirit, RS Trims, and Phantoms.

4. Honda Shadow Sabre VT1100C2 Detailed Specifications

4.1 General Information

Manufacturer Honda
Production 2000-2007
Model VT1100C2
Predecessor ACE, Spirit
Year 2007
Category Cruiser

4.2 Dimensions and Capacities

Wheelbase 64.6 inches
Overall Length 2440mm (96 in)
Overall Width 965mm (38 in)
Overall Height 1160 mm (46 in)
Seat Height 27.2 inches
Dry Weight 573 pounds
Wet Weight 612 pounds
Trail 6.3 inches (161mm)
Rake (Caster Angle) 32.7°
Fuel Capacity 4.2 gallons, including 0.6 gallon reserve
Miles Per Gallon 54.6 mpg – imp, 45.5 mpg - US

4.3 Engine and Transmission

Engine Type liquid-cooled 45° V-twin, dual offset crankpin
Cooling Liquid
Cylinders Two
Displacement 1099cc
Bore and Stroke 3.4 in x 3.6 in (87.5mm x 91.4mm)
Compression Ratio 8.0:1
Valve Train SOHC: 3 valves per cylinder
Ignition Digital
Starting Electric
Fuel System Two 36mm CV Carburetors
Transmission Five-Speed
Final Drive Shaft

4.4 Performance

Maximum Power 68.9 HP (51.5 kW )
Maximum Torque 93.4 Nm at 2650 rpm
Top Speed 107 mph
Fuel Economy/Consumption 54.6 mpg

4.5 Chassis, Suspension, Brakes and Wheels

Frame Steel
Front Suspension 41mm fork
Front Travel 4.7 inches
Rear Suspension Dual Shocks with five-position spring preload adjustability
Rear Travel 3.9 inches
Front Brake Single 316mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear Brake Single 276mm disc with single-piston caliper
Front Tire 120/90-18
Rear Tire 170/80-15

5. Aftermarket Luggage & Modification Options for Honda Shadow Sabre VT1100C2

Even though Honda has stopped manufacturing the  Shadow Sabre VT1100, there are many bikers who are still riding this bike and taking care of this vintage model like it was  their child.

No doubt, the model has grown old but there are many modifications  that can help you keep the spirit of this bike alive. You can give this bike a completely fresh look by going  through some aftermarket parts.

If you’re a rider who prefers comfort, you can add sissy bar bags to serve as a backrest and support your back. You can also add high-quality saddlebags to carry your things around while going on  road trips.

6. Takeaways

The Honda Shadow Sabre 1100 is not a big bike, but it is a fast cruiser with great power, smooth shift, and high ground clearance. It will always be remembered as a high-performance cruiser of the Honda family.

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