cruiser motorcycles

Yamaha V Star 650 Custom Vs. Honda Shadow VLX VTX600C

Yamaha V Star 650 Custom Vs. Honda Shadow VLX VTX600C

1. Yamaha V Star 650 Custom Vs. Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

Yamaha and Honda are among the most reliable motorcycle manufacturers due to their versatile motorbikes and innovative features. Both motorcycle brands compete with each other for popularity among motorcycle fans. However, Yamaha is slightly better than Honda when it comes to producing high-performance racing motorcycles and sports bikes. Meanwhile, Honda specializes in reliable beginner-friendly motorcycles suited for daily commutes.


Yamaha has produced several cruisers that compete with the top-class Honda cruisers, such as the Yamaha Bolt R-Spec and Yamaha V-Star series. Meanwhile, Honda’s best cruiser lineup is the Honda Shadow series. This article is a detailed comparison between the Yamaha V Star 650 Custom and the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C.

2. Key Differences between the Yamaha V Star 650 Custom and the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

Key Differences between the Yamaha V Star 650 Custom and the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C
Yamaha V Star 650 Custom Honda Shadow VLX VT600C
649 cc engine displacement 583 cc engine displacement
70° V-Twin engine design 52° V-Twin engine design
Air-cooled engine Liquid-cooled engine
Two valves per cylinder Three valves per cylinder
Twin carburetors Single carburetor
Five-speed transmission Four-speed transmission
Separate dual long mufflers Separate dal short mufflers
Fuel tank-mounted gauges Handlebar-mounted gauges
Smaller trail size Longer trail size
Normal seat height Low seat height
Slightly bulkier Lightweight
Blacked-out and chrome finish Chrome finish
Round-shaped air filter cover Triangular-shaped air filter cover
Round-shaped turn signals Bullet-shaped turn signals
Shorter front end Taller front end

3. Detailed Specs Comparison: Yamaha V Star 650 Vs. Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

Yamaha V Star 650 Custom
Honda Shadow VLX VT600C
Identification
Yamaha Maker Honda
V Star 650 Custom Model Shadow VLX VT600C
2018 Year Model 2007
XVS650 Motorcycle ID / Code VT600C
Custom / Cruiser Motorcycle Type Custom / Cruiser
$6,990 Base Price $5,499
Engine and Performance
649 cc / 40 cu in Displacement 583 cc / 35.57 cu in
70° V-Twin Engine Design and Type 52° V-Twin
Air-Cooled Cooling System Liquid-Cooled
Two No. of Cylinders Two
Two Valves Per Cylinder Three
40 hp Horsepower 39 hp @ 6,500 rpm
50.99 Nm @ 4,000 rpm Torque 48.81 Nm @ 3,300 rpm
63 mm Stroke 66 mm
81 mm Bore 75 mm
Twin Mikuni BDS28 Carburetors Fuel Injection System Single 34 mm Diaphragm-Type Constant-Velocity Carburetor
9:1 Compression Ratio 9.2:1
Five-Speed Transmission Wide-Ratio, Four-Speed
Shaft Drive (Cardan) Final Drive O-Ring Sealed Chain
Multi-Plate Clutch Clutch Wet Multi-Plate Clutch
49.42 mpg Fuel Economy 55 mpg
Chrome, Separate Dual Long Mufflers Muffler Chrome, Short Dual Mufflers
Two-Into-Two Exhaust Exhaust Two-Into-Two Exhaust
Steel Frame Frame Double-Cradle Steel Frame
Electric Starter Electric
Fuel Tank-Mounted Gauges Handlebars-Mounted
Wheels
Classic, Chrome Wire-Spoked Wheels Wheels Classic, Chrome Wire-Spoked Wheels
Front: 100/90-19 Rear: 170/80-15 Tires Front: 100/90-19 Rear: 170/80-15
Braking
298 mm Single Disc Brake Front Single Disc Brake with Twin-Piston Caliper
200 mm Expanding Drum Brake Rear Drum
No ABS No
Suspension
41 mm Aluminum Telescopic Front Fork Front 39 mm Conventional Telescopic Fork
Link-Type, Preload-Adjustable Single Rear Shock Rear Single Shock with Seven-Position Spring Preload Adjustability
140 mm / 5.5 in Front Wheel Travel 144.78 mm / 5.7 in
86 mm / 3.4 in Rear Wheel Travel 88.9 mm / 3.5 in
Dimensions and Weight
102 mm / 4 in Trail 161 mm / 6.3 in
35° Rake 35°
4.23 gal Fuel Tank Capacity 2.9 gal
140 mm / 5.5 in Ground Clearance 140 mm / 5.5 in
880 mm / 34.6 in Width 890 mm / 35 in
1075 mm / 42.3 in Height 1125 mm / 44.3 in
2340 mm / 92.1 in Length 2310 mm / 90.9 in
695 mm / 27.4 in (Lowest Setting) Seat Height 650.24 mm / 25.6 in
1610 mm / 63.4 in Wheelbase 1600.2 mm / 63 in
233.0 kg / 513.7 lbs Wet Weight 214 kg / 472 lbs
214 kg / 471 lbs Dry Weight 205 kg / 452 lbs

4. Design: Yamaha V Star 650 Custom Vs. Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

4.1 Design: Yamaha V Star 650 Custom

The Yamaha V Star 650 Custom is a stylish cruiser with a balanced and planted design. The bluish-pearl white color scheme, blacked-out and shiny chrome finish, and bobber-inspired styling make it an attractive motorbike. The Yamaha V Star 650 Custom has a blacked-out funnel-shaped headlight nacelle with a chrome round bezel. The cylinder heads, dual long exhaust pipes, and front fork have a lustrous chrome finish. The Yamaha V Star 650 Custom is fitted with a padded rider seat and a flat passenger seat for two-up riding. It also has a bobber-style front fender and a chopper rear fender with an extended tail design. The chrome gauges cluster is mounted to the peanut-shaped fuel tank with a capacity of 4.23 gal. The Yamaha V Star 650 Custom also has a stylish matte black battery cover under the seat and chrome rectangular-shaped side mirrors. The fat rear tire and narrow front tire wrapped around classic wire-spoked wheels help improve aesthetics and performance.

4.2 Design: Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

The Honda Shadow VLX VT600C is also an attractive cruiser with a low seat height and chrome finish. It resembles the Yamaha V Star 650 Custom with its bobber-style front fender and chopped rear fender with an extended tail design and integrated tail light. The Honda Shadow VLX VT600C is fitted with a large front wheel and a tall front end. Despite its taller front end, it has a low seat height of 25.6 inches. The Honda Shadow VLX VT600C has more chrome parts, including a conventional telescopic fork, round headlamp nacelle, triangular air filter cover, and short dual mufflers. It also comes with a two-piece saddle with an easily removable passenger seat suited for two-up riding. The gauges are mounted to the mid-mounted, swept-back buckhorn handlebars for a laid-back riding experience. The Honda Shadow VLX VT600C also comes with a narrow front tire and a fat rear tire wrapped around classic chrome wire-spoked wheels for better traction and control.

5. Engine and Performance: Yamaha V Star 650 Custom Vs. Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

5.1 Engine and Performance: Yamaha V Star 650 Custom

The Yamaha V Star 650 is a low-powered custom/cruiser fitted with a 649 cc air-cooled, 70° V-Twin engine capable of a torque of 50.99 Nm at 4,000 rpm and a horsepower of 40 hp. Due to being an older model, it is equipped with twin Mikuni BDS28 carburetors to ensure optimum fuel delivery to the engine. However, the Yamaha V Star 650 has a five-speed transmission and a clean shaft final drive that ensures the motorcycle runs quietly. The 649 cc 70° V-Twin engine produces a good low-end torque and mid-range power for a comfortable and smooth cruising performance. The Yamaha V Star 650 has a simple engine design with a basic rocker arm valve actuation, making it easy to maintain. The air-cooled system with refined engine fins helps keep the engine cool when riding through busy traffic.


The Yamaha V Star 650 is fitted with automatic cam chain tensioners that are easy to maintain and reduce noise. The 70° V-Twin engine is built with a single pin-style crankshaft for better reliability and throttle response. The Yamaha V Star 650 also utilizes a Throttle Piston Sensor (TPS) to ensure crisp throttle response, better airflow, and improved power delivery. The 70° orientation of the V-Twin engine results in a low center of gravity for a more balanced riding experience.


The Yamaha V Star 650 Custom is fitted with a 41 mm aluminum telescopic front fork and a link-type single rear shock absorber with preload adjustability for better handling and comfortable rides. The front suspension has a wheel travel of 5.5 inches, while the single rear adjustable shock has a wheel travel of 3.4 inches. The Yamaha V Star 650 Custom only has a single front disc and an expanding rear drum brake. The rider has to press both the front and rear brakes simultaneously to slow and come to a stop.

5.2 Engine and Performance: Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

The Honda Shadow VLX VT600C is an older model discontinued back in 2008. It is an entry-level cruiser powered by a small 583 cc liquid-cooled 52° V-Twin engine capable of a torque of 48.8 Nm at 3,300 rpm and a horsepower of 39 hp at 6,500 rpm. Despite being fitted with a 34 mm conventional single diaphragm-type constant velocity carburetor, it has a good fuel economy of 55 mpg. Despite being a low-power motorcycle, the 583 cc 52° V-Twin engine produces adequate power over a broad rpm range. Due to being liquid-cooled, the engine is kept cool by the aluminum radiator, which improves the engine’s lifespan and performance. Despite its perfect cruiser styling and highway performance, the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C lacks the fifth gear necessary for freeway riding. Despite being a beginner-friendly cruiser with short dual exhaust pipes and a semi-single-pin crankshaft design, the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C produces an aggressive sound from the exhaust. Engine power is delivered to the rear wheel via an O-ring sealed chain with automatic cam tensioners for reliable and maintenance-free operation.


The 39 mm conventional telescopic fork and the spring preload-adjustable single shock are adequate for smooth handling and a plush riding experience. The front fork has a wheel travel of 5.7 inches, while the single rear shock has a wheel travel of 3.5 inches. The Honda Shadow VLX VT600C is also fitted with a single front disc and a rear drum brake.

6. Comfort and Ergonomics: Yamaha V Star 650 Custom Vs. Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

6.1 Comfort and Ergonomics: Yamaha V Star 650 Custom

Comfort and Ergonomics: Yamaha V Star 650 Custom
Photo Credit: @Total Motorcycle

The Yamaha V Star 650 is a comfortable beginner-friendly cruiser with a comfortable rider triangle and roomy ergonomics. It is fitted with forward-mounted foot controls for adequate legroom and swept-back buckhorn-style handlebars within comfortable reach of the rider that provides an upright back position. The Yamaha V Star 650 has a standard seat height of 27.4 inches suitable for shorter and taller riders. However, due to its adequate legroom and handlebars’ position, a shorter rider will have to sit slightly forward to reach the handlebars. The Yamaha V Star 650 has a wet weight of 233 kg, making handling and turning corners easier. To improve storage capacity and touring performance, Viking Bags offer specially designed saddlebags for the Yamaha V Star 650. 

6.2 Comfort and Ergonomics: Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

Comfort and Ergonomics: Honda Shadow VLX VT600C
Photo Credit: @Motorcycle Cruiser

The Honda Shadow VLX VT600C is also a beginner-friendly cruiser with powerful looks and spacious ergonomics. It also has forward-mounted foot controls and swept-back buckhorn handlebars to ensure an upright and laidback seating position. The Honda Shadow VLX VT600C has a low seat height of 25.6 in and a low wet weight of 214 kg, making it ideal for beginners and shorter riders. The ergonomics are ideal for continuous long-distance rides. However, a small fuel tank capacity of 2.9 gal and a four-speed transmission makes the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C unsuited for touring and highway cruising. If you carry luggage on motorcycle trips, Viking Bags has specially designed saddlebags for the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C.

7. Key Features: Yamaha V Star 650 Vs. Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

7.1 Key Features: Yamaha V Star 650 Custom

  • Trip meter
  • Odometer
  • Low-maintenance build
  • Tie-down hooks on passenger’s footrests
  • Small storage compartment in the left side cover
  • Steering lock
  • Helmet lock
  • Self-cancelling front and rear turn signals.
  • Stock passenger seat

7.2 Key Features: Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

  • Easy-to-read, basic instrumentation
  • Standard fork lock
  • Stock tool kit
  • Helmet lock
  • Soft handgrips
  • Halogen headlight

8. Pros and Cons: Yamaha V Star 650 Custom Vs. Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

8.1 Pros and Cons: Yamaha V Star 650 Custom

Yamaha V Star 650 Custom Pros Yamaha V Star 650 Custom Cons
Stylish Small fuel tank size
Reliable No ABS
Customizable Single front disc brake
Blacked-out and chrome finish Lacks sixth gear
Low-maintenance shaft drive Low-powered engine
Lightweight
Roomy rider triangle
Comfortable ergonomics
Affordable
Beginner-friendly
Fat rear tire

8.2 Pros and Cons: Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

Honda Shadow VLX VT600C Pros Honda Shadow VLX VT600C Cons
Aesthetically appealing Four-speed transmission
Comfortable ergonomics No ABS
Lightweight Single front disc brake
Cheaper Low-powered engine
Good fuel economy Small fuel tank size
Longer front wheel travel Inadequate braking
Low seat height
Beginner-friendly
Fat rear tire
Aggressive exhaust note

9. Colors and Cost: Yamaha V Star 650 Vs. Honda Shadow VLX VT600C

10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

10.1 Is the Yamaha V Star 650 Good for Beginners?

The Yamaha V Star 650 is an ideal beginner motorcycle with its low-powered engine and lightweight design. Despite having a full-fledged cruiser look, it is quite nimble and ensures smooth power delivery for a good riding experience.

10.2 What Does the “VLX" from the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C Stand for?

The “VLX” from the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C stands for:

  • V: V-Twin
  • L: Lowered
  • X: Extended rake

The Honda Shadow VT600C is commonly known as the Honda Shadow VLX due to being fitted with a V-Twin engine, a low seat height, and a chopper-style extended front end.

10.3 Is the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C Good for Short Riders?

The Honda Shadow VLX VT600C is a lightweight motorcycle weighing 472 lbs, which makes it easy for shorter riders to handle. Though not the lightest motorbike, it offers good stability while cruising on highways and turning corners. The Honda Shadow VLX VT600C’s low seat height also makes it ideal for shorter riders.

11. Which is Better: the Yamaha V Star 650 Custom or the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C?

The Yamaha V Star 650 Custom and the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C are old, simple, and stylish entry-level cruisers suited for daily commutes and freeway cruising. Both motorcycles are equipped with carburetors that deliver fuel to the engine, ensure good throttle response, and have decent fuel mileage.


Due to being discontinued in 2008, you can only buy the used Honda Shadow VLX VT600C at a cheap price. It is an ideal motorcycle for novice riders with its classic cruiser style, low seat height, raked-out front end, low center of gravity, and smoothness.


Meanwhile, the Yamaha V Star 650 is one of the most stylish entry-level motorcycles with a bobber-inspired cruiser look. Unlike the Honda Shadow VLX VT600C, it comes with a five-speed transmission, maintenance-free shaft drive, and twin carburetors for better throttle response. The Yamaha V Star 650 is a better option due to being a versatile, nimble, agile, and reliable motorcycle.

12. Aftermarket Parts and Modification Options

If you own a cruiser and want to use it for light touring and long-distance rides, you can easily transform it into a touring bike by installing a few aftermarket parts available at Viking Bags. If you do not like the stock handlebars on your cruiser and want to replace them with mini-ape or pulled-back handlebars, you can find them at Viking Bags’ online store. For improved safety and comfort, you can install sissy bars, backrests, crash bars, and fairings. There are also luggage options available at Viking Bags to increase storage capacity, including saddlebags and sissy bar bags.


Photo Credit: @Kind PNG , @Auto Evolution

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