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For ‘screwing the pooch’, they sure seemed to sell enough of them. How many other bike lines are still going almost 40 years later? Is there any part of ‘laid back cruiser’ that you’re not understanding? 😉 I know when I only weighed 140-160lbs, the first Gen 750 was powerful enough. Though I knew what high-strung 250+ 2-strokes and super sports like the Interceptor and such could do. Definitely overkill, though fun as anything…

I think @CSRoad was forthcoming enough about his cam swap from the Hawk, I believe it was. He’d probably tell you more, if you managed to find a set. If you can do that front sprocket modification, changing the cams shouldn’t be too big a deal. Doesn’t sound like custom grinding or anything was involved…
yeah the part of laid back cruiser that i wasn't getting was the part where i was riding this big fake harley looking bike which as manufactured was so under powered that on the long highway incline going out of town from where i live i always ended up having to move over to the shoulder so car and trucks who wanted to do the speed limit could go by, there was just something about being at full throttle on a 750 and still not being able to do the speed limit that tends to get on your nerves, even my old 650 will clear the same hill at 90 no problem. luckily since i've opened up the intake and exhaust and changed the gearing to 18/38 i don't have to pull over on the shoulder to let cars go by anymore.
the 1983 VT500C “Shadow 500,” had a liquid-cooled, three-valve, 52-degree V-twin engine like the modern shadows but it was rated at 54 hp and only weighed 450 lbs unlike my 2k vt750 with only 43 hp but weighing close to 600 lbs..... so yeah the screwed the pooch. as for the 40 years worth of sales,from my first street legal 250 as a teenager to my gixer 1100, there has been a lot of bikes under me and not one of them did i ever have to ride on the shoulder because i couldn't do the speed limit..........
 

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luckily since i've opened up the intake and exhaust and changed the gearing to 18/38
Increasing the drive ratio, as from 17 to 18 on the front sprocket, on a machine that is speed limited by available horsepower, will generally decrease both top speed and acceleration. Folks make this change so rpms at cruise are lower, that is, for comfort, not for speed.

I think your chain drive bike is a bit more potent than the Phantom curves below, but the general idea applies. Sorry the graph is low rez. It's kind of difficult to find factory STOCK dyno results for Shadows.
Rectangle Human body Slope Font Parallel


Dropping the rpm by 6% moves you left on the chart, lower on the horsepower curve which is the red curve. If, for example, with the 17 tooth, your engine was spinning 4000 rpms at 70 mph (and producing ~35 hp according to the chart), with the larger 18t front sprocket, you'd now be spinning 3760 rpms at 70 mph and producing ~34.5 hp.

Horsepower = (Torque x RPM) / 5252 , so unless you're operating in a range where the torque curve is peaky, rpms are important to producing horsepower. The chart for the Phantom shows max horsepower is achieved at around 5600 rpm, even though torque starts dropping noticeably above 4000 rpm.

The Phantom's torque curve (black line) on the graph above is impressively flat, which is a real blessing for cruising, in my opinion. A flat curve and abundant torque means one doesn't need to shift much. I can ride my Shadow 1100 for my entire commute in 2nd gear, if I choose, but that is urban street riding, and there's no sustained high speed. I seldom use top gear on any of my machines.

If top speed is being limited by rpms, rather than horsepower, like if one is hitting redline or the rpm limiter at top speed, then a higher final drive ratio can produce a higher top speed, but it will still reduce max acceleration rate.
 

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FWIW:

Had my 04 1500 Nomad dyno'd in stock trim for a baseline, note the stock fuel "curve" for the fuel injection. The Harley mechanics running the dyno just shook their heads, said they'd never seen a curve that flat. Buddy had his Victory done the same day, his "curve" looked like a mountain range. One run was in 4th and one in 5th.
Edit: and with wind resistance it won't go anywhere near the dyno indicated speed.

Rectangle Font Slope Parallel Number




Edit: Sold the Nomad when I bought my 1100T:

Tire Wheel Land vehicle Fuel tank Vehicle
 
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I have been doing some thinking on the Shadow speed problem that some folks seem to have an issue with,,,

For a “hair on fire” ride with a cruiser look find a Boss Hoss bike, a V8 should get you the speed and power you are looking for.

Or,,,

Since the Shadow’s are a lot more nimble than the Boss Hoss swap out the the Shadows anemic stock engine for a V6. Won’t be near as powerful as the V8 but I bet it will really scoot.


Yes the above is meant to be funny.

Eric


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Increasing the drive ratio, as from 17 to 18 on the front sprocket, on a machine that is speed limited by available horsepower, will generally decrease both top speed and acceleration. Folks make this change so rpms at cruise are lower, that is, for comfort, not for speed.

I think your chain drive bike is a bit more potent than the Phantom curves below, but the general idea applies. Sorry the graph is low rez. It's kind of difficult to find factory STOCK dyno results for Shadows.
View attachment 305717

Dropping the rpm by 6% moves you left on the chart, lower on the horsepower curve which is the red curve. If, for example, with the 17 tooth, your engine was spinning 4000 rpms at 70 mph (and producing ~35 hp according to the chart), with the larger 18t front sprocket, you'd now be spinning 3760 rpms at 70 mph and producing ~34.5 hp.

Horsepower = (Torque x RPM) / 5252 , so unless you're operating in a range where the torque curve is peaky, rpms are important to producing horsepower. The chart for the Phantom shows max horsepower is achieved at around 5600 rpm, even though torque starts dropping noticeably above 4000 rpm.

The Phantom's torque curve (black line) on the graph above is impressively flat, which is a real blessing for cruising, in my opinion. A flat curve and abundant torque means one doesn't need to shift much. I can ride my Shadow 1100 for my entire commute in 2nd gear, if I choose, but that is urban street riding, and there's no sustained high speed. I seldom use top gear on any of my machines.

If top speed is being limited by rpms, rather than horsepower, like if one is hitting redline or the rpm limiter at top speed, then a higher final drive ratio can produce a higher top speed, but it will still reduce max acceleration rate.
i can't even think of words the truly convey how angry it makes me every time i see how horrible the dyno numbers are for on the vt750, a 750 with only 35 bhp is insulting.
I've only had the bike since june and because the bike hadn't been ridden in almost 4 years i couldn't test ride it but i figured a bike with only 6k original miles was a pretty safe risk, what i didn't know was that compared to the 80's vt750 i was familiar with, honda had added so many unimprovements to the newer vt750 like losing 30 hp, adding 100 lbs and on my particular model, eliminating the low fuel light but leaving the gas tank filler hole directly in the center of the tank so you can never tell how much gas you have left, you just see the center hump and then there's the crankshaft, changing the vt750's crank from a sporty 270 degree to a tractor like 360 degree, gives the shadow that special briggs & Straton minibike sound. The 18/38 gear combo probably wouldn't work on an off the showroom floor shadow but between opening up the intake and exhaust, major rejetting, and lowering the spring rate on the carburetor slides the bike is pulling harder then it ever did before although it's still not up to a typical 750 but at least now it's running good enough that i don't have an overwhelming urge to run over the bike with my truck every time i get off of it so that something......lol
 

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Went over to New Market to try out my new Ruger Wrangler, in my truck, and measure the straightaway that I thought was about a mile. The reason I thought that was that my little 750 Shadow Aero will get up to 95 indicated on that straightaway. Well turns out it is only .5 of a mile. So ya'll can say what you want, but having owned a 1200 Harley Sportster, my little Honda is just about as fast and looking at 73 in a couple of weeks, that's good enough for me.
 

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i can't even think of words the truly convey how angry it makes me every time i see how horrible the dyno numbers are for on the vt750, a 750 with only 35 bhp is insulting.
I've only had the bike since june and because the bike hadn't been ridden in almost 4 years i couldn't test ride it but i figured a bike with only 6k original miles was a pretty safe risk, what i didn't know was that compared to the 80's vt750 i was familiar with, honda had added so many unimprovements to the newer vt750 like losing 30 hp, adding 100 lbs and on my particular model, eliminating the low fuel light but leaving the gas tank filler hole directly in the center of the tank so you can never tell how much gas you have left, you just see the center hump and then there's the crankshaft, changing the vt750's crank from a sporty 270 degree to a tractor like 360 degree, gives the shadow that special briggs & Straton minibike sound. The 18/38 gear combo probably wouldn't work on an off the showroom floor shadow but between opening up the intake and exhaust, major rejetting, and lowering the spring rate on the carburetor slides the bike is pulling harder then it ever did before although it's still not up to a typical 750 but at least now it's running good enough that i don't have an overwhelming urge to run over the bike with my truck every time i get off of it so that something......lol
I've read about people using the wet line on a stick to measure their fuel level, but that was from stories of cars from 100 years ago. There's not much to see when peering down into the tank on most modern machines, anti siphon features have done away with sticks into filler openings. For the last 40 years, I've been using my trip meter, to tell me when to expect the power to sag, signifying it's time to switch to reserve and look for a gas station. Before my machines had a trip meter, I made mental or paper notes of the odometer reading and added my range to that. Even on the couple of machines I own that have gas gauges, this practice proves to be more reliable than the indicator gadget.

There's benefits to a "low stress" engine design. As a guy who not only rides, but prefers, my Royal Enfield 500 single, with ~25hp at around 430 lbs, I should know. Lowish compression lets one use all sorts of swill for fuel, a feature I don't require, but which is almost essential for much of RE's main market in India. Large displacement for horsepower means the engine doesn't need to make rpms to generate torque, which, if well engineered, can mean a very long life and high fuel efficiency.

Consider the old design Lister diesel. (This picture is of a knockoff)
Green Automotive tire Wheel Motor vehicle Valve


A 6 hp, 650 rpm, engine that weighs 750 lbs is a couple orders of magnitude worse than your Shadow 750 engine in specific power, but with no glow plug, no ignition system, and simple heavy duty construction, they can be rebuilt with a crescent wrench and have been known to run 25 YEARS continuously, as in NO stopping.

I agree with your point, Honda did deliberately remove power from the later Shadows. These new "pooch screwed" designs, then went on to sell in significantly higher numbers than their older brother from the 80s ever had. I have read that in 2000, the most popular selling machine worldwide was the VT600C, a machine that was rated at only ~39hp, but since it had chain, rather than shaft drive, it actually delivered more power to the rear wheel than a lot of 750 Shadows.

I agree, on paper and in practice, with the exception of those that have been tuned and modified like yours, the 750 seems to be the slowpoke of the Shadow family. Ironically, of this family, the 750 has sold in the highest numbers, and is the only Shadow still being sold. Cruiser - Honda

One is led to conclude that there must be a LOT of people out there, for whom power and speed is not a primary concern. Those who ARE interested in high power and speed, or who don't value a "potato potato" sound over smoothness and horsepower, should probably do their homework before buying. You are here on the forum, so you must have access to the internet. Honda made no secret of the performance specs. Folks who wanted more could choose a different model, the Magna VF750C, for example, has around twice the hp of comtemporaneous 750 Shadows, and was sold up until 2003. They aren't expensive, one can easily get onto a used Magna for less than $4K.

If I was as unhappy with a machine I had purchased as you seem to be, I would not try to remake the sow's ear into a silk purse. I would buy my silk purse now, ( Here in the midwest, December through March is strong BUYER's market, nobody is riding, or buying, so good deals can be had from motivated sellers.)
Maybe I'd get this '96 Magna 750? 96 Honda Magna - motorcycles/scooters - by owner - vehicle...

Then, next spring, when folks thoughts were turning back to riding, I'd sell my 750 Shadow. I'd probably end up at least a few hundred $ on the plus side in the horse trade, compensation for my efforts in getting the Shadow back to running condition, and for taking advantage of the seasonality of the marketplace. When I was talking to prospective buyers, I'd try to avoid revealing my true feelings about Honda screwing any pooches, and let the machine sell itself.
 
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