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Purchase the 86’ with ≈ 20k miles or 97’ with ≈70k miles for highway safety & fun on cruises?

  • 86

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • 97

    Votes: 5 83.3%
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I have the opportunity to purchase either a 1986 Honda Shadow with apx. 20,000 miles or a 1997 Shadow 1100 with apx. 70,000 miles on it. Both are said to be in great condition.

This will be my first motorcycle as I look to transition from a Honda Ruckus. I’m looking for a comfortable ride into the mountains where I can quickly move across the highways. The 86’ is probably 750cc (although not specified in the listing) and my fear is that it may feel like I am moving too slow to be comfy in highway traffic. However the 86 is significantly cheaper and lower mileage, again both are said to be in great riding condition.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance.
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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I would get the 1100 if it is really as nice as described. And maintained properly.
The older one will be hard to find parts for and not as comfortable on long rides.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Cool, thank you @swifty2014.

Should I be at all concerned with the Mileage being up around 70,000 miles? I'll definitely ask about previous maintenance and records of it, however I am curious about how much life is left in the bike and if it will be a good long term investment that won't require a great deal of unforeseen maintenance.

Any thoughts?

Thank you!
 

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There should be more than two choices... why just those 2? The mileage really doesn't bother me on the 97 (my 2000 model 1100 has just under 50K miles and I'm pulling a trailer and riding 2-up on trips) Maybe look for one a little newer, even mine has some parts no longer available. They made the 1100 up through 2007. check craigslist, farcebook marketplace and cycletrader.com for your area, and the for sale section here, never know...
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the input @oldguy, I have taken a look at the recommended platforms to purchase. The results are quite limited given my (cheap) desired budget and I am also looking to purchase locally.

Do you think that an 1100 give me trouble to start out on?

Thanks again.
 

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Maybe,,, maybe not. They're noticably heavier than the 750s. If you're pretty good sized with good upper body strength, you may be fine with either. I'd suggest going to a dealership and sitting on various models, see how they feel picking them up off the stand etc.

I also have a 750 Ace that I like, it's a good choice though they quit making them in 2003. The 750 Aero replaced them, The Aero has a few things I don't like. notably it's shaft drive, single carb, and slightly less suspension travel. Might be lower maintenance though. The 750 Spirit or newer 750RS are both good choices and more in common with the Ace than the Aero. And parts are available and should be plenty in the market. I've also done trips riding 2-up on the 750, longest a 12 day, It did fine and is probably the easiest-to-ride all around motorcycle I've had. (My 1st "big" bike was a 650 BSA back around 1973 or 74,,,) And note my signature line...
 
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I wouldn't buy either. Sorry. Definitely not the '86. I owned one. Fantastic bike. Rode great. Quick. Nimble. Problem is, almost zero parts support. It doesn't matter how good of condition the seller says the bikes in, you'll always need parts.
That's a ton of mile on the 97 as well. Too many in my opinion. Let me rephrase that. Too many that you didn't personally put on yourself.

This website is full of threads from new members that bought a new-to-them Shadow because of its "cheap" price. That's why they found this site. They needed help on repairs or how to source repair/replacement parts.

If you love tinkering on bikes and searching the internet for parts, buy either one. I'd go with the 97. If you want to go riding and enjoy this new sport to you, dig a little deeper and find something else. Newer and fewer miles. Shadows are great bikes, no doubt. There are plenty of other great bikes out there as well. If you want to stick with Honda then look at the NC700/750 or the the CB500F. A new member recently pulled the trigger on a Kawasaki Vulcan. Maybe @asssets will see this thread and chime in why he made his decision and how he feels about it a couple of weeks later.
I completely understand having a limited budget. Thing is, I also know what's it's like having to but parts and tools to work on that vehicle I bought with my limited budget. I like to ride my motorcycles, not work on them. That's just me.

Either way, hope you let us know what you final decision turns out to be. Good luck, and enjoy.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Hello and Thank you @squidchief, that is some really great information!

[Update] I took in the previous replies to my inquiry and decided to keep on looking. I've now stumbled upon a 2003 Honda Shadow Spirit VT750DC with approx. 25,000 miles. It looks to be in excellent condition and I have two buddies who work on bikes coming with me on Saturday to check it out!

I feel better about this purchase being that the bike is significantly newer than the previous and it has far fewer miles than the 97.

If anyone has any information or advice for me in this regard, it is very much welcomed!

Thanks everybody :)

- Danny
 

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The 03 750 should be good. Made up through 2007 I believe. Chain drive and has the 19" front tire which I believe is better for handling than the newer VT750C2 Spirit's skinnier 21" front tire, The newer VT750C2 is also based on the 750 Aero drivetrain with shaft drive.

Specs say dry weight (no gas or oil) 496 lbs for the 750 Spirit. for comparison, The 1100 Spirit (lightest 1100 Shadow) is 552 dry while the vt1100T Ace Tourer is 628 lbs. (has factory hard bags, windshield etc.)
 
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I'm biased because I have a 97 Honda Shadow ACE VT110. I'm the third owner. She has a little over 58K on the clock (of which I personally put on 30K in the last 3 years). This is my first and only motorcyle. My original plan was to learn and get comfortable with this motorcycle and then get a newer/better motorcycle as soon as possible but then a strange thing happened. My ACE started to grow on me. If ever I decided to get a new motorcycle I will use my experience on my Shadow ACE as a yardstick to judge other motorcycles.

The only real heavy expense is tires. I've had Dunlop 404, Shinko 777, Contenintal Milestone and (currently) Metzler ME888. Dunlop 404 are by far the worst. If I were to follow the tire depth recommendations in the service manual the rear Dunlop only lasted for about 4k. I managed to get an additional 2k before I replaced but getting only 6k out of a tire is terrible. The best were the Shinko 777 I was able to get 10.7k before it needed to be replaced. My current Metzler ME888 has 7k. by the looks of it I'll be lucky to get 10k.
 

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I had a 2004 Nomad 1500FI when I ran across my Tourer in 2009, sold it and got the older, smaller displacement (and lighter!) Tourer. The Tourer and my 2003 Ace are the only two bikes I've ever owned longer than 10 years. (and still counting, on both.)

p.s. note my signature line
 

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DJ - I purchased a '97 Shadow with 17K miles back in September and love it. The newer bike will definitely be easier to source parts for, but the lower mileage bike sure sounds tempting as well. Try some of the independent dealers out there that offer bikes online. I'm in Arizona and bought my bike online from a dealer in NH. I paid $2500 for the bike and $600 to have it shipped. For my $3100 expenditure I'm very pleased and have been enjoying the hell out of my Shadow. If curious, Google: National Powersports in Pembroke, NH. They offer everything from brand new to older bikes. Was a very positive experience. Regardless of your choice, I wish you the best on your eventual purchase. Kevin
 

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Or spend 300 on a one way air ticket and ride it home!

story time again: Was riding down to the Florida Keys, in 2014 I think, it was Halloween, Took I-95 for a ways south of Melbourne. There was a young man on an older BMW laying on a table at the rest stop. It was 49 degrees (IN FLORIDA!) and he had about 7 layers on. We got to talking and he says he's been riding for 2 weeks. It had plates from one of the New England states, I commented that was a long trip. He corrects me and says no, I mean I've been riding for 2 weeks, this is my 1st bike and I bought it 2 weeks ago. Ahh, to be young again...
 

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Hello, I have the opportunity to purchase either a 1986 Honda Shadow with apx. 20,000 miles or a 1997 Shadow 1100 with apx. 70,000 miles on it. Both are said to be in great condition.

This will be my first motorcycle as I look to transition from a Honda Ruckus. I’m looking for a comfortable ride into the mountains where I can quickly move across the highways. The 86’ is probably 750cc (although not specified in the listing) and my fear is that it may feel like I am moving too slow to be comfy in highway traffic. However the 86 is significantly cheaper and lower mileage, again both are said to be in great riding condition.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance.
If you are in the Southern USA...I'd go with the '86 750.
Why? Because Brewton, Alabama has Escambia Motorcycle Salvage & 12 of them on hand for parts.
You could probably buy a whole one from him, so you'd have everything you'd need.
Some of the parts you need are available on Amazon...specifically the carb boots,
brake rebuild kits, tires, carb rebuild kits, brake pads, AGM batteries, petcock, etc...
With a spare bike and the renewables on hand, it's a no-brainer.
The 500 is fast with 54-BHP...the 750 is more powerful than most 1100's, has a 6th gear,
and is easier to pick up when you tip it over or work on it.

Now, a short word about that 6th gear overdrive...OMG I LOVE IT!!
Pop it in around 60-65MPH and GOOOOOOOOOO!! lol
 
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