Although the Rebel lineup gets most of the Honda cruiser attention these days, the 41-year-old Shadow V-twins are still around, and people continue to buy the latest iterations—the Phantom and the Aero. Both are powered by a liquid-cooled 745cc engine and are priced between the Rebel 500 and 1100. The Shadows had become something of a retro classic, sporting a vestigial drum brake in the rear and wire-spoke wheels. Both Shadows get updated for the coming model year, and we hopped on the better-selling model to find out how much different the 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom is.
- The ergonomics are the most substantial functional change for the 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom. There’s a new wider, flatter-bend handlebar and a more traditional handlebar mount, moving the grips up, forward, and out a tad. Additionally, the new solo seat is 0.2 inches shorter, which raises the grips relative to the seat. With the footpegs remaining in the forward-mounted location, the new Phantom has a slightly more aggressive, upright seating posture that doesn’t threaten its signature cruiser comfort—it’s just not quite as relaxed. Passenger accommodations—seat and pegs—can be added for $100.
- The new ergonomics present the rider as a more dominant personality—not a bad thing on a smaller-displacement cruiser. Fortunately, function is not sacrificed for style. It’s still a pleasure to ride the Phantom in the city and out in the twisties. Around town, you’ll be getting more positive attention, though you still need to curb your enthusiasm in the canyon, urban or rural, even with the new rear disc brake.
- The photos don’t do the 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom’s new styling justice. We can start with the fuel tank, which gets a beautiful new two-tone paint job that looks like it belongs on something that costs far more than $8399. We tested it with the brash Orange Metallic paint, and it is striking. The Deep Pearl Gray is for someone who wants to ride under the radar, while still looking classy. The other styling touches are greater than the sum of their parts. The newly blacked-out exhaust, bobbed rear fender and its extended supports, new front fender, fork boots replacing steel covers, redesigned air-cleaner cover, machining-highlighted cylinder and cylinder head fins, headlight nacelle, turn signals, and updated tank-mounted speedo amplify the new paint with subtle effectiveness. You really have to see it in person.
- The Phantom retains its credibility as an effective and economical urban motorcycle. Sure, it doesn’t have any sort of pavement-rippling power. While that can be disappointing when the stoplight turns green, it does make the Phantom incredibly easy to ride. There’s plenty of power to outrun all but the most aggressive four-wheelers, and that’s all you need for a functional urban cruiser. The laconic throttle response and soft low-end power will never intimidate a new rider, and that’s the idea. Rev up the slightly oversquare motor, and you can move about town with some authority. However, that’s a lot of work—just buy a bike with more displacement. Handling is effortless, thanks to the low seat height and light weight, with the fat Dunlop 401 tires helping the suspension manage poorly maintained city streets. The new, more upright seating position incrementally improves your view of the proceedings.
- The returning chassis shows its age in the canyons. If you’re looking for a sport-cruiser, this isn’t it. The 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom is great for casual rides through the twisties rather than dicing with wannabe sport riders. Riders with any cornering experience will be touching their bootheels down quickly at anything other than a sedate pace. Next to hit the pavement are the peg feelers—heed their warning. The billowy tires, soft suspension, and gentle throttle response collectively remind you to take it easy—smell the flowers and take in the scenery. If you’re moving up the Honda cruiser ladder, the Rebel 1100 will be a next step that will impress you.
- The Phantom holds its own on the freeway. With a firm twist of the throttle and some upshifting of the slick five-speed gearbox, you can find 80 mph or so fairly quickly. Keep in mind, though, that throttle response at high speeds is limited. As an urban freeway motorcycle, it’s quite good. Lane-splitting is easy, though the aging clutch could use an assist function. Certainly, many people commute to work on Phantoms, and the 2024 is as good as ever in that role.
- Braking power is limited, with most deceleration in the hands of the 296mm front disc and a modest Nissin four-piston caliper. Just as the motor is gentle with the rider, so are the brakes. It’s part of the forgiving philosophy of the Phantom. The bike knows plenty of less experienced riders will be on it, and it doesn’t make you pay for a mistake or any ham-fisted actions on the controls. The new rear disc brake is underwhelming, and a bit awkward to actuate. We rode a non-ABS version, and it’s not easy to feel like you need ABS (a $300 option) if you only ride in dry conditions—the brakes are naturally reluctant to skid the fat Dunlops. The sole practical advantage of the new rear disc is that the ABS now works on both wheels
- You’ll notice that electronic aids have not been mentioned, and that’s for a good reason—there aren’t any. Unless you consider electric starting and EFI electronic rider aids (okay, they are), you’re on your own on the 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom. You won’t find power modes, ABS (on the standard version tested), or controls (traction, cruise, wheelie, or launch). That all works to simplify things for a new rider and keep the price at $8399.
- Riders will come at the 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom from a few directions, and all will be fully satisfied. If you’re looking for stylish, inexpensive transportation with all sorts of flexibility, this is a good choice. New riders who want to safely learn the ropes will appreciate the forgiving nature of the Phantom, and feel cool while doing it. Older riders who are downsizing can stay in the game with a motorcycle that is capable, and its styling requires no apologies. Thanks to its versatility, reliability, and affordability, the 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom is the kind of bike that keeps motorcycling viable and fun.
- Helmet: Arai Contour-X Hayes Jolly Roger
- Jacket: Joe Rocket Sprint TT
- Body armor: Joe Rocket SW Comp KT LVL 2 E/S/K/B
- Gloves: Joe Rocket Cafe Racer
- Jeans: Joe Rocket Accelerator
- Boots: Joe Rocket Outbreak
2024 Honda Shadow Phantom Specs
- Type: 52-degree V-twin
- Displacement: 745cc liquid-cooled
- Bore x stroke: 79 x 76mm
- Compression ratio: 9.6:1
- Valvetrain: SOHC; 3vpc
- Fueling: EFI w/ 34mm throttle body
- Ignition: Two spark plugs per cylinder
- Transmission: 5-speed
- Clutch: Wet multiplate
- Final drive: Shaft
- Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 41mm fork; 5.5 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Spring-preload adjustable shocks; 3.6 inches
- Wheels: Wire spoke
- Tires: Dunlop D401
- Front tire: 120/90 x 17
- Rear tire: 160/80 x 15
- Front brake: 296mm disc w/ 2-piston Nissin caliper
- Rear brake: 276mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper
- ABS: Optional (+$300)
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 64.5 inches
- Rake: 34 degrees
- Trail: 6.3 inches
- Seat height: 25.6 inches
- Fuel capacity: 3.9 gallons
- Curb weight: 543 pounds (ABS: 553 pounds)
- Colors: Deep Pearl Gray; Orange Metallic
2024 Honda Shadow Phantom Price: $8399 MSRP
2024 Honda Shadow Phantom Review Photo Gallery