2011 Honda VT750C2A Shadow Phantom
The Honda Forty Eight… er… the 2011 Honda VT750C2A Shadow Phantom is an even more successful version of a classic post war bobber than the Harley Sportster Shadow Phant… er… Forty Eight. Both are overloaded with styling clues of the era, but at least Honda wins the prize for coming up with the most unique way to turn their metric V-twin into a convincing (albeit only visually) version of a 1948 Harley-Davidson 48-U 1200cc flathead.
The VT750C2A Shadow Phantom is all Harley all the way. Or almost all the way. If you just consider the side view of the tank, front half of the saddle and sidecover, you'll wonder if Honda bought out the parts bin Kawasaki had left over when they ceased production of the Eliminator. Still, it's a bobber, it's matte, it's black, and it's selling. In this economy, you can't argue with the bottom line.
The VT750C2A Shadow Phantom is more than a warmed over Shadow Aero spraypainted black and gray. Much of the basic Aero mold has been rejiggled, cut away and "bobbed", while the traditional raised flatsy bars provide a completely different seating position. The VT750C2A Shadow Phantom is also available in any color you want as long as it's black. The seat height is now reaching unprecedented "scrape your butt along the road" levels at 25.7 inches off the pavement even a bit lower than the already low Aero. Any lower and the exhaust tubes would be searing your inseam.
The rest of the Aero underpinnings of the VT750C2A Shadow Phantom are all traditional tried and true Honda. The liquid-cooled 52 degree V-twin three valve per cylinder SOHC 745 cc engine is still nearly square (imagine that in this fanatically oversquare day and age) with a bore and stroke of 79 mm x 76 mm. The front forks bear oversized FLH style shrouds. The front disc is a 296mm disc with twin-piston caliper and the rear is a… is a… drum? Does the VT750C2A Shadow Phantom have a drum in the rear? OMG… it does. Is Honda taking this retro thing a bit too far? What's next: A total loss lubrication system with a hand pump on the oil tank?
There is no doubt whatsoever that the 2011 Honda VT750C2A Shadow Phantom will sell well as it's a bad ass cool lookin' ride for under eight grand which is a full $2500 cheaper than the Harley 1200cc version of essentially the same thing. The VT750C2A Shadow Phantom has a lot to recommend, and given the Honda heritage for bulletproof engineering it might even be an overall better motorcycle than the Harley Forty Eight with the price and displacement difference taken into consideration. However, the Harley has a rear disc and the Honda has paradoxically reverted to a drum which really shouldn't have a place on a 2011 model 750cc street motorcycle.
2011 Honda VT750C2A Shadow Phantom At A Glance
Base MSRP: $7,999
Engine Displacement: 745 cc
Engine Type: liquid-cooled 52° V-twin
Bore & Stroke: 79 mm x 76 mm
Induction Type: PGM-FI
Ignition Type: CD
Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
Valve Train Type: SOHC; three valves per cylinder
Transmission Type: Wide-ratio five-speed
Final Drive Type: Shaft
Front Tire: 120/90-17
Rear Tire: 160/80-15
Wheelbase: 64.5 inches
Saddle Height: 25.7 inches
Curb Dry Weight: 549 pounds
Fuel Capacity (US): 3.9 gallons
* Specs/pix apply to 2010 model, updates as released