In 3 years and 57,000 miles I’ve beaten the absolute hell out of this motorcycle. It’s been dropped multiple times, rear-ended twice, and sideswiped. I’ve worn out 2 different sets of extended foot pegs with the 3rd pair having seen better days. For over the first year and a half of ownership my 2013 Honda Shadow Phantom 750 sat out in the rain and still provided over 57,000 miles of flawless service. Cranking at the press of a button every single time without even a hint of sputtering, hard starting or a drop of lost oil.
90% of its life was spent above 100mph on interstates spanning from Duval Street in Key West, Florida and the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina to Santa Anna, California and all states in between. Year in, year out my bike has endured everything any human being is capable of throwing at it and in return it provided me with countless miles of smiles. I can quite possibly say that my Phantom played an integral role in the woman who I have come to marry. When asked what was the first thing about me that caught her attention she said it was the picture she saw of me that I took at the end of the Tail of the Dragon. “You had such a sweet smile and you looked so adventurous,” she recalled.
Lord knows I’ve gotten an abundance of flack for not riding another Harley or buying some other larger bike. There were times where I had second thoughts but every time I look at the countless pictures and videos of my adventures I become re-emboldened in my decision. Ironically, for every snide comment I’ve received I only dug my heels in deeper as I rode further and longer than many of the guys who lick and polish on their big touring motorcycles and languish over the names they have given them.
I said all that to say this: The time has come to transform the Phantom into a bike that is more becoming of its namesake. There are so many different examples of Honda Shadow bobbers from mild cosmetic changes to a full ground up build but on thing is certain: I don’t want to chop the living daylights out of my bike until it gets to the point where it is unrecognizable. Nevertheless, I want to give it enough character that it would definitely stand out no matter where I ride, whether parked by itself or in a parking lot full of other motorcycles.
The first chance I got I deleted both the front and rear turn signals. All four indicators had suffered damage at some point in time from all the accidents or simply being dropped one too many times. Both the front and rear are placed by Honda in such a way that they are always going to be the first to be damaged if dropped even in the slightest. I decided to replace both the front and back with tiny LED lights placed where they would be out of the way and protected in case of another accident.
Mounting a 180-sized tire on the back not only provides more traction and stability for those cross country rides it’s also more appealing visually as it matches the contour of the rear fender better than a skinny little 160-sized tire. With the rear piggyback shocks providing an additional 3 inches of height and deleting the entire lower section of the fender there’s more than enough room for a larger tire. Once I get my bike out of the shop and get the opportunity to ride it I will determine if the next rear tire will be the same 180 or if I decide to move up to a full-sized 200mm tire.
Last but most importantly not least are the 14″ ape hangers. It literally took me several months to compare and contrast different styles of apes until I settled upon the right look for the bike. Not only was the height important but also the diameter of the tube. The longer the tube the more important the diameter in order to insure the strength of the bars. Before the ape hangers I had 3″ EZ risers attached to the factory drag style bars that came with the bike. they provided a slightly more comfortable riding position but there was too much flex, which made riding more of a chore than an enjoyment. Having learned my lesson I bought the shortest possible risers in order to maintain as much rigidness as possible.
The pièce de résistance–The motorcycle technician read my mind and came up with the brilliant idea of inserting the electrical wiring in matching braided cloth tubes. For those of you who don’t know I’ve had my eye on the plethora of ways guys had done their own ape hangers and cables. While functional the appearance of cables and wiring either being too long or too short and running every which way was in my humble opinion unnerving as you can see in the picture below. Though the picture taken above was taken before he was completed with putting the cables and wires together you can tell even at that point the bike had more of a professional look rather than wrapping the wires in electrical tape like many other guys did.
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