For 2010, Honda has added yet another midsize bike to their 750 line up, the 750 RS. Unlike the other bikes in the 750 segment, the RS is not a straight up cruiser, but, in my opinion, a cross between a cruiser and a standard…much like Harley’s Sportster. In fact, many people will undoubtedly mistake the RS for a Sportster as its’ styling is quite similar.
Honda said the RS is geared toward the rider who wants a sporty handling nimble cruiser. In fact, with a wheelbase of 61.5” and a 32 degree rake, the RS wheel to wheel figure is 5” shorter than either the 750 Aero or the Spirit 750. The pegs on the RS are set higher as well. The seat height is 29.4”. While that might seem a bit much since most midsize cruisers are between 24.5” and 27.5” off the ground, the RS is narrow so even shorter riders won’t have a problem flat footing this bike. In addition, with its 2.8 gallon tank full of fuel, the RS comes in at only 500 lbs. That’s a good 50 to 150 lbs. lighter than its competitive models and those figures add up to a very sporty handling motorcycle—Honda obviously accomplished its goal.
There’s nothing high tech going on with the RS’s suspension that make it handle so well. Up front, there’s a 41 mm fork with 4.6” of travel. Out back, dual shocks with 3.5” of travel do the trick. The fact is, high tech isn’t needed with only 500 lbs. of motorcycle to haul around and since Honda didn’t slam this bike as low to the ground as possible, excellent lean angles and lots of fun on a winding road are just a handlebar push away.
The Shadow RS has a 745 cc liquid cooled 52 degree V-twin. This motor is a SOHC 3 valve per cylinder unit and is fuel injected. It is also a single pin crank and is rubber mounted to quell vibrations. Chain drive is used to transfer power to the rear wheel via a smooth shifting 5-speed transmission. Brakes consist of a single 296 mm disc with twin piston calipers up front and a rear drum brake. Both are easy to modulate and stop the RS in short order. The cable operated clutch has a wide progressive action and an easy pull. Shifter action is also very smooth. The upright riding position and the wide handlebars with just the correct amount of pullback guarantee all day riding comfort. The rather large speedometer with white numericals is mounted on the risers and is easily read without taking your eyes off the road. You can toggle through the odometer trip odometer and a clock. The usual warning lights are easily seen as well.
Honda did a good job with the simplistic styling of the RS. Obviously, the stylists were harking back to a simpler time and place in history. Everything you need is right there and there’s nothing there that you don’t need. The motor is blacked out and contrasts nicely with the chrome air filter cover and cylinder heads and two into two shotgun exhaust. The bike comes with classic wire wheels and 100/90-19 tire up front and a 150/80-16 out back.
Upon hitting the starter on the RS, I was pleasantly surprised with the throaty sound of the exhaust. As I let the clutch out and twisted the throttle, I was again surprised with the effortless way the 750 motor had me hustling down the road. The first three gears offer plenty of pull to leave most any cager well behind at the stop lights. Once into the wider spaced 4th and 5th gears and up to highway speeds, the RS settles down to a nice smooth cruise. Every bike has its sweet spot and this one seemed to find 68 mph to 70 mph its ideal sweet spot. By that I mean you can accelerate quickly without a downshift to pass slower traffic yet not be searching for a higher gear. You can get up to 80 mph before any kind of vibration becomes noticeable.
The rider seat is quite comfortable and believe it or not, the speedometer does a good job of blocking the wind at highway speeds so I really didn’t wish for a windshield though I was wearing a ¾ helmet with a face shield, that’s all I really needed. Off the interstate and through the stop and go traffic, the 750 was a real pleasure to maneuver in and around slower traffic. Its light weight and short wheelbase is just the thing for that type of riding.
On your favorite winding road, the RS really shines. I was able to achieve some serious lean angles before touching the pegs down. You’ll easily leave bigger, heavier machines in your wake with this bike. Overall, with its great handling, smooth motor and compliant suspension and more than adequate power, I couldn’t find a single fault with the new Shadow 750 RS. Honda has a real winner on its hands.
The RS is available in Pearl White or Metallic Gray for the measly sum of $7,799.00. For a closer look, drop by Motorsports of Tampa at 13521 N. Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL 33613, 1-800-837-2453. Ask for Chris Stoll and tell him Motorman sent ya!
Copyright 2010 Jerry Motorman Palladino