All Tests – First VT750S test: the Honda custom comes out of the shadows … – The VT750S comes out of the shadows

First VT750S test: Honda custom comes out of the shadows…

All Tests - First VT750S test: the Honda custom comes out of the shadows ... - The VT750S comes out of the shadows

Derived from the Shadow 750 Spirit, the new custom Honda VT750S plays the simple, fun and inexpensive Sportster card … An alternative to the mid-capacity roadsters seen and reviewed on our roads? Site participated in its launch. First test.

The VT750S comes out of the shadows

Absent from the last EICMA show in Milan (read our), Honda unveiled at the same time, but without rhinestones or glitter, or hostesses – ohhh … -, or marketo-soporifo-strategic speech – ahhh! – the Shadow RS, the last of its 2010 novelties (read).

Shadow RS, or rather "VT750S", since this is how the replacement for the Shadow 750 Spirit in France (read) is finally named. The new Honda therefore deliberately distances itself from the myth of the custom "Shadow" !

Never call me Shadow again

Indeed, the French team of the Japanese giant sees in this new VT750S more than a simple Sportster-type custom: according to Honda France, it is quite simply "an alternative to mid-capacity roadsters"which are currently flooding the French market.

And although those in charge of the winged brand are being particularly cautious when it comes to setting out their sales objectives – around 300 in the next 12 months, a score comparable to the current Shadow -, we can sense the hope of make a nice move … After all, who could have predicted the surge of Shadow and Rebel 125 that France experienced in the mid-90s? ?

The success – if there is success – of the VT750S will certainly be less thunderous than that of its grandmother who was intended for a clientele of motorists freshly authorized to escape on the handlebars of 125. But this does not prevent the new Honda has serious assets for a successful career…

First of all, the segment in which it operates is one of the few not to experience the crisis in France. The results of Harley-Davidson last year (especially read our and our) are there to show that customs have potential. It remains to be seen whether the VT750S will be able to find a place alongside the Iron or Roadster 883, or even Japanese or European roadsters….

The first shocking argument of the little Honda is its price: offered at € 6,590, the VT750S is undoubtedly the cheapest custom on the market! Even Suzuki and its Intruder M800 or Harley-Davidson with its Iron are almost € 2,000 more expensive.

"The VT750S is available now in its unique gray colourway, it does not have an option or ABS at the moment and the list of accessories is limited: this simplifies things for dealers and allows Honda to offer a interesting price", analysis for Site Sebastien Pernel, press relations manager at Honda France.

Unbeatable price, indestructible V-Twin

Too expensive, the Shadow 750 and Shadow Spirit did not appeal to French bikers: "In general, sales of custom among Japanese manufacturers have declined in recent years", continues our interlocutor. But with this price and the recognized reliability of Honda mechanics, the trend could well change !

Because the liquid-cooled 52 ° V-twin, single overhead camshaft and 3 valves per cylinder is "an old resident of the Honda team", already recognized the manufacturer in 2007 on the occasion of the release of the Shadow Spirit and the transition to Euro 3 standards of this same engine block.

Cubic at exactly 745 cc and supported by a 5-speed gearbox, the "long stroke" twin-cylinder of the VT750S is built to last: it develops "only" 43.75 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 62 Nm at 3,250 rpm. min (against 45.5 hp and 65 Nm for the late Spirit).

At the same time, the VT750S claims minimal fuel consumption. Just 4.1 l / 100 km according to Japanese tests (WMTC standards). And that’s fortunate, because the tank only holds 10.7 liters! For your information, our test models are placed on reserve at the end of the 160 km of our ride … carried out at a sustained pace !

Savings oblige, the VT750S is equipped with a drum brake at the rear and a final transmission by chain. Nevertheless, we note that some "vital" elements are present: cute commodos and chrome mirrors and a jar of matching brake fluid. The mirrors and taillight also shine, but their sizes are a bit excessive to make them look pretty – yes that’s subjective, so what. ?

The 19-inch front wheel gives this "VeTe" a Sportster look which should appeal to more bikers than customs with a 21-inch wheel. Likewise, the chassis limited to 123 mm and the footrests placed under biker knees bring the VT750S closer to the roadster family.

Admittedly, once seated in the saddle – posted only 737 mm high – the rider realizes very quickly that the Honda is not going to behave like a Z750. But this is not necessarily a fault! You sit on the VT750S like on an armchair, but you don’t lie down on it like on a sofa either. Compromise is attractive.

Easy and comfortable

In addition, small riders will be delighted to lift the motorcycle from its side stand with a simple movement of the hip. The extremely low center of gravity of the Honda halves the weight of the beast and only maneuvers with the engine off betray its 229.5 kg all full..

Once started, the mill lets out through its two pots – chrome, of course! – a rather flattering sound that can easily deceive passers-by: "Wesh, nice your Harley !"…

The grip of this new Honda is childish – deja vu ?! The clutch, very soft, easily helps the engine to start when starting. On the other hand, the pick-ups at very low speed are executed without touching the left lever, the injection being perfectly configured..

The direction is neutral as long as it does not steer fully. In this case, the front end engages and requires a little effort to straighten the wheel: the bikers will smile at this remark – it is much less pronounced than on a Saxon! -, but neophytes will be surprised at first.

Not very powerful, the twin of the VT easily takes the pilot to 140 km / h meter. Beyond that, the position becomes uncomfortable, except to wedge your buttocks at the bottom of the saddle and tilt your bust towards the tank. But that’s not the purpose of this bike.

It is on small roads that the little Honda likes to frolic, well helped in this by soft suspensions which absorb the vast majority of the hollows and bumps of the secondary network. On this point, the Honda also offers more pleasure than other "Sportster eight-eighty-a-few", or even some roadsters. !

The rides on the handlebars of the VT750S become naturally bucolic, and even romantic since the reception of the passenger is relatively good and the engine shows goodwill given its displacement and – especially – its announced power, even in duo.

What can get stuck

Very quickly, however, the VT750S showed its limits in terms of dynamic performance. No need, for example, to attack like a lunatic to make the footrests scrape in the bends: if the sparks can be charming in the photos, the feeling of cutting the asphalt is above all disconcerting for the uninitiated…

Similarly, unlike the bigger customs, the reminders on the last report – the 5th – are too timid. Like the "mid-size" 4-cylinder roadsters that it competes with, the small twin has a limited rev range and requires frequent transmission..

At first, the lack of tachometer results in some over-revs, but the switch is quite gentle: gear changes are done by ear! And on the feeling side, the acceleration is much wiser than on the small but nasty roadsters.

Braking is just as "considerate". Be careful, however, of the front wheel which can be blocked if the right lever is too hard … The Metzeler Marathon lives up to its name: it is a tire that is more enduring than sporty! As for the rear drum brake, it fulfills its function correctly.

Still like the 600 roadsters – or 675, 696, 750, etc. -, the VT750S ignores many "practical aspects". But unlike the XJ6 or Bandit for example, we cannot graft this Honda a vulgar top-case … although such a 17-liter leather accessory is part of the accessories !

Count € 359.50 for the top case (plus € 155 and € 213 for the chrome-plated luggage rack and its essential support). In the accessories department, we will also retain the windshield (€ 335), the sissibar (large or small, at € 130 or € 166.50) and leather saddlebags (€ 410.50 and € 182 for their support).

Originally, the VT750S offers virtually no storage space: you only open the saddle (via two screws) to admire the battery, while the right cover is squatted by the imposing fuel pump and only the left cover will accept a disk block … But opening it requires a screwdriver or a "sharp knife"…

On the other hand, despite its relatively short length and wheelbase (2,297 and 1,569 mm respectively, compared to 2,090 and 1,435 on the Hornet, for example), the VT750S is not the best mount for braving traffic jams. As for its steering angle, it is not quite sufficient to make U-turns or other maneuvers quickly..

In addition, arch massages at 120 km / h (much less sensitive at 90-100) will be more or less well supported depending on the rider and his character: very accommodating, a little too ticklish or quickly irritable. ?

Finally, for its first year on the market, the VT750S arrives in a very sober gray color – and not black as suggested by the first photos published last autumn. Even if, by the general admission of the journalists present at the launch, a matte black would have been more fashionable…

Has the Japanese manufacturer decided to test the waters with a first universal and classic model, before launching a VT750S "Black" version devoid of chrome? For a few euros, this hypothetical version would remain widely accessible financially, the "Bad Boy" stamp in addition … See you in 2011? Stay connected !

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