Honda and Kawasaki are two prominent Japanese motorcycle manufacturers that focus on making adaptive motorcycles. Only a few models, including the Honda Shadow and Kawasaki Vulcan series, have been developed as entry- and mid-level custom cruisers.
The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom and Honda Shadow Phantom 750 are lightweight custom cruisers with minimal flair. Both motorcycles are suitable for beginners due to their modest power and light. However, since it is an intermediate-level bike with a 903cc engine, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom is slightly heavier than the Honda Shadow Phantom 750. The Honda Shadow Phantom 750 and Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom are great choices if you’re a beginner looking for an economical custom cruiser that’s around $10,000, handles well, and has a low failure rate. This article compares the 2023 Honda Shadow Phantom 750 vs 2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom in great detail.
2023 Honda Shadow Phantom 750 vs 2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom – Features Comparison
A modest, vintage, small bobber-style cruiser with a low-slung seat is the Honda Shadow Phantom 750. It has a long wheelbase, low ground clearance, and a bent front fork. Apart from the chrome short dual exhaust pipes, the Honda Shadow Phantom 750 frame features a matte black finish. It has a bobber-style front and rear fender that is hacked and equipped with bullet-shaped turn signals. A matte black nacelle houses a small circular headlamp. Flat, semi-swept back handlebars with standard risers are affixed with rectangular chrome side mirrors. Gauges are set at 3.7 gal. The petrol tank is shaped like a tiny peanut. The liquid-cooled Honda Shadow Phantom 750 features a blacked-out engine, a teardrop-style air filter cover, and a radiator in front of the engine. It has wire-spoke wheels and large Dunlop tires to enhance the traditional bobber image. Because of the Honda Shadow Phantom 750’s single-piece gunfighter-style saddle can also be used for two-up riding.
The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom and the Honda Shadow Phantom 750 are strikingly similar. However, it is a more fashionable, powerful, and substantial motorcycle. It also features a small round headlamp, gunfighter-style single-piece saddle, bobber-style front fenders, and a chopped rear fender with traditional taillights. Only the Flat Ebony Dual Tone color scheme and the Pearl Matte Sage Green color scheme are offered for the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom. It features a matte black separate dual slash kit muffler, broad drag handlebars with standard risers, and spatula-shaped chrome side mirrors for a distinctive look.
With its slightly raked-out front end, the thin front tire surrounding the nine-spoke large front wheel with pinstripes, and fat rear tire for better linear performance, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 resembles a custom chopper. For a better cruising experience, the instruments are fitted in a 5.3 gal—teardrop-shaped petrol tank.
Engine and Performance
The Honda Shadow Phantom 750 is a low-powered, beginner-friendly motorcycle powered by a 745 cc liquid-cooled, 52° V-Twin, four-stroke engine that produces 44.6 hp at 5,500 rpm and 64.94 Nm of torque at 500 rpm. Although RPM is a beginner bike, its low seat height, low center of gravity, programmed fuel injection (PGM-FI), and dependability have made it famous. Over a wide range of rpm, the 745cc 52° V-Twin engine delivers a steady power output. The engine’s crankshaft has a more extended stroke design for better low-end torque. The programmed fuel injection system guarantees a good throttle response and low fuel consumption of 56 mpg.
The Honda Shadow Phantom 750 features a responsive 41 mm front fork, a billet aluminum triple clamp, and matte black shrouds for balanced handling. Dual rear shock absorbers with spring preload adjustment make for a comfortable ride. The dual rear shocks have 3.5 inches of wheel travel, compared to 4.6 inches for the front forks.
The 249 kg Honda Shadow Phantom 750 has a 296 mm single front disc brake and a 180 mm rear drum brake.
The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom is a basic motorcycle powered by a 903 cc liquid and air-cooled, 55° V-twin, four-stroke engine that produces 50 hp at 5,700 rpm and 78.9 Nm of torque at 3,500 rpm. The parallel slash-cut mufflers have a rumble, and the engine delivers seamless power delivery at all gear ratios with good low-end torque. Despite being a medium cruiser, it is easy to maneuver and has smooth handling. Handling is facilitated by the large front wheel, narrow front tire, low center of gravity, and light front end.
The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom is a quick mid-size cruiser with ample torque distribution, perfect for daily commutes, highway cruising, and city driving. Especially without ABS, the 300mm single front hydraulic disc and 270mm single rear hydraulic disc brakes are underpowered. However, as this is a lightweight cruiser, weighing just 277kg when wet, the hydraulic disc brakes provide reliable braking.
A seven-way Uni-Trak® swingarm with spring preload adjustment and a 41mm Showa front fork are standard on the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom. Wheel travel on the Uni-Trak® swingarm is 4.1 inches, compared to 5.8 inches on the Showa front fork.
Comfort and Ergonomics
A lightweight, beginner-friendly cruiser with flat, low-swept back handlebars is the Honda Shadow Phantom 750. The front foot controls give taller riders plenty of room to move their legs as needed. Despite having handlebars that recede less, the Honda Shadow Phantom 750 nonetheless offers a stable and comfortable riding position. It is the perfect daily commuter due to its lightweight construction and simple handling.
Due to its low seat height, lightweight, low center of gravity, and neutral handling, the Honda Shadow Phantom 750 is a flexible motorcycle suitable for cruising on wide roads and passing through traffic. The windscreen, saddle bag, and backrest are some aftermarket components that make this motorcycle a perfect long-distance commuter.
Comfort and Ergonomics
The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom is a reliable, reasonably priced, and elegant mid-size cruiser with a low seat height, low center of gravity, and light handling. This motorcycle handles well in traffic and while traveling on motorways. In addition, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom features medium-drag handlebars with traditional risers and forward-mounted foot controls that provide ample legroom and an upright back for comfortable long-distance rides. For more comfortable ergonomics, the single-piece saddle offers the rider lumbar support. The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom is a mid-size but light and agile cruiser for daily commutes and interstate travel. Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT is the name of the touring variant of the Kawasaki Vulcan 900. This model has a large windshield, leather saddlebags, and a passenger backrest. The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom can be converted into a tourer by adding a windscreen, saddlebags, and backrest.
2023 Honda Shadow Phantom 750 vs 2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom – Specification Comparison
|Specs \ Bikes||2023 Honda Shadow Phantom 750||2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900|
Engine and Performance
|Displacement||745 cc / 45.46 cu in||903 cc / 55.10 cu in|
|Engine Design and Type||52° V-Twin, Four-Stroke Engine||55° V-twin, Four-Stroke Engine|
|Cooling System||Liquid-Cooled||Liquid- and Air-Cooled|
|No. of Cylinders||Two||Two|
|Valves Per Cylinder||Three||Four|
|Horsepower||44.6 hp @ 5,500 rpm||50 hp @ 5,700 rpm|
|Torque||64.94 Nm @ 3,500 rpm||78.9 Nm @ 3,500 rpm|
|Stroke||76 mm / 3 in||74.2 mm / 2.92 in|
|Bore||79 mm / 3.11 in||88 mm / 3.47 in|
|Fuel Injection System||Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI); 34 mm Throttle Body||DFI 34 mm Throttle Bodies (2), with Sub-Throttle Valves|
|Transmission||Wide-Ratio, Five-Speed||Five-Speed with Positive Neutral Finder|
|Final Drive||Shaft||Kevlar-Reinforced Belt|
|Clutch||Wet, Multiplate||Wet, Multi-Disc|
|Fuel Economy||56 mpg||N/A|
|Muffler||Chrome, Separate Dual Mufflers||Blacked-out, Separate Parallel Slash Cut Mufflers|
|Exhaust||Two-Into-Two Exhaust||Two-Into-Two Exhaust|
|Frame||Steel||Semi-Double Cradle, High-Tensile Steel|
|Gauges||Fuel Tank-Mounted||Fuel Tank-Mounted|
|Wheels||Steel Spoked-Wheels with Black Rims||Split, Nine-Spoke Steel Wheels|
|Tires||Front: Dunlop® 120/90 R17 64S
Rear: Dunlop® 160/80 R15 74S
|Front||Single 296 mm Disc with Twin-Piston Caliper||300 mm Single Hydraulic Disc|
|Rear||180 mm Drum||270 mm Single Hydraulic Disc|
|Front||41 mm Front Fork||41 mm Showa Telescopic Fork|
|Rear||Dual Shocks with Five-Position Spring-Preload Adjustability||Uni-Trak® Swingarm, Seven-Way Adjustable Spring Preload|
|Front Wheel Travel||116.84 mm / 4.6 in||149.86 mm / 5.9 in|
|Rear Wheel Travel||88.9 mm / 3.5 in||104.14 mm / 4.1 in|
Dimensions and Weight
|Trail||160 mm / 6.3 in||182.88 mm / 7.2 in|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||3.7 gal||5.3 gal|
|Ground Clearance||129.5 mm / 5.1 in||
139.7 mm / 5.5 in
|Width||825.5 mm / 32.5 in||894 mm / 35.2 in|
|Height||1089.7 mm / 42.9 in||1120.14 mm / 44.1 in|
|Length||2395.22 mm / 94.3 in||2405.38 mm / 94.7 in|
|Seat Height||655.32 mm / 25.8 in||685.8 mm / 27 in|
|Wheelbase||1640.8 mm / 64.6 in||1645.92 mm / 64.8 in|
|Wet Weight||549 lbs / 249 kg||610.8 lbs / 277 kg|
Which is Better: the Honda Shadow Phantom 750 or the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom?
The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom and the Honda Shadow Phantom 750 are low-powered cruisers with bobber-inspired styling and simple construction ideal for easy handling. Both motorcycles suit beginner riders due to their modest power, lightweight, and easy handling. On the other hand, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom sports a slightly larger engine, better throttle response, and suspension with more wheel travel. It boasts a more prominent front wheel and a lighter, raked-out front end for better handling. The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 is a beginner-friendly bike, yet it has enough power to give intermediate riders a thrilling and fast ride. Its matte black finish, two-tone paint scheme, hidden uni-track rear mono-shock, split nine-spoke wheels, and fat rear tire make it more aesthetically pleasing than the Honda Shadow Phantom 750. The Honda Shadow Phantom 750 is a perfect bike for beginners due to its compact size, powerful engine, and gradual acceleration.