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2004 Honda Shadow Aero 750

Wednesday, May 26, 2004
2004 Honda Aero
2004 Honda Aero 750
While the displacement wars rage on in the heavy cruiser market, with the Big Four trying to outdo each other, and now Triumph is promoting piston envy, it's good to remember that there is still a lot going on in the middleweight category, which now is really considered entry level. In fact, despite Honda's recent 1300cc and 1800cc VTX launches in the V-Twin category, and their 1800cc, six cylinder GoldWing and Rune offerings, the largest sales segment for Honda street bikes has been in the 750cc lineup. But since many of their models had been showing their age, Honda has bagged the 750 A.C.E., the 750 Spirit, and even the 750 Nighthawk, and placed all their eggs in the new Shadow Aero 750's basket. I think they made a good choice.

The biggest news with the Aero is that Honda dropped the chain drive from the old 750's in favor of a quiet maintenance-free shaft drive. Now this 750 competes on a level playing field with the Suzuki Intruder and Volusia 800's, the Kawasaki Vulcan 750, and the Yamaha V-Star 650, which now may feel the pressure to bump up their displacement to the 750 range soon.

Just before I swung a leg over the new Aero, Dan Burdett, of Des Plaines Honda, in Des Plaines, Illinois, joked, "With this seat height, even your stubby legs should be able to reach the ground easily." He was right. I actually felt lanky as I settled into the comfortable saddle which sat only 25.9 inches above the pavement. This will be good news to all short legged riders, and inspire confidence for newbie riders who may never have been on any other bike beside the Honda Rebel 250 they rode in the MSF class. In fact, it's even a half inch lower than the Rebel's seat!

Pull the choke, press the starter, and the engine fires up easily. It quickly settles into a pleasant and muted rhythm. The powerplant is a 52-degree, liquid-cooled V-Twin, single overhead cam with two spark plugs and three valves per cylinder. It uses a single-pin crank so you get the familiar V-Twin beat, and a single 34mm constant-velocity Keihin carb to mix the fuel, and allow for easy adjustments. The sound from the large 2-into 1 exhaust is a bit throatier than previous models, and appropriate for the size of the engine and character of the bike.

The silky smooth clutch requires a light pull, for easy take-offs. Gear shifts are positive, and it's easy locating neutral. The space between the forward mounted footpegs and the shift lever was a bit tight for large boots, however. Acceleration is crisp, as you move up through the gear box, and there's sufficient torque from idle to near the top of the rev range. Throttle response is immediate, so passing and lane changes are easily accomplished. But you have to remember that since this is only a 750cc engine, you'll need to be in the proper gear to get the most out of the motors capability.

2004 Honda Aero
Once again Honda has created a gem of a motorcycle in the Aero. Despite only offering 745cc of displacement, the little water-cooled V-Twin has plenty of power to get you out of harms way.
As I was riding this Aero I reminded myself that my most recent test rides were on some of the largest cruisers, like the 1600 Mean Streak, the 1700 Road Star, and the 2000cc Vulcan. I laughed at the thought that I was riding a bike whose displacement was just three-quarters of the size of just ONE of the Vulcan's cylinders. But that certainly didn't spoil the riding experience of this Aero for me. In fact, I think it made me appreciate this middleweight even more. I may be one of the few motorcycle journalists who really appreciates and enjoys the benefits of smaller bikes, and doesn't look down on them as being minor league players in a world of major league superstars.

In fact, riding middleweights give you a more basic and elemental riding experience. With the big bikes, you shift into second at 15 or 20 miles per hour, and you can ride around in suburban traffic all day in second because there is enough torque and power to ride between 15 and 50 mph. On fast twisting roads, you can stay in 3rd gear, brake into a turn and power out of it without needing to shift. Even passing on the highway is easily accomplished without downshifting out of 5th gear. But on a smaller middleweight, you need to be in the right gear to get the most out of the bike. You need to have a feel for the bikes powerband and to make your maneuvers in the right gear, at the right time. You're more engaged in the ride. You feel more in control and in tune with the bike, and the feedback feels more immediate. The big bikes can make you lazy and complacent.

The Aero weighs only 519 lbs dry, which makes it easy to maneuver at low speeds, and it feels light and quick in the turns. The comfortably placed handlebars provide excellent leverage to lean the bike into a curve, and it tracks well and feels stable all the way through. The non-adjustable 41mm front fork has 4.6 inches of travel and overall is well tuned for the bike, while the rear end sports dual five-position preload adjustable shocks with 3.5 inches of travel. The limited rear travel becomes apparent over harsh bumps, sending more feedback into you spine than necessary, but overall the ride quality is good. The generous 64.5 inch wheelbase, and meaty rubber, helps the ride quality out on the open road, where the Aero is quite comfortable cruising at 75.

Braking chores are handled by a single 296mm disc up front with twin piston calipers, and a 180mm rear drum, a fairly common set-up for a bike in this price range. The brake lever is made for small hands, and requires a moderate pull. The brakes are adequate, but riders should learn to use both to achieve the best stopping power. That's another way that a midsize keeps you focused on your riding.

Ergonomically the Aero works well. The bars are very comfortably placed, the forwards footpegs don't require a stretch, the seat is comfortable and the pillion pad is thick if not too wide. The mirrors are rock steady and provide a good view of the road behind you, and the tank top speedometer is easy to see and even has an LCD odometer and dual tripmeters.

2004 Honda Aero
The Shadow Aero is all-new for 2004. It fits finely in the void left by the A.C.E. and Spirit 750s as an excellent affordable entry-level cruiser.
Styling-wise, the Shadow Aero has that long, low, slammed look. The 98 inch tip to tail measurement is made to look even longer because of the sweptback trailing edges of the full fenders, a la the VTX Retro fenders. There is plenty of brightwork, though much of it plastic. The rear shocks have handsome chrome covers, as well as the upper front fork tubes. The wheels are chromed spokes, and add to the classic cruiser look. The radiator is well hidden between the frame tubes, and the fit and finish is clean and first rate.

The new Aero 750 is an excellent and versatile motorcycle. It is perfect for new riders, or riders just coming back to the sport after a long absence because neither its size nor power is intimidating. But it's also an excellent choice for anybody who wants a solid, low maintenance, capable, fun to ride motorcycle that's as easy on the wallet as it is on the eyes. The Aero starts at $6,199, and a two-tone paint job will sell for $6,499. And Honda already has a sizeable accessory catalogue with saddlebags, sissy bars, luggage racks, and enough chrome pieces to tart it up to your hearts content.

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2004 Shadow Aero 750 Highs & Lows
  • Good looks
  • Excellent ride quality
  • Comfortable ergonomics
  • Budget braking components
  • No self-canceling turn signals
  • No tachometer

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Rodney -2009 aero  December 18, 2010 11:34 PM
bought it new from dealership back in june i've added windshield floorboards,multibar,trunk,saddlebags and 6000 miles. I can't say anything negative about it.it handles real well and a joy to ride.my first bike was a honda cb175 35 years ago so i got a lotta catching up to do.
Casey Holthaus -White Walls  October 26, 2010 02:33 PM
Hey guys I need some help. I new to the motorcycle world and purchased a 2007 Honda Shadow VT750DC and am looking to turn it into a bobber but cant find whitewalls for the bike any help?
Front- 110/80-19 can go to 120 wide
Rear- 160/80/15 can go 150 wide

Thanks in advance
tone -750 aero  October 24, 2010 07:41 PM
great bike 2004 areo red with brown leather bags bought brand new. put on brown leather seat and powder coat gold. I go to show shines and won a trophy at my first show shine. but I'd rather go riding. very reliable bike I got 89000km. I only had to change starter switch so far.
Jackie Gordon -My headlight on my 2006 shadow aero keeps burning out?  September 26, 2010 04:08 PM
This is the 3rd light I have changed, just wondering is it a short or just buying cheap bulbs?? arghhhh
frank -09 aero  September 22, 2010 12:46 AM
i just got my aero a month ago i have a 1000 mils on it i love it i put stage 2 kit in the carb and cobar dragster pips on it and a sissy bar for the wife going to put about 13 pice of crome on it over the winter and thats it the bick has grat sond with the pips i hared pips on a lot of harley and mine sond beter then them im a big man and mine pulls me arond like im a small guy grat bike and i love it.....
dcarr62 -Considering Purchase  June 13, 2010 05:58 AM
I'm looking at 2004 Shadow Aero 750 as a first bike after 30 years away. I rode dirtbikes as a teenager but never been on the road...taking the MSF in a couple of weeks. This seems like a good first bike choice.
Jordan -09 Aero  June 1, 2010 06:32 AM
I bought an 84 Honda GL500i Silverwing a couple of years ago to learn on -- paid $200 bucks for it and canibalized another SW for some factory parts that were in great shape. Was a great bike to learn on :) Just went out yesterday and bought an 09 Aero w/ 0 miles off the showroom floor. I can't even begin to describe how enjoyable the thing is to ride. It's also nice to see so many excellent reviews of this investment!
juan mora -boilre technician operator  May 13, 2010 11:54 AM
I have a 2004 honda shadow aero 750 that poblem It has the gas is not going to the carbuator there a way yuo cant give me a tip
j -love honda areo  April 22, 2010 02:11 PM
I bought a new areo 2009, love it have ridden big harleys,small hondas, kawa's I"m 6!3" love it, i have a fairing and sissy bars.makes all the difference. get 53 to 58 mi to gal.
was going to buy a harley but they would not deal with me, like they dont give a s hit about the sale, went Honda, they even delivered the back on a trailor 35 milesto where i live. free. great
Harry -aero  March 19, 2010 02:35 PM
I to took a ride on a new sportster it was the same as my old A.M.F. that I had back in 1985 a vibrater, I traded it even up for a 1973 CB750 I rode it for 15 years, just bought a 2009 aero with 5 miles on it after not riding for 10 yrs, what a dream bike nothing beats a Honda and this is the best one yet.I also had a Motorcycle junk yard in Avis Penna. and have had a lot bikes come in as junk the least amount were Hondas.
Rubin -04 750 Shadow  January 5, 2010 12:24 PM
this is a great looking bike, good handling and affordable!! the down sides in my opinion are, having to remove the seat to get at the battery, another gear should be designed to just upgrade the existing transmission !!! turn signal should make sound as a reminder to the rider, (this should be an accessory for easy retrofit)
gene -2004 aero 750  December 18, 2009 08:33 AM
On 7/4/09 we had 45,200 miles on our aero.Now it is 12/18/09 and we have 52,000 miles on it we have riden doubles from Cinn OH to Keywest Fl and back, we have also went from Cinn OH to Toledo OH took Rt. 6 to Cleveland and to Cinn. with two people on the bike we ran 80 miles a hour and the bike had no problems on any of our trips. We also left Cinn Oh and rode to North Carolina through Deals Gapp and back to Cinn OH.The bike runs at 15 Degress with no problem but when the temp drops below 14 you can not turn off the bike because the oil censour will not let the bike run.Since we have owned the bike the only thing that has even gone wrong with it is the tail light has went out.As for the Harley 883 sportster riding doubles the saddel is uncomftable and it over heats in traffic and the vibration on the back is bad.
pwp -white walls  November 25, 2009 03:57 AM
I have a 2008 Aero - I but dunlop white walls on - they are slightly larger but no problem. Look on the 750 Aero forum, lots of us have them.
Leroy -2004 750 Aero  October 30, 2009 10:35 AM
I bought mine about 13 months ago and love it. It had 5,000 miles on it. I have put 5,500 on it with no trouble. But will be needing tires soon. LOVE THE BIKE
Greg A. -2008 areo  September 27, 2009 06:21 AM
This is my 21st bike since I've been riding and I like it better then any of the resy. I have owned 3 goldwings and Kaw 1500 and the Shadow outdoes them all.Thank you Honda for this bike.
BRUCE BENSON -NO WHITEWALLS FOR MY 2009 HONDA SHADOW 750  September 24, 2009 02:18 PM
Bob -white wall tires  August 8, 2009 10:32 AM
My local Honda dealer tells me there are no white wall tires out there to fit my 2008 Aero that meets factory recommendations....anyone know? My email Id is rghman@yahoo.com....thanks
David -Honda Shadow Aero VT750  July 31, 2009 10:35 AM
Just bought the bike, it's about 5 years old, only had 3600 miles and runs really great! I traded in an old Honda Nighthawk 650, that had served it's time as my first street bike, owned it since '87. The Vtwin feels solid, sounds great, and has plenty of low end torque to get ya thru whatever you need to get thru! I agree with one of the posters here, the bike could use a 6th gear, cruisin at 80, it is reving pretty good! Also, miss my tachometer, but I think most bikes today have done away with the tach! I also love getting away from the chain drive in favor of the drive shaft! Runs much cooler with the water cooling than my air cooled nighthawk. Overall a great bike for the $$ I gave $3700 for the bike and my non running old trade in, so did ok.

Gene -aero July 4, 2008 6:09p.m.  July 4, 2009 03:12 PM
Bought my aero in 2004 since then I have put 45,200 miles on it.And have not had any major problems with the the bike.And going strong ride it to work every day. Is there anyone out there that knows if there is another Honda Aero 2004 Shadow with more miles.Thanks please e-mail me at gene-lisa@hotmail.com
Jack -2005 Aero  June 16, 2009 04:58 PM
Bought my aero when it was two years old and still sitting on the showroom floor so I think I got a good deal. I have since added a small windshield and a Corbin seat. The seat is by far the best investment I have made for this bike. I love riding it and now my girlfriend never complains about the seat. If I had one complaint it would be the lack of a sixth gear. At highway speeds it just seems to rev too high for a v-twin.
Neal -Printing  June 12, 2009 03:55 PM
Hi, I tried to print the article but the words run right off the page, even when I choose printer frienly option. What's up and how do I or you fix it?
tracy royalty -my 2004 honda shadow  June 10, 2009 08:57 AM
one of the best bike ever own an drove iv had it for about 3years an i plan on having it untill my time is up an then my son joseph will take it so thanks honda keep up the good work
Joe -2009 Aero 750  June 3, 2009 09:14 AM
I had a Shadow Spirit, thought hard about buying a 883. I test rode the Harley. The engine was harsh and rough, not silky smooth like my Spirit. It also was hot and the seat was not comfortable. I then test rode an Aero. Wow! Talk about a difference in refinement and quality! Needless to say, I love my '09 Aero 750. It looks fabulous in blue and silver two-tone!
BK -Aero  May 9, 2009 05:10 AM
Just bought the bike with 6500 miles on it. First time riding in 14 years and lovin it. Sold my last Shadow to buy a new one 14 years ago finally got my new one.
Alex -Aero  May 4, 2009 01:54 PM
I bought the bike used with a little over 13k on it. Love it! I ride with the Harley Guys all the time and I'm able to keep up with them no problem. My Ol lady loves it too. Just added a wind shield and that a big difference. See ya on the road.
charles Hill -2007 aero  May 1, 2009 12:13 PM
When I returned to the dealership where I bought my aero I told the salesman and parts man that I was averaging 65 miles per gallon on my bike they both rolled their eyes and looked at each other. They flat out didn't believe me. That's been over six months ago and now I'm still getting around 63 to 65 mpg. It has been over thirty years since I owned my last bike, a CB 750 four, I had to learn to ride all over again. This bike is perfect for me. It's not a touring bike and numbs my rear after a hundred miles or so. But I love it. I love the looks, the sound, and especially the compliments I continually get from complete strangers.
Ray & Sue -2005 Shadow Aero 750  April 16, 2009 09:55 PM
I own a '08 Goldwing and it's "THE BEST". I bought my wife the 750 Aero and she just LOVES it.Great looks, sound, ride,handling, etc,etc,etc,.I've ridden with every bike made. And I'm absolutly positive Honda makes the best bike out there for the money hands down.
jmanfredi -2005 Aero  April 4, 2009 05:33 PM
Went form a Zuki Savage LS650 to the Aero. The Aero is close to 200 pounds more but very smooth ride compared to my old 650 thumper. The 750 twin has enough power for an older guy like myself. I do not need burn the top off the asphalt. I’ll leave that to you younger guys. The seat height fits my 5’8” frame very nicely. I’m comfortable with either one or both feet down. Thanks Honda! Nice ride!
tmitasky -aero  March 28, 2009 01:41 PM
I started riding a Rebel 250 last year when the gas crunch began and bought my 2008 shadow aero in December. The aero made the transition easy. Easy to ride though more weight than I'm used to. Handles like a dream. I love it!
Charles -aero  March 25, 2009 07:14 PM
Got my wife an aero,awsome ride, we take it out double up when im to tired to hold up my kawi nomad. It does just as good a job carrying both of us, not as comfy but hey its not a nomad!but why not a 6th speed like the early 80's it would be perfect.As far as sportster comparison there is none, thats harly's dirt bike.
db -aero  March 10, 2009 05:16 PM
I love my Aero... the sportster has a bigger engine, but looks like crap. Every true Harley fan I know thinks the sportster should be discontinued. Besides, it's the only Harley that isn't worth purchasing.
alex -great bike  March 2, 2009 01:37 AM
well my girl bought the aero for me and i have had a blast. i get a lot of compliments, even from harley owners. its a great bike.thank you baby.
Chris -Shadow Aero headlight replacement  February 16, 2009 10:56 AM
Hi all, How can I replace the bulb only without having to buy the silly assembly that comes with it for way too much money LOL
David - 750 Aero tires  January 21, 2009 06:46 PM
Hi. A real nice bike. Where can I get wide whitewall tires for mine?
gene -aero  January 19, 2009 07:46 PM
dont no what this gilman guy is thanking.he needs to take a trip on both then repost a comment.the sportster gets to damn hot to ride and not at all confortable.got to love a true harly fan.lol sorry but there is no way i would thke the sportster over the aero.thanks
gilman -aero  December 20, 2008 07:32 AM
Nice but agin I wild spend the little exrta on a sportster
gilman -aero  December 18, 2008 06:50 PM
it's a great bike but lacks the power of the 883 sportster which is in the same class, Other than that it's a marvelous piece of machinery