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MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2006 Honda Shadow Aero

Big bike look and feel without the big price

By Teri Conrad
5/1/2006


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If you're looking for the amenities and handling of a big bike without a big price tag, then you owe it to yourself to check out the 2006 Honda Shadow Aero. Its retro-styling, extremely low seat height and big-bike handling make this 750cc motorcycle appealing for a wide range of riders. I ride a Honda Shadow Spirit 750 and have always been pleased with its performance and reliability, but I was intrigued by the additional features and handling of the Aero.

Unlike other 750cc cruisers, the Aero has a big, beefy feel, yet is light, nimble, and incredibly easy to maneuver.
Unlike other 750cc cruisers, the Aero has a big, beefy feel, yet is light, nimble, and incredibly easy to maneuver.

With an incredibly low seat height of 25.9 inches, fuel capacity of 3.7 gallons, and a dry weight of 519.4 pounds, the Aero appeals to a variety of riders from beginner to expert. It's easy to maneuver, extremely responsive and very comfortable.

This model is shaft driven which is low-maintenance, as opposed to a chain-driven model which requires lubing at frequent intervals. If you plan to do a lot of riding a shaft drive is definitely something to consider on any model. The single 34mm constant-velocity carburetion system provides crisp throttle response every time you crank the throttle making it a breeze for cruising along scenic country roads with the wind blowing past you. Power is delivered over a wide rpm range and there's plenty of torque at the start and mid-range, great for when you're downshifting to accelerate. The Aero shifts smoothly requiring very little clutch lever effort from the rider.

Does the low seat height lend itself to some scraping of the pegs? Yes, on curvy roads, the pegs can touch the pavement with little effort, but there's a lot more cornering clearance that you'd expect with such a low bike.
Does the low seat height lend itself to some scraping of the pegs? Yes, on curvy roads, the pegs can touch the pavement with little effort, but there's a lot more cornering clearance that you'd expect with such a low bike.

Its sturdy 41mm front fork delivers confident handling and maneuverability. While executing a U-turn on a narrow two-lane road so I could circle back and take in the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean on our test ride, I found the Aero had a decent radius. I was able to whip the bike around pretty easily.

A dual-shock rear suspension offers a five-position spring preload adjustment option so you can adjust the shocks when you have additional weight, like when you're packing for those long weekend getaways. For braking, the Aero uses a single 296mm disc with twin-piston calipers in the front, and a 180mm drum in the rear. The 25.9-inch seat height was perfect for me at 5 feet 7 inches allowing me to firmly plant my feet on the ground when coming to a stop.

At 5-feet-7, Teri sits comfortably on the Aero. Inseamed-challenged riders, those much shorter than Teri, will find the low seat appealing.
At 5-feet-7, Teri sits comfortably on the Aero. Inseamed-challenged riders, those much shorter than Teri, will find the low seat appealing.

The Aero makes its footprint with a Bridgestone 120/90-17 tire in the front and 160/80-15 in the rear. Some appealing features of the Aero are the tank-mounted speedometer set in an attractive chrome instrument housing, and a striking classic-styled halogen headlight. Something I particularly liked about the Aero was the handlebar position. It had a low-and-wide feel, no uncomfortable stretch to the bars. They're placed right in front of you. Plus, there was little to no vibration thanks to the rubber-mounted cushioning.

We were told two helmets could fit on the small helmet lock next to the rear tire. Indeed, they did.
We were told two helmets could fit on the small helmet lock next to the rear tire. Indeed, they did.

Here's an added benefit to buying a new Aero or any new Honda. Each new motorcycle purchase includes a one-year complimentary membership for an individual in the Honda Riders Club of America (HRCA). This exclusive membership includes discounts, travel benefits, roadside assistance, a one-year subscription to Honda Red Rider Magazine, access to the HRCA Clubhouse Web site, as well as access online to Honda Common Service Manual. There are a number of available accessories to outfit the Aero to suit your riding style and tastes. Visit Powersports.Honda.com.    

Hard to believe this big-looking motorcycle is considered a middle-weight at 750cc. Don't let the displacement fool you. This bike has strong, solid power.
Hard to believe this big-looking motorcycle is considered a middle-weight at 750cc. Don't let the displacement fool you. This bike has strong, solid power.

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 745cc
Seat Height: 25.9 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons
Dry Weight: 519.4 pounds
Colors: Black, Candy Dark Red, Black/Candy Orange, Dark Brown/Black, and Metallic Silver/Pearl White
Price: $6,599 - $6,899

WRN Recommendation:
The Aero is suitable for confident beginners and expert riders alike. Plus, shorter riders will love it. It's that low to the ground and maneuverable. The retro-styling, and big-bike looks and performance will also appeal to advanced riders despite it being only 750cc. It glides easily in and out of turns, and the horsepower is there when you need it. The broad, low-slung scoop rider's seat and detachable thick-cushioned pillion for the passenger provide enough comfort for a full day of riding. If you're looking for the most bang for your buck in a cruiser model, then you won't be disappointed with this Aero.    

About the Author
Teri Conrad is a freelance writer and photographer based in Southern California. Some of her publishing credits include: Iron Horse, Ride Texas, Women Riders Now, Biker Ally, Friction Zone, Adventure Sports Outdoors, Portrait of Achievement, and Accelerate magazines. She can be reached at celebritywriter@cox.net.


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Reader Comments


After reading all of the positive reviews on the Aero, it's confirmed...this will be my next bike after I've mastered my skills on the Rebel. I will, however, have to modify the seat as it is too wide for my feet to comfortably touch the ground (I'm 5 feet 3 inches). The local dealership told me that I could either order a different seat or have an upholsterer shave the width down and/or slope the seat's sides to match the angle of my legs.

Jean Ohrmund
Clermont, FL
Saturday, April 27, 2013
OK, I'm a guy who is 5 feet 11 inches. I know this is a women's site but I have to say I have to get a Shadow Areo after reading all the great things you say about this bike. I haven't ridden bike in like 20 years and that was a Ninja 1000. I'm older now and don't need the speed, but my legs aren't what they used to be. I tried this bike; got on and off it with ease and it feels good to sit on, but I asked a guy walking by in the bike shop how I looked and he told me it was a girl's bike; that I need a bigger bike with more power. But I like this bike a lot. And after reading your comments I'm going tomorrow to buy it: a 2009 blue and grey. It's so pretty.

Joey
Fresno, CA
Saturday, March 09, 2013
Editor Response
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Joey. This is not just a women's website, but a site for all riders, just like yourself. Good luck with the new bike!
Genevieve Schmitt
We recently purchased a used '08 Aero for the spouse and she adores it. My first bike was an '04 Shadow 600VLX (a 4 speed bike), then I moved to a '98 750 ACE.

The amazing connection here is that we discovered that the Aero is a morphed combination of both lines. It has VLX's weight, rear tire and handle bars, long ACE forks with a nice rake and fork covers. Shaft drive reduces maintenance and grease all over the rear tire. Looks great, handles nicely and is the perfect first full size bike.

If I had started with an Aero instead of the VLX, we would still have it. If only it had the hydraulic lifters of the discontinued 1100 models (eliminating valve adjustments), it would be the perfect all around motorcycle. Some people knock it because of the chrome-plastic covers and plastic fenders but those are a big plus here on the Oregon Coast because of the salt air. Rust and aluminum corrosion issues are greatly reduced plus they help keep bike weight down.

Very nice bike, highly recommended.

David Godsey
Nehalem, OR
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
My husband has a 2006 Aero. He's 6-feet-1. It has power enough for him that he's keeping it. I got to ride it for the first time yesterday. I'm 5-feet-8 and the bike was comfortable and handled easy. I couldn't believe the get up and go. Wow! I have been hesitant to get rid of my Rebel 250 for something bigger, now I am on the hunt. Your article convinced me that this beautiful classic low slung bike is just what the lady ordered.

Pam Cheney
Apple Valley, CA
Thursday, May 13, 2010
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