An Unconventional VLX 600
Let’s be real. In the past, if a person had casually mentioned that they were building a Honda Shadow chopper, I wouldn’t exactly know what to picture. I might have even tried to talk them out of it. To someone who isn’t very familiar, a Shadow just sounds like a complicated project compared to the popular, traditional models. However, if the true intention of building a custom chopper is to be different, then I suppose it’s somewhat appropriate.
A quick web search proved that this platform was more popular than I had known. So when I was first approached about the impressive 600cc Shadow that Dan Brown of Harmony, Pennsylvania built last year, I had to find out more.
After messing around with performance cars for many years, Dan developed a random interest in two wheels. He had never ridden a motorcycle before but found a reasonably priced 2005 Honda Shadow that he figured would be a good start. Dan was so new to motorcycles at the time, that he even had to have his friend come along during the purchase just to ride the bike home.
About five years later, the restlessness started to take hold, so Dan decided give his reliable Honda a facelift. With aid from his friend Matt Sylvester, they started with the hardtail. Matt helped mostly with welding and fabrication, providing assistance when he could. The fuel tank was originally from a Harley-Davidson Sportster, but they had to cut out and restructure the entire bottom of the tank to mount it on the frame’s dual backbone.
When it came to the wiring, Dan built an oil tank for the purpose of hiding the majority of the electronics and ran lines through the handlebars to clean it up. He decided to keep the front and rear turn signals to avoid being hassled. You would barely notice them anyway, with the front signals being the size of a penny and the rears built into the license plate.
The front brake was a bit tricky. After searching high and low, Dan ended up using a rear system from a 2009 Honda Gold Wing with a remote master cylinder mounted to the frame. The bracket positioning required some trial-and-error adjustments, but this setup allowed for the removal of the bulky stock handlebar controls.
Zombie Performance constructed the handlebars specifically to fit this build. Custom Mooneyes wheel covers were used to dress up the OEM spoked rear wheel. Other parts and pieces were acquired from TJ Brutal Customs in California, a great source for anyone looking to mess around with their own Honda Shadow.
In the end, the same bike that Dan learned how to ride on eventually became a fun project with promising results. Let this be inspiration to anyone on the fence about giving their old bike a whole new custom look. Cruising around Pennsylvania’s pothole-filled roads on a hardtail isn’t for everyone, but Dan’s chopper hasn’t given him any problems. When it comes to modified machines, what more could you ask for?