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I have a friend who is flying in from Norway to take an 11 day, 2500 mile motorcycle trip with me (I have 07 wing). He has made a deposit to rent an HD Sportster 883 with saddlebags and fairing. Initially, for the same rental price, I suggested a Honda Shadow 750 (with bags, fairing and luggage rack) indicating that it had a) bigger seat, b) shaft drive and c) luggage rack to tie down a duffle bag. His buddies in Norway talked him into the HD.

Not haven ridden either bike, I was basing my comments via the pictures of the bikes But the Shadow does have a much larger seat. And being this is his first M/C trip (he has obtained is Norwegian license) - I'm a little concerned that he can comfortably ride each day of the trip. At this time, he can still switch bike reservations.

So I'm looking for opinions from experts who have ridden these bikes. Should he rent the HD Sportster or Honda Shadow?
 

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I have had both in my stable and wouldn't ride either one of them that far if you gave the bike to me at the end of the trip. That said, I'd go with the Shadow. It will ride smoother and will not buzz as much at highway speeds.

The 883 is a real piece of....work.
 

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I have a friend who is flying in from Norway to take an 11 day, 2500 mile motorcycle trip with me (I have 07 wing). He has made a deposit to rent an HD Sportster 883 with saddlebags and fairing. Initially, for the same rental price, I suggested a Honda Shadow 750 (with bags, fairing and luggage rack) indicating that it had a) bigger seat, b) shaft drive and c) luggage rack to tie down a duffle bag. His buddies in Norway talked him into the HD.

Not haven ridden either bike, I was basing my comments via the pictures of the bikes But the Shadow does have a much larger seat. And being this is his first M/C trip (he has obtained is Norwegian license) - I'm a little concerned that he can comfortably ride each day of the trip. At this time, he can still switch bike reservations.

So I'm looking for opinions from experts who have ridden these bikes. Should he rent the HD Sportster or Honda Shadow?
I bought my first bike last Aug and was looking at the sporsters and the Heritage. I liked the size of the sporster but my SO informed me the Heritage was going to be alot more confortable to ride on long trips than the sporster would have been. After test riding both, I would say I have to agree with him. Dont know bout the Honda Shadow other than it looks cool!;)
 

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I have a friend who is flying in from Norway to take an 11 day, 2500 mile motorcycle trip with me (I have 07 wing). He has made a deposit to rent an HD Sportster 883 with saddlebags and fairing. Initially, for the same rental price, I suggested a Honda Shadow 750 (with bags, fairing and luggage rack) indicating that it had a) bigger seat, b) shaft drive and c) luggage rack to tie down a duffle bag. His buddies in Norway talked him into the HD.

Not haven ridden either bike, I was basing my comments via the pictures of the bikes But the Shadow does have a much larger seat. And being this is his first M/C trip (he has obtained is Norwegian license) - I'm a little concerned that he can comfortably ride each day of the trip. At this time, he can still switch bike reservations.

So I'm looking for opinions from experts who have ridden these bikes. Should he rent the HD Sportster or Honda Shadow?
If those were my ONLY choice, HD would be it.
 

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I have a friend who is flying in from Norway to take an 11 day, 2500 mile motorcycle trip with me (I have 07 wing). He has made a deposit to rent an HD Sportster 883 with saddlebags and fairing. Initially, for the same rental price, I suggested a Honda Shadow 750 (with bags, fairing and luggage rack) indicating that it had a) bigger seat, b) shaft drive and c) luggage rack to tie down a duffle bag. His buddies in Norway talked him into the HD.

Not haven ridden either bike, I was basing my comments via the pictures of the bikes But the Shadow does have a much larger seat. And being this is his first M/C trip (he has obtained is Norwegian license) - I'm a little concerned that he can comfortably ride each day of the trip. At this time, he can still switch bike reservations.

So I'm looking for opinions from experts who have ridden these bikes. Should he rent the HD Sportster or Honda Shadow?
I would vote for the Shadow 750, no doubt. However, the Sportster may be more fun to ride, but I'm thinking reliability of the Shadow would be much greater!
 

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I would get something a little bigger but if the choice is one of those two I would go with Shadow based on configuration but most importantly on center of gravity. A Sporty, to me...rides much higher up..taller seat height too. If your buddy is a highly accomplished rider, no big. But unfamiliar bike in unfamiliar territory..Shadow. Plus, more reliable. This of course is MHO and YMMV. :)
 

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Do not know much about the 750 Shadow.
But the 1100 is a great bike. Easy to handle and responsive. And fairly comfortable.

The 883. .........well...........ya know.........

Now the larger sportsters are nice but not that one.
 

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If it were me.....and was planning on putting on some miles, I'd opt for the honda, or a bigger HD. I have a friend that went from Cali to Missouri on a sporty, so it can be done......but it can be done on a more comfortable bike too.
 

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Neither would be my first choice but in the olden days my friend Mark rode his new 1969 Sporster across country and his friend rode his new Bonneville. The usual kind of story of those days, rewiring the Triumph in front of an auto parts store, getting jailed for vagrancy, trifling with some local town girls (leading to the jailing). I guess we've all gotten a lot softer since those days.
Todays Sportster is much more civilized, lots less vibration but they still have poor shocks and a poor seat as stock. I don't think the Shadow 750 is any better and last time I looked the 750 was a chain drive.
He can do it if he's a manly sort. Guys that ride big tour bikes tend to forget that the idea of riding is enough for a lot of people, especially if they don't have much to compare it against.
 

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My 1100 Shadow is as comfy as the wing 1 up except for wind protection. It is more comfy than the 1200 sportster I had for a bit. I have ridden the 750 also and it seemed pretty comfy too but a bit more buzzy.

I wonder if he wants an HD to feel the heartbeat of America. The Shadow just can't do that.
 

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No the 750 Shadow is in fact shaft drive and it's a nice bike for what it is. Cruiser has never been my style. My wife has a 2009 Shadow 750 and it works real great. I don't see going 2500 in 11 days to be any problem. Her nephew had a 883 sportster and I rode it once and it was OK too, but I'd wager the shadow is better in all regards.
 

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I wouldn't want to tour on either one of those. I would on a Shadow 1100 with and after market seat though.
 

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I had a Shadow before I purchased the Wing last year, rode it all over the place. I'd still have it if my SO wasn't taking trips with me. If it has the stock seat he might be in trouble, not much for long trips there. If it has a Mustang seat, it will be just fine.
 

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It may not fit your needs right now, but at Eagle Rider they have one-way specials to get bikes back to a location. For example, you can pick up an Electra Glide in San Fran on 8/23 and deliver it in Virginia Beach by 8/31 for $49 a day, unlimited miles. Other routes available.

http://www.eaglerider.com/hot-deals/onewayspecials.aspx

You could then do a regular rental from that destination to wherever you need to go to finish off your trip.
 

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Can't speak for the Harley, but I've owned 1100 Shadows off and on for many years. Based on that experience I'd go with the Honda. They've suited me well in terms of comfort, power, and reliability. Step up to the 1100 if you possibly can.
OB
 

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As long as he has a windshield, he'll have a ball on either one. Plus he can make you carry all the gear. :cool: Those Vikings are tough. Besides 2500 miles in 11 days is only a couple hundred a day average. Easy riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the replies.

I will be sending him a link to this thread - so he can take your comments into making a final decision.

The rental company is giving him a great rate for the bike. A larger HD would be approx. 2X the cost. So price wise - it is between these 2 bikes only.

I don't think the people in Norway have ridden the HD (BMW is big) - but because of the HD image - they are suggesting he rent the HD.

Comments like the Sportster sitting high are really valuable.

Thanks for opinions.
 

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I'm way out of date on the various HDs and Shadows, but I know that the softail full size HDs had a lower seat and center of gravity than the sportsters making them much easier to control, especially for new riders.

OTOH, checking the websites show that the current Iron 883 has a seat heigh of 26.9, the Softail Classic 27.1, The Shadow Aero 25.9. Dunno about the COG.

Depending on his size, physical condition and riding experience, any or none of the bikes may be "right" for him or any of them will do well for him.
 

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No the 750 Shadow is in fact shaft drive and it's a nice bike for what it is. Cruiser has never been my style. My wife has a 2009 Shadow 750 and it works real great. I don't see going 2500 in 11 days to be any problem. Her nephew had a 883 sportster and I rode it once and it was OK too, but I'd wager the shadow is better in all regards.
I just had to have a look at the Honda site because i would have sworn I had seen a 750 Shadow with a chain and it appears that they actually make the Shadow RS with chain and the other three versions with shaft, at least according to their specs. Why they would do that is something of a mystery to me since the price differences are very small.
I recall riding a 750 Shadow ACE at one point because I liked the styling very much but it didn't have much power and I knew there wouldn't be likely much one could do about it.
I've owned three Sportsters over time (counting my XR1200 which is sort of its own animal) so I'm pretty fond of them. Very elemental, almost primal kind of motorcycle reminding me of the likes of Then Came Bronson and a day before we became civilized.
'v
 
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