The Ducati Indiana
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But what really set the Honda Shadow apart was its styling: an updated interpretation of the classic custom/chopper chic. If you remember that Harley-Davidson was only just emerging from the doldrums of its AMF years, it’s arguable as to who was setting the style trends at the time, though the Honda Shadow does echo some design cues from the 1980 FXB Sturgis. Honda’s contribution was to wrap that styling around a modern engine and chassis, setting a standard for the rest of the industry.
With the arrival of import tariffs on motorcycles over 700cc in 1984, the 749cc VT750C cruiser became the 694cc VT700C in the U.S. That didn’t change the basic plot, and the 1986-7 Shadow 700s have emerged as perhaps the best of the lot.
Stone-axe reliable and user-friendly with styling that hasn’t aged as bad as some, the Honda Shadow VT700C is a classic example of how to build a better bike, and a reminder that, ultimately, tariffs don’t work! MC
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