The History of Honda Shadow Phantom
Since its introduction more than a decade ago, Honda Shadow Phantom has become a classic and popular cruiser motorcycle loved by many. It has a unique history that includes many changes and updates since its debut in 2010 as part of the Shadow series.
The Shadow series has been in production since 1983. The Phantom is one of the latest additions to Honda's cruiser-type motorcycle line, quickly gaining popularity among motorcycle enthusiasts looking for a stylish, affordable cruiser.
The first generation Shadow Phantom was powered by a 745cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine that produced 44 horsepower and 47 lb-ft of torque. It featured a five-speed transmission, final chain drive, and a low seat height, making it easy to handle for riders of all skill levels. It was a classic and minimalist bike with a sleek tank and minimalist fenders, with a blacked-out color scheme which only added to its overall appeal.
However, it has undergone a number of updates and changes over the years that kept the Honda Shadow Phantom up-to-date with the evolving needs of modern riders. In 2012, Honda introduced the second generation of the Shadow Phantom, which featured new aesthetic styling and updated components.
The bike's fuel tank capacity was increased to 3.7 gallons, and the suspension was updated to a single-shock design. Two years later, Honda added a fuel injection system to the Shadow Phantom, which made the bike more efficient and reliable.
The third generation of the Shadow Phantom launched in 2016 with a number of new updates and features, such as a cartridge fork suspension and emulsion-type rear shock absorber. Of course, just like many others, Phantom also received new LED taillights and turn signals, significantly improving its riders' visibility and safety.
But its evolution didn't stop there. In 2018, Honda gave the Phantom a new, lighter frame design, reducing the overall weight and improving handling. In addition, Honda updated the transmission to a six-speed design, improving acceleration and fuel efficiency—any changes made to the fuel tank were purely aesthetic, which gave the Phantom a more aggressive look.
The most recent model, released in 2021, features the same classic styling and blacked-out color scheme that we all came to know and love. However, it also came with a whole slew of new features and upgrades. For example, the engine has been updated to comply with Euro5 emission standards, and the suspension has been updated with a new and more responsive design.
Of course, the Phantom was also given a new, modern LCD instrument panel that provides riders with all the information they need while on the road. With that said, one thing hasn't changed in the last 13 years: the wheel size. Honda Shadow Phantom has a front wheel size of 120/90-17 and a rear wheel size of 160/80-15, and the stock wheel size hasn't changed since the bike was introduced to the market.
The Best Tires for Honda Shadow Phantom
A good set of tires should offer more than just their primary purpose—they should enhance the performance of your motorcycle and handle the power it delivers. Here are some of the best tires for your Honda Shadow Phantom:
Michelin Commander II
Michelin Commander II is a popular choice among riders as they're durable and incredibly stable. This tubeless tire is designed with advanced features that make it stand out from the competition, such as Metzeler ME880 and Dunlop D407/408 while delivering a stable and smooth ride in a variety of conditions.
One of the key features is the Amplified Density Technology, which enhances the tire's stability and reduces distortions. The technology works by using a more rigid casing that helps reduce the amount of heat generated by the tire. In turn, this reduces any potential damage that might occur due to heat generation, thus improving the tire's performance and increasing its longevity.
Another feature is the use of aramid tread plies which provide increased strength and durability of the tire—these are known for their strength and puncture resistance, making them an excellent choice for a motorcycle tire. Though it's highly unlikely that you'll ride your Shadow Phantom through any rough or unpredictable terrain, the reduced risk of tire failure due to cuts and punctures will provide you with peace of mind when riding on poorly maintained surfaces.
The improved rubber compound offers good grip and handling on both wet and dry surfaces. In addition, the Commander II tread pattern is designed to provide better traction and stability in various conditions, making it a universal tire, not just for the Honda Shadow Phantom but a wide range of motorcycles, as well.
The compound helps ensure that the tire performance remains consistent throughout its life span and that it doesn't change drastically with the change in riding conditions. Lastly, Michelin opted to use square bead wires to provide the tire with a tighter fit between the tire and the rim. This ensures that the tire stays in place, reducing the risk of vibration, wobbling, and a whole slew of handling issues.
In conjunction with Amplified Density Technology, the use of square bead wire provides a stable and comfortable ride that's less likely to suffer from problems associated with tire-rim fitting. In the end, regardless of whether you're a commuter or an avid motorcycle enthusiast, the Commander II is a great choice that will provide you with miles of reliable service and a smooth riding experience.
If you're interested in purchasing this tire set, you can find it at RevZilla and Cycle Gear.
- Good performance in wet and dry conditions
Pirelli Night Dragon
The Pirelli Night Dragon offers better traction, rear holding, and aesthetics than standard tires for custom or cruiser motorcycles. They're designed for riders looking for excellent grip without any noticeable dip in mileage, but they don't sacrifice performance. Instead, Night Dragon strikes a really good balance between grip and longevity of the tire.
Pirelli's use of high-performance compounds continues to deliver reliable performance in a variety of conditions. The entire set is optimized for V-twin motorcycles, but the front tire's compound is more optimized for handling and stability, with the rear using a compound designed for grip and durability.
This allows riders to enjoy a responsive, smooth ride with plenty of traction and control, even when riding on poorly maintained roads and wet or cold conditions. In addition to the specialized compounds used on each tire, the Night Dragon also incorporates several of Pirelli's proprietary technologies that enhance their performance.
For example, the multi-radius design distributes the pressure across the tire evenly, which helps improve handling and stability. They also feature specially designed tread patterns that enhance grip, reduce noise, and improve water evacuation for better performance in wet conditions.
This brings us to Pirelli Night Dragon's best-selling point—their versatility. These perform admirably in various conditions, including dry pavement, wet roads, and even roads so poorly maintained they're considered trails. Since they're designed to balance grip and longevity, you can't expect them to last 10,000 miles.
Then again, some users reported getting approx. 4.4 thousand miles out of the rear tire, while others reported the rear tire being in pristine condition even after 2 thousand miles. This leads us to believe that the longevity of Pirelli Night Dragon heavily depends on the riding conditions and style. If you're interested in buying these, you can find them at RevZilla and Cycle Gear.
- Excellent handling and stability
- Tread wear (in heavy and harsh conditions)
Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra
Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra, also known as Triple 8, is a premium touring tire specifically designed to offer superb performance and handling in both wet and dry conditions, as well as excellent stability, comfort, and mileage, making it an ideal choice for riders enjoying long stretches on the highway.
In dry condition, the Metzeler M888 delivers excellent performance, as its advanced tread pattern and 3D tread grooves provide excellent stability and handling. This makes corners and curves easier to navigate at higher speeds. In addition, the high-quality rubber compound ensures excellent grip and traction, providing confidence-inspiring performance in all conditions.
This includes wet weather as well. The exclusive 2-compound technology allows Triple 8 to provide excellent grip and traction, even in wet and slippery conditions. The tire's wide grooves and deep sipes help channel water away from the contact patch, improving wet handling and reducing the risk of hydroplaning.
Another important feature is the Triple 8's exceptional durability and longevity. The tire's robust construction and high-quality materials ensure that it can withstand heavy use and deliver exceptional mileage. Additionally, its high-load capacity and excellent shock absorption make it an ideal choice for heavier bikes.
Overall, the ME888 is an outstanding set of hoops that delivers fantastic performance, handling, and durability. Its long-lasting durability and superior performance in dry and wet conditions make ME888 an ideal choice for riders who demand the best from their tires. If you're interested in Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra, you can find it at RevZilla and Cycle Gear.
- Excellent wet and dry traction
- Long-lasting and durable
- Stable and comfortable
- Pricier than the competition
- Not designed for aggressive riding
If you're in the market for a budget-friendly, reliable tire, you might want to look at Continental ContiMotion. We're discussing premium entry-level sport-touring tires designed for all-year-round use that provides unrivaled value for money in its category.
Continental ContiMotion has a unique tread pattern designed to provide exceptional grip and stability in all conditions. The grooves on the front tire converge towards the center to form a centerline groove (not continuous) that helps improve stability and reduce hydroplaning. This type of design is omitted from the rear tire, which has a wide contact strip.
Thanks to its tread design and advanced rubber compound, the Continental Conti Motion stands out when it comes to wet weather performance. The same can be said for the dry weather performance, mentioning a unique shoulder design that provides additional grip during tighter cornering situations.
In terms of performance, we're discussing a well-balanced tire that provides excellent handling and stability in a variety of conditions. ContiMotion is known for its precise and predictable handling, which makes it an ideal choice for riders who want a responsive and easy-to-control tire. The same can be said when it comes to durability; using high-quality materials does wonders for the tire's wear and tear resistance, so it will withstand the rigors of daily use.
Overall, the Continental Conti Motion is a solid performer, especially if you factor in its price tag. With its good grip, stability, and durability, this tire can provide many miles of reliable performance across all conditions. Provided that you're not pushing them to the max. If you're interested in buying Continental Conti Motion, you can do so on RevZilla and Cycle Gear.
- Good performance for the price
- Tread design reduces hydroplaning
- Not suited for aggressive riding
- Tread wear
Kenda Kruz K673
Kenda tires built its reputation on selling affordable but lasting tires of pretty decent quality, and Kenda Kruz K673 certainly meets the manufacturer's standards. The tire is made using Kenda's proprietary rubber compounds specifically designed to boost the tire's performance without incurring high costs.
The brand-new rubber compounds used on K673 offer fantastic grip and performance in all conditions, wet and dry, and during cornering, thus making sure that the tire always maintains contact with the surface. This is mostly due to the tacky compound used in the tire's build and pretty broad tread grooves that are specifically conceptualized to perform in all conditions.
This is also mirrored in the tire's H-rating, which indicates that it's designed to operate in a whole spectrum of conditions at speeds up to 130 miles per hour. But with everything said, it's important to note that the pairing between the robust compound and deep, broad tread grooves provides more than just good grip in all weather conditions. It affects the fuel-efficiency as well.
K673 is designed specifically for larger bikes, especially cruisers, which is fantastic if you're one of those riders who like lengthy rides during the weekend. The overengineered K673 will be able to support the weight of your steel steed, you, and anything you're carrying with you. If you're interested in acquiring Kenda K673 Kruz tires for your motorcycle, you'll find them at RevZilla.
- Tough compound
- Excellent wet grip
- Comes in a wide variety of sizes
- While they are available for smaller bikes, they might not perform as well.
Bridgestone Exedra Max
The Bridgestone Exedra Max is a premium tire specifically designed to offer superior performance and water evacuation for cruisers, touring, and adventure bikes. In fact, these tires share a lot with Michelin Commander II—both feature long tread life, great handling, high-speed stability, and exceptional grip in both dry and wet conditions.
The tire ships out in bias-ply and radial configurations, while the compound is formulated to provide long tread life in touring applications. It's tacky enough to provide good traction on wet and dry pavement, with enough groove depth to evacuate the water from the contact patch.
Both the front and the back feature the same zig-zag central groove that provides more rubber in contact with the surface than a straight midline groove. In addition, the dry performance is exceptionally optimized, as its profile and construction provide a larger contact patch, further enhancing the handling and stability at higher speeds.
When it comes to wet performance, the Exedra Max delivers exceptional grip and handling. The tire's advanced tread design and construction help evacuate water quickly to reduce the chance of hydroplaning.
In terms of technical details, the Exedra Max features a high-tensile belt package that provides it with excellent stability and durability, while its steel-belt construction ensures that it can withstand heavy loads without compromising performance or comfort. Moreover, the tire's specially designed bead construction ensures a secure fit and makes it easy to mount and dismount.
If you're interested in buying Bridgestone Exedra Max, you can find it at RevZilla and Cycle Gear.
- Exceptional grip
- Comfortable and quiet
- Excellent stability and durability
- Not suitable for aggressive riding
Dunlop tires are rooted in the bicycle and motorcycle tire history since the company's father is basically a father to the modern tire. The company became a household name, which only attests to the quality of its products. The Dunlop D404 is a prime example of a universal-use tire for your Honda Shadow Phantom.
The Dunlop D404 is made with a bias-ply design, which implies several layers of nylon cords laid at different angles. This gives the tire a sturdy and durable construction that's ideal for long-distance riding. The tread pattern is optimized for stability and traction, featuring a deep groove that aids water evacuation.
But it's the number of design elements that make Dunlop D404 an ideal choice for cruisers and touring bikes. It has a wide contact patch that provides a stable ride and excellent handling, even at high speeds. The aforementioned tread offers a long lifespan which means that the tire will maintain its performance for miles to come.
Speaking of performance, the Dunlop D404 performs admirably on both wet and dry surfaces. The deep tread grooves provide great grip, not-notch stability, and handling, even on wet roads. However, it's worth noting that the tire doesn't actually have a big load capacity. Sure, it will carry your Honda Shadow Phantom and you on it, but anything heavier than a 1,000 displacement is a no-go.
With everything said, Dunlop D404 offers a comfortable ride, and if you're interested in purchasing a set, visit RevZilla or Cycle Gear.
- Excellent performance
- Good stability and traction
Buyer's Guide to Best Tires for Honda Shadow Phantom
If you want to get the most out of your Honda Shadow Phantom, you need to understand what kind of tires to buy and when to buy them. However, there are other factors to consider, making the decision process more challenging.
In this section, we'll discuss the various tire categories, followed by purchasing tips to assist you in selecting the best tires for your Honda Shadow Phantom. Naturally, we'll also mention the significant warning signs to look out for when it comes to changing your motorcycle tires.
Motorcycle Tire Types
Tires are a critical aspect of safety and performance, so you need to consider which type of tires are appropriate for your bike and your riding style. The top five tire categories are as follows:
Cruiser tires are designed with an extended lifetime and high mileage in mind, and they usually perform well in all types of weather. They're perfect for heavier bikes because they're constructed using tougher rubber compounds.
However, since sports and off-road bikes are made for comfort and dependability rather than high speed and performance, cruiser tires are almost never seen on sports and off-road bikes. With that said, they're still used on adventure motorcycles, such as Triumph Street Scrambler.
Sports tires are made to provide the best possible traction while still being high-performance and fuel-efficient. Since they're used on various paved surfaces and in various riding conditions, sports tires must be very versatile. They're typically made of a softer compound than cruiser tires to offer more grip. Their contact patch area is also increased by narrowing the thread patterns on the rubber's surface.
Slick tires, also referred to as track tires, are similar to sports tires, but they offer superior traction and performance at high speeds at the cost of durability and limited use. They have the least amount of thread, if any, to maximize the tire-surface interaction, but they don't really work well on any other surface but the race track, as they can't handle debris and moisture. They must also warm up to maintain a stronger grip during aggressive riding.
Dual Sports Tires
Dual sports motorcycle riding falls under the wide category of different riding styles, but it primarily focuses on on-road and off-road riding. The rider must therefore select the ideal tire set to optimize their bike's performance. However, to do so, the rider must be aware of the type of terrain they frequently ride on.
Dual sports tires are able to function adequately on both paved and unpaved surfaces; as a result, their thread depth runs from deeply threaded street tires to street-legal knobby tires. As a result, riders frequently come across ratios like 80/20 street, 50/50, and 80/20 off-road. For riders that spend more than 80% of their time on the road and 20% of the time on the trail, the 80/20 street-oriented tires are a perfect choice.
The reverse is true for 80/20 off-road-oriented tires, while the 50/50 tires fit riders who split their time between on- and off-road equally.
Off-road tires come in a wide variety of sizes, tread patterns, and substance compositions. You should be aware of these critical variations and distinctions, as they can make or break your next riding session.
Since they're made to offer the greatest traction and performance for your particular bike, it's crucial to size them properly and avoid mounting them on any aftermarket wheel variation. Doing so may result in a loss of stability in curves and less traction in straightaways.
Consider the surface you most frequently ride on—whether it's soft, moderate, or harsh terrain—and choose the appropriate tire set to match the terrain. Your riding efficiency and traction will both increase as a result of an informed purchase, as long as you remember to maintain the suggested tire pressure—which also extends the life of your tires.
Thread and Pattern
The part of the tire that makes contact with the ground is its thread, and the pattern is made by cutting channels into the tread. Street tires, for example, have tread designs that direct water away from the tire to keep optimal traction in wet conditions. Likewise, off-road tires have a more aggressive, staggered tread pattern to provide you with plenty of traction while riding on tough terrain.
Slick tires have no tread patterns or even tread, for that matter, which allows them to provide better performance and higher top speeds, but they're mostly track-oriented. This means they're not suitable for use on the street or off-road terrain.
The tire size varies depending on your riding style and the type of motorcycle you own. To get the most out of your bike, we advise you to purchase tires that are the same size as the OEM tires. The best course of action is to talk to the manufacturer or refer to your bike's user manual if you want to equip wider tires for better traction.
This is somewhat of a common practice, but it's important to do your research to avoid sacrificing safety or performance. As previously stated, Honda Shadow Phantom comes equipped with factory-installed 120/90-17 front and 160/80-15 rear tires.
Radial vs. Bias-Ply
Bias-ply tires shouldn't be used at higher speeds since they're designed to be stiffer and more off-road-oriented. This is a result of their interior construction, which is made to withstand significant impacts and make bias-ply tires more suitable for off-road riding.
Radial tires, on the other hand, are more powerful regarding high-speed stability and structural integrity than impact resistance. These are mounted on the majority of modern motorcycles, and unless you're interested in off-road riding, radial tires are the way to go.
When to Replace Your Tires
Before investing in a new pair of tires, you should think about whether your current tires need to be replaced in the first place. Of course, if your tires are seriously worn out or damaged, you should replace them. But there are also several other indicators to watch out for. Let's take a look at how to determine whether the tires on your motorcycle need to be replaced.
Even though motorcycle tires are durable and long-lasting, they are still susceptible to punctures. If this happens, get in touch with a qualified technician to have the tire changed. You can replace the tire yourself, but doing so requires some knowledge and expertise. This is something you should understand if you ride often.
Tread Wear Indicators
By looking at the wear indicator, you can tell when it's time to change your motorcycle tires. These indicators are usually located at the base of main grooves, and once they're level with the tread, it's time to replace your tire set. To guarantee your safety and your tires' continued operation until they are replaced, you should replace the tire before it reaches the limit.
Signs of Aging
The tire's longevity is affected by numerous variables, including temperature, weight, speed, pressure, and riding technique. Therefore, regular tire wear inspections are necessary, and tires that are cracked or have reached their thread indicators should be changed. If your set is over five years old, have a qualified tire technician or a mechanic check their condition and advise on whether a replacement is needed.
Unusual Wear Patterns
If your bike's tires show unusual wear, it may be a sign that there's something wrong with your bike mechanically, like a deteriorated shock absorber or a bad gearbox. Unbalanced or underinflated tires could also be to blame. To increase the longevity of your tires, have a qualified technician check the wheel balance every six months. If your tires have some sort of unusual wear pattern, you should replace them as soon as possible.
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley