The Various Eras of the VLX

"Everything you ever wanted to know about the VLX..."

...but were too shy to ask!

There are a few subtle changes that were made over the years, this page will explain the differences.

General Specifications

Overall length:
Seat Height:
Ground Clearance:
Steel Double Cradle
100/90-19" Front, 170/80-15" Rear
35 degrees
Liquid Cooled SOHC 52 degree V-Twin, 583cc (35.5ci), 3 valves/cylinder, 9.2:1 compression ratio
4 speed
Fuel Capacity:
2.9 gallons (inc. 0.9 reserve)
Cool, and plenty of it! The current rendition of the bike has been modeled after the early 'frisco styled' choppers.

There are several variations to the VLX around the world. European models have a 5 speed tranny that simply splits the 3rd gear (from the 4 speed tranny) into two separate gears, 1st and top gears still retain the same ratios and the 2nd gear ratio is very close between the two. The Asian model "Steed" now has a springer front end, and the Steed is also available in a smaller 400cc version.

88-89/91-93 VLX

The first generation VLX sports dual 34mm carbs, a one piece handlebar, and a 2.4 gallon tank (inc. 0.5 gallon reserve). The engine produces 43HP measured at the crank, dyno readings off the rear tire come in at 37.7HP. Dry weight is 432 pounds, curb weight is 456. Seat height is 27.2" and overall width is 29.9" and the engine covers were cast aluminum. 1990 was a skip year for the model as there was an over-production of 89 models, throughout 1990 dealers were offering the surplus 89 models.

Pictured to the right is a 1989 VLX >>>

A noteworthy topic: a few late '93 Deluxe test market bikes were released, see the 93-94 section for details.

Historical Note: November 1987 saw the first VT-600 Shadows roll off the assembly lines for delivery to the USA.

93-94 VLX/VLX Deluxe

In 1993 Honda released a few "test market mules' with two tone paint and chrome engine covers. These bikes saw a very limited production for 1993, in fact the entire state of New York only recieved two of them. Since the VLX Riders Forum opened May 25, 2001, only two members have reported owning a 93 Deluxe and a third member popped in to offer one for sale. Kelley Blue Book doesn't list much of a difference between it and the 93 standard, but try finding one and then tell me that the search was only worth that mediocre difference.

<<< Pictured to the left is a stunning example of a 93 Deluxe.

The Deluxe versions saw different color patterns along with valve covers, engine casings, and air cleaner that recieved chrome plating. The 93-94 Deluxes also had a button tucked seat (the standard models still retained the aluminum covers and air cleaner along with the smooth seat). A larger 2.9 gallon fuel (inc. 0.9 gallon reserve) tank was also added in 1994 to both versions, and dry weight went up to 445 pounds (439 for the unchromed Standard).

Horsepower dropped to 39 ponies at the crank, of which 34.2 make it to the ground. We speculate that EPA standards forced Honda to "de-tune" the engine.

95-98 VLX/VLX Deluxe

In 1995 we saw another minor alteration, this time the one piece handlebar was swapped out for separate risers and a wider handlebar. The overall width increased to 35" (from the previous 29.9"). The Deluxe models recieved two tone paint on the tank, and in 1997 the two tone extended to the rear fender as well. In 1998 the stainless steel footpegs were replaced with cast aluminum w/O-ring grips, and both the Deluxe and Standard came with a smooth seat versus teh button tucked seat from the prior Deluxes.

Pictured to the right is a Honda file photo of a 98 VLX Deluxe >>>

Also noteworthy: the '95 Deluxe was released alongside the then new 1100 ACE.

1999 to current VLX/VLX Deluxe

<<< Note: the photo at the left depicts aftermarket exhaust, the 99+ VLX retains the same classic tapered style pipes that have been in use since 1988.

1999 saw some minor cosmetic changes, along with a mod to the powerplant as well. Visually, you can see the new duck-tail styled rear fender is now separate from the side covers, unlike the previous 88-98 one piece rear fender/seat cowl. External chrome side rails for mounting a saddlebag and/or backrest are added to the fender.

The frame is slightly modified, lowering seat height to 25.6" bringing the rider about 1 1/2" closer to terra-firma from the prior models' 27.2" saddle. This frame mod created a very narrow space between the seat and battery, so the fuel pump was eliminated in favor of a "gravity fed" fuel line. A wider lower handlebar is also featured on the latest rendition of the VLX.

The engine now sports a single 34mm carburetor, and this results in 35HP at the crank, of which 30.7 ponies reach the pavement. Two tone paint was initially offered on the 1999 Deluxe models but now the Deluxe has pearl tones.

The Standard model now sports a chromed (plastic) air cleaner shared with the Deluxes, but the valve covers and lower casings are still cast aluminum. 2001 brought a minor change, the side stand LED indicator was removed from the speedo.

The VLX disappeared from Honda's line up in 2008, for reasons unknown. Honda never made any official press releases concerning this, the only official releases were recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Shadow name in 08 followed by an announcement that discontinued the 1100 Shadow line. Also noteworthy, Honda closed their Marysville Ohio plant although since they only made 1100cc and larger cruisers there, this had no impact on the VLX line which shipped from Japan. It's possible that there was an over-production of 07 models, resulting in a skip year similar to what transpired in 1990 for the model.

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