The Honda Shadow

The Honda Shadow isn’t a motorcycle you would usually associate with a top tier custom rebuild. Honda introduced the Shadow in 1983 targeting the lucrative American market – specifically Harley-Davidson buyers. The styling borrowed heavily from the cruiser market, with a V-twin, sweeping fenders, a relaxed riding position, and a generous helping of chrome.

The smallest engine offered in the Shadow family was the 125cc sold in Europe until 2008, the next smallest after it is the 400cc V-twin sold in Japan and a few other markets. With a weight of 225 kilograms (496 lbs) and 33 hp, it’s not a motorcycle likely to set the world on fire, but it’s targeted at new riders who like cruisers – and to be fair it does fill this niche well.

The XTR Pepo Honda Shadow 400 Custom

Thanks in large part to its “learner motorcycle” tag, the Honda Shadow 400 isn’t a bike you’d typically expect to go flying past you at a track day. Until Pepo of the highly respected XTR Pepo garage got his hands on one. Pepo is a prolific builder of some of the quickest and most impressively engineered customs you’ll find anywhere. He formerly ran Radical Ducati before taking a sabbatical, but it wasn’t long before he launched XTR to build customs without being restricted to a single marque.

Few parts of the original Shadow remain, namely the engine and the front part of the frame. A new swingarm was created to accommodate a new monoshock, and the original non-adjustable forks were swapped out for a far more advanced set from a Kawasaki ZX6R. A new subframe was created to shift the riding position, and a new seat was fitted with a new brake light, indicators, and license plate.

The original front brake was never going to be up to snuff for the new bike, so the set of rotors and calipers were used from the same Kawasaki ZX6R that donated its forks. New carbon fibre fenders were made and fitted front and back, and the drum brake casing was drilled to improve cooling.

The original 400cc, 33 hp engine was completely reworked by Motostion, and a new XTR Racing air filter was fitted, along with a set of SuperMario exhausts. The finished bike is far lighter, and much more powerful than it was fresh from the factory – and thanks to its new brakes and suspension it can be thrown around a track with far more speed than would have been feasible originally.

If you’d like to see more from XTR Pepo you can click here to visit their website.

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Pictures: Cesar Godoy