Honda Shadow A.C.E. v. Yamaha V-Star 1100

Middleweight Import Cruiser Shootout

You feel much lower to the ground on the V-Star even though its seat height is only 0.5 inches less than the ACE's. Both are neutral steering and don't mind being leaned over. The V-Star had the advantage in this category because the ACE didn't respond well to mid-corner bumps. However, while it was fun to toss around these heavy cruisers in the twisties, that's not what these machines were meant for. We needed to do some boulevard cruising, and of course, see how well they perform with a passenger.

"Handling-wise, both cruisers were somewhat similar."

Both handled adequately under two-up conditions although the V-Star's suspension compressed and it dragged peg a little to frequently while the ACE's power seemed to bog down. Although both front seats looked cozy enough, looks can be deceiving. While neither bike comes with a front seat that threatens to dilute the aftermarket, we preferred the V-Star's seat to the ACE's. The pillion pads, on the other hand, not only looked uncompromising, they were. After about an hour our pillion passenger on the ACE dismounted in pain. The V-Star wasn't as bad, and the passenger lasted for one-and-a-half hours.

ACE Seat.
V-Star Seat.
While the V-Star's seats, both rider and pillion, were a tad more comfortable than ACE's, the V-Star saddle still looked and felt like a large bicycle seat. It was uncomfortable on longer hauls, although there was still enough room to move around and stretch out. A nice feature of the V-Star was the rise at the back of the saddle that feels like a small back rest.

The V-Star also had narrower handlebars than the ACE that were better in traffic. The bars on the ACE are too wide and a little unnerving for splitting lanes through congested traffic.

Not only was the V-Star a smoother ride in comparison to the ACE, we received more compliments about the V-Star's styling than than we did with the ACE's. Our V-Star's elegant, gold and silver paint scheme consistently attracted attention, even from more than a few American heavyweight cruiser groupies.

The ACE is not an unattractive bike, it just seems to come across to some, including the MO staff, as a little bland. Then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

In the end we realized that either bike would be a good addition to any livery for those who are looking to upgrade from smaller cruisers. However, with its lighter and more responsive handling, smoother ride, all-around better looks and a $200.00 (USD) less price tag, we have to go with Yamaha's V-Star 1100 over Honda's venerable and serviceable Shadow ACE 1100. After what seems like learning their lessons from their Royal Star experience, Yamaha has gone back to basics and created an excellent package with their V-Star line of light and middleweight cruisers, offering performance, comfort, handling, a very stylish package for an excellent price. Now, if only Yamaha can do something with that headlight.

Although the ACE felt like it had more power, the V-Star actually had approximately 5 more horsepower than the V-Star. The ACE had approximately 45 horsepower, while the V-Star had approximately 50 horses on tap.

The ACE The V-Star.
ACE Exhaust. V-Star Exhaust.
ACE Front Brake. V-Star Dual Front Disks
V-Star Shaft and Swingarm ACE Speedo and Cable Jumble
V-Star Rear Shock Linkage

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Colors Available :
Shadow ACE VT1100C2
$7,999 msrp
Liquid Cooled, OHC, 45° V twin
87.5mm X 91.4mm
Dual 36mm CV
5 Speed Constant Mesh
575.4 lbs (listed)
4.8 gallons
Black/Pearl Dark Red
V-Star 1100
$7,799 msrp
Air Cooled, SOHC, 75° V twin
95mm X 75mm
Single 37mm Mikuni Downdraft w/ TPS
5 Speed
571 lbs (listed)
4.6 gallons
Stardust Silver/Sunrise Gold
Cherry Red/Cranberry Red

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