While everyone, whether you ride or not, can appreciate a truly cool-looking motorcycle, it is particularly remarkable when a decidedly lame motorcycle goes under the knife and comes out lust-worthy. Cobra USA came up to the plate and decided to swing at the curveball Honda Shadow 750, a pitch few customizers would attempt even a bunt on. I can’t get over how much I love the resulting Cobra RS750 Scrambler, and I think you’ll agree with me that there’s something about an underdog bike being transformed into a stunner that’s even more compelling than a bike that started out great.
I’m sure that a few people out there honestly love the Shadow 750, which is admittedly a dead-reliable 7/8ths scale Sportster alternative. It’s not terribly expensive, and the 52-degree V-twin has been around since the dawn of time. It’s a twin-plug, 3-valve motor breathing through a pair of 36mm Keihin carburettors, producing a respectable 44 HP and a generous 46 ft-lbs of torque in a sort of heavy 503 lbs package. The bottom line is that reviewers find the Shadow fine for kicking around town, but it’s clearly not going to set any hearts on fire. However, it’s mostly the dowdy and uninteresting cruiser styling that lets the Shadow down. (Although the RS, pictured above, is a step in the right direction.) It’s inoffensive but it’s also snooze-worthy. I’d take a stock Shadow if someone handed me one for free, but it’s never a bike that I would consider dropping hard-earned cash on.
That’s what’s so special about the Cobra RS750 Scrambler. First of all, with the really simple addition of some scrambler bars, high pipes, and a UJM-style saddle, the stance and attitude of the bike changes completely. Re-sculpted fenders, a relocated gauge cluster, and fork gaiters round out the look. The result seems like the modern reinvention of a scrambler that never existed in the first place, all without significant modifications to the frame or engine. It’s really just a cosmetic redressing, and it truly works wonders. Now, the Cobra package doesn’t address what I’m sure everyone is going to notice about the statistics I’ve quoted above – mainly moderate power levels and a porky 503 lbs weight. Perhaps some of that is trimmed off by ditching the enormous stock Shadow exhaust pipes and some of the other bits and pieces. It’s a little hard to tell because as of this moment, the Cobra RS750 is a concept and not a production conversion kit. While I know the response has been huge and there’s apparently been a campaign to get Honda North America to embrace and produce the bike, or at least give Cobra its blessing, it still seems up in the air at the moment. If this speaks to anyone, you should drop Cobra a line and tell them to produce the parts!
The bottom line is that it only took some well-considered and simple modifications to turn a bike I’d never want into a bike I desperately want. Let’s give credit where credit is due. Good work, Cobra!
If you want to drop Cobra USA a line and tell them to build the Scrambler, click on this link to go to their contact form. Source: Cobra USA via the Kneeslider. All images courtesy Cobra USA unless otherwise noted.