Honda Shadow Chop: Lighten the Load to Achieve Maximum Performance

on June 18, 2019

What to keep, what to trash & everything in between


Looking to lighten the load on your stock Honda Shadow and increase overall performance? Whether you’re considering velocity stacks or simply looking to finish an “overhaul” on your Honda Shadow chop, we’ve got some advice you’ll want to consider in today’s blog post.

Let’s discuss what you need to keep on your Honda Shadow chop and what can get trashed. ENJOY!

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“What can I remove from my bike if I want to add velocity stacks and increase overall performance?”

Simply put, you can pretty much get rid of anything that’s not coolant or fuel. If it’s coolant or fuel, you’ve got to keep it. There is a lot of air injection system stuff and valves that the EPA requires on Honda Shadows in order to be able to sell them in the United States. If they weren’t on there, then they’d only be able to sell them in foreign countries (thanks, EPA). Bottom line: you can take pretty much anything off your bike as long as it’s not connected to fuel or gas.



A non-essential: the carb warmer

On many single carb bikes (well, at least on Honda Shadow) there are coolant lines going to the carburetor. This is essentially a carb warming system. It doesn’t go into the carburetor--there aren’t passages through the carb or anything like that. It literally comes out of the water jacket at the intake manifold and goes into a dead end at the carb (via a Y-junction) then goes back out into the radiator. The logic behind this is that it will help warm the carb. So if you live in a really cold environment this can be a really great feature. Many years ago, Honda was having issues with carbs freezing: because if a carb is attached to a bike with metal then anytime you rip fuel and air apart into an atomized mixture, your temperature drops. In that case, the carbs could feasibly get so cold they would ice over. The faster you drive, the faster air flows through and the carb is getting colder and colder… then it won’t function properly. Anyway, the idea was to keep the carb warm enough to prevent that. In theory, it’s great, but we’ve never seen it in use because it’s not entirely necessary. We’ve heard about it from people who have really old Harleys (and a few other bikes with older technology). Nowadays, it’s not really a concern. If you live in a temperate climate you simply don’t need this feature so you can get rid of it.

You’ve got two options for eliminating the carb-warming feature:

Option 1: Take the line from the intake manifold on single carb bike. You’ll see a brass nipple sticking up and you’ll want to run a line from that to the nipple on the radiator. That’s one way to do it.

Option 2: The second option is to both of the nipples. Grab the piece of tubing that was originally attached to them, and put a hose clamp it on. Find a bolt that fits inside perfectly inside that hose and screw it in there. We recommend putting a little Ultra Black RTV on the threads to keep it in there real tight. So you should have two hose clamps on the hose coming off the nipples that will plug the ports on the radiator as well as the intake manifold. They are under pressure so you can’t just smoosh a vacuum plug on there. If you do that it’ll just pop off and you’ll have coolant everywhere. 

IMPORTANT side note: WE DO NOT RECOMMEND using RTV anywhere else on your Honda Shadow build EVER. The same goes for JB Weld. If you find yourself wanting to use it then STOP! Don’t do it! It’s time to consult an expert and get help!!!

So that’s basically all you need to do to get rid of the coolant lines. Now if you’re trying to get rid of all the stuff for air lines and all the vacuum crap and valves that are under your bike, it can definitely be confusing if you’ve never touched any of that before. But you can basically rip all that out. Just remember: if there’s coolant or fuel in it, it needs to stay put! 

What about the AFP?

Actually, there’s one exception: the Auto Fuel Petcock (or AFP) found on Honda Shadow VT600 or VLX600 between the years 1999-2007. They recalled this part because it was a vacuum-operated diaphragm that would shut off the fuel flow when you turned the bike off (so if you shut your bike off you’d have no more compression on your rear cylinder). The idea was that the vacuum wouldn’t hold the diaphragm open to allow fuel to pass through into your carb. It was kind of a good idea because if the bike goes down (in a collision situation), there wouldn’t be gas everywhere. But we’ve also seen bikes go down where that wasn’t an issue. Again, this was a government-mandated decision, so the easiest way to get rid of that is to just take the AFP off the intake and run the fuel line from the tank to the carb. I do recommend putting a fuel filter in that line somewhere, as this will save you heartache down the road. Once you remove the AFP you’ll be left with a small quarter inch vacuum hose going down to the rear cylinder and that’ll need to be plugged. We suggest enlisting a AFP Vacuum Port Plug, as it’s the proper depth and size for this particular model. If you don’t plug the AFP vacuum port, your Honda Shadow will have serious issues.


For more details on what you can and can’t remove, check out this super helpful video from “the man” TJ himself!

Next, go SHOP these TJ Brutal Customs parts:


Can't decide on which Velocity Stacks you need? Check out these videos next!

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Friendly Reminder: if you have questions for us, we're happy to answer them! But first check to see if we’ve answered them over on our TJ Brutal Customs Knowledge Base. If we haven’t, then send us a DM via Instagram or comment on our YouTube channel… TJ takes all your questions and answers them via live videos like the one above. Now get out of here and DO FUN SHIT!!!

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Looking for something else? Explore our collections below: 

VT600 Collection
VT750 Collection
VT1100 Collection
Phantom VT750 Collection

Aero VT750 Collection

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