Honda shadow bobber build

Welcome to the honda shadow bobber build. Watch a couple of crazies grind on a 1993 honda shadow VLX VT600C while we try to convert it into a bobber without using kits, and trying our best to recycle all of the original parts, team Rossi style.


Here we have a 1993 Honda Shadow VLX VT600C that my cousin bought off some guy. My cousin wanted to get it running so I told him I wouldn’t mind helping him out since I’m always looking for something to wrench on. The photo below was taken the day the bike was dropped off at my place. The bike wasn’t really that bad looking, although I do suppose this picture does do it some justice…

So, the bike didn’t run, the tires needed air and the front brake was dragging, which made moving it a royal pain in the ass, legs, arms, back, feet and soul. Shes a real piece of work.

Anyhow, a few days ago I mentioned this bike to my buddy, Jarrod, because he needed a ride, and it wasn’t long after that when he made the decision to purchase it. Jarrod, of course, also decided that keeping the bike stock would be taking the easy way out…

First Impressions.

1993 Honda shadow vlx vt600c

Let’s back up a bit to the day the bike was dropped off at my place.

I eventually got the bike rolled in to my garage (remember the front brake?) and started to give it a quick inspection. A few obvious problems didn’t require inspecting anything really, like the front brake dragging, the fact that the bike didn’t run and the overall condition of the bike, i.e. a tattered seat cover and a gas tank that looked like the previous owner had some sort of argument with, because it was, and still is, dented to hell and back.

Digging a little deeper, the bike started to reveal itself to me a bit more. The tires had a serious case of dry rot, the battery wouldn’t hold a charge at all, and the throttle was sticking so bad that it wouldn’t return when you released it. Easy stuff to fix I suppose, and new tires on a bike this used would be a sure fire purchase, regardless of who ended up with the bike, be it my cousin, or its not known then future owner, Jarrod.

Quick fixes – Cables, battery, front brake and more!

The first thing I did to this bike was release some pressure on the front brake so I could move the sonofabitch around without throwing out my entire body. To do that, I simply opened the bleeder valve to release some pressure. I didn’t care about air or anything like that going back into the brake system, I just wanted this bitch to move around easier. I can fix that later.

After the brake was released a bit, and I could roll the bike around, I wanted to try and get the throttle to work properly. It was the quickest fix on the list, and I enjoy instant gratification, so I got at it.

Tackling the throttle turned out to be just as easy as I was planning it to be, and I was glad, because most of the time shit doesn’t work out that easy for me.

First thing I did was take the throttle apart and then I took both the push and pull cables off of it and instantly noticed that someone greased the shit out of both the throttle grip assembly, and both of the cables. Whoever greased this thing used some sort of heavy duty grease used for industrial equipment or some shit. It was pretty thick stuff. Not sure why someone would do this, but I’ve seen stupider things done by smarter people.

So, it was obvious that the grease was gumming up the works, so I cleaned it all out of the cables using some plastic safe solvent and then re lubricated them. A temporary fix until the owner of the bike puts monies towards new ones.

Clean throttle cables

Aren’t they just beautiful? They should work a lot better now that they aren’t packet with bearing grease, or whatever the hell was in there.

After the cables were up and running again, I cleaned the handlebar and throttle grip of all the greasy evil and re-lubricated it (properly), then reassembled it.

Throttle goo

I didn’t take a photo of the cables and throttle grip back on the bike, but to spare you the suspense, it worked out just fine. The throttle went from feeling like it had a mixture of sand and syrup in it, to having a nice and snappy (and safe) return when released. Hooray! It now works the way it is suppose to!

APOLOGY: I replaced the battery on the bike but I didn’t take photos of me going to walmart, buying a replacement battery, removing the old one, and installing the new one, so anyone who stumbled across this blog hoping to read about a guy’s adventure in replacing the battery on a 1993 Honda Shadow VLX will be pretty disappointed, and for that, I am sorry.

Lets fire her up!

After the battery was replaced, I was able to fire the bike up and try to diagnose the problems that my cousin said it had. Once the bike fired up, and I must say, it fired right up and idled just fine, I quickly noticed that once you pulled back on the throttle the engine would die. Something was wrong, obviously, as we pretty much all know that this isn’t the normal operations of a motorcycle. I’m not a genius when it comes to engines and mechanics, but I do know enough to know that an engine requires a few things to run. Fuel, air and spark. Of course it gets more detailed than that, but we know that the bike is idling just fine, so we will troubleshoot the more obvious things first.

Not so quick fixes – The Carburetor, and my battle to remove it.

My first guess as to why the bike wasn’t running properly was the bike wasn’t getting enough fuel, and the carburetors are probably funked up pretty bad. My cousin mentioned to me that the bike has been sitting for quite some time, plus the bike is old and doesn’t look like it had much work done to it, if any at all, so who knows. Hell, I just went straight for the carbs, it seemed logical at the time.

Removing the carbs was a pain in the ass. After removing all of the intake shit, the airbox and hoses, etc, I got to the rubber boots that hold the carb on. The rubber boots that hold the carbs on, shown in the photo below, were so fucking void of whatever chemicals they put in rubber that makes it nice and rubbery, that these bastards were just solid plastic. After battling with busted knuckles and trying my hardest to get the carbs separated from these evil tubes of annoying, I finally decided that I would have to cut one of them off, so I did just that. With a utility blade, I CAREFULLY cut through enough of the rubber, making sure not to go through and hit metal. Once I was 95% through the boot, a tug or two with some needle nose pliers and I had it separated. Like I mentioned earlier, the boots were plastic now instead of rubber, so I wasn’t really able to pull them off, even with a slit straight through the damn thing, but it gave me just enough relief to pull the carbs off.

Below is a photograph to visually help those who don’t give a shit about reading my blog, but are still interested enough to see how thing will turn out. Behold!

Dried up boots

Once the carburetor assembly was removed from the Honda Shadow, I took it over to the work bench and prepped it for surgery. After taking so long to remove them from the bike and get them on my bench, I was pretty anxious to take these babies apart and see what she looked like inside. Here are a few pictures I took to help me reassemble everything later on down the road.

1993 Honda Shadow Carbureto

The carburetor assembly looks decent enough from the outside I suppose…

Here is a “T” that pretty much crumbled on me when I tried to take the lines off of it. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy about that at all. Luckily, autozone had some replacements.

Carburetor another angle

The time finally came to tear into the carburetors, so I didn’t hesitate to do it. I figured whatever was causing the bike to die out, must in the carbs, perhaps a clogged jet or two, or something similar at least. Nothing would have prepared me for the grit and garbage that I unleashed when I removed the float bowl. Now, I’m not sure if this is normally what an old carb looks like, and hell, maybe some of you are thinking, wow, thats actually a pretty clean carburetor, but to me, I was pretty blown away that the bike fired up and held an idle with what looks to me like straight up dirt clogging every orifice possible.

More carb filth

Yummy, yummy and more yummy. It makes me fuzzy inside to think that a carburetor can damn near almost function properly with this much dookie in them.

Carb filth


How to rebuild the carburetors on a 1993 Honda Shadow

Ok, so that heading is completely misleading. I didn’t document the cleaning of the carburetors, nor the rebuild that I did on them. I am truly and honestly sorry for that. Curse me out if you want to, because I deserve it. It’s just that sometimes you don’t remember to take photos of everything you’re doing because you’re too busy doing the things that require taking photos of.

Anyhow, after the carbs were cleaned, and the rebuild kits were installed, I readied the carbs for re-assembly. Here is a few after shots of them. Looks a bit better, I think.

A clean carb is a happy carb

The gunk in there permanently pitted the float bowl, there wasn’t much I could do for that.

Clean float bowl

Here are some fresh new boots, nice and squishy, just the way they are suppose to be! Should make for less leaking, and much easier assembly than the pain in the ass disassembly.

New boots

Once all of the work was done to the carbs, and everything was put back together, the bike fired up and would now run. I took it for a few laps around the neighborhood just to see if anything catastrophic would happen, but it didn’t, although the bike had a slight misfire in the rear jug. A problem that would later haunt us.

Day 1: Time to chop!

We started day one knowing that we wanted to grind and cut stuff, so it wasn’t long before we were doing just that…

When Jarrod brought the bike by today he had the rear fender, tail light, turn signals and license plate already removed from the bike which saved a little bit of time on day 1 and made it easier to concentrate on what we were going to cut off.

The decision to cut the rear fender support was an easy decision to make since it wouldn’t be much of a bobber if the rear fender was still on the bike, so thats what we decided on doing.

We marked the bike using electrical tape where we wanted our cuts and decided to try our luck at slicing this thing up. We initially tried a dremmel which I know is hilarious, but hell, it would have worked if we were patient enough to go at it a few days.

After quickly realizing that the tools in my garage weren’t suffice to cut through the frame, we borrowed a cut off / grinder and continued on our way.

1993 Honda Shadow Bobber About to cut

A couple of rubber welcome mats to protect the rear tire, which really isn’t needed considering we plan on getting new tires, but that’s quite alright, because it makes us feel like professionals.

1993 Honda Shadow Bobber No guts no glory

Above is a shot of our welcome mat concept bike. We are still working out the bugs, but I think its going to be a real head turner.

Lets cut

After finally gathering enough balls to make the most important cut of the build, we decided to just go for it. It wasn’t as bad as we were expecting, although I have to admit that it was a little intimidating but in the end everything worked out just fine, and I didn’t even have to use my A K; today was a good day.

1993 Honda Shadow Bobber Cut

After the fender support was removed, we had to move on to the seat which looked pretty shitty and wouldn’t really work with what we were going for. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of what the seat pan looked like before it was hacked up, but I did manage to take a picture of what it looked like mid way through. Behold:

1993 Honda Shadow Bobber Custom Seat1993 Honda Shadow Bobber Custom Seat

The seat pan was slowly formed to our liking and had a pretty good look to it when it was all said and done, but there was one issue. If you were to sit on it, you would fall into the “danger zone”, and get your shit ripped up pretty good to say the least. Not exactly what we were going for, so we had to do some quick improvising.

After searching around the garage for an answer, we came across a few L brackets that were just lying around. They were strong, hurricane rated brackets which seemed safe enough for what we were going to use them for, so we said screw it and went for it. If they can withstand hurricanes, they should be able to save us from the danger zone… right?

Anyhow, here is what we ended up with. Sorry for not showing you how we did this, but I’m sure that you get the idea.

1993 Honda Shadow Bobber Bracket Cut

Once the seat mount was done, we re-covered the seat pan. It isn’t the best job in the world, and we know this. Lets just say that its the look we were shooting for… Ok?

1993 Honda Shadow Bobber

Notice the fancy mounting position of the tail light? Yep, that’s the original tail light, recycled.  Most guys go out and buy a new tail light just for shit like this, but with a custom made bracket and some ice cold beer, anything is possible. Not only does it look cool, it costs $0.00!

1993 Honda Shadow Bobber Tail Light

Testing the light… Looks nice and works well!

The rear end is almost complete so lets get a few test shots of how a rider will look on it.

1993 Honda Shadow Bobber1993 Honda Shadow Bobber

Eventually we will probably put clip on bars, since the stance fits the bike a lot better than the bars currently on the shadow.

1993 Honda Shadow Bobber Test Fit

Painting and other interesting steps

Now that the frame and seat is done, it’s time to tackle the wheels, tank, and misc parts, so we got started on disassembling them.

She’s not very good looking at this stage:

Painting the secondary tank red. The idea that we are shooting for is a rugged, antique look using the original black as the bottom coat, a red as the second coat, and an eggshell style white as the primary top coat. We will then gently sand down exposing the red, and black giving the tank an interestingly worn look. Or so we think.

The red tank… Actually looks cool as is. A damn good choice of red.

Off white top coat. Another damn good choice of color here.

Here are just a few miscellaneous parts drying.

Honda Shadow Exhaust Mod

Ok so initially we wanted to cut the baffles out of the stock pipes to give the bike a decent sound, without being too loud, but after having some issues, to say the least, we ended up cutting those bastards clean off and running straight pipes. The end result was a bit quieter than we were expecting so we were happy.

After cutting the pipes, Jarrod double wrapped those bastards with some quality header wrap. Looks good!

The finished product, the 1993 Honda Shadow VLX VT600c Bobber!

The time has come to bring this thing to an end, so here are a few photos to show the end result!


Well my friends, it was a fun ride getting this thing from point A to point B, and I must say, it was a blast doing it.

I’d like to say thanks to the guys who read through this and enjoyed it, we appreciate the love. I would also like to say, to all of the “serious riders” out there, and to all of the “OEM or DIE” crowd, you guys need to live a little. Try to go against the grain once or twice in your life, you might actually like it. And besides, if it wasn’t for guys like us trying something new, guys who look at something and say, “Hey, what if this looked like this instead of this?”, we would still be sitting around camp fires throwing stones at each other, wondering how we are going to kill our next meal.

Shut up and ride,
Giovanni Smecca


  • Dylan

    Awesome!!! Cant wait to see more!

  • AntiBobber

    just what we need is another bobber. how creative of you. I’m a serious rider your a fool.
    Bedhead on hondashadow forums

    • Although I have the ability to delete your comment, it pleasures me more to leave it and showcase not only your poor grammar, but your blatant ignorance to the rest of the world.

      • AntiBobber

        Dude, I’ve crashed more bikes than you’ll ever own in your enitire life time. I’m a serious biker and an excelent rider and no how to ride any bike. bobber or not. So quit clowning around just because you didn’t like my response to youare build. I’m done hear. Didn’t mean to come down so hard on you but you bought it on youself. Wish you good luck on you’ve build man.

        • Hawk

          You must of landed on your head in all these motorcycle accidents you speak of.

        • Str8 Ehrlich

          Holy shit, this guy only ended up spelling a total of three words correctly in his entire rant. Fucking fabulous.

    • Stan

      Why the fuck would you google bobber build if you don’t like them you fucktard?!

  • Frankie

    Who is this guy “AntiBobber” and what is up with him coming on hear and bashing you’re build man? The dude is deafinintly a dufus that doesnt even know how to spell property and use grammer correctly. Just ignore the dude and don’t listen to him bro. I like what yo’re doing with the bike and want to do something simalur to mine. Looking forward to more updates from you!!

  • BOB

    Awesome!!! Cant wait to see more!

  • Nice bike!

  • you built that?

  • Dude I just read that write up…I did not know you were in to that shit…we need to build a cafe racer really soon

    • The next planned build happens to be a cafe racer! Be on the lookout!

  • The “Real” Antiobber

    Sweet build! I’m sure you get some serious puss following you home

  • The Ripper

    Awesome job guys,I laughed my ass off at the welcome mat concept! You made the bike look tough as hell.

  • Jarrod

    thanks everyone! we had a blast building her, and i have to say that its a real treat to ride around town. definitely doing an old school cafe racer next.

    p.s. HAWK!! …i do not recall

  • so thats jarrod’s?

  • Brendyn Clarke

    haha Giovanni that “Antibobber” guy is hilarious! “I’ve crashed more bikes than you’ll probably ever own!” hahaha that is not something to be proud of. what an Arse! you guys made a sick bike out of something that was just plain OEM and that’s what the bike world is all about. custom creativity and your own image. not the hum drum everyday same ole same ole. I need to get off my butt and get this Honda I’ve got on the road so we can ride!

  • Olivier

    Thanks for sharing, that is very interesting and well written :o)
    I’m now actually looking for a shadow to do something similar during this winter.
    As I’m on a budget, that looks perfect for me

  • engineer.wannabe

    Hey I have a 2001 Honda Shadow VLX600 and I’m Bobbin’ it. But I need a little help, what did you do with the turn signals and lisence plate?

    • The turn signals were removed completely from the bike and the license plate was mounted on a bracket on the side of the bike. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of it or I’d show you what I mean…

  • Spanky

    Hey man great bike. I was wondering if you relocated the fuel filter and all that and where if so

    • the fuel filter stayed in place, under the seat. when we modded the bike, we didn’t mod that area of the frame at all.

  • tom costello

    anyone that looks at this hardwork and art work and doesnt appreciate it gets my fist down theyre throat. In the middle of a bobber build myself right now. i love what youve done. MMA cage vet also, hey “anti bobber doosh bag”…your first lesson is free. good job boyz!!

  • K-Laz

    Really nice build, just wondering what you did with the exhaust more than just cut them of, did you need any re jetting and all that stuff?

    Looking on doing the same thing with my exhausts..

    • the bike was never re-jetted, and ran strong. but understand, this bike was more of a ratty style build than a daily driver…

  • cody

    that is one beautiful bike from the start. but i love everything you have done with the bike. i have a 86 vt700 shadow. this bike of yours is amazing and is a big inspiration to me. while all the other kids my age are into the rice rockets im tryin to keep the dram alive and i’m all about the bobbers and the cafe racers. unfortunately ive ran into a bit of trouble and i have a lot of questions. is there an email to contact or do you just prefer on here? first off where did you purchase those wheels? did you have to make any mods to the frame?

  • dillon

    hi i am building the same bike into a bobber , did you have to jet the carbs after cutting down the pipes, or it ran just fine with thwe stock jets and everything?

    • like i said above, the bike was never re-jetted, and ran strong. but understand, this bike was more of a ratty style build than a daily driver…

  • Jonathan

    Hey man. I’m bobbing a 87 shadow right now and want to copy your side mounted brake light. When I pulled mine off, I see 2 bolts on the bottom. Did you use a piece of angle or weld something together. Help me out brother! Thanks!!

    • When we took the tail light off (or something else maybe?) there was a bracket that was about 3 or 4 inches long with two holes drilled in each side. I used that to help mount the tail light… Sorry for being vague, but that’s all I remember and the bike was sold. What I do remember though is that whatever I used came off of the bike. I didn’t fabricate anything to hold it.

  • Stan

    Great build thread. Antibobber is a prick!

  • Patrick

    How and where did you mount the licence plate?

  • Cral Dogman

    I am a serius biker. I ride serius bikes. I am betterd than u is I is no like de bobber cuz I is a serus biker dude man and I crasht sum bikes and hit my hed on de rode. Hahahaha!!!! That dude really got y’all going!!!

    Love the build, especially the worn effect on the tank. Beautiful! I have a 94 vlx I bought at Copart a few months ago and am getting ready to tear into it. It was dumped and is stuck in 4th gear. I hope it’s something stupid (maybe bent shift fork?) but I have to get the engine apart to find out!

  • 97″ vt600c

    got me a free 97 VT600c Shadow it need some repair and what you have done to yours is just what I have in mind… unfortunatly your work wasn’t step by step description but at least you gave me an idea as to what to look for and how to fix it…. Good job ! just one question about the seat: is the same from the bike but modified or you bought it???

  • Brownie

    Awesome job!! What kid of paint did you use?

    • Krylon rattle can at the time! With the right techniques you can make it look pretty damn good and its cheap to re-do every few years!

  • Awesome blog, and sweet bike. The “Purists” out there drive me nuts. You weren’t sneaking in their garage cutting up their bike. Seems like you had fun and you cracked me up along the way, today was a good day.

  • Alex

    I own a 2008 and I want to lower it so I wanted to know if cutting the springs would work

  • hightowerjon

    Very cool my friend, about to start on a VT600 myself here in Thailand. You give all of us shade tree’s hope…..Please post your next “Project”, I like your style.

  • daniel

    Do you still have rear fender support bar?
    Email me and let me know thanks

    • It was permanently removed and discarded when it was cut off. Sorry.

    • Jay Wurts

      hey daniel im working on my bike as we speak and i have that support bar still.

  • joben


    I had no idea how to approach the whole thing but have been really serious about doing it… so now thanks to smecca, I shall succeed!

    • Hah, thanks! Sometimes you just got to jump right in and get your hands dirty and you never know what the end result will be! Good luck!

  • kenny

    thanks l’m getting ready to do the same thing this winter on my 03 I was worried a little about that rear end cutt but hell just do it rite .

  • _JT_

    Did you use the original pipes and just cut them off or did you install completely different ones to the bike? Im looking to convert my 2001 honda shadow to a bobber and just looking for some tips! Thanks!

    • We cut the original pipes

      • Wade

        Did you have to tune at all for the cut pipes I’m wanting to cut mine because my buddy fucked my pipes up with a vice trying to get the “non removable” baffles out lol. But iv had people tell me not too cause it could blow up with the wrong back pressure I just want them as loud as possible it’s a 600 lol not really worried abt getting tickets and I’m in sc so no emissions test

        94 vt600c

        • OnlyTNiSee

          WHAT DID YOU END UP DOING TO YOUR 600? did you use custom exhaust or rejet

  • CJ

    very nice read :D:D bike looks very good 😀

  • Bike looks great dude. I did the same with my 83 750. Took anything I could find (hell I even used a stake holding a fence down in my yard to use as a fender support) ended up buying the bike for 500$ and finishing it for about 100$ more lol. That’s how you gotta be when building a Bobber. Use your imagination and you’d be surprised at what the outcome could be.

  • phil

    hello, i just stumbled across this while looking at various vlx bobber builds. just wondering ’cause if i find a vlx, it will probaly be an older one that might need some work., you said you had a miss in the rear cylinder that came back to haunt you. what happened there? thanks.

  • Rommy

    Giovanni, very cool ride! Thanks for a perfect detailed description of a project!

  • jo3k3r

    good shit! working on an ’04 Shadow right now

  • James Otho Miller

    Do you still answer this post? I have a 94 VT1100C not sure what I’m wanting to do with it, but I’d Love to run just the headers!!! Did cutting the pipes give you any loss of power, or burnt valves, or any other complications?

  • Larry Kliest

    Hi am I too late?

  • Matt Bennett

    If a guy wanted to build something just like the one in the article, what year/type of shadow would he look for?

  • adam

    Well written tale of events. I enjoyed reading from start to finish. Good job on your bike. Here’s my 600 Steed in S. Korea. I think I’m gonna wrap the pipes like you did and get creative with the intake.

  • JuanCarlos Goris

    What kind of gas tank did you get to fit? I have a 1993 600 I’m bobbing , I need advise. You pics seem to have 2 different tanks. Reply to

  • Mus

    How much this cost?