Getting Started

GET STARTED Modifying your Honda Shadow VLX 600

The following list is a great way to get started modding your stock bike, beginning with simple cosmetic changes and flowing into more advanced performance and cosmetic modifications that will both personalize and bring your VLX to life. Shop for specific parts for your bike at VLX VT600

With its low seat height and old school chopper styling there are many things that can be done to give each VLX its own personality and a much better look.


1. If your model of VLX has two tail light bulbs you can integrate a run turn brake controller to allow you to remove your stock rear turn signals and use your dual brake light bulbs as turn signals giving the back end a sleek look.

2. If you want to save money BikeMaster makes a short turn signal stem for the rear stock turn signals, otherwise, replacing the stock turn signals can drastically change the appearance of your bike giving your ride a cleaner custom look. Extreme Discount Cycle has a unique option to eliminate the rear turn signals by integrating them into an LED replacement Tail light. Arlen Ness makes some sleek looking LED bolt on turn signals. Chris Products makes a 4 light turn signal kit that can give your VLX a Harley turn signal look with either handlebar clamp mounts or 39mm fork tube mounts up front and fabricating a mount for the rear turn signals. Kuryakyn has mirrors with integrated front turn signals and other single filament options that look good. The universal options are vast from varying brands to meet your cosmetic and functional needs. If you have a dual bulb rear turn signal you can eliminate your rear turn signals by running dual run/turn/brake lights inside your tail light by using a Kuryakyn Universal Controller or a universal trailer light wiring converter modified to work form a local auto parts store.


3. Although a rear mount License plate holder doesn't look bad, you may want a more custom look. You can relocate your license plate with a side mount bracket and inspection sticker holder if applicable. There are many options with or without a brake light, just make sure you have a license plate light. And check the legality in your state for vertical verses horizontal license plates.

4. Relocate your rear turn signals by fabricating mounting brackets on your rear fender strut bars or somewhere else on your bike such as your shock mounts. Also there are universal turn signal relocation kits available from Kuryakyn and Saddlemen . The front signals can be relocated to the fork tubes or handlebars utilizing clamps or a custom mounting bracket.

See our Electrical and Lighting Page for more information on the above mentioned lighting options including: LED lighting and potential problems, Tail light elimination, Side Mounts, Driving Lights, Mounting and Signal Relocation, etc.

5. Although the rear suspension height of the VLX is quite low compared to other stock Shadow models there is still quite a bit of room available between the rear tire and the fender giving it a slight dirt bike ride height perception. Thankfully there are a plethora of options to lower the rear your ride, you could install a shorter shock, fabricate and install a custom air ride suspension, or simply install a lowering bracket from Scootworks or LA Choppers. If you want to turn your VLX into a super low Hard Tail rear end you can install a Scootworks Hardtail Kit.


6. Raise the front end using Fork Extensions: 2", 3", or 4" (installation instructions for a VT750 which is similar enough to help for the VLX can be found at Fishman's VT750DC). Bikercom offers fork tube extensions. 

See our Adjusting Ride Height page for more ideas and information.

7. When its time to replace the stock tires going to fatter rear tire can really add a custom look to your ride. By doing the VTX rear Rim Relace to your stock rear hub you can better accommodate a the stock tire or even go larger without the pinched tire balloon affect (a tire too big for the rim becomes resembles a balloon). This is compatible with all Shadow models that have a 15" rear 52 spoke rim. (The VTX rim is 1 inch wider than the stock VLX rim allowing for up to a 200 width tire).

8. If you want a taller skinnier front wheel then you can re-lace the front rim to a VT750C2 21" front rim on your hub and then remove the front fender or fabricate a new mountinb bracket. You could also try a fat front tire by swapping to a 17" ACE or Aero 750 front rim.

9. For a serious custom look  you can chop out your bike by replacing stock triple tree with a raked tree and fork tube extensions or longer fork tubes. Tree rakes range from 4 or 5 degrees up to as high as 18 degrees! Trees and chopper kits are available from a multitude of manufacturers and dealers including: MortonsBikerCom, AME Choppers, Motorcycle Accessories, or Seeger Cycle.

10. If that old school chopper look isn't for you, you could go the opposite way and Bob your bike with a bobber kit from Blue Collar Bobbers.

11. Changing to an aftermarket seat can add looks and comfort. There are multiple manufacturers of aftermarket seats for the VLX, replacing the stock seat with an aftermarket seat from: Mustang, Corbin, or Granucci can change the look and feel of your bike. You could also shave your stock seat or even build a Custom Seat for a unique look on your VLX.

12. Depending on which style of bike you are customizing your VLX to resemeber replacing the stock handlebars will complete the look. There are a plethora of options including Ape Hangers, T bars, Striaght and Swpt Drag Bars, and even Beach Bars. The stock risers accept 1 inch handle bars, aftermarket risers can be used to accomodate fatty bars as well. Note that different sized handlebars and heights may require longer cables and wiring to work.

13. Replace your stock mirrors with a custom option. Note that many smaller mirrors limit your ability to see and cheaper options vibrate much more than the stock mirrors.

14. Replace your stock foot pegs with floorboards or aftermarket pegs such as kuryakyn, arlen ness, etc.

15. Replace your stock handlebar grips with Kuryakyn ISO grips or another decorative or comfortable option.

16. If you have fabrication experience you can swap your gas tank for a harley peanut gas tank.

17. If you have experience or don't mind spending the money you could add a custom paint job to your list of cosmetic modifications.

18. Last but not least, if you haven't already done so, carefully remove reflectors and stock stickers/badges. Head their warning and then remove them they are an eye sore (Do this at your own risk of course).



Due to EPA restrictions the VT600 m]otor used in the Shadow VLX falls short on the power meter, although this is not a large motor and will be limited in how much Horsepower and Torque it could ever produce. The 600 motor is engineered to produce a certain amount of power and due to environmental restrictions that power is lost.  In order to meet these restrictions Honda installed smaller header pipes, retarded the engine timing, and used smaller jets creating a lean condition. Modifications can help to offset this lost power helping to restore it to its originally intended engine performance numbers. Tthe performance mods listed below help to do just that. Remember that this is still only a 583cc V Twin engine that can only produce so much power.

1. Add some sound to your VLX bike by drilling out the rear exhaust mufflers with a 1 3/4" hole saw. This is called the  by VT750 riders and the linked instructions at Shadow Riders are for a shadow 750 but the theory applies VLX just use the previously mentioned sized hole saw. This does not add power but will give the bike some noticable sound over stock.

2. Drop in a stock K&N factory replacement air filter to increase breathability. This may require a air mixture screw adjustment. (instructions for an Shadow ACE can be found here, the theory applies to the VLX. There is one mixture screw per carburetor pre 99 have 2 carbs.) 1988-1998 K&N on left and 1999-2007 K&N on right):


3. Install a Jet Kit (Factory Pro, Dynojet,, etc.). See the Carburetors page for additional info.

4. Remove stock air box and replace it with a K&N RA-0560 Universal High Performance Air Filter for single Carb model VLX's. Requires stage 3 jetting and tuning such as the Factory Pro CRB-HXX-10 or the Thunder Manufacturing Dynajet T1197 Jet Kit.

5. Replace your stock air box and intake tubes with a Velocity Stack(single carb) or Velocity Stacks (dual carb) from TJ Brutal Customs for maximum air flow and proper carb performance. Requries stage 3 jetting as mentioned above.

6. One of the best mods available to you is to change out the rear sprocket to a lower tooth count giving the bike a better gear ratio and an entirely different feel.

7. Install stiffer clutch springs such as EBC or Barnett.


8. 4 degree timing advance mod (Applies to all Shadow models and is best done when changing the clutch springs as the engine cover will be off). Instructions for the VLX can be found at Similar instructions for the VT750 can be found here however notice that the procedure is pretty much the same despite the engines being different.

9. After market pipes from Vance & Hines, Hard Krome, Cobra, Road Burner, or Custom: 


10. Aftermarket Thunder MFG Air Kit and a stage 3 jeting from Factory Pro or another manufacturer. There are many performance air kits from a multitude of manufactures to choose from.

11. Aftermarket Baffles for your aftermarket pipes such as those from Big City Thunder.


The rest is up to your imagination or ideas found exploring the links of this site.


Check out our list of Online Communities and Forums as well as our Recommended Stores for ideas, parts, and more.