Is it a Cruiser, a touring or a muscle bike? The Honda Valkyrie is all of that and much more. The return of this Japanese naked muscle bike caused the same buzz as it did its introduction. The Honda Valkyrie 2018 is featured in two colours, lighter, powerful and road-ready. Read on to find out more about this Japanese muscle bike´s return.
It was the middle of the nineties, and Honda decided to release a cruiser with a larger, and a very different engine. The original Honda Valkyrie was named GL1500C, however, only in the American market. It featured an engine configuration that is very rarely found on a cruiser. It was initially designed for the Honda Goldwing and inherited to the Honda Valkyrie. This horizontally opposed, liquid-cooled, flat-six engine had 1,520cc.
Besides that, the most notable change to the original engine was the camshaft, and along with it, Honda placed an individual 28mm-carburettor to each cylinder and these two alterations to the original design caused the Honda Valkyrie to have more power and torque.
The original Honda Valkyrie suffered many modifications. It was released as a naked bike, but also had a Tourer and an Interstate model. These two incarnations lasted very little and were absorbed by the Goldwing line. The original Honda Valkyrie remained available as it was in the beginning until 2003. After it was discontinued by Honda, it became a classic.
The big difference between that model of a bike and the rest is the engine, and for being a stripped bike or a cruiser, it is very powerful. The low roar can be heard a block away by just turning the ignition key and imagine what happens after you twist the throttle.
This is a motorcycle that has been referred to by many as a sculpture on two wheels. It was the end of the year 2003, and after the Honda Valkyrie was retired, Rune came to the scene which was even more powerful than its predecessor. Furthermore, the engineers at Honda decided to go even bigger and fitted a 1,832 cubic centimetres engine to it. It worked on fuel injection and was liquid-cooled as its predecessor.
The Honda Valkyrie Rune is a huge bike. It´s got monumental proportions as a Goldwing but no paraphernalia. However, there are no saddlebags, no front windshield or extras of any kind. Honda came up with a 1,800cc cruiser that looked as menacing as it sounded.
Two valves per cylinder, single overhead cams and 32mm throttle bodies make this monolith drive like mad. It is capable of some grotesque torque and is definitely not a beginner´s bike. However, it might sound like manoeuvrability mammoth, which just woke up from a frozen dream, but manoeuvrability was fine and most riders agree upon this fact all across the company.
The surprisingly digital non-reflective panel for speed numbers was a great addition and altogether they definitely took the time to build a historic bike with the Honda Valkyrie Rune.
If you ever happen to come across a Honda Valkyrie Rune, you will notice her for sure. Honda set out to build a bike like no other in production furthermore, the flat-six engine street-motorcycle market niche is theirs exclusively.
As the company attempted and the public responded, the Honda Valkyrie Rune became a classic overnight. Everybody wanted to try one out and it surely is to this day (15 years later) a one-of-a-kind bike and has unique features. For example, Honda had never manufactured bigger breaks for a street bike before and never did that again either.
The Honda Valkyrie Rune was manufactured for a year and a half. Undoubtedly, this time was more than enough to leave a mark and the door open for the future. They are challenging to find today and not cheap, and replacement parts and accessories are very scarce too.
This happened in November 2013, after the EVO6 concept motorcycle did badly in sales. The Honda Valkyrie did its triumphant return as a 1832cc bike. It took the best of both worlds and turned a Goldwing into a cruiser once again. Although the engine is the same as the GL1800, the Honda Valkyrie weights 70kg less. This makes this motorcycle even faster and more powerful than its predecessors.
Since it was back in production in 2014, there was a model for each year. It is possible to find an almost new Honda Valkyrie 2016 in great shape. You will also find a Honda Valkyrie 2017, but pricing will be close to new.
The Honda Valkyrie 2018 still has the 4-stroke, 12-valve flat-six engine that made it famous. The fifth gear was turned into an override to make long trips more comfortable. The electronic injection is not a new addition but is very handy with the automatic choke system.
The biggest difference is, perhaps, the appearance. Honda has decided to drop the retro looks that made the Valkyrie so popular. The new incarnation is a modern bike with cool colours and looks. Although we all miss the retro chrome additions, it is definitely a step forward for Honda. The reduced weight forced the company to do redistribution of the weight, which is now 50/50.
Most importantly, the upgraded breaks make a big difference when compared to the Goldwing. This lighter motorcycle sports 310mm rotors and besides that, the hoops changed giving a 19-inch to the front and a 17-inch to the rear. Different from the Goldwing, there is no link in the Honda Valkyrie 2018 breaks.
Major changes to accommodate the Honda Valkyrie to 21st Century safety are the LED lights and they are not as retro and hip as the Rune´s front lamp, but more accurate. Furthermore, they illuminate the way even in the harshest situations without any hassle.
The rider´s position in terms of the famous triangle is very comfortable. Furthermore, most riders agree that lifting the pegs and the bar helped their torso position. This is indeed a fast and spicy ride, so the position is very important. Do not expect it to be as snappy and responsive as a V-Twin is. Undoubtedly, the Honda Valkyrie is a much bigger bike.
But despite its weight and size, releasing the clutch and engaging the throttle gets you off immediately. The sweet spot is somewhere above the 3,000 RPM but handles lower speeds very well too. The manoeuvring and dealing with the city traffic is not as hard as expected, and according to most riders, the Honda Valkyrie takes curves very well. Most say that you can hold with two feet on the ground almost effortlessly.
However, the only drawback found by most in the Honda Valkyrie is that suspension is a little stiffer. Maybe because it is not within the Honda “Touring” line like the Goldwing is. The Honda Valkyrie offers fantastic control of the central spring but is not as silky as the GL line.
Accessories you can buy from Honda:
This after-market accessory, simple, yet a complete must if you are leaving your bike outside. It will fold endlessly, and once it does, it can fit in your backpack. With a machine the size of the Honda Valkyrie, the temptation of going far is big. It has a big fuel tank of 6.1 gallons that will get you through most roads. If you are taking your bike with you on an adventure, keep it protected. This is not an expensive accessory, it is simple but it will make a huge difference.
This short windshield will protect you from the insects and any other natural element. Additionally, the installation is easy and inexpensive. The construction is of rugged polycarbonate. It is small enough not to disturb the look of the bike while doing its job.
These grips not only enhance the comfort and control over the vehicle but also to engage the WOW factor. Made out of forged aluminium with shiny chrome plating also include EPDM rubber grip. The moulded rubber has a knurled pattern which is printed on it. You never felt so comfortable, and the motorcycle has never been so pretty. Conveniently, they come in a set of two.
Backrest with Pad
It is the ideal accessory for going the distance on a Sunday morning and taking someone with you. Even though it is a little part, it makes a big difference, especially in comfort while travelling for a while. All motorbikes aerodynamic design goes for the driver. The back and posture of the second person will have a very different experience, and this backrest pad fits perfectly, installs easy and is very comfy.
Smart Turn System (STS) – This is a very tiny add-on that you can install to any bike and it works much like the self-cancelling turn-signal system that you usually find in cars. Amazingly, the little add-on device will sense when you finished the turn and automatically turn off your indicators. It is an awesome addition especially for those who also drive cars. It will fit your Honda Valkyrie like a dream. Once you try it, you´ll install it on every bike you own.
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Smart Brake Module (SBM) – Shutting down the throttle of the bike will immediately make you go slower. In fact, most bikers on the road hardly ever step on the breaks but use mostly only the throttle. This great little device senses the deceleration when engine braking and down-shifting and once it does, it will engage your stop light immediately.
Furthermore, it could prevent many accidents and you will definitely feel more secure with it when on the highway or a big road. You can install it on your brand new Honda Valkyrie and not only is the installation a piece of cake, it will take you ten minutes to install at most.
The Honda Valkyrie is a one-of-a-kind line. From its introduction in the mid-90s to its latest incarnation, it is a unique motorcycle. There are other brands manufacturing 6-cylinder bikes in the market, but not like this. The Honda Valkyrie created a space of its own and then mastered it and the market niche was non-existent before its arrival, but it triumphed time and again.
From the sculpture on two wheels to the technological advances and the daring riders, the Honda Valkyrie is writing history. The feeling you get when hitting the road on such a big cruiser is unmatched and surely, a corporation as big as Honda will continue to make improvements on the current model and hopefully, we´ll be there to ride the Honda Valkyrie of the future.