A new six cylinder on styling steroids and minus 154 pounds
After the recent U.S. and Euro shows it was reasonable to think we’d seen everything Honda had coming for this year. This week though we learned Big H was holding back its coup de grâce for the U.S. market: the 2014 Valkyrie.
Honda caught many off guard last year introducing the Gold Wing-based F6B, the pared down trunkless bagger using the venerable 1832cc flat six engine. The F6B retained the Wing’s highly regarded, twin spar aluminum frame and single side Pro Arm swing arm, and improved performance by eliminating 60 pounds and lots of wind resistance.
With the striking new Valkyrie, Honda again flexes its design skills around their six cylinder muscle motor in the Power Cruiser segment. Honda created the category with their 1983 V65 Magna and invigorated it with the original Valkyrie series (‘96-’03) and 2004’s Valkyrie Rune. Although it used the 1800 motor, the Rune’s limited production, chrome focused concept and $25,000 price tag kept its customer base small.
Veteran reviewers agree the F6B and the Gold Wing already carve corners far better than anyone who hasn't ridden them can believe. The Valkyrie goes beyond the F6B in handling and other areas, especially in stripping weight; down to a svelte 750 pounds wet. That’s 154 to 183 pounds less than current Gold Wing versions and 85-90 pounds less than the Rune.
The new Valkyrie has bigger, sport-bike like tires and a new steering geometry (increased rake and trail) to produce a 50/50 weight distribution. Suspension spring & damping rates on both ends are revised for the reduced weight. Intake and exhaust mods improve the sixpot’s unique snarl leaving horsepower and the 4,000 RPM torque peak untouched. With its dramatic new power to weight ratio, the Valky will likely produce roll on passing experiences akin to the warp drive sequences in Star Wars. Slowing that velocity, even with less weight, justified new four-piston calipers up front and larger full-floating 310mm rotors vs. the 296mm discs found on F6B and Gold Wing. An Anti-Lock Braking System is available as an option. New 10 spoke, 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels also provide more cornering clearance. The pre-production unit Bikeland saw had about 400 miles on the odo but was wearing fresh 180/55R-17 rear rubber for its debut. After seeing a here-to-the-horizon burnout video and grins of the staff who’d ridden it, we weren’t surprised. Just lifting the bike off the side stand is telling. The center of gravity is so low it feels lighter, like a middleweight…or maybe even less. The 28.8 inch seat height doesn’t confine taller riders thanks to good cockpit ergos which have slightly higher, more forward, bars and pegs.
Despite its massive torque and thrust, Valkyrie won’t be the highest horsepower cruiser; however that may not matter. The silky rush of the flat six combined with the low CG and light weight should produce an unmatchable ride experience. Demos will be important.
Form and function combine in the styling. For example, in profile, those linebacker-like bodywork shoulders surrounding the side mount radiators provide wind protection for the legs and also sweep hot air out around the rider. A locking storage compartment takes advantage of open space under one of the side covers.
Pictures are usually self-explanatory but walking around the Valkyrie, especially next to other bikes, brings to mind terms like “bad ass”, “mean” and “dominate”. The bike has an intimidating, ominous presence especially at night. All lighting including the headlight is LED and instrumentation is multi function LCD. Turning the key initiates a short digital dash message which, comically, was “Valkyrie” followed by “Hello”. Owners will reportedly be able to reprogram the message at their whim. We can foresee “Who the hell R U?” or “Extinguish cigar before launch” being more fun for showing friends.
Honda believes the market for this new bad boy is potentially wider than many may think. Not just based on the prices original Valkys still command or the ongoing inquiries American Honda has had ever since production stopped. There is likely good demand from previous owners but where the namesake Valk had retro appeal the new bike is meant to deliver a different, more powerful experience. Honda bets there will be opportunities with other Boomers, metric cruiser trade ups and Touring bike owners who just want an additional bike. Yes you’d be surprised how many full dress touring people have second bikes. SRP is not finalized yet but Honda is targeting “the $17,000 range” which should make lots of prospects happy. Availability is scheduled for Spring 2014.
Compared to the Gold Wing the Valky has literally lost the equivalent weight of a passenger although it can still carry one in grand style. The slated list of Genuine Honda accessories will include passenger preferred pieces like a back rest and foot boards. For those who prefer the Lone Wolf look, the Valkyrie passenger seat and handrail is removable and the bike comes with color matched covers to hide that they were ever there.
When Honda introduced the Power Cruiser segment, a Magna tag line proclaimed “Nothing that’s ever looked like this has ever performed like this.” Sounds like that’s going to be the case again. Bikeland looks forward to throwing a leg over and letting you know.
Additional information below from Honda…
For the second time this November, Honda is bringing big news to the Powersports marketplace. And it’s really big news—literally.
“Today a motorcycling icon returns in all-new form,” said Powersports Press Manager Bill Savino. “The Valkyrie is back, but this isn’t a motorcycle that celebrates the past. This is a cruiser unlike any other for people who want to seize the future, who appreciate distinctive style, who want the kind of performance no cruiser can match. The Valkyrie redefines the term “muscle cruiser.”
The Valkyrie is an enthusiast-based motorcycle targeted at serious riders looking for a special ride that sets them apart from the crowd and also delivers performance that’s clearly a cut above the rest. True to its iconic name, the Valkyrie targets the hearts and souls of enthusiasts in a way that only Honda can.”
The Valkyrie® name is legendary, and the machine first introduced in 1996 has a hard-core following to this day. Now for 2014, the Valkyrie takes that unmistakable swagger to a whole new level.
It’s a winning formula: Take a legendary machine, strip it down to the essentials to shed pounds, wrap it in minimalist bodywork and power it with an engine that produces ground-shaking torque and an unmistakable six-cylinder howl. The core of this remarkable custom is Honda’s unique 1832cc liquid-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine that also powers the Gold Wing® and Gold Wing F6B. With an awe-inspiring power-to-weight ratio, aluminum twin-spar frame and suspension system tuned for serious riders, the Valkyrie is all about unparalleled performance and style. With a curb weight of 750 pounds, the Valkyrie is a welterweight with a heavyweight punch, that also includes modern touches; LED headlight, taillight and turn signals, multi-function digital LCD instrumentation and available Anti-Lock Braking System. The Valkyrie is one totally cool ride that’s set so far apart from anything else on the market it has to be experienced to be believed. Colors: Black, Dark Red Metallic, Blue Metallic; Price: TBD; Availability: April
- Powerful, fuel-injected 1832cc engine features a parallel two-valve cylinder head with direct shim-under-bucket valve actuation for extraordinary power and performance along with a smooth, sophisticated engine feel plus rugged dependability.
- Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) incorporates two 40mm throttle bodies and six high-pressure programmed fuel injectors for excellent metering under varying conditions.
- Low seat height of 28.8 inches, curb weight of 750 pounds and low center of gravity all combine to help give the Valkyrie impressive handling and brilliant all-around performance.
- Spacious and accommodating two-piece seat with removable passenger seat.
- Stylish tail section incorporates aluminum passenger grabrails which are removable for a streamlined look.
- LED headlight, taillight and turn signals contribute to a distinctive appearance.
- Fat 1-inch handlebar lends a custom look.
- Multi-function digital LCD instrumentation.
- 15 Honda Genuine Accessories will be available for the Valkyrie.
- Optional ABS model contributes to consistent braking action under a wide variety of road conditions.
- Transferable three-year limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.
Honda Genuine Accessories†
Backrest, Wind Deflector, Passenger Floorboards, Rear Carrier, Saddlebags, LED Fog Lights, 12-Volt Accessory Socket, Billet Master Cylinder cover, Chrome Side Stand, Chrome Side Covers, Chrome Swingarm Pivot, Custom Grips, Boulevard Screen, Tall Windscreen, Leather Touring Bag
† WARRANTY: Because we’re so confident in the quality of each of our Honda Genuine Accessories, we’re pleased to offer one of the best warranties in the industry. Three-year warranty begins on the day accessories are purchased by the customer.
Accessories subject to change.
Model: Valkyrie / Valkyrie ABS
Engine Type: 1832cc liquid-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder
Bore and Stroke: 74mm x 71mm
Compression ratio: 9.8:1
Valve Train: SOHC; two valves per cylinder
Ignition: Computer-controlled digital with 3-D mapping
Final Drive: Shaft
Front: 45mm cartridge fork; TBD inches travel
Rear: Pro-Arm single side swingarm with Pro-Link rear single shock with hydraulic spring preload; TBD inches travel
Front: Dual 310mm front discs
Rear: Single 316mm rear disc
Wheelbase: 67.2 inches
Rake (Caster angle): 29° 50’
Trial: 114mm (4.5 inches)
Seat Height: 28.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 6.1 gallons
Estimated Fuel Economy**: TBD
Colors: Black, Dark Red Metallic, Blue Metallic
Curb Weight*: 750 pounds (Valkyrie) / 754 pounds (Valkyrie ABS)
*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride.
**Miles per gallon values are calculated estimates of fuel consumed during laboratory exhaust emissions tests specified by the EPA, not during on-road riding. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you ride and maintain your vehicle, weather, road conditions, tire pressure, cargo and accessories, rider and passenger weight, and other factors.
Meets current CARB and EPA standards.
Specifications subject to change
2014 Valkyrie Development Story
The Valkyrie® name is legendary, and the powerful six-cylinder Muscle Cruiser that stirred so many souls when it was first introduced in 1996 has a hard-core following to this day. Now for 2014, the Valkyrie takes that unmistakable swagger to a whole new level.
It’s a winning formula: Take a legendary machine, strip it down to the bare knuckles, wrap it in minimalist bodywork and power it with an engine that produces ground-shaking torque and an unmistakable six-cylinder howl. The Valkyrie is not a tribute machine that celebrates the past. This is a cruiser unlike any other for people who appreciate quality and distinctive style, and the kind of performance no conventional custom can match.
The core of this remarkable machine is Honda’s unique 1832cc liquid-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine that also powers the Gold Wing® and Gold Wing F6B. With an awe-inspiring power-to-weight ratio, aluminum twin-spar frame and suspension system tuned for serious riders, the Valkyrie is all about unparalleled performance and style.
The Valkyrie’s arrival comes at a perfect time; interest in the heavyweight cruiser segment have been ratcheting upward as experienced riders with discriminating taste seek out big-engine performance for a premium riding experience. And the Valkyrie fits that description, with the added benefit of performance the conventional bikes in the category can’t touch. This is the bike the Valkyrie faithful have been waiting for, and it’s bound to attract a broad segment of the riding public as well because arresting looks, massive power and superb handling in a large displacement motorcycle tends to create its own gravitational pull.
A class of one, then and now
That first Honda Valkyrie inspired the phrase Muscle Cruiser to describe a whole new category of motorcycle. The appearance of this original no-holds-barred machine literally carved out a brand-new class of one: unique custom styling, a big displacement six-cylinder engine for big power, great handling and genuine long-haul abilities all rolled into one gotta-have-it package. And to nobody’s surprise, it became an overnight sensation. Now this brand-new Honda Valkyrie redefines the Muscle Cruiser category by elevating all of the above qualities to new heights. Through its minimalist approach, the Valkyrie weighs an incredible 154 pounds less than the current GL1800, which should give you a hint about its awe-inspiring performance.
Power to spare
With the torque peak arriving early at only 4000 rpm and peak power hitting 1500 revs later, plus a considerably sportier power-to-weight ratio than the Gold Wing or F6B, the Valkyrie delivers astonishing roll-on power. A shorter, lighter and more compact exhaust system with slash-cut tips gives the Valkyrie a distinctive visual identity plus a deeper, booming voice of authority to accompany its amazing power. A black-out treatment like the F6B gives this powerplant a muscular hot-rod look.
By the very nature of its design, the unique, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine configuration promotes an exceptionally low center of gravity, which leads to responsive handling. The Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system carries over from the Gold Wing, and this system too is a model of refined performance under just about every street-riding situation to be encountered. The Valkyrie features its own unique intake ducting to feed air to the two 40mm throttle bodies, which feature six high-pressure fuel injectors. In addition, the five-speed gearbox, clutch and shaft final drive have all been thoroughly proven over more than a decade and millions of miles of real-world GL1800 use.
Specially designed radiator shrouds net an important rider benefit: The shape and angle of the shrouds re-direct hot air away from the rider for added comfort.
Strong foundations for handling prowess
The Valkyrie chassis design centers on the basic aluminum frame used in the GL1800 and F6B, and it’s a great one. Paralleling Honda’s twin-spar aluminum frames designed for sport bikes, this frame delivers handling traits and rider feel and feedback more like a full-on sport bike than a cruiser. Because aluminum is easier to manipulate for efficiently tuning frame-tube shapes, wall thicknesses and other dimensions for optimum rigidity and light weight, the specific strength and rigidity/tuned flex qualities are applied to the frame where most needed. Most major dimensions remain unchanged from the GL1800 and F6B, but the Valkyrie frame does sport a different rear subframe to accommodate its unique seating arrangement.
That 154-pound advantage over the full-dress Gold Wing reaps some truly amazing rewards: excellent maneuverability, light and agile manners. The stout 45mm fork has been lengthened to raise the front end, and it incorporates a cartridge damper for plush yet well-controlled response. Fork damping settings are unique to this model, given its lighter curb weight of 750 pounds and a new weight distribution that is now effectively a 50/50 split.
The rear Pro-Link® single-shock suspension system and a single-sided Pro-Arm® swingarm incorporate a shock with damping tuned toward sporty riding. A dial-type remote adjuster offers easy access for quick adjustments to rear shock spring preload. Dual full-floating 310mm rotors (larger than the 296mm discs found on the F6B and Gold Wing) and new four-piston calipers up front, plus the rear 316mm disc setup deliver stellar braking power and terrific feel (an Anti-Lock Braking System is available as an option). With 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels, the Valkyrie also adds a touch more cornering clearance to the equation.
Reflecting its more sporting nature, the Valkyrie’s rider triangle has changed as well. The footpegs are 1.3 inches higher and 0.6 of an inch forward compared to those on the F6B. The handlebar is set 1.3 inches forward, 1.5 inches taller and spreads 0.7 inch wider compared to the F6B’s bar. And yes, that is a beefy 1-inch handlebar with new switchgear that adds to the Valkyrie’s muscular looks, and it’s rubber-mounted for added comfort. The traditional-style fuel tank holds a full 6.1 gallons, and the two-piece seat draws attention to the open, more spacious cruiser-oriented riding ergonomics. Passengers will appreciate the look and function of the aluminum grab rail, but if priorities lean toward solo riding, the rear seat and grab rail are easily removed, and a cover is provided to hide the rail mounting points for a cool solo look.
The Valkyrie also receives its own unique meter setup with an LCD digital speedometer, tachometer, trip meters, clock, and fuel-level gauge, and the rider can also customize the opening message when the key is turned on. The unique handlebar switchgear, LED turn signals, LED taillight and LED headlight all contribute to the Valkyrie’s unique appearance. And to top it all off, 15 Honda Genuine Accessories will be available that gives buyers even more to work with to personalize their Valkyrie’s looks.
With the Valkyrie, Honda adds a new branch to the Gold Wing family tree, now encompassing three truly unique motorcycles for riders of different stripes. Like the very first version, this newest Valkyrie is a genuine muscle bike, yet one that is remarkably refined thanks in large part to its incredibly powerful yet smooth six-cylinder engine. With its awe-inspiring acceleration, a chassis designed to deliver an elevated level of handling performance for more aggressive riding, radical hot-rod styling and all-around versatility, the Valkyrie goes well beyond conventional class limits to do what the original Valkyrie did: Carve out a class of its own. And that makes the Valkyrie profoundly and completely Honda.