What motorcycle has a flat-Six engine and causes power junkies to salivate and then beg whenever its name is mentioned? What performance cruiser has been out of Honda’s lineup for 10 years? What motorcycle, when mentioned in conversation, almost always ends up with someone recounting the broad sliding behemoth on a dry lake bed that set the standard for an exciting motorcycle advertisement for many years?
By this point, the faithful are well aware the moment is at hand: The almighty Honda Valkyrie returns to the streets of a grateful nation! Okay, maybe that was laying it on a bit thick, but any time Honda upgraded the Gold Wing – and particularly when the F6B was announced – a question was posed by expectant fans. Is this the year when we finally have the answer and a chance to buy another Valkyrie.
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Today, Honda ended all of the questioning. The 2014 Valkyrie has been more than updated. It’s been reworked from the ground up. Gone are the retro cues that make the old, beloved, Valkyrie look as dated as the open collars on the polyester shirts of the disco era. Instead, Honda’s designers clearly wanted to make the new Valkyrie look like a modern tarmac-consuming beast.
While the style may be futuristic, the equation Honda used to create the new Valkyrie is the same as with the original. Starting with the Gold Wing, they stripped the chassis down to the bare essentials then grafted on a low, 28.8 in. seat height. Next, layer on only the most necessary components to achieve the muscular style and performance associated with the name. Oh, and update it by blacking out as much of the hardware as possible.
The angular LED headlight has a new flash-to-pass feature. The turn signals and brake lights are all LEDs, as well. The bodywork is minimal, consisting of fenders and covers for the side-mounted radiators, engine lowers, and side panels. The instrumentation is minimalist yet totally modern. The pillion and grab rails are removable, and covers will hide the mounting holes.
The Gold Wing’s fuel-injected 1832cc engine is known for its torque delivery. The shortened dual exhausts are designed to deliver a deeper exhaust note, while the airbox has additional intake holes to allow the rider to hear more of the resonant, throaty intake growl.
Add 10-spoke cast aluminum 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels and ladle on 130/60-19 and 180/55-17 radial tires, respectively. Make sure the brakes match the rubber by making them dual 310mm front discs with four-piston calipers and a single 316mm rear disc with a three-piston caliper. Give the customer a non-linked ABS option.
By lessening the mass of the Gold Wing, the Valkyrie will be able to do more with the power with which it was graced. The new Valkyrie weighs in at 750 lb. ready to ride. That’s 154 lb. less than the Wing! That’s the same as an instant horsepower bump.
Just sitting on the Valkyrie and lifting it off its side stand reveals not only the reduction in weight, but also the lowering of the CG. Speaking of low, the seat’s measured height is pretty low, but the width of the chassis may make the perceived seat height feel slightly higher than 28.8 inches listed.
Riders who have been fortunate enough to ride the old school Valk will feel instantly at home with only the slightly higher pegs giving a hint at a changed riding position. The upper body and arms fall into a slightly forward bend which will help handle the acceleration that the engine is sure to generate.
Honda says that the Valkyrie will be available in the spring of 2014 in black, dark red metallic, and blue metallic. Price has not been set, but it will surely retail for less than the $19,999 F6B.