When Honda introduced the F6 Valkyrie earlier this year, they set the motorcycle cruising world on its ear -- no one had ever attempted such a bold departure from the traditional air-cooled V-twin formula that has been so outrageously popular over the years. Various configurations have tried to capture the fancy of the cruiser market; while many have failed, the tried-and-true air-cooled V-twin formula has endured in the hearts and showrooms of America.
That is, until the Valkyrie came along.
Now that the dust has settled and the hype has slowed from its feverish pace, the true worth of the Valkyrie can be measured; its acceptance and longevity.
Critics said the Valkyrie wouldn't gain the favor of buyers since it came "too complete" right off the showroom floor. With nothing needed the bike would soon lose its appeal, they reasoned. As every bike would look the same, bikers' desire to customizing the machine would not satisfied.
Well, they were wrong.
The Valkyrie has remained popular, and even showed itself to be a threat at the most sacred of holy alters of cruiser tradition, The Black Hills Rally at Sturgis, South Dakota this past August.
Launching the first wave of aftermarket parts for Honda's heavyweight cruiser was Mike Corbin, introducing several custom saddles for long range comfort. Realizing the potential of the Valkyrie, Corbin soon geared up to produce their popular Grifter saddlebags for the big Honda.
"Pictured before you is Corbin's take on customizing the Valkyrie for fun and versatility."
The first step was adding the Grifter saddlebags and sidecovers to clean up the lines along the side of the bike, giving it the appearance of a one-off custom. Stock colors were applied by the Corbin crew (Grifter saddlebags come unpainted, the thinking being that most people want a custom design) in a scallop design that appears as an extension of the stock theme, causing more than one spectator to do a double take. In addition to the Grifter Saddlebags, our Valkyrie also wears a Corbin Gunfighter solo saddle.
This Valkyrie not only looks good, it does something that few, if any, Valkyries can do -- it sounds good. And we're not talking about the purr that emanates from the flat-six motor. This Valkyrie can really sing while styling down the road.
Tunes are provided by a custom 10-disk CD changer system designed by J&M Audio in conjunction with Corbin. In addition to providing music for machines, J&M also makes communicators and just about anything else that involves transmitting sound. A mounting plate specially designed to fit in the Grifter saddlebag holds the Kenwood 10-disc CD changer and assorted hardware. A J&M amplifier combines with the Kenwood changer to send tunes to J&M all-weather speakers mounted on the handlebar. Hey, if you're going to go for it, you might as well go all the way.
In addition to the handlebar-mounted speakers, a remote control for J&M's system is mounted on a handlebar clamp allowing you to change discs, skip through songs, pause, and when the ride is over, stop the music.
A separate volume control is mounted on the left handlebar pod to facilitate volume adjustment, which is handy while riding in traffic or when speeds and wind noises change.
We tested the unit both on the highway and around town, where it performed well with better sound quality than any stock OEM stereos we've tested -- it's able to out-power an 85 mph wind, and, at that speed, is still audible through a full-face helmet.
The CD player was especially resistant to skipping, thanks in part to the Corbin/J&M mounting system, and skipped only when the bike was jarred enough to cause kidney pain.
If you are one of the lucky ones to own a Valkyrie, and are looking to add a bit of soul, the Corbin/J&M package will not only make your lady sing, it will give her a face lift as well.
Saddlebags: Corbin Grifter Saddlebags
Doors, Door locks, Weather stripping, Liners, Turn signals, Installation hardware
Stereo System: Kenwood 10-Disc CD Changer, with Handlebar-Mounted Remote Control
Speakers: J&M all-weather, handlebar-mounted speakers For more information, contact: Corbin Saddles
11445 Commercial Parkway
Castroville, CA 95012
http://www.motorcycle.com/cgi-bin/redirector?www.corbin.com/corbin.html J & M Audio
1415 South Cherry
Tucson, AZ 85713