Eight years after Honda shocked the touring crowd by unveiling the first six-cylinder Gold Wing luxury tourer, cruiser riders got their chance to experience the smooth and formidable power of the GL1500 engine in the 1997 Valkyrie F6. With the opposed flat-six engine mounted in an open cruiser frame and a regular gas tank feeding six carburetors, the Valky brought new meaning to the term performance cruiser, and would hopefully stand-in for the large V-twin that Honda had yet to create. And indeed the bike created a cult following that included the Valkyrie Tourer and Interstate editions that quickly followed, but alas, none were popular enough to stay in the lineup beyond the 2003 model year, not counting the wild 2004/2005 limited-edition Valkyrie Rune with the GL1800 engine. In the early days of the new millennium, cruiser riders wanted V-twins, and by 2002 Honda had bit the bullet and created the VTX1800, at the time the largest production V-twin the world.
Times have changed. The VTX1800 has been gone for a while now, and just a year after Honda introduced the Gold Wing F6B (Flat Six Bagger) it has announced an all-new Gold Wing Valkyrie. But rather than the traditional cruiser look of its predecessor, the new Valkyrie has thoroughly modern styling. Unlike the GL1800 and F6B, the Valkyrie doesn’t have a fairing so the side-mounted radiators have unique shrouds that match the sculpted shape of the front and rear fenders and also protect the rider’s legs from wind. The headlight is encased in a curved plastic housing that matches the blacked-out look of the fork, wheels, frame and engine that’s borrowed from the F6B. Chrome is limited to the twin exhaust pipes with slash-cut tips, which are shorter and lighter than those on the GL1800 and F6B, and two small, rectangular covers on the engine.
Of course, when it comes to any Gold Wing, the torque-rich, ultra-smooth horizontally opposed flat six-cylinder engine is where the magic happens. The last GL1800 we strapped to the dyno churned out 106 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm and 101 horsepower at 5,700 rpm. The Valkyrie should offer the same arm-straightening level of performance on a motorcycle that’s claimed to weigh 154 pounds less—750 pounds fully fueled. Unique intake ducting feeds air to the two 40mm throttle bodies, which feature six high-pressure fuel injectors and Honda’s tried-and-true Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI). The Valkyrie has the same 5-speed gearbox, clutch and shaft final drive as on the GL1800.
Attached to the twin-spar aluminum frame is a new rear subframe to accommodate the Valkyrie’s unique seating arrangement. Unlike the GL1800 and F6B, the Valkyrie’s fuel tank is in the traditional location rather than under the seat (capacity is 6.1 gallons). To give it a more typical cruiser seating position, the footpegs are 1.3 inches higher and 0.6 inch forward, and the handlebar is 1.3 inches forward, 1.5 inches taller and 0.7 inch wider, than on the F6B. A new two-piece seat puts the rider’s backside at just 28.8 inches (a little higher than the F6B, a little lower than the GL1800). The rear seat and aluminum grab rail can be removed for a sleek, solo look.
The 45mm cartridge fork has been lengthened to accommodate the larger 19-inch front wheel, and it has unique damping settings. The larger front and rear (17-inch) wheels are said to increase cornering clearance relative to other Gold Wing models. The single-sided Pro-Arm swingarm has a Pro-Link rear shock with sporty damping and a remote preload adjuster. Dual full-floating 310mm rotors (larger than the 296mm discs found on the F6B and Gold Wing) and new 4-piston calipers up front, plus a single rear disc brake, should provide impressive stopping power on this lighter machine. ABS is optional and adds just 6 pounds to the curb weight.
The Valkyrie’s 1-inch handlebar is rubber-mounted and features all-new switchgear. An all-digital LCD instrument panel includes a speedometer, tachometer, tripmeters, clock and fuel-level gauge, as well as a customizable opening message when the key is turned on. LED turn signals, headlight and taillight round out the Valkyrie’s not-like-other-cruisers appearance. Tailor-made Honda Genuine Accessories will include a backrest, wind deflector, passenger floorboards, luggage rack, saddlebags, two different windscreens, LED fog lights, a 12V power outlet and various bits to add a custom look.
The 2014 Honda Gold Wing Valkyrie will be available in Black, Dark Red Metallic and Blue Metallic. Although final pricing hasn’t been set, it should be in dealerships next spring starting around $17,000.
(This article was published in Kickstarts in the February 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)
Thankfully we finally over taking our styling cues from HD. This is a beautiful machine. Great to see all the new models Honda has, and is introducing. And I just thought my F6B was the best looking bike in the line up.
I was wondering how long it would be fefore someone put the hard bags up front to air out the dirty laundry.
Had a 1997 Valkyrie and absolutely loved it! I really like the looks of the new F6B, but I really don’t care for the looks of this new Valkyrie. To each their own.
After looking at it trying to figure out exactly what it is that I don’t like…….for me it’s the look of the rear fenders. Maybe some hard bags would look good covering up that awful rear fender. That and lower the back end about an inch or two……then put a wider rear tire on it. Then I think Honda would have something.
I like it. Would like black and get rid of the chrome exhaust. I like bikes that look unlike anything else. Old Valkyrie looked boring. This is more sport bike. Been riding baggers too long. Dare to be different!
Ewwwww! That has got to be one of the ugliest bikes I’ve ever seen!
I’m not sure what to think about this bike. Overall, I’d give it about a 7 in the looks department, but I don’t like the way the rear fender looks; it’s a bit too square for my taste. Also, it looks pretty high. I wonder how the CG impacts cornering (especially at speed). I wonder what this monster is going to cost!
I don’t mind the look of the rear fender, and the stripped down weight loss will definitely help provide some fun muscle, but what is up with that radiator treatment? The nacelle around the headlight has a Transformer-like quality, which isn’t all that bad, but Honda could’ve really done something cleaner than those “streamlined” chunks of plastic housing the rads. Come on, a single, high-efficiency radiator tucked up in front of the engine and below the tank wouldn’t have worked? Really? The wheels, black-out treatment, customizable seat, 1 inch bars…all very good ideas, and they work, but hey missed the mark with those rads, IMHO.
The original Valk had something, this one does nothing for me.
I guess if you want to race a Harley, this might work, but it doesn’t inspire me at all-except for the speed fun factor. Triumph picket up the mantle Honda dropped when they brought out the Rocket III (Roadster). I miss the old Valk, like the Rocket better than this. But the new CTX1300 has really cuaght my attention, which surpises me becuase I ride a Mean Streak currently. My last bike was a Honda (Super) Magna-V4 Power!
I’ve had 2 meanstreaks loved them.. fast handle well . traded for new hayabusa really like that..fast and furious.. just swapped my 2005 zx12 (the best handling and fastest of them all) for the F6C ..I think this bike will be amazing in the twisties. ..all ready for a new learning curve.. will surprise a few
One of the best bikes in its class
I like the looks of my 2001 Valk a lot better…
again Honda falls down and does not have cruise control as a standard. Same problem with the F6-B. Why? it can’t weigh that much…
I agree with you Mike – a “cruiser” without cruise control..??
It’s growing on me, I’m starting to really like it.
A mixed bag. My initial response was rather positive. The bike looks good, but there are issues. Other readers have pointed out that the back fender is rather queer. They’re right. Readers pointed out the odd headlight. Right again. Readers also pointed out that the radiator surround looks strange. This is potentially the most revolting component, unless, of course you like it. I think most riders will either like it or hate it with few finding a middle ground. Another reader suggested that it looking like Honda placed saddle bags up front. A very good point. Personally, I rather like the surrounds but I have to think the would look repulsive with a set of bags (two sets of bags on one bike, yuck). Despite some questionable componentry, this mike may prove a bike can be greater than the sum of its parts. Somehow, this bike works for me. Not sure how, but it does.
Honda is doing some interesting work, but this one is a bit too far out there for my liking, however, I do like the new styling cues coming with the new 1300CTX. If I am going to move toward a bike with low looks and a wider tank area, I like how they pulled that off better with that 1300 using the fairing setup. I do realize though that with the motor on this bike, it requires more beefiness from the intake components and all, so it is going to need some real estate for that.
I think that Honda took one of the most beautiful bikes, the old Valkyrie, and made it look like some kind of kids toy. Doesn’t appeal to me at all.
I’m on my 4th Valkyrie, but have never cared for the derivative fat tired cruiser styling, FINALLY they have styling that looks forward and is more indicative of it’s capabilites, especially that fabulous 1800 engine. Kudos also for not screwing up the handling with a ridiculously wide rear tire.
Sorry but I was hoping that Honda would have made a Valkyrie like the older Valkyrie only with the 1800 motor in it. I guess they are trying to get to the younger crowd with this bike. Trouble is, the younger crowd either doesn’t have the money or likes more sporty bikes. Us older folks don’t like the looks so the show room floors have left overs occupying them.