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2014 Honda Valkyrie Announced! (with video)

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As I write this, there are three hours left on American Honda Motor’s embargo on posting photos or writing about its new Valkyrie—and I’m amazed there’s nothing yet on the Internet. There’s been no speculation about a new Valk that I could find, so you’re probably as surprised as I was when I got these photos of the new model.

The first Valkyrie used a simple formula well-known to American hot-rod builders: take the frame and motor of a big, heavy car and chop away everything you don’t need. That first iteration was built right here in the USA from 1996-2003 and still has legions of fans. It used the flat-six, liquid-cooled 1520cc motor and five-speed gearbox from the old GL1500 Gold Wing (1988-2000), but with a different tube-steel chassis. It weighed in at 682 pounds dry—much lighter than its touring brother. Owner forums for the Valk are still active (hot topic: using a car tire on the rear wheel), and one thing is clear: these folks love their bikes. They handle well (for something so heavy), are comfortable, reliable, smooth, fast and have a heck of a presence—for a while, it was the biggest, baddest cruiser you could buy. “Surely, with this motorcycle,” speculated Motorcycle.com’s Andy Saunders in 1997, “Honda has reached the limit of cruiser size.” How quaint.

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Honda killed the old girl in 2004, but that year a limited-edition custom called the Rune arrived—you may remember it. At $27,000, it was kind of a legacy bike, a made-to-order custom designed more to showcase the brand than to dominate the heavyweight cruiser market. Still, it was good-handling and luxurious-feeling, something Editor Edge and I took great pleasure in riding.

Another possible direction was the EVO6. Honda displayed this concept bike at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, and it made a big splash—how can an 1800cc, six-cylinder sporting standard not? It was missing the clutch lever and gearshifter—would the next Goldwing use an automatic transmission?

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If anything, the new Valk is a Rune for the masses, as it uses much the same formula, albeit for a broader audience. The frame, swingarm and powerplant are all from the GL1800, but with lighter, more minimal bodywork. A low 28.8-inch seat and blacked-out one-inch cruiser bars scream “cruiser,” but an 45mm cartridge fork, twin-spar aluminum frame, radial tires (130/60-19 in front, 180/55-17 in back), single-sided Pro-Arm with linkage rear suspension and 310mm discs with four-piston Nissin calipers (that look like what Honda used on its sportbikes from the late ’90s to the mid 2000s) all scream out “sportbike.” After all, the GL1800′s Large Project Leader, Masanori Aoki, came from the sportbike side of Honda, developing bikes like the NSR250R and CBR600F3.

All that development nets a bike that weighs in at 750 pounds—154 pounds lighter than the GL1800. Heavier than the original Valk, perhaps, but it does have a lot more power—the GL1800 makes over 100 ft-lbs of torque at the wheel, and the number stays above 90 from 1500 to 5000 rpm—and a six-gallon tank, bigger than the ‘Wing’s.

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Other features include removable passenger seat with grab rail, included solo cover, black-out treatment on the frame and engine, LED lighting (everywhere, including the headlight), a multi-function LCD instrument cluster and those big shrouds covering the side-mounted radiators (which duct heat away from the rider). The styling could be controversial, but it is growing on me, and I actually really like that big front wheel.

Pricing is not yet set, but Honda says it will be in the range of $17,000, undercutting the F6B. It should be available in US dealers next spring. I’m also really looking forward to riding one, but maybe not as much as the many Valkyrie fans—Christmas may have come early for them.

Gabe Ets-Hokin is the Editor of City Bike magazine, and a frequent freelance contributor to MotorcycleDaily.com.

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134 Comments

  1. Bob L. says:

    Looks like it has big fat cheeks. Those air cleaner shrouds draw my eye away from what is not a bad-looking bike. I dunno….I am pretty open to all of the new stuff. You can’t fault them for trying new designs but this one is lost on me. Maybe I’m just getting old.

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    • paul46 says:

      They are not air cleaner shrouds Those are engine heat radiators. Cooling air flows into the front openings and is pulled through the radiators by the low pressure created on the exit side. That is why the extractor side is larger in area, to efficiently pull that hot air out and away into the slipstream.

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  2. Ron Brenner says:

    That ugly piece of scrap metal is NOT a Valkyrie, it’s a rune. Their is nothing but the drive train shared by the two distinctively different bikes when they were out before. I still got my 99 VALKYRIE and I’ll just keep on riding my REAL Valkyrie thank you.

    • paul46 says:

      It doesn’t resemble the Rune, at all. I prefer this new Valkyrie over my ’98. It isn’t just about looks either. This new Valk will outperform our old Valks hands down. Welcome to the 21st century and keep looking forward.

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    • Francois says:

      Duh? Things advance and change. All the time. Just because it does not look like you old Valkyrie (always wanted one) does not mean it is not one. This is the most beautiful bike I ever saw if you ask me.

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  3. B T says:

    never owned, but loved the look of the Rune, and the Interstate 6 cyl bikes. I bought a Vn2000, (2053cc v twin) 850 lb kawasaki and also have a Concours 14. I sat on a FD6, was kind of attracted, and then Reality set in. That bike is in between what I already have: A heavy 2053cc Cruiser and a much more sophisticated faster sport touring bike C14 ABS sport touring. Honda needs to step up and make a bigger faster ST, and then a new engine design in that ST and the new cruiser they build to replace the Wing.

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  4. Scotty Mac says:

    Sorry, but that bike looks like Whoopie Goldberg and Rosie O’Donnell spent an inordinate amount of time hitting the Valkyrie’s designers with their ugly hammers during the design process. It has to be a tie between that bike and the Victory Vision for most cringe worthy lines.

    Having said that, it is a Honda and I’ll bet it works very well on the road.

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    • foster says:

      Hah! Victory Vision looks like an Edsel on two wheels with that huge horse collar looking opening on the front end. That and the endless swoopiness of the lines makes it ugliest motorcycle of all time in my book.

      But we are here to talk about this new Honda. All I have to say is – I’m not liking it.

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  5. gbum says:

    still prefer the old valkyrie rune…

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  6. turtle says:

    welllll not sure about it yet, another color maybe, a round head light maybe, cleaner rear fender treatment maybe, but I’ll bet it is a BLAST to ride. And I will be testing it soon, and then the F6B again (loved it) and the new wing ( loved it too) but for a heavy cruiser it should come with ABS, CC, and a lot of options…. and colors lots of colors..
    Hmmm wonder if the air filter is easier to get to?
    Wonder how much it costs too? after all it is a stripped down model!

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  7. Dale says:

    I am going to have to test ride it to see if it is worth trading in my 2007 VTX1800F. This is the first bike that I have even considered a replacement for the VTX I am riding.

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  8. Alan Olivier says:

    I think it will make a good naked trike, especially if the Valk comes with an auto box.. good for lady riders who can then carry the cooler box to bike rallies.

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  9. paul46 says:

    I for one am so glad that Honda didn’t change the frame from the GL/F6… it would have been a shame to monkey with perfection. If you havn’t ridden a GL1800 you will be in for a massive treat when you mount the Valkyrie. It is too bad that the color of paint gets more discussion here than the mechanical merits.

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  10. Jon Frost says:

    I will never sell my 98 standard and have been offered way more then what it is worth. I really like a classic looking bike and this new Valk is not for me.It just is the F6B even more stripped down.

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  11. FAST2WIN says:

    It seems that when people think cruiser they just think H.D. Finally they style something truly unique and everyone wants to bash the styling. I like the styling. It needs bags and a windshield but I’m sure that will be available. This is what Japanese cruisers should have been like all along. Between this and the CTX1300 I think Honda is finally making bikes I would actually buy.

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    • jake says:

      One thing I will say about Honda’s, their styling may not make such a great first impression, or have much wow factor, but if you look at them long enough, they start growing on you.

      This Valk looks alot better than when I first laid eyes on it. Due to the slow as hell news cycle, I’ve been kinda of forced to look at this dang bike more than I care to, but I have to admit, it has grown on me.

      Also, probably one of those bikes that looks better in person than in photos.

      Yep, if I had the dough, I’d buy it.

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  12. Ron Alford says:

    I owned and loved my 99 Valkyrie for 62,000 miles; had drive shaft issues on that particular bike a couple of times, but Honda made it good; Valkyrie riders remember the four prototypes that Honda introduced as the upcoming new Valkyrie. The Rune (Ruined Valkyrie) was one of the four and the least exciting, but, again, Honda did not listen to it’s customers and riders; it introduced the Rune and it was flushed down the toilet. Now, they’re coming out with a “stripped down” Gold Wing that looks like a tank caught in a blue pain ball fight. I’m on a Busa now at 67 years old and luvin it. No, it’s not as comfortable for long distance riding as the old Valkyrie, but until Honda comes up with something that we “boomers” will like, I’ve sworn off of Honda’s. Ron in Raleigh, NC

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  13. Thom says:

    Looks like something Judge Dredd would ride. The thing that make the original Valkyrie great was that it plopped that flat six and a big middle finger in otherwise traditional “cruiser” bodywork. This looks like something they cobbled together to get rid of some overstock.

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    • Gary Walker says:

      “This looks like something they cobbled together to get rid of some overstock”

      The original Valkyrie(1997-2003) was a unit devised to get rid of GL1500 overstock.

      But, we loved it.

      What happened a simple adaptation of the EVO 6?

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  14. Randy p says:

    Hope shattered again! As old Valk interstate rider I decided to update to the Rocket III. Really wanted to think Honda would give us the classic Valk look with new technology so I could be a Honda guy again. Oh well maybe after this one goes the way of the last try Honda will consider old school again.

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  15. John says:

    Meh. I’m sure someone will want it though.

    Cruiser ergonmics should be illegal.

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  16. paul46 says:

    The more I look at this bike the more I’m intrigued with it.
    The straight-on front view reminds me of a Grumman F-14 Tomcat coming at ya.
    Looking forward to some actual ride evaluations.

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  17. Ed Chambers says:

    Yuck, I really wanted to like this bike. I like Valkyries, I like Goldwings and I like the FB6 but this thing is butt ugly.If I were in the market for a big power cruiser I’d buy a Rocket 3 without giving this this a second look.What’s up with the rear fender?The back seat and basically the whole ass end of the thing looks like an afterthought.Would it really have been that difficult to put the new motor in the old Valkyrie?

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  18. Norm G. says:

    i could easily see someone buying one of these then binning the headlight, plastics, and the wheels and finishing it off with proper kit. which i’m now starting to think, maybe that’s Honda’s intent…? it’s a blank canvas for the customizer crowd. you might not even need to go that far…? just bolt on pieces from any year shadow or VTX and you’re off to the races.

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  19. mickey says:

    I think the bike would be a hoot to ride. The only problem I have with it is the color choice. How menacing is a bike that’s baby blue?

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  20. Boscoe says:

    Can you say ugly? No matter what you call it, this is a bloated monstrosity. Honda design has lost its way. Off with their heads!

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  21. Mr.Mike says:

    I’m sure it is a great riding bike but the look just isn’t working for me. Way too much plastic and the proportions and lines are awkward. Loved the look of the old Valkyrie, as well as the Triumph Rocket III. Come on Honda, you can do better.

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  22. Gronde says:

    No wonder people buy more Harley’s than Hondas.

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  23. VintageDirt says:

    It’s a gigantic ugly scooter!

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  24. Doug Miller says:

    Honda needs to consult their aero division when creating commercials wherein the torque of the Valkyrie purports to reverse the rotation of the planet. The earth would have brotated in a polar direction as depicted. Shoulda been on runway 9.

    Oh yeah, the bike, I like it. More each time I view it. Eager to see it in other colors and more metal in the engine compartment.

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  25. xlayn says:

    I’m probably waving good bye to the times when the 954RR was the only bike I could dream about….
    will probably be now a sv650 life-goer….
    yet still you have to love the looks of this bike…
    way to go honda!!

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  26. wayne says:

    i wish more cruiser riders would start riding these types of bikes , they look cool and would be a lot quieter

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  27. Gary says:

    Don’t park it next to a Ducati overnight. In six months you’ll have a litter of Yamaha mini bikes, and the Duc will try to press charges.

    Seriously, I owned a Valkyrie for a few years. Great bike. Smooth as glass, trouble-free and great for touring. The only downside was a serious appetite for petrol.

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  28. Ralph says:

    I would like to see it made like the older original Valkyries ! Lots of chrome and old school styling !

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  29. ben says:

    When I saw the article title I was so excited. I recently purchased a used Valkyrie and have loved them since they were introduced. But I am so not liking the look of this bike. Leaves me cold. Kinda makes me think of the Boss Hoss bike…

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  30. Provologna says:

    I like this, but like the F6B even more.

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  31. Ted says:

    The side radiator shrouds, headlight and overall plasticky look kill it for me. It might be fun to ride, but who wants to risk exploding bystanders’ eyeballs? The chrome-free cruiser look has been done elsewhere and better.

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    • jake says:

      Not the side covers. It’s the headlight, or lack there of, which ruins the look of the bike. It was just oh so close. Looking at the new Valk is like looking at the awesome body of bodybuilder. From the feet up to the shoulders, his body is just awesome, but get to the head, and it’s just 2 sizes too small. Despite his awesome body, he looks ridiculous because of his miniature head.

      In a nutshell, that’s the new Valk. Any big size headlight would have worked – 2 side by side, 1 on top of another, or just one really big one, round, square, or triangle – it doesn’t really matter, just make the dang thing bigger. The smallish headlight puts too much emphasis on the shoulders and makes the bike look porky and too plasticky.

      Too bad cause the rest of the bike is pretty spot on. The seat is a work of art and the front fender is thing of beauty. Dang small headlight ruins it all.

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  32. paul246 says:

    I think I’ve found my next big purchase ( I’ll be keeping my XR650L ). The more I look the more I like this machine. Those cold air intake/ hot air extractors look great!

    Honda has done a fine job of reinventing the Valkyrie. This thing looks fast just sitting there and of course we know that it really is fast.. and smooth.

    I think I’ll even order mine in ” I don’t need to compensate for anything” blue.

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  33. Jamo says:

    It’s just like the F6B.

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  34. Lenz says:

    Could look interesting “ripped and stripped” – but at face value just another fat f*#k

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  35. VLJ says:

    Am I the only one, or would any of you like to see Honda take this powertrain and create a stripped down, wholly minimalist semi-sporty Classic Naked with it, sort of in the vein of a Griso, or a Barry Bonds-esque Bonneville? A GL1000 for modern times, basically. I’m talking ditching all the Buck Rodgers styling. Purely elemental: upside down forks, radial brakes, a bare minimum of fenders/bodywork, and maybe even a pair of round headlights to match the opposed cylinder heads.

    What would such a thing weigh fully fueled, figuring on shaft drive and a six-gallon tank? 650 lbs or so? Seems like it would be a surpassingly nice ride, with massive stomp and smooth comfort for days, and just about anyone could still handle it in a parking lot.

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    • dino says:

      I agree with you. Somehow, the naked bikes have become just as “styled” as any other bike, just with smaller bits o plastic. Many of the newer naked bikes would look a lot better in my eyes if they just had a round headlight, and lost some of the other little chin spoilers and junk around the side of the tank.

      Strip it and rip it! Even the Monster and Speed Triple that started out that way have gotten styled for their latest versions.

      Pull it all off, hide the wires along framework, and stick a round headlight bucket on it. Heck, stick an old 80′s rectangular light on the front and call it a “retro naked”.

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    • Tom R says:

      My thoughts exactly. The old V was pretty cool, and
      an update in similar guise with the even bigger motor would be the ticket. A look of motorcycling muscularity demands less plastic.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Am I the only one, or would any of you like to see Honda take this powertrain and create a stripped down, wholly minimalist semi-sporty Classic Naked with it, sort of in the vein of a Griso, or a Barry Bonds-esque Bonneville? A GL1000 for modern times, basically. I’m talking ditching all the Buck Rodgers styling. Purely elemental: upside down forks, radial brakes, a bare minimum of fenders/bodywork, and maybe even a pair of round headlights to match the opposed cylinder heads.”

      wait, is your google search NOT allowing you to type in the phrase “EVO6″…?

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