After a decade of playing it safe, Honda returns to the big displacement muscle cruiser segment with a revamped, but still six cylinder-powered 2014 Valkyrie. This motorcycle infuses sportbike-derived handling with the brawn of Honda’s 1832cc water-cooled Flat Six equating to a regal and potentially tire-smoke-infused ride.
Available in three colors (Black; Dark Red Metallic; Blue Metallic), the Valkyrie gets its might from an automobile-sized, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine that’s used to power Honda’s Gold Wing and Gold Wing F6B luxury tourers. The single overhead cam unit sports two valves per cylinder and is fed via fuel-injection. It puts power back to the 17-inch cast aluminum rim shod in a 180/55 Dunlop tire via a five-speed transmission and shaft final drive. Contrary to the Gold Wing reverse isn’t offered.
The last time we dyno tested this motor it produced over 100 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel at a relatively modest 3900 rpm. Big Red claims that the Valkyrie’s mill has been tuned for even more wheel turning force at roughly the same engine speed. We’ve always loved the Porsche-like sound emitted from the exhaust and the Valkyrie builds on this mechanical melody with a pair of flash-cut tip pipes giving it a deeper and more high-tech tune compared to the crude thumping sound generated by a American or metric V-Twin.
The engine is hung in a twin-spar aluminum frame with its cylinder configuration further aiding its center of gravity. A non-adjustable 45mm fork houses a beautifully finished 10-spoke aluminum front rim fitted with a 130/60 series 19-inch tire from Dunlop. Out back is a hydraulic shock absorber that has a knob-style spring preload adjuster to modify the rear suspension’s ride height based on load or handling preference.
The Valkyrie is claimed to weigh about 154 pounds less than the Gold Wing with a fully fueled curb weight of 750 pounds. Fuel capacity is rated at 6.1 gallons, which is a 0.5 gallon less than the ‘Wing. Considering its 20% reduction in mass, we expect fuel mileage to increase slightly from the 33 mpg average recorded during our 2012 Honda Gold Wing Comparison test.
(Top) The Valkyrie sports a simple but effective LCD instrument display. (Bottom) Comedian and motorcycle rider Alonzo Bodden (six-foot, four inches) sits on the ’14 Honda Valkyrie. (Below) Honda discontinued the Valkyrie in 2003. Eleven years later it returns in a new modern form.
Although the Gold Wing never lacked in stopping performance Honda’s new muscle cruiser ups the ante with the inclusion of a pair of 14mm larger diameter cross-drilled rotors (310mm) that are clamped by four-piston calipers sourced from Nissin. An even larger 316mm disc/caliper combo is used rearward. As opposed to the Gold Wing, the front and rear brakes are actuated independently of one another with anti-lock functionality available as an option.
Sitting on the 2014 Valkyrie reveals a very slim seating position. Seat height is only 28.8 inches above the ground which will help rider’s keep their feet planted firmly on terra firma at a stop. A thick one-inch diameter handlebar offers a high-degree of leverage and feels like it will be well suited to all-day rides.
U.S. prices haven’t been announced yet but American Honda expects the ’14 Valkyrie to come in right around $17,000, including its three-year, unlimited mileage fender-to-fender warranty.