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Memorable Motorcycles: Honda Rune

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Memorable Motorcycles: Honda Rune
Honda attempted to push the cruiser market in a different direction with its Rune which sourced the Flat Six 1832cc engine from the Gold Wing.
If ever a motorcycle were worthy of the epithet “memorable” then it is the Honda Rune. In fact, there is a strong case for arguing that the Rune is about as memorable as motorcycles ever come. So this is why I, a hard core sportbike and super trailie fan, find myself sitting just 27 inches from the floor on a motorcycle which is nearly seven feet long and weighs in at an eye-watering 850 lbs plus. It is with a sense of real trepidation that I hook up first gear and prepare to let out the clutch to launch this truly amazing motorcycle.

The Rune is - first, last and middle - an American dream. After visiting the Tokyo show in 1995, and seeing the Honda Japan-designed Zodiac concept bike, Honda Research America began thinking about where the custom cruiser concept could be taken.

The Zodiac was a V-Twin and the immediate problem was that any V-Twin, no matter how good, always runs into is the accusation that it is trying to be a Harley-Davidson. However, the Zodiac was radically styled and the trailing link forks were particularly striking.

Back in California, the HRA designers did have one ace card to play: the truly awesome Flat Six Honda motor which powered both the Gold Wing and Valkyrie. No-one, and particularly not H-D, had anything like this powerplant at their disposal.

Memorable Motorcycles: Honda Rune
Pictured is the Hot-Rod T4 concept for the Honda Rune, a barebones drag racer that I’m sure a few folks would love to put down the 1/4 mile.
Executive Vice President of Honda America, Ray Blank, was a strong supporter of the, as yet unnamed, super cruiser and said: “We wanted to extend this concept (a motorcycle based on the Valkyrie/Gold Wing power plant) once again and take another cutting-edge motorcycle into uncharted territory, establishing new directions that no other manufacturer had ever attempted. We wanted to set the bar higher than ever, erecting standards that no one else had yet imagined, while also exploding old limitations on what an original equipment manufacturer could mass produce.”

Honda America produced four Valkyrie-based prototypes to test public reaction. These ranged from a mild, close relative of the Valkyrie labeled T1 all the way to the hugely aggressive Hot-Rod T4. In the middle was T2 - a motorcycle quite unlike anything seen before - or since.

At this point, it becomes all too easy to fall down the abyss which is marketing and design hype. The Honda press release at the time described the Rune as having a “Neo-Retro persona” - and you just know that anything carrying this label isn’t going to be on sale in the bargain isle of Wal-Mart. Incredibly, “neo-retro” isn’t a bad description. What Honda means is that the Rune is the sort of thing you might see in a sci-fi movie set in some imaginary 1930s parallel universe - maybe Batman with a touch less aggression.

Above all else, the Rune was designed to be looked at - and then the appearance was transformed into a useable motorcycle. Ray Blank again: “You have to remember that Honda’s greatest strength is its engineering ability. Function, horsepower, performance, durability - a lot of very measurable qualities. But now here we were, championing the production of what was essentially a one-off custom special, a show bike with a whole set of gut-level aesthetic qualities that are impossible to measure.
Memorable Motorcycles: Honda Rune
The Rune proved to be a challenge for the Honda engineers who had to make a functioning bike from a styling concept.

“The Rune concept is extremely extravagant, because it places the highest priorities on style rather than measurable science and engineering, and that created challenges during product planning. It is a very emotional product. But when a gut feeling is so strong, avid motorcyclists can communicate with one another on a different level. We accomplished a lot on this new concept after hours, at restaurants, just motorcycle guys talking to each other, scribbling on napkins, waving our hands around.”

So the Americans had their way: an utterly radical custom motorcycle which you could order straight off the showroom floor from your friendly local Honda dealer. The problem now was to make what would have been a truly impressive feat for a one-off custom bike builder into a machine which would go into series production. This was not an easy task.

Back in Japan, Masanori Aoki was chosen as Project Leader. Aoki had come from a sportbike background and wasn’t discomforted by the technical challenges. Rather, what caused the unease was starting the design process from what appeared to be the wrong end - especially at Honda where engineering is king. Instead of beginning with a series of performance targets, working towards them with engineering solutions and then finally allowing the stylists to finish off the job, the appearance of the Rune dominated the process. Did it matter if the Rune had a top speed of 115 mph, 120 mph or 125 mph? Not in the slightest. Was trimming the weight by 25 lbs going to affect the bike? Not at all. Appearance, sound and image were the holy trinity.

Not that the engineering was simple. Although the Gold Wing engine was now a whopping 1832cc, it was still a very mild, inoffensive unit. Aoki gave the monster lump a good tweaking with new cams, a re-mapped ignition and six individual fuel injectors all of which resulted in 118 hp and a truly eye-popping 123 lb-ft of torque - equating to roughly 50% more torque than the latest Honda Fireblade. Now, the Rune had a Gold Wing powerplant with attitude.

Memorable Motorcycles: Honda Rune
The trailing link front suspension gives the illusion of the raked chopper-style front suspension while maintaining conventional steering geometry.
Mr. Aoki was also keen to bring in sportbike technology in terms of the chassis. The rear suspension is Honda Pro-link, which is both extremely neat and provides an element of rising rate in the 3.8 inches of travel.

Following customer demands, Aoki retained the trailing link front suspension. Previously, this had only been used successfully on sidecar motocross outfits but the beauty of it with the Rune is that it gives the front end the impression of being very heavily raked - almost chopper style - whilst in actual fact retaining almost conventional steering geometry. The fork is a mass of forgings, bushes and dampers and must have cost a fortune to make. In practical terms it is probably less effective than a conventional telescopic front end but there is no argument about the visual statement it makes: Honda does clever engineering, and makes it work, so never forget that Milwaukee!

Where Aoki wouldn’t be distracted by styling was in the safety element of the Rune. The weight and size of the Rune needs putting into perspective. At around 850 lbs ready to roll, the Rune is more than 1/3 of the weight of the Honda Fit four-seat car, and the motorcycle will slaughter the automobile in terms of performance. For example, the Rune will run up to more than 120 mph and manage 0-100 in a shade over 11 seconds. This is no “Easy Rider”, cowboy hat wearing cruiser but something quite different.

In order to stop this behemoth, Aoki fitted twin 330mm front discs with three-piston calipers. The hydraulics are also set up so that a firm two fingers are all that are required to put the Titanic’s propellers in reverse and bring what is a very large, surprisingly fast, motorcycle under control. Once again, it is clever, but subtle, engineering.

Memorable Motorcycles: Honda Rune
Honda went all out offering high quality paint and chrome rarely seen on a production motorcycle with its Rune.
However, what dominates the bike is its stunning finish. There are very few custom bike builders anywhere in the world who can even match, let alone surpass, the quality of the chrome and paintwork on the Rune. In terms of a production motorcycle, it is in a class of its own.

So this brings us to the pre-launch chat. Sean Davies, the General Manager at Knutsford Honda, is all smiles and encouragement but there is no forgetting that this is a $30,000 motorcycle I am sitting on. There is an interesting conundrum about Runes. First, they are invariably, in unbelievably mint condition. No-one buys a Rune to go trail riding or even for nipping down to the shopping Mall. Second, for the same reason they are always low mileage. Together, these factors mean that a six year old Rune is now worth more than its original $26,000 cost.

The only downside is that repair costs are horrendous. Each Rune left the American Honda Plant at Marysville, Ohio, costing the company a reported $100,000 - and sold for just a quarter of that price. Honda has got to get its money back somehow and therefore repairing a Rune is never going to be a cheap exercise.

Memorable Motorcycles: Honda Rune
Riding Honda's Rune felt more stretch limo than motorcycle.
Watched by a gaggle of Knutsford Honda staff, I make triple-certain that the road is completely empty, feed in the clutch - and then watch as the front of the bike leaves the parking lot followed by me, and the rest of the motorcycle, in what seems like a considerably long time afterwards. This is a seriously huge motorcycle!

Once moving, and with thoughts of crashing the bike and having to sell my kidneys to pay for the repairs put to the back of my mind, it becomes apparent that the Rune is rather clever. For a start, the Flat Six engine is a joy - a real gem. Possessing unbelievable torque combined with silky smoothness, the motor provides a magic carpet experience. A glance at the “neo-retro” digital speedometer reveals that the feeling is reflected in the facts: 70mph is available in a blink and 90mph is there at will. Dull this bike most certainly isn’t.

The exhaust note is intoxicating. The nearest equivalent is a small jet turbine. Stand at an airport perimeter fence as a Lear Jet rolls by and you will be in the same aural ball park as the Rune.

The gearbox and clutch are typically Honda sweet, the brakes are everything one could ask for and the shaft drive completely innocuous. Even the apparently silly riding position is practical - although I can never see the attraction of having one’s arms spread out crucifixion style: perhaps I am not sufficiently religiously inclined.

Memorable Motorcycles: Honda Rune
Handling is what you might expect from an 850-lb bike - it's no easy task!
The problem comes with the handling. Even easing the bike into corners, it has a most disconcerting habit of skipping over irregularities in the road surface. The first time the Rune does this seriously is at the joint between the concrete and Tarmac on the Interstate access ramp. The Rune skips - and my heart stops. A quarter of a ton of bike plowing into the guard rail - and I’m going to die with it!

Slowly, over a period of maybe 30 miles, I realize that the fault is not so much with the bike as with me. Despite having 50 years of riding experience on every motorcycle known to mankind I am making the classic beginner’s mistake of being too tense. I simply need to relax and let the bike do its own thing.

So, the next time the Rune skips and shakes its head I do absolutely nothing - and the bike plows on effortlessly. It has to be said that all corners are still something to be taken very seriously on a Rune - but they are not traumatic or dangerous. The Rune is no CBR600 - but it is a million times better than a custom cruiser.

Trick suspension or not, the ride on the Rune is mediocre. Again, it’s no doubt better than mainstream custom bikes but ride a Rune more than 50 miles and you will get aches in the butt, spine and shoulders. The fuel tank is also far too wide and has a ludicrously large capacity at six gallons. Six gallons equates to a cruising range of nearly 200 miles and no one is going to ride a Rune this far unless they are being pursued by aliens looking for their motorcycle to be returned. Is the pleasure worth the pain? Read on...

Memorable Motorcycles: Honda Rune
It may not be the most logical bike to ride but the Rune represents Honda's technical and engineering ability to turn a beast on paper into a beauty on the street.
In all the years I have been reporting on motorcycles, I have never, ever, seen the reaction to a bike like the one we had at the Rune photo shoot. If we had parked Tom Cruise on the Rune the crowds wouldn’t have been denser. Quite simply, if you want to be the center of attention then buy a Rune: it is ground zero in the motorcycling narcissism stakes.

Ironically, it is also a cheap motorcycle to own - providing you are a major shareholder in a polish manufacturing company and don’t crash it. The word in the bike trade is not only that Runes are not depreciating, they are actually going up in value - and that’s a rare feat outside the classic bike world.

However, saving, or even making, money is not the reason for buying a Rune. It is a very special motorcycle and deserves to be appreciated for what it is: a true technical masterpiece and a great credit to Honda’s engineering ability – not to say their willingness to lose money on a prestige project.

Our thanks to Knutsford Honda www.knutsfordhonda.co.uk for the loan of the Rune.

It is acknowledged that Top Speed.com carried the original interview with Ray Blank.
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Runesika -Riding a Rune in the UK  December 29, 2010 03:25 PM
Hi ,
I am a UK Honda Rune owner , one of how many i don't know ? I have only seen one other on the road in the two years i have been riding it .
That's one of the best(and worse ) things about it , you cannot park a Rune be it a bike meeting , car show or just popping into a shop without having five or six questions asked when you slip the key in , to be honest most of the time i love it !
Pulling up beside a Harly will give you some idea of the size of a Rune ,as your front wheel draws level and you stop at the lights the Harly owner needs to look behind if he wants to give you a nod (yes really) .
Whats bad ? not much , the rear shock is very poor by any standard but step back and just look at it and you would forgive it anything .
Thierry Marc -The Revenge from the West, at last...  September 13, 2010 01:38 AM
Funny that for a change a British bike seems to be scoring much better than her Japanese sister a few years older. I am talking about the Rocket III... This one is already a memorable motorcycle. Bravo!

Thierry Marc
J. Edward -Experienced Rider.  July 21, 2010 12:31 PM
I have been riding since 1956. In all those years I’ve owned a couple of rice burners and many HD’s. I currently have two HD’s and one Rune. One HD is my wife’s ride, (09) the other HD is our family bike (08)…..The Rune is mine alone!! I’ve owned my Rune since 2007. I ride it to any event that will have a large number of HD riders present. I was sick and tired of being just another HD rider in a sea of HD riders. As a result, every time I show up, my Sweet Heart (the Rune) gets encircled by all of the HD look-a-like riders and they have a million questions to ask. As far as taking my Sweet Heart on a long trip is concerned, I’ll take a pass….. our family HD is just too comfortable by comparison. I am a Shriner and ride as part of out local Shriner MC drill team. In every single parade, I hear comments from the spectators regarding my Sweet Hearts fantastic looks. They ignore the 6-12 HDs in front of me and lavish their attention on my Sweet Heart.
HD riders…. stick to commenting on HDs. Let the MC connoisseurs who own Runes do the commenting on them….Only they have a clue as to what they’re talking about.

Dave -Metric bikes on the side of the road  July 2, 2010 03:14 PM
The only time I saw a metric bike on the side of the road was for lack of fuel. You must be joking or just a wishful thinker if you believe a Davidson is more reliable and less likely to break than any other bike on the planet. Davidson's are still only an average quality bike even after all these years. Engine wise there are one of the worst.

I am 46 and have had many bikes including my current Kawasaki street and Honda dirt bike. I give credit where credit is due but not for an over-priced antique bike made by Davidson.
milwaukee mike -GB,Matt,Frank & Mitch  June 30, 2010 02:41 PM
HD is sucessful because they offer their customers what they want.
If you are happy riding your metric bikes,....well good for you. There were times I had stopped to give assistance to any rider on the side of the road. But most (not evetone) was unappreciative or just downright rude. So I now make it a personal policy to slow down and laugh at metric riders on the side of the road.

I have been riding M/Cs for better than 40 years. There has never been a completlely problem free M/C ever built, but you will see far fewer HDs broken than the metric crap that you are riding. I've seen more BMW and Ducati riders that have had to have their bikes towed. This is not to say that BMWs or Ducatis are less reiable than jap bikes,...rather they probably put more miles on their bikes and do not become familiar with the internal workings or electronic maladies.

And as for you GB, I'd bet you have a victory vision, and that probablies justifies your admiratione of the honda Ruin.
Mitch -Frank, milwuakee mike  June 30, 2010 07:28 AM
I wouldn't be too offended Frank. Milwuakee mike is a forum troll character Mike (If that's his/her name) uses to get attention. I don't know if "Mike" rides or reads the articles but he/she seems to enjoy getting the forums stirred up by any inflammatory means possible. Best thing to do is either ignore m.m. or just be entertained by his antics.
Frank Melling -Let there be peace  June 29, 2010 11:47 AM
First, I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time and trouble to comment on my story. I don't agree with all the respondents' views but I am delighted that you have contributed. My only concern is the stance taken by milwaukee mike. milwaukee mike, I would ask that you do not make comments on any of my articles unless you can do so with good manners and tolerance of other views. We are all members of the one motorcyclng family and what type, or make, of motorcycle you ride does not, and cannot, give you primacy over any other family member. Please comment milwaukee mike - but do so with courtesy and respect of the views of other contributors.
Matt -Mike "the Milwaukee a$$"  June 29, 2010 10:58 AM
GB you are a better man than I cause after his rants and raves, if I knew it was him, I would ride by laughing and honking the horn of my RUNNING bike. I couldn't agree with you more in that kind of behavior being why some Harley riders are hated. It sure ain't cause of the bikes themselves.
GB -milwaukee mike  June 29, 2010 09:19 AM
actually i a ride a Victory. and unlike you i don't judge a fellow rider by what they ride. you are exactly the reason people hate harleys. even tho you are an ass i'd still pull over to give you a hand if you were ever on the side of the road.
G-Man -King of the Road  June 28, 2010 07:18 PM
I have owned and loved a 2004 Rune for years. I bought it new and rode it 600 miles home in thirty-eight degree weather. It is a dream. I have had people almost wreck taking photos of it. I have had people follow me to ask me what it was. Every time I stop for gas I have to expect an extra fifteen to twenty minutes of people talking about it and taking pictures. Oh, and I don't have to defend its great looks. The shelves full of first place and best in show trophies do that for me. I have seven motorcycles in the garage and feel guilty because six of them get neglected because of my wonderful Rune. I put about 20,000 miles a year on it and smile the entire time I ride. I will never sell it.
2nevets -dan k new rune for sale  June 28, 2010 12:52 PM
i would love to buy that new rune-how about a dealer name
milwaukee mike -GB you are getting dumber all the time  June 28, 2010 12:30 PM
But it is probably due to your undying love of metric crap. Maybe you are one of those 2010 suzuki M109R rider/owners.

If the RUIN was such a stylish bike, then why are people (even metric retards like yourself) saying that it was a styling nightmare.

It did nothing to increase hondas market penetration, and probably sent more buyers to HD dealers than any metric bike in ages (25K hondas don't endear brand loyalty).
Dude WTF -Runes are selling for a lot less than their original MSRP.  June 28, 2010 06:01 AM
Your assertions that used Runes are going for more than their original price is grossly incorrect. Check ebay's completed listings - the highest recent price was about $21,000 USD, and some have gone for less than 15K. Where did you get the theory that their value is escalating?
WoodmanWest -re release it!  June 28, 2010 03:46 AM
Metro Orlando does not even have a Honda dealer left. Yuo gotta go way out in da suburbs to find one that has not closed up.

If this bike is so desired, as many are posting, Honda should rerelease it to help sales!
GB -milwaukee mike  June 27, 2010 05:58 PM
i feel dumber everytime i read a comment from you. you a little man with a little brain.
Dan K -Runes for sale  June 26, 2010 10:37 AM
One of the Honda dealerships here still has their 05 Rune for 16K or best offer. And the other one cross town put their 04 out back. It's missing some parts so I guess they are parting it out.
agranya raj singh -honda rune  June 24, 2010 10:23 PM
this bike is beautiful. i be proud to ride on this bike. what is the price and who can i purchase this bike. well, i m student of class- III. pl let me know what is right age to drive this bike.
Rune Ruler -Smokes anything  June 24, 2010 06:30 PM
My Rune is the best bike I've ever ridden. I can smoke any bike out there - sport bike, cruiser, whatever - whether I ride the straights or the corners. Anyone who doubts this is clueless and has never ridden one.
DonnaM -I love my Rune  June 24, 2010 06:05 PM
I bought a Rune in April '04, paid full boat for it, and have not regretted it for one moment. I have over 72k miles on my bike, am the 1st woman to complete an IBA SaddleSore in November of last year. We also have a Valkyrie, and an FZ1 in the garage. I have no intention of selling my Rune ever! To each is own. But to say this bike is ugly is a personal opinion. I can only ask why if it is so ugly, then why do all types of motorcyclists gather around this bike and ask me questions for 20 minuntes? While in Laconia less than 10 days ago, a Hells Angel from Mass rode up to me to tell me my bike was sweet!

Great article but I would disagree. I will ride this bike for 13 hours a day and be comfortable.
thebear -Thanks!!!!!!  June 24, 2010 03:43 PM
Thanks for the write up. Thanks to Mother Honda for building the Rune.

Damn sure not for everyone, that's good. Great to have a bike that sets you out from the crowd. Love it or hate it, it's a motorcycle and it's great to ride on two wheels.......

suspension travel is 3.9 inches
Matt -Unreal !  June 24, 2010 03:27 PM
Jeez, the guy writes a subjective article on a motorcycle and gets accused of being on drugs ??? Are you kidding me? Cody and Mike, please consider taking some anger management classes before posting again. To Mr. Melling, I apologize for those that won't (or don't know how to) say this, but I thought it was a very good article. Thank you
Quinn -in all fairness to the Author  June 24, 2010 02:47 PM
I see this is going no where and has degenerated nicely into a bashing of everything related to anything one does not like. I doubt that the article was ever intended to bring out the rhetoric it has gotten. My apologies to Frank Melling and thank him for taking the time to write this article.
milwaukee mike -real metric trash  June 24, 2010 02:30 PM
This article was written by someone on drugs.
The only real motorcycle worth 20K or more is a Harley Davison.

Question: If the Ruin was so good,...why don't you see them?

Answer: Those that bought them are ashamed to ride a two wheeled abortion like that.
CrimsonRune -Interesting article  June 24, 2010 02:24 PM
I always find it interesting to hear others opinions on a given subject and their differences. I have loved the design of the Rune since I first laid eyes on it a good 6 or 8 years ago. It is not a bike for everyone, whether it be because of the price or the styling. To me, the Victory Vision is a hideous looking bike, but plenty of people ride and love them. I have ridden one and they do ride nice, but that look is not for me. I think anyone that has actually ridden a Rune would appreciate how well it rides, although sharp turns are something to be taken very seriously. I also ride and love my ZX-14 - a very different bike that rides very differently. I don't think you can really compare the 3 of these together because of the differences. An Escalade will never ride the same as a Ferrari because it was never intended to. As for the "chrome plastic" I concur with Quinn. The front end works beautifully and is always the first thing to spark the oohs and ahhhs, which the bike does get alot of. Never heard the term "Tart-ed up" before (where are you from ??) I can see how some would have a love it or hate it perspective with the styling of the Rune, and thats fine. I personally don't like Harleys. They have never done a thing for me because they all seem to look the same to me. Again, to ME. I know lots of others who feel differently, including one of my best friends who despised the fact that I bought a Rune, until he had a look at it in person. He loves it now.
Cody (the real Cody) -RE: Cody want to be  June 24, 2010 02:08 PM
“I wonder what Honda thinks of dealers like me “? Using my name…what a cowardly low- life. Many dealers like and dislike some of the bikes the manufacturer puts out. It is no shock or hidden secret that some models sell well and some sell poorly. If the truth bothers you then bury your head in the sand and don’t acknowledge the facts or reality because it is a lot easier than convincing the rest of us to believe your warped beliefs.
Cody -Logan  June 24, 2010 01:57 PM
“I think those who claim to have sold these machines should avoid posting what they think they may have heard some mechanic saying to the parts counter guy as they were shining the bikes on the floor. These machines did sell, the problem was that someone got a little too excited at Honda and ramped up the production runs. This is a $30,000 bike and not a lot of people are going to be able to afford that. When you flood a limited market you end up with a lot of extra bikes on the floor. Pre-orders were plentiful and there were even waiting lists until things got out of hand at the plant. The bike's target market bought it up and Honda got greedy, pretty simple.” Gee Logan after reading your “perspective” it sounds like you swallowed what the salesman told you hook, line and sinker. Not a lot of people could afford this bike…hmmm lots of customers spend that much and more on their GW after extras. Harley has no problem selling bikes in this price range. But then again there was demand for those bikes, not the Rune. Our dealer never took a pre-order because there was no reason to; we always had one on the sales floor. Production was never “ramped up”. When the 2004 model was released the 2004 production run was already done and by the time the 2005 were ready for production Honda already knew what the score was but had to run a similar number of units to 2004 for cost, parts inventory and commitments to vendors.
Cody -an idiot in good standing  June 24, 2010 01:50 PM
I wonder what Honda thinks of dealers like me ?
Cody -Quinn  June 24, 2010 01:41 PM
“As for the chrome plastic covers, I can think of only two plastic covers on the machine and they aren't chrome.” “Oh, the chromed plastic bolt covers maybe”...

Well thanks Quinn for supporting my post about the “plastic” chrome.

“I love to read comments by idiot ex-sales people who would be hard pressed to get out of town if the cost was only 50 cents and possibly excelled only at flipping burgers but I doubt that too.” Yawn, again with pathetic and unfounded personal attacks against someone who speaks the truth. I guess sometimes the truth hurts. But you are right about one thing I am an ex-sales person because now I am co owner of the dealership.
Cody -Jim  June 24, 2010 01:30 PM
“probably was a worthless, washed out, used bike salesman, and so couldn't afford one, and instead, now chooses to diminish the Rune's glamorous existance by publicly posting complete falsehoods regarding it's history on the market.” Seeing as how you have no idea how long I have been a business partner in one of the most successful single line Honda dealers I will take you childish attempts to degrade me personally as an indication of how low your IQ is. While you’re at it why don’t you explain the “falsehoods” you speak of.
To each his own -apples & oranges  June 24, 2010 11:27 AM
"gb - wow June 24, 2010 10:03 AM i thought the victory vision was ugly but this in even uglier. even uglier in person. sorry if i offended the rune lovers but damn...." I find it interesting that you think the victory vision is ugly (i agree) but the Rune isn't in the same class. The Rune is a cruiser not a touring v-twin bagger! But Damn...
Redvalk -Rune board Admin - owner of two Runes  June 24, 2010 11:12 AM
one of the finest bikes I've ever ridden. Corners as good as any bike I've ever owned (all cruiser, I must admit). Handles like a dream. Plenty of power. My wife has her own Rune and loves it. We own Valks too, but when we want to ride a bike for FUN and joy....9/10 it's the Rune (but the Valk is a fine bike too!).

We have guys on our board that come to our Rune Rally in TN every year from Texas, California, Canada.....all over the country....riding the Rune. So yes, with an aftermarket seat....the bike CAN be ridden long distances. I've had my bike 7 years next month. It sill gathers a crowd every where I (or my wife with hers) goes. It still amazes folks. It still looks like new (7 years and 36,000 miles later).

Say what you want, but until you've owned one...ridden one...experienced it.....you just don't have a clue. I've had one of my Valkyries now for 13 years and 105,000 miles. This bike, which is faster than my Valk, stops quicker than my Valk, and is just as rideable and corners as well or better....will be in my inventory for that long and more!

Put another way, I could buy any bike I wanted. I have four bikes. Two Runes, and two Valks. NOTHING....has come along since them, that even peaks my interest in the least.........or I would have already bought it.

Come visit our board sometime if you REALLY want to learn more USEFUL informtation on this bike. BTW, I did enjoy the article.
gb -wow  June 24, 2010 10:03 AM
i thought the victory vision was ugly but this in even uglier. even uglier in person. sorry if i offended the rune lovers but damn.....
Logan -Post Script.  June 24, 2010 08:39 AM
I will be riding my '04 rune nearly 4000 miles crossing 11 states starting shortly and have done so on more than one occasion before. Valk owners don't like the rune because it stole their thunder and wasn't the replacement they cried for. Oh, and most cannot afford one(this is the reason most people put it down).
Vince XB -Ruined  June 24, 2010 08:32 AM
I never liked this bike. Not to say it's a bad motorcycle or poorly engineered. It's actually a well designed motorcycle. I just think it's gaudy and ugly. Also, it's just too bulky for a non-touring motorcycle. It's sort of a freak of design/engineering, which I guess gives it its character. Not my cup of tea. I guess I prefer V-twins for these sort of bikes, both stylistically and performance-wise. Good write up for a good bike. It's too bad the Rune is just to awfully ugly.
Logan -A little perspective  June 24, 2010 08:28 AM
In response to the posts regarding the sales of the rune I think those who claim to have sold these machines should avoid posting what they think they may have heard some mechanic saying to the parts counter guy as they were shining the bikes on the floor. These machines did sell, the problem was that someone got a little too excited at Honda and ramped up the production runs. This is a $30,000 bike and not a lot of people are going to be able to afford that. When you flood a limited market you end up with a lot of extra bikes on the floor. Pre-orders were plentiful and there were even waiting lists until things got out of hand at the plant. The bike's target market bought it up and Honda got greedy, pretty simple. As far as the comment about all Honda bikes having the same quality finish... well, if you had ever seen a rune from up close rather than just as it passed you on the highway while in your mini-van you might actually know the stupidity of that remark.
Quinn -RuneRider  June 24, 2010 07:30 AM
I love to read comments by idiot ex-sales people who would be hard pressed to get out of town if the cost was only 50 cents and possibly excelled only at flipping burgers but I doubt that too. As an owner of one of these marvels of engineering & style not for the average plastic encased doner cycle rider, the only thing I would agree with in this article is the 50 mile seat. Fortunately for all riders of any motorcycle, there are excellent aftermarket seat manufacturers with one to fit your sorry a**. As for the chrome plastic covers, I can think of only two plastic covers on the machine and they aren't chrome. What about 850 pounds says plastic anywhere? Oh, the chromed plastic bolt covers maybe... The trailing link front suspension is not unnecessarily tarted up - it lowers the center of gravity for a ground hugging suspension that will make you blush at how close one can carve up a twisty two lane mountain pass. A cruiser is what it was meant to be and is, at an unbelievably smooth 90mph all day long.
Jim -Has Been Honda Salesmen  June 24, 2010 06:58 AM
I promise anyone who bashes a Rune has NEVER ridden one, most likely secretly would have sold their sole to get one, probably was a worthless, washed out, used bike salesman, and so couldn't afford one, and instead, now chooses to diminish the Rune's glamorous existance by publicly posting complete falsehoods regarding it's history on the market.

Just sayin'.
Readyfreddy -Love the style...But the ride is true bliss  June 24, 2010 06:55 AM
Anyone who questions the quality of the Rune's paint and chrome finish just hasnt been near a Rune. Everytime I shine mine, I cant help but be amazed at the quality that was put into the finish. If Rune designers started off with the style, well it wasnt difficult for Mother Honda's engineering to follow suit, because the bike accelerates and rides like a Rolls Royce compared to my brand new Victory Cross Country.
When you get back on the Rune after having riden another bike, you truly come to appreciate how fantastic this bike is. And like is mentioned in just about every article writen about this work of art, no matter wether this is your "kinda" bike or not, it will always attract the biggest crowd. Even custom Harley owners cant help but slow down and glance at it. If I could, I would own another one, just so that I could will one the my heir when I depart. The other one would follow me to the grave.

Skibum -Rune owner  June 24, 2010 06:12 AM
As an owner since 04, I have to take exception to the 50-mile ride comment. I have done an IBA 1000 on my Rune, as have a few others in our group. That's 1000 miles in less than 24 hours (18:20 to be exact). We will be doing another 1000/day this year at the Tennessee Volunteer 1000 on 9-2-10. We are shooting for the most Runes on an IBA ride. The Rune is at home on 2 lane twisty back roads as it is on the highway running the smoothest 85 mph you'll ever feel.
My wife and I will be riding from NJ to Cali next month (3000 miles of smiles). I have 52k on the OD and know of Runes with many more miles.
I wouldn't give my Rune up for any other bike, custom or stock.
As for the front brakes, they have 3 pistons per side and one pad. The front handle controls the 2 outside pistons and the middle piston is controlled by the rear pedal.
We have a Rally every year in Erwin Tn. so If you want to see 40+ Runes in one spot, stop on by over the Labor Day weekend.

JOE JENKINS -SILLY PEOPLE  June 24, 2010 05:42 AM

Digger -I like it  June 24, 2010 04:03 AM
SO we have a love hate relationship going on here it looks like. Good...you hate it, I'll love it. I'll also do my own work on her so she won't be so regrettable to all the bashers. Hey it's an emotional bike, what other comments do you expect? Pug mahon maybe?
Jon -Not a hot rod Wing motor  June 23, 2010 04:48 PM
For all the claim that this was a hot rod Wing motor, independant dyno tests showed it to put down less power and torque than a regular Wing. Paint on the Rune was the exact same quality as other Honda bikes, which is to say nice but not great. Add the plastic chrome and no wonder shops were trying to get rid of these at almost half msrp. There's a reason that Honda Valk owners called this the Ruin... $30K? Hah! At least Honda has learnt it's lesson with the $15K DN-01 scooter. Oh wait. Or as Honda dealers call it, DoNot-0rder1..
Woodman West -huh?  June 23, 2010 03:45 PM
"Honda went all out offering high quality paint and chrome rarely seen on a production motorcycle with its Rune."

Why would you post this caption? There are litterly hundreds of models of motorcycle with quailty paint and chrome offered every year.
Woodman West -Fugly  June 23, 2010 03:41 PM
It is certanily one of the uglist bikes ever made. Musta be some bad sushi that night! Puked onto the design table and submitted it as a joke!
Cody -Memorable...  June 23, 2010 03:07 PM
I used to sell these boat anchors, or tried to sell them, when I worked at a Honda dealer. Nothing really special: GW engine and drive train, similar brakes, wheels and tires chassis and swing arm. Other than the unnecessarily complicated front suspension for eye candy appeal it was pretty much a naked GW all tart-ed up.

There were loose cables, gaps and LOTS of “chrome plastic” used for many of the covers. Many times other dealers would be willing to trade their Runes for a loss on other saleable bikes we had in our inventory just so they could get the bike off their lot. The Rune only ran production for 2 short years (2004, 2005) but it took us until 2007 to sell the last rune we had in stock, for a loss, but the worst was when good customers came back just a year after buying the Rune and wanted to trade it in; we could only offer them $12-14K for a bike they paid over $30,000 out the door just 12 months ago.

This bike isn’t memorable it is regrettable for the owners, dealers and Honda.
Mcguire -sewer rat  June 23, 2010 01:36 PM
Ive only seen one of these on the street (and I knew the guy) but frankly I was surprized it only weighed 850 lbs. Thats about the same weight as my Royal Star tour Deluxe and the Rune looks a lot bigger. Nice to know I could pick it back up if I dropped it. Have you ever tried to make it to an exit with a flat on a big heavy bike? Don't even try its impossible.
Fastest Guy -To EAB  June 23, 2010 01:27 PM
Just an FYI- Honda did do away with the VTX1800 and are currently developing a replacement but have not leaked details. It's assumed however that's it's still a twin and not a boxer six.
MCUSA -Caliper Correction  June 23, 2010 10:37 AM
They are three-piston calipers. Sorry for the editing mistake.
Trevor -Zach....  June 23, 2010 08:54 AM
They are double-acting 3 piston calipers (meaning 6 piston calipers) with Honda's linked breaking system. It is possible for calipers to have individual pads per piston though. I believe the older Mille R was so equipped, but initial bite was so strong, they went back to a standard pad. Whatever the case, I'm sure these are 6 piston calipers, with single pads, not 3-pad as said in the article.
Zach -three-pad callipers  June 23, 2010 08:06 AM
Do the front brakes really have three pads, or did you mean three pistons? If they have three pads, how does that work?
EAB -Nice piece  June 23, 2010 07:11 AM
I still say that if Honda had any sense, they would do away with the VTX1800 and move the target. They started something with the Valkerie and even in Harley circles the old Valk gets respect. Why did they elect against continuing the line? A big custom cruiser with 1800cc of performance and not just dump truck torque? Keep the VTX line for those that want a big twin, but compliment with the Valkerie 1800. If nothing else, it would help them amortize the investment they have in the GW drivetrain.