All the power you need and then some.
The Valkyrie. Based on a Gold Wing, it runs the same power plant and yet is pitched as something completely different by Honda. So what is this bike and what does the 2014 Valkyrie bring to the table? Let’s find out.
There’ve been arguments over the years about the place of the Valkyrie in an organization like GWRRA. After all, we’re all about Gold Wings, right? For those that aren’t aware, GWRRA started accepting Valkyries into the fold many years ago, and for quite a few solid reasons. Essentially, the Valkyrie is — and has always been — a variation on the Wing. They share the same frame and power plant, it’s just the exterior that’s a bit different. The two have the same heart and soul, which makes it worthy of a place in the Association.
The Valk is pitched as a “muscle cruiser” by Honda. It’s supposed to be fast, efficient, stripped down and fun, yet it’s still solid and practical enough to cruise long distances. Again, it has the same frame and engine as the GL1800 (and the F6B), so there’s the same power, rigidity and smooth riding that you’ll find on the Wing. The difference comes from the weight. The 2014 Valkyrie weighs 154 lbs less than the current GL1800, which means the power-to-weight ratio is even better.
There are a few other differences between the 2014 Valkyrie and the 2014 GL1800. The 45mm fork has been lengthened, which not only lifts the front end up higher, but it also contains a cartridge damper that’s unique to the Valkyrie. Because the curb weight of the bike is just 750 lbs (and thanks to some tricky management), weight distribution is essentially a 50/50 split. The front wheels are 19-inch models, the rears 17-inches, which also means more cornering clearance.
There are a few little things that come to mind with the Valkyrie as well. The gas tank is in the “traditional” location, and holds 6.1 gallons. The handlebar is 1.3 inches further forward than the F6B, and 1.5 inches taller with a 0.7-inch wider spread. It’s also 1-inch thick, and rubber mounted to keep things comfortable for the rider. There is an aluminum grab rail for co-riders, but this bike is more geared towards the solo cruiser, so there is no focus on rear rider comfort (although we’re sure the aftermarket will fill that gap). There are other things too, like the LCD speedometer, LED turn signals, taillights and headlights, all of which bring the bike into the modern world.
But the big difference here is the bodywork, or lack thereof. Honda calls it a “minimalist” approach, and we tend to agree. There are lots of blacked-out parts, which you may remember are an optional feature for the ’14 Wing. The rest of the body is very muscular, with swoopy curves and bulges here and there. It’s garnering a bit of controversy amongst some Members, who feel that it’s a bit too gaudy compared to the sculptured lines of the GL1800. But ultimately, sales numbers will tell the tale.
What about safety and extras? Although ABS isn’t standard, it is an optional feature for the ’14 Valkyrie, so that’s something. There’s no cruise control however, which may turn off some current GL owners who are considering a purchase. As for color selection, there are three as of right now: Black, Dark Red Metallic and Blue Metallic.
Let’s get down to brass tacks: when does this puppy come out and how much does it cost? Honda says it’ll be available in April, so they’re starting the hype machine up early on this one. As for the price, that’s still “TBD,” so who knows where it’s going to fit in the lineup.
Is the 2014 Valkyrie your cup of tea? Will we see more ’14 Valks in GWRRA soon? We won’t know for a few months, but in the meantime, we’ve got a lot of cool pics to drool over.
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