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2014 Honda Valkyrie Preview


by Pascal Bastien ,

Honda Canada is announcing the return of the Valkyrie, originally produced from 1996 to 2003 as a stripped-down Gold Wing spinoff. For 2014, it's based on the Gold Wing F6B, and powered by a flat-6 engine.

The 2014 Honda Valkyrie discards the retro looks of its ancestor in favour of a modern design inspired from the CTX 750 and 1300 models. Black chrome dominates the picture, with several matte accents embellishing the sides. The wide and low-slung Valkyrie is quite a sight to behold, like a beefier Honda Fury. The LED taillight, mounted at the bottom of the large rear fender, actually seems to come from the Fury, while a superb new LED headlight adds the finishing touch.

Unlike the two other F6 models, which have a single front radiator, the 2014 Honda Valkyrie has one on each side. They're covered by big shrouds that enhance the bike's futuristic look.

The excessively discreet sound effects of the F6B will undoubtedly be improved thanks to new, flash-cut tailpipes that went through several prototypes in order to come up with the proper exhaust note. The right one is slightly smaller to produce a perfectly deep growl.

As far as the chassis is concerned, the 2014 Honda Valkyrie marks a more significant departure from the F6B, even though it carries over the twin-spar aluminum frame. The new Pro-Arm swingarm with Honda Multi-Action System (HMAS) puts the drive shaft on the right side, while the rake angle goes from 29.15 to 29.5 degrees, increasing the wheelbase to 1,707 mm. Seat height is lower at 734 mm. Also, in an effort to deliver more neutral handling, engineers paid special attention to weight distribution and managed to achieve a near-perfect ratio (49.9/50.1).

The 2014 Honda Valkyrie uses a non-adjustable 45mm fork and 310mm discs with new 4-piston Nissin callipers up front. Meanwhile, the rear suspension consists of a Pro-Link single shock with computer-controlled spring preload adjustment, and the rear brake relies on a single 316mm disc. ABS is obviously part of the package, not to mention stylish aluminum wheels (19'' front; 17'' rear) and big tires (130mm front; 180mm rear).

Weighing 70kg less than the standard Gold Wing, the 2014 Honda Valkyrie should provide fun, lively acceleration, especially with a reprogrammed ECU that improves throttle response and power at higher revs.

The 2014 Honda Valkyrie will offer Graphite Black and Blue Metallic body colours. Canadian prices have yet to be announced. They will reportedly fall into the $17,000 range in the U.S., which sounds pretty competitive: It's nearly on par with the Valkyrie's direct rival, the Triumph Rocket III.