Honda Valkyrie: A Hooligan Gold Wing?

It's a power cruiser, if you squint hard enough. Watch this quick video and YOU be the judge!

For me, a 750-pound cruiser is an unlikely source of a smile. Agility and power-to-weight ratios are typically what thrill me, or high-tech tidbits. But truthfully, even considering how many bells and whistles and settings and adjustments some modern bikes have, I get the biggest kicks from the simple stuff. And Honda 's Valkyrie is terrifically simple.

It's kind of silly, really. Just a lump of a motor in a huge chassis, with no real reason for any of it, but somehow it's great. It's one thousand eight hundred thirty two cubic centimeters, nearly 112 cubic inches, of silliness. The motor is anything but silly in a Gold Wing chassis, of course. It's just smooth and pleasing; borderline invisible.

But when you take a motor that was designed to politely lug around 900 pounds of airbags, luggage, and stereo equipment and shed around 150 pounds of weight things get more interesting. Honda also deserve credit for making the Valky sound the part. It's not raucous or ostentatious, but produces an addictive howl when you twist the grip sharply. It lays down 110 lb.-ft. of torque and sounds like a European sports car doing it. It made me wonder if six cylinders is enough! I can't wait for the GL2200 Gold Wing, with a 2.2 liter V-8 and 150 lb.-ft. at the rear wheel. MORE TORQUE PLEASE.

The Valky is also more comfortable that you might expect, at both high and low speed, the cockpit is laid out very well, the dash is cool, and it's got a muscular parking-lot presence. You can say it's overkill, but I'm smitten.

I can't tell you you'll feel the same way if you ride a Valkyrie. What I can do is admit, publicly, that what I thought was going to be a heavy, awkward, stupid answer to a question nobody asked turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of the year for me. Next time I see a spec sheet that says, "67-inch wheel base, 110 lb.-ft. of torque" I'm going to get excited.