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HONDA’S URBAN BRUISER | News

With big Goldwing reputations to uphold, can Honda’s urban bruiser walk the talk?

Ever since Honda mugged the market with the launch of the astonishing GL1000 way back, the Goldwing has championed one thing: THAT engine. You got it, that horizontally opposed behemoth, the one that stopped the global motorcycle conversation mid-sentence in 1975.

It was big, bold, and had a certain presence. It was also the first liquid-cooled four-stroke to come out of Japan. Yeah, influential.

Fast forward. The Goldwing engine is now 1832cc, it makes use of six pots and that engine still stuns. Of course, it’s as horizontally opposed as it ever was. And the enforcer of the range is the Valkyrie. Think of it as a stripped out cruiser with street presence to burn.

It’s still all about that engine. Put simply, the bike sounds like a ski boat and pulls like a locomotive.

There’s a 6000rpm redline, but finding it on the cursory digital tacho is difficult. The speedo is nice and large, however, and that’s probably as it should be when you consider the prodigious torque that is on offer. You just don’t need revs to get this big baby motivated.

Underneath is a twin-spar aluminium frame using the engine as a stressed member, and the Valkyrie makes an immediate statement with its futuristic aesthetics. Huge frontal body outriders hide the substantial radiators and protect them from puncture.

There’s a five speed gearbox with fifth overdriven. The gear change is imprecise – not the hot-knife-through-butter we’ve come to expect from Honda.

The seating position is perfect. The wide, rubber-mounted bar allows the elbows to drop to a natural resting position. Top marks there.

At the rear, a plastic valanced guard houses the delightfully engineered single-sided swingarm and the meaty 180/55/17 Dunlop Sportmax hoop.

There’s Honda’s Dual Combined ABS system, delivering balanced braking between a pair of 310mm discs and four-piston calipers at the front, and a ventilated 316mm disc and three-piston caliper at the rear.

The big Valk offers reasonable clearance. Aided by those footpegs rather than silly old-man footboards that beset so many modern cruisers, a decent lean angle is possible. Indeed, your traditional-cruiser-riding mates will be grinding their V-twinned showponies to an acute chamfer in an attempt to catch you. Whether you will get the nod in preference to those same mates at the carpark viewing when it comes to impressing that sassy little local you’ve coaxed away from the pool table is another thing altogether. If you do alright, there’s a big pillion pad and solid twin grabrails, so she’s likely to want another go. Nudge, nudge…

So. The Valkyrie is kinda techno-funky and that will isolate some and impress others. It’s well priced, intelligently designed and goes like shite off a shanghai. Yep, we like it.

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