Honda's stunning 1832cc flat-six Valkyrie Rune super cruiser will make its Asia-Pacific debut at the Sydney Motorcycle Show between May 13-16.
The six-cylinder Honda NRX1800 is a limited production model developed from a concept model. The genesis of the Valkyrie Rune was in concept vehicles such as the 1995 Zodia and the T2, which was first exhibited in the USA in 2000.
Honda spent six years to take the project from concept vehicle to production reality. It has now become, in the words of US publication Motorcycle Cruiser, a 'piece of rolling art'.
Honda MPE sales and marketing manager Tony Hinton said Honda's initial plan was to build one machine for each dealership in the United States. 'The plan expanded from there to initiate a limited production run and offer the machine for sale,' he said.
US press reports give a price of $US26,999 with chrome wheels.
'We've ordered a limited number of machines for Australia - a press test bike and some machines for sale - and those machines have all been pre-sold,' Tony Hinton said.
While there are many innovative and technically interesting respects to this motorcycle, it is the outrageous styling which will make the bike a milestone in motorcycle history - it is so different to anything previously seen, that it just could be the first of a new breed.
Known as the Valkyrie Rune, Honda released pics and specs of this amazing new motorcycle last week, though it does not plan to have in showrooms until 2004.
Powered by a liquid-cooled, horizontally-opposed, fuel-injected six cylinder derivative of the current Valkyrie engine, the 1832cc machine is designed for long maintenance intervals - the first valve clearance adjustments, for example, are not due until 50,000 kilometres. A maintenance-free hydraulic clutch, electronic ignition, chain-driven camshafts and a virtually maintenance-free shaft drive are all designed to reduce servicing time and cost.
But it is not so much the specifications of the bike but the visual impact which will make it a stand-out on the roads. Everything is big and everything is radically different. It is the longest wheelbase Honda has ever used in a motorcycle, and the Dual 330mm front and single rear 336mm brake discs are also the largest ever fitted to a production Honda.
The Rune's Linked Brake System is similar to that of the VTX1800 we recently wrote up in Gizmo, featuring two three-piston front brake callipers and a single two-piston rear calliper. Rider application of the front brake lever activates the two outer pistons of the front callipers. Application of the rear brake pedal activates the two pistons of the rear calliper and the centre pistons of the front callipers. When only the rear brake pedal is used, a PCV valve controls hydraulic pressure and smooths application of the front callipers' centre pistons.
The suspension is equally radical, with the trailing bottom-link front suspension transferring axle load through pushrods and linkage to two upper shocks, one housing the main spring and one a sub-spring and damping system. This unique suspension system offers 3.9 inches of compliant travel and superior stability.
Though the motorcycle is a far cry from a road-racer, its Pro-Link rear suspension is patterned after that of Valentino Rossi's World Championship winning RC211V GP racer. The upper shock mount is contained within the swing-arm rather than the frame. With no top frame-mount for the shock, this unique system eliminates negative suspension energy from being transmitted into the frame, allowing optimum frame rigidity and better handling in corners. The Unit Pro-Link design also permits a low seat height of 27.2 inches, and 3.9 inches of wheel travel.
The remarkable styling and the equally distinctive flat six could deliver what Honda has been seeking for many years - a viable alternative custom format to the Harley V-twin mould.