Honda Valkyrie F6C (1996-2005) Review
- An American-style large cruiser
- 1800cc motor packs a real punch
- Should prove a reliable steed
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Honda Valkyrie FC6 is one of those traffic-stopping motorcycles that non-bikers are simply fascinated by.
Basically a stripped down Honda GL1500 Gold Wing, with lower gearing and six carbs, the Honda F6C Valkyrie is actually reasonably good fun to ride and some might say it's best made motorcycle in America. The Honda Rune 1800 looks like some kind of Dan Dare spacecraft - mental.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Here, the Honda F6C Valkyrie surprises many riders. So long as there's plenty of advance planning, the motorcycle can be made to go around a corner fairly fast ( for a cruiser) and still offers a luxurious ride on motorways. The Honda Rune 1800 is more ponderous, but then you'd want to travel slowly so people could stare for longer.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Honda Valkyrie's big problem for many cruiser riders is that it just isn't a V-twin. Instead a burbling flat six Honda GL1500 Gold Wing motor seems to sanitised for most, too damn quiet. Sure, the Honda F6C Valkyrie's 100bhp motor is enough to send the thing whizzing along an unfeasible speeds, but it's easily out accelerated by the Triumph Rocket III, any old Yamaha V-Max and a whole boatload of rival power cruiser motorcycles these days. The Rune 1800 isn't really any faster.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The Honda F6C Valkyrie rarely goes wrong, ever. It is a beautifully made motorcycle, with lavish chrome, thick paintwork and an engine that can cover 100,000 miles with basic oil/filter changes. The main problem with the motorcycle is keeping its hundreds of nooks and crannies clean. Double that cleaning time on the Honda Rune 1800.
Our Honda Valkyrie FC6 owners' reviews show a very reliabile bike, which is the norm for Hondas.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
For most of its life it was available as a personal import from the USA, and there aren't that many around, which keeps resale values high. Honda F6C Valkyrie motorcycles with the hard luggage touring kit on seem to be sought after.
Buy a good used motorcycle and you can five years biking for about two grand in depreciation. The Honda Rune 1800 costs big bucks and is for Lotto millionaires and poseurs only.
Huge brakes, beefy forks and a proper two person saddle are some of the useful features on the Honda F6C Valkyrie. It could use the reverse gear of the Gold Wing and there's no screen as standard on the Honda F6C Valkyrie. Naturally there's a whole phone book of accessories to be had, from both Honda and US aftermarket motorcycle accessory suppliers. Sci-fi bodywork on the Rune looks stunning.
|Engine type||12v, flat six, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Steel diamond|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|Front brake||Twin 296mm discs|
|Rear brake||316mm disc|
|Front tyre size||150/80 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/70 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||33 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£150|
14 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||100 bhp|
|Max torque||87 ft-lb|
|Top speed||115 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||12 secs|
|Tank range||120 miles|
Model history & versions
1996: Honda F6C Valkyrie launched.
1997: Honda F6C Valkyrie Touring appears in US.
1998: Honda UK officially import F6C Valkyrie.
1999: Honda F6C Valkyrie Interstate launched in US.
2003: Honda UK drop F6C Valkyrie from their range.
2004: Honda Valkyrie Rune 1800 Ltd Ed launched in USA.
2005: US factory discontinues Honda Valkyrie Rune production.
Honda Valkyrie Touring: As Honda F6C Valkyrie but with touring kit inc. luggage.
Honda F6C Valkyrie Interstate: Varient of the above.
Honda Valkyrie Rune 1800: All new model with space age styling.
MCN Long term test reports
Honda reveals new F6C
Way back in 2007 Honda showed the EVO6 Concept and it looked amazing; six years later the Honda F6C is the production version of that bike and was unveiled today (Wednesday) at the Tokyo show in Japan. The Honda Goldwing F6C is another clever bit of work by Honda by taking an existing engine and ch…
Owners' reviews for the HONDA F6C (1996 - 2005)
8 owners have reviewed their HONDA F6C (1996 - 2005) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Version: Valkyrie Tourer
I’ve owned 60 bikes (of all types) being a born fanatic, the Valk is my all time favourite.
Low Centre of gravity means these heavy bikes actually handle really well, I’ve shamed a few try-hard sports bike riders on mine (you know the type, Panigale riders wearing full one-piece leathers with knee sliders that look new). Harleys don’t bother trying to keep up. Brakes are good, braided lines apparently make them better. I use HH pads. They’re hilarious on a windy road, brilliant fun, you can find their limits easily at legal speeds which always puts a smile on my face.
Water cooled, horizontally opposed, 6 cylinder. Did someone say late model Porsche 911?
Very well built, pure cliche Honda. Chrome is just starting to pit a little after 24 years. Paint is perfect, deep and lustrous. Engine is still silky smooth and quiet. Someone above mentioned that the European model has foam in the air box lid inlet that deteriorates, which then affects performance - this poor design element is to satisfy emissions requirements. Australia has the same thing. A permanent fix is to leave the crap foam piece missing, and swap out the main jets for #100’s. Power is fully restored!
Servicing is so easy to DIY. Valves are screw and locknut. The heads poke out the sides, so access to valves and spark plugs is super easy. Oil changes are simple. The air box is fidddly to get back on, but using a ratchet strap is the trick to getting it on again. Splines on the final drive must be lubed with every rear tire change to ensure long life. Fuel consumption can be on the heavy side, especially if you’re getting stuck-in on a nice windy road.
I’ve got the Tourer version. It has panniers and a screen. I’ve added electronic cruise control. If I wanted anything more than that, I might have purchased a Goldwing. The Valkyrie is an engaging riders bike, without any electronic gadgetry, just the way I like them.
Buying experience: I paid a lot for mine, $12k AUD but she only had 19,000kms and was 17 years old, one owner. Best money I’ve ever spent. Purchased from a dealer.
Version: GL1500 F6C Valkyrie - 1998
Annual servicing cost: £250
Classic Bike with a fantastic flat six engine, Honda reliability and classic cruiser lines. Would love to own another F6C as a back up, and would recommend this model to anyone wanting a decent fun reliable cruiser but maybe not to a novice biker given the overall dry weight. I've no current intentions to trade in for another bike purchase. Any additional bike would probably be a stand alone purchase. Only thing I miss is a fuel guage and a centre stand, but I've learned to live without such luxury items now!
The bike is not quite at GL1500/1800 Goldwing comfort levels but still excellent for a full day out of fun riding on any road or motorway, with no problems from a 2 hr plus stint between the usual fuel and coffee breaks. Overall relaxed riding style with sufficient power on tap as and when is required by the rider, or the riding situation. The bike can be riden in line with the riders demands but obviously it's a cruiser not an ADV or Sports bike.
The perfect Cruiser in my opinion (based on 1998 levels and my own needs) with sufficient usable power for all riding occasions. Maybe outdated by modern bike performance standards but I wouldn't be swapping the F6C for anything on the market currently other than a new GL1800 Honda engine (if they were ever in more affordable models).
Excellent bullet proof engine, and overall a well built bike produced by Honda USA. Fork seal replaced after 22 yrs. Otherwise the usual Honda reliability from a shaft driven Cruiser. Only showing it's age on engine block and some chrome parts, but overall a very very acceptable looking bike. The F6C was made in the same factory as the Goldwing and so the reliability is a given. It's a 22 year old model now and I fully expect that the bike will be going strong in another 22yrs, I just hope I am still able to enjoy it then too.
Around £400 -£500 over two yrs with a minor service one year followed by a major service the following year. Running costs are very reasonable unless any specialist work on the six Carbs is required. Given the complexity of modern bikes the F6C is maintainable by those who have sufficient tools and a decent mechanical knowledge.
I love the riding position, levels of torque and overall styling of the flat 6 engine, but as stated I do sometimes miss a fuel guage on longer trips and a main stand for routine maintenance. No need to add any chrome there is enough to clean. Maybe need to add soft or hard luggage when touring or for longer day trips. Bridgestone are the tyre of choice.
Buying experience: Used bike bought from a small dealer. Very happy with deal, bike cost £5,700 which was the advertised price. I believe the F6C values will potentially flat line at circa £5k and then just hold their price whatever the listed mileage maybe, as well over 100k of riding can be expected from a GL1500 engine, if it's maintained correctly.
Annual servicing cost: £60
It’s all round ability and build quality.
Excellent ride quality, can go for miles without stopping. The brakes don’t seem the best but that’s because there is a lot of bike to stop.
Won’t get a smoother engine, plenty of power and torque.
Excellent quality, it’s a Honda, don’t have to worry about reliability.
Fuel costs are high compared to other bikes but with 6 carbs it is going to be, but still value for money in my opinion.
Not a lot of electrical goodies but do you really want them or need them.
Buying experience: Independent dealer. Got for a couple of hundred pound cheaper than advertised.
Annual servicing cost: £60
The F6C is the ultimate, reliable, well-built cruiser.
The brakes could be better.
The engine is solid and reliable.
I get about 33mpg which could be better.
There are many aftermarket parts that make this bike look a beast, all could have been added at source.
Buying experience: I bought mine privately. It was advertised at £6500 but I paid £5800. The bike probably has £2k-£3k of aftermarket chrome on it.
Annual servicing cost: £240
Totally amazing bike.
I have had a lot of back problems and this is the best bike I have ever had for ride. Handling is surprisingly good with a low centre of gravity from flat 6 cylinder engine. Stopping distance is pretty good and rated high for size of bike.
I am a chief engineer and this engine is totally amazing in power and smoothness. Can stand a 1p coin on engine, start and rev up without falling over. The sound is totally intoxicating. Loud pipes are great for showing off, but can be tiring in long journeys. Probably the most amazing looking power plant in any motorcycle. The ‘F6C’ models are not the same as the ‘Valkyrie’ models.
Amazing quality, robustness and reliability. Sensible to maintain and goes on forever. These Honda’s were made in Marysville, Ohio and are probably some of the best made Honda bikes ever. I’ve had a few fifth gen VFR’s, so know what good Honda quality is like!
Amazing value bikes. Value only going one way now if you look after them. Likes a drink if you’re having fun, but equally content cruiser.
No rubbish crap like rider modes, traction control, auto blip throttle. No bike can come as close to fulfilling ‘Motor-Bike’ description. With a screen and panniers, one of the best touring bikes made.
Buying experience: Bought private as a third bike. Now after thinning down garage to just one bike, I bought another Valkyrie. Would not rule out another one. My wife would be displeased, but does think they look totally amazing bikes.
Excellent bike. Do everything just fine. Bought a 600 transalp to ride in town, after 2 days back to valk.. Even in the city is fabulous. Touring is just a pleasure... 5th gear go everywhere. Can do 6.3 li/100km traveling smooth.. Only one complaint and happened on both I had.. European model has a foam pre filter in the cover of the airbox that rotten with age and its very difficult to go beyond 4009 rpm.. New cover and their she goes again..
Although very heavy, once moving handles almost like a scooter.. Don't like the breaks.. Although stops very good are the kind on-off.. Not progressive.
Excellent... Just think that should have a 6th gear for cruising..
his is my third season on my valkyrie, and it turns heads wherever I go, it still looks like new, I have emptied the exhaust of silensers and it roars! it rides like a charm, sidewinds are not a problem on this bike, I have 10000$ of extra chromes worth on it, and it Shines!! Being an old v.twin rider though I have only one negative thing to say, it's not a v-twin.. it's something much more, but the hog sound is just not there.. it sounds awesome mind you, but more like a ferrari or a porsche. cool yes, but I would like more pounding sound it I could. Mileage is maybe not the greatest, but if you ride a bike for 25000 $ just for the fun of it, mileage is not an issue.. just annoying to stop for gas so often. every 3 hours you need to fill it up. I really like my bike!
The F6C stands for “Flat 6 Custom” , how boring! In the states it’s called a “Valkyrie”. As all the Valks are made in the US of A I call mine a Valkyrie! Engine..Nothing is smoother than a 6 and it will pull from 800 rpm in top gear (20mph) but you have to hold the brake on as tickover is set at 1000rpm. High lift cams, 6 carbs, and manual tappet adjustment all contribute to a silky smooth powerful engine built for crossing continents in a day! Ride & Handling.. USD forks and reasonable rear shocks give this bike plenty of road holding. It doesn't particularly like small twisty roads and gets fidgety at slow speeds but that's not the cruisers domain. In fast sweeping bends there's no tail wagging it just tracks the corner perfectly. Equipment.. Up to your imagination. More accessories abound for this bike than any other although they are much cheaper directly from the US of A. My only gripe is there's no headlamp flasher! Quality and Reliability.. It would be easy to just say it's a Honda but it's THE Honda! All others pale into insignificance with the quality of this one. Lots of chreome as standard means a quick wash and rub down with a damp chamois bring it up beautifully. Reliability.. It eats it's own battery every 3 years, but that's not Honda's fault it's the battery manufacturer's! Value.. Very expensive new but what a lot of bike for your money. Keeps its value very well and recently appears to be rising in value. Performance.. I live in the real world and know what this bike will do. I average 40mpg whether at home or abroad. I get at least 160 miles to a tank full and I've seen 180 before refuelling and that was 2 up with 5 stone of luggage. The top speed is higher than MCN suggest and I've got SatNav data logging to prove it having frightened some poor person on a 600 sports bike by overtaking uphill on a slight bend! Probably thought he/she was being overtaken by a tractor when they saw the size of the front tyre in their mirror (it’s a 150)! Last words..My wife travelled from Clermont Ferrand to Belgium, Calais, through the chunnel and home (Nr Plymouth, Devon) in one go. 797 miles only stopping for food, toilets and her cigarettes (that’s the Belgium bit). We left Clermont Ferrand at 9am and got home at 1am without rushing. WARNING.. This bike attracts a lot of attention. You will be accosted at all times even by people driving by in town just to tell you what you already know..”That’s one beautiful bike mate!” Park this bike next to any other – yes, even Harleys – and people will stop and look at it, not at the plastic shod rockets nearby. You have been warned.