Honda's Outrageous Rune Is On the Way

Honda will hit May delivery date.

The Valkyrie Rune, the most unique cruiser Honda has ever mass-produced, started production in late April at Honda's Marysville, Ohio factory, assuring that it will hit Honda dealers in May. We are told that Motorcycle Cruiser will receive a test unit in early June, and we expect to have our first impressions here on our web site.

The all-new version of the current Valkyrie has six cylinders, the wildest styling ever to roll off an assembly line, and can be yours for something north of $25,000 or so, depending on how willing your Honda dealer is to part with the unit he is allotted. Not all dealers will get one, apparently, since the production run is limited.

The Valkyrie Rune is a concept bike turned limited-production reality. Closely based on the 2001 T2 mock-up that made the rounds on the show circuit, the Rune packs a hopped-up 1832cc Gold Wing engine (which in the Wing makes 104 horsepower and 110 pounds-feet of torque). It retains the five-speed gearbox and shaft final drive used in the touring bike. The logical speculation is that Honda will have a less radical Valkyrie with the Rune's 1832cc engine to replace the Valkyrie 1500 in the near future, but we have no confirmation or reliable rumors to that effect.

But the Rune's motive force will be of secondary interest to anyone who sees the machine. The long, low bike looks like no other production machine ever. Squatting on a 68.9-inch wheelbase, it appears as long as a freight train. The stretched headlight shell, mile-long 6.2-gallon fuel tank, deep wrap-around fenders, and other touches contribute to its visual length. An aluminum frame links the trailing-bottom-link fork with the single-damper unit Pro-Link rear suspension. The upper shock mount is contained within the swingarm, which according to Honda's release, "eliminates negative suspension energy."

Linked controls, where the foot pedal operates the rear brake on one of each front caliper's three pistons, act on the largest discs (dual 330mm rotors front and a 336mm on the rear) ever bolted to a stock motorcycle. Good thing, too: the dry weight is listed at 770 pounds, almost 100 pounds more than the 1500cc Valkyrie six.

The details have a very custom flair. Master cylinders for the clutch and front brake actually got some attention from the stylists, who integrated them into the chrome mounts on the handlebar. Dual LED taillights are frenched into the rear fender and wrap around it vertically. A digital instrument pod is recessed into the top of the fuel tank. Billet grips have rubber inserts. Two 55-watt bulbs reside inside the unique headlight beam. There is a remote steering lock too. Two different bar bends will be available for different rider statures, and there may be two versions of the bike itself, one with more chrome.

Since there won't be many built (maybe one per dealer), Runes won't be easy to come by when they arrive this May, and most have already been spoken for. Some dealers tell us that they will hang onto them for at least a few weeks to draw traffic to their showrooms, and some enthusiast dealers say they are keeping theirs.

Runes are now coming off the assembly line in Ohio.
LED taillights wrap with the fender top to bottom.
The distinctive headlight uses two bulbs.
Those pipes may be the most controversial component on the Rune, but you'd be a fool to change them on such a collectibe motorcycle.
Two dampers behind the headlight control the bottom-trailing-link fork's action.
The dash features an LED main display plus the eyebrow display (click the image above) ahead of it.
Honda won't make many Runes, but you won't mistake it for anything else when you see one.
If Honda makes a full-production Valkyrie with the 1832cc engine, it's not likely to be this radical.