Have you ever wondered what Japanese styling could do to an American style superbike? The answer is the Honda Valkyrie Rune.
This is one of those superbikes that only had a short run. Honda created and manufactured this motorcycle to appeal to the American muscle motorcycle market. They did their job well, infusing it with enough Japanese style to make anyone look twice and wonder if they just saw a superhero ride by.
Is That a Real Motorcycle?
This motorcycle is that stunning and unique. It seems so much like a movie prop that owners report people asking them on the street if it’s real. Some people call it ugly. Others call it breathtaking. Everyone stops to have a look.
Though it’s got a Japanese design, the Honda Valkyrie Rune was made in the United States. Specifically in Maryville, Ohio. This limited edition was released in 2003 and was only produced for the single production year, 2004.
Lacquered all in black and chrome, it looks more like a fully custom motorcycle than a production line bike. How has this motorcycle never had a starring role in a film? It’s a shame. Hollywood, if you’re listening you need to make a film starring this motorcycle.
Unlike a lot of Japanese bikes that sit up high, this monster bike is slung down low to the ground. It’s a smoother ride than most other low bikes, thanks in large part to the largest brake discs of any Honda superbike, clocking in at 330mm in front and 336mm in the back.
The weight of this motorcycle makes it way more substantial than the little scooters running around out there. A massive 400kg monster, this bike feels like a solid piece when riding it. It’s made for high speeds, which makes handling it at in-town speeds tougher. It’s worth it for the looks and comments that passers-by call out along the route.
This thing was made for being looked at.
Production of the Rune
With only a year and a half of production, this is among the coolest but hardest to find motorcycles out there.
The bike boasts a 1832cc, six cylinder motor that’s horizontally mounted. It’s part of the Valkyrie line of motorcycles by Honda, which were in production from 1996-2003 and then restarted in 2018.
Originally inspired by the 1995 Tokyo motorcycle show, the creators at Honda set out to take design and muscle to the next level, creating a truly unique bike that would be unlike anything they’d ever built. More power, exploding onto the highway, and pushing past old manufacturing limitations that they knew they could move beyond. It was that quest for power that in part took so long to get from the spark of genius to the finished product.
Production of the Rune affected other American made Honda motorcycles, like the Gold Wing, which now boasts the same 1832cc engine as the Rune. The designers of this motorcycle intentionally sought to boost the power of their motorcycles across the board through the hefting of the Rune, and it worked.
Cool for a price
Originally selling for a cool thirty thousand dollars, the Honda Rune has only gone up in value since it was released. Repair costs are substantial due to its low production time. The original production cost was estimated to be more than three times the selling price of the motorcycle when it was new, meaning Honda always intended to make their money back on parts and in free marketing.
The concept for the design was called “neo-retro” by the marketing people at Honda, and that honestly pretty well captures it.
This motorcycle was meant to inspire consumers, and it’s hard not to feel inspired by it.