The Best New Thing In The World
I started my career in journalism in 1972. By the time I got to The Palm Beach Post, the Honda Goldwing had been introduced as the 999cc GL1000 Gold Wing in 1975. It was a naked bike with four horizontally opposed cylinders. It was a BMW squared.
I got my first bike about then – a Honda 550cc in-line four cylinder. It was a great motorcycle.
Some little time after that, I persuaded a salesman to give me a ride on the back of the new Gold Wing. It was awesome. The power was outstanding and the almost electric feel of the bike was a whole new thing.
I’ve kept that in my head for 37 years now.
By the end of the ’90′s, the Gold Wing had morphed into a 1500cc motorcycle that came in two editions. You could get the Gold Wing with faring and bags, much resembling the Gold Wing of today, or the naked Valkyrie.
The other day I was up at my favorite dealership, Florida Motorsports in Stuart FL, and there, sitting a few bikes down from the door, was a 1999 Honda Valkyrie. It is designated the GL1500C and is the Gold Wing without the factory faring and bags and doodads.
This is the next generation of the bike I was on long, long ago.
The bike had 70,000 miles on it and was selling for $4,500.
This bike is the reason I carry an American Express card.
It is now mine and it is totally excellent.
The choke doesn’t work and the brakes aren’t near as good as the Brembos I have on my Ducati.
But who cares?
It has the biggest engine plowing down the road of any naked bike – so much so that even Harley guys give it respect. I wasn’t five miles from the dealership on my way home when a Harley guy pulled up next to me and shouted “That is a great bike!”
The new Kawasaki Concours probably outshines it, but this 1999 bike still has 120 ccs of engine in excess and looks it. It looks all engine.
It is as well balanced as my venerable BMW R-1200-RT. And it blows the BMW away in terms of power.
So here is the best new thing in the world today. An almost collectable Honda Valkyrie.