The Honda Valkyrie has been an obsession of the moto-market since its release in 1997, and it makes sense; the Valkyrie is unlike anything produced.
Its liquid-cooled, 1,520 cubic centimeters Flat-Six Engine was torn from Honda’s massive, comfort-based Gold Wing touring bike, but they’ve got the motor into a stripped-down frame to produce the 2-wheel equivalent of a muscle car.
If you’re a moto-maniac like me, you spend a lot of time reading about bikes like the Valkyries, of which there aren’t many similarities.
We know that the Gold Wing’s lifespan is the stuff of legends, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve always wondered just how long the Honda Valkyrie can last? Find out in this article.
Here’s the Short Answer to How Long a Honda Valkyrie Lasts:
The Honda Valkyrie has proven it can last over 300,000 miles; some have been running optimally for over 500,000 miles. And because there are real-life examples of Gold Wings that have been on the road since 1975, a Valkyrie can safely be projected to run for 50+ years.
How Many Miles Do You Get On a Honda Valkyrie?
According to the factory engineers, the Valkyrie is designed to be a 300,000-mile bike, but there are real-life examples of riders who’ve reached over 500,000 miles and have had zero issues.
The Valkyrie’s flat-six is basically an automobile engine. Its sealed, water-cooled design equips radiators, thermostats, and water pumps to keep heat from tempering its parts.
Because they run cool regardless of their ambient temperature and RPMs, the Valkyries enjoy extended service life over air-cooled models.
These bikes can cross the desert at 100 mph for hours without its engine reaching a dangerous temperature. The water-jackets guarantee that all six cylinders are keep cool simultaneously.
What Is Considered High Mileage for These Models?
A Valkyrie is considered “young” all the way up to 200,000 miles.
As I’ve already mentioned, there are happy Valkyrie owners who’ve clocked over 500k on their faithful Honda flat-six, and we can further examine the technology behind the motor to understand why.
The Honda flat-six generates over 100 lb-ft of torque, much of free just above idle.
Translation? The Valkyrie’s motor is under-worked.
The flat-six engine is barely working at all while cruising, and that free torque is ready and willing to pick up the pace when need be. This lack of stress increases the engine’s lifespan.
A balanced six-cylinder water-cooled high engine with the torque, horsepower, and displacement of a car that only has to power a stripped-down frame that weighs 800 lbs motor included, means that the engine is so under-stressed it can last for hundreds of thousands of miles worry free.
This and a myriad of other engineering design choices lead us to believe that, with proper maintenance, a Honda Valkyrie can last over 200,000, maybe even past 400,000 miles.
How Many Years Does a Honda Valkyrie Typically Last?
There’s good evidence that a Honda Valkyrie can last for 50-60 years; while Valkyrie’s have only been around since 1997, many of those first-generation bikes are still cruising around today unscathed from wear and tear.
Motorcycles are commonly driven for fewer miles per year than cars and trucks. The average car is driven between 10,000 and 15,000 miles per year, but the average bike only sees about 3,000 miles.
Many Valkyrie owners take long trips, so for the sake of argument, let’s be conservative and say that the average Valkyrie is ridden 5,000 miles a year.
With a mileage life of 300,000 miles, that breaks down to 60 years on the road.
What are some of the reasons why a Valkyrie lasts longer than even a car?
The Honda Valkyrie’s motor works off of a car-style, directly driven alternator. This pushes enough amps for upgrades and accessories with the reliability that resembles a car’s alternator more than that of a motorcycle.
Many of the high-mileage Valkyries you encounter are still in great condition.
Please also read our article about common problems with the Honda Valkyrie.
Is the Honda Valkyrie Reliable?
The Honda Valkyrie seldom fails. It is a skill-crafted motorcycle with an engine that can cover the first 100,000 miles with only basic oil/filter changes required and another 100k miles with some minor upkeep, like keeping its many nooks and crannies clean.
Many riders say that they never have much trouble with their Valkyrie, celebrating how smooth the flat-six runs and how easy it is to maintain.
One rider I encountered claimed his Valkyrie had over 400,000 miles and never had an issue requiring more than normal upkeep.
Its valve adjustments are considered simple, and although syncing six carbs is time consuming, it’s still fairly simple if you already know how to sync two.
Also read our article about how long the Honda CBR 1100XX lasts.
Does a Honda Valkyrie Last Longer than Other Motorcycles?
Honda Valkyries last significantly longer than most other motorcycles, and I’ll explain why.
For sports bikes, 25,000 miles can be a lot, considering that they are ridden hard and fast.
Cruisers and baggers are developed to be ridden much longer. You can expect a bagger with no signs of damage and no oil leaks to reach 50,000-60,000 miles without any engine rebuild.
So why can the Valkyrie last five times as long as cruisers and 10 times longer than a sports bike?
We already talked about the alternator and the liquid-cooled motor, which both come into play again here, but that’s not all.
Honda equipped the Valkyrie with a wet clutch, common for most bikes, sure.
Wet clutches are clutches that run in an oil bath, requiring less maintenance and seldom needing replacement than dry clutches, which incur wear and require periodic replacement.
Unlike the chain drive used by some of the most popular brands, Honda put a sealed shaft drive in the Valkyrie, requiring no other maintenance than to lubricate the bearings during rear tire changes and performing routine checks on the lubricant level in the gearcase.
Now for the money. The flat-six engine design is called a pancake design, with three cylinders on each side’s flat bank. This design is naturally balanced, nipping vibration in the bud.
Vibration increases wear on any machine’s parts; most motorcycle engines are prone to vibration, and their oscillation and metal exhaustion damage their inner parts.
With its careful and legendary engineer team behind it, the Honda flat-six pushed as much, if not more, power than the competition without the excessive vibration.
Make sure to also read our article about how long the Honda Gold Wing lasts.
What Typically Breaks First on a Honda Valkyrie?
The number one complaint on the Valkyrie is that its spline’s o-rings will wear down if not maintained.
The spline lube is part of the final drive towards the back. If a rider fails to open it every 10,000 miles to inspect the o-rings and lubricate the spline with a quality, high temp grease, the o-rings will become worn.
Hydro-lock is another complaint. A hydro-lock occurs when a failed petcock and carburetor float merge and fill a cylinder with fuel.
If this happens, and you start the bike, the starter will be damaged. But you’d know ahead of time if it’s bad, as the bike wouldn’t be running if it was experiencing a hydro-lock.
15 Great Tips to Make Sure Your Honda Valkyrie Will Last Long
The Honda Valkyrie can last most of a rider’s lifetime, so it’s worth your time and effort to knock out these steps to ensure your 300,000-mile odometer is mentioned next time a Valkyrie’s lifespan comes up.
- Follow Honda’s maintenance recommendations. The best way to keep your motorcycle running longer is to schedule or perform routine maintenance according to the owner’s manual’s suggestions.
- Inspect your air filter regularly. Avoid engine gunk by checking your air filter, following your owner’s manual instructions.
- Check your final drive. This component, when correctly managed, will command your bike for years if you inspect your o-rings and lube the spline.
- Use the suggested coolant and replace it when needed. Frequently renewing your bike’s coolant leads to a longer life for your bike.
- Change tires.
- Keep up with oil changes.
- Keep the gas in the bike’s tank fresh.
- Bleed the forks and brakes every other year.
- Keep your Valkyrie’s carbs set proper.
- Adjust your valves every 20,000 miles.
When buying a used Valkyrie:
- Inspect the service record
- Test ride it
- Check it for physical damage and corrosion
- Look up the vehicle history report
- Have a Honda-literate mechanic check and inspect the bike.
If you keep up with the basic maintenance on your Honda Valkyrie, there’s no reason why this one-of-a-kind find won’t last you for decades.