Why We Picked It:
The Honda Valkyrie isn’t just one of the best Japanese cruisers ever made, it’s one of the best cruisers ever made in general! The Valkyrie had a few variations starting in 1997 based around the 1500 Goldwing engine, then later with the polarizing styling of the Rune and the 1800 Goldwing engine. Finally finishing off with the F6C models from 2013-2015 again using the GL1800 engine. In many ways, the Valkyrie was a bagger before riders knew how cool a bagger could be.
Made exclusively at Honda’s Marysville plant in Ohio, it seemed a no-brainer to take the silky-smooth flat-six Goldwing engine and strip off all the touring weight. Leaving an engine with tires and a handlebar, the 100+ lb-ft of torque easily moved the Valkyrie down the highway. With the introduction of the GL1800 Goldwing in 2001, it was just a matter of time before the larger powerplant made its way into a cruiser form. This time it came packaged as the Valkyrie Rune.
The Rune seemed to be going for Japanese Anime styling, and it seemed to be an either love it or hate it look. The Rune is now an extremely rare ride, having been such a limited run during 2003.
Finally, the last use of the Valkyrie name was on the 2014-2015 models. Once again taking advantage of the excellent Goldwing engine, the bike was reworked for a 50/50 weight distribution, but clad with styling elements that no longer needed any chrome to show off.
The Valkyrie proved a V-Twin wasn’t a requirement to be an excellent cruiser. The choice was comfort and performance over exhaust notes and earth-shaking vibrations. The Valkyrie left a lasting impression, and that’s why we rank it as one of the best cruisers of all time.