The F6C Valkyrie.

My ride on an Angel.

 

By Joe Foley

Ireland

 

 

Thanks to Steve Saunders for giving me this page for the following article. Click the Home button at the bottom of this page to return to Steve Saunders Goldwing Page. Hope you enjoy it, it's a really great Irish Goldwing site.

 

Now sit down, relax, have a cup/can/smoke, or what ever you usually do before you read on.

The Honda Valkyrie / F6C motorcycle was introduced in the States in `97. The name Valkyrie comes from Viking methology. If a warrior was killed during battle, {this was supposed to be an honor), it was believed that an angel, called the Valkyrie, would bring their soul safely straight to heaven. So….riding the Valkyrie is like taking a ride straight to heaven, on an Angel!!! In Europe it is called the F6C, or Flat Six Custom.

The engine in the F6C (Valk is easier on the tongue) is more or less the same as the Goldwing GL1500, except a hell of a lot more power!! This comes down to high-lift cams, six instead of two carbs, a six into six-exhaust system, even though it looks like a six into two affair. This brings the red line up 1000 revs to 6,500 revs, and tops out at 8,500. It is also about 12 stone a lighter package. This is the main reason I bought the Valkyrie. You see I had a few Goldwings, and I love the engine in the GL1500. Having six cylinders instead of four makes all the difference in an engine. It would be like comparing a single to a twin, or a twin against a four. One is more smooth than the other. So when the big Red brought out a bike that had the same six job (pun intended}, but more poke, my ears popped up. I also like the look of customs, but I did not want a bike that just looked good parked. It had to go as well as show! The top I have done was 130 two up, with no prob.’s at all (about 5,500 revs, and fast enough). The torque in this engine is its best point. It’s a great feeling to just sit there, twitch the throttle, and the Valkyrie suddenly pulls away, I mean, you do not have to wait till it gets up the revs, although when you do get the revs above 3,000 it pulls even harder. You can change gear if you want!!!! I have installed a K&N filter, and have yet to polish the ports/inlets etc, and I may get it Dyno-ed. More anon. There is also a sound that comes from the engine when it passes about 3000 revs. I did not notice this until I put the screen on because I could not hear it with the wind. It basically sound likes a jet engine firing up!! I love it!! But I wanted to know what it was in case there was something wrong. There isn’t. It is very common, and the best explanation I got was it is the harmonics of the engine when as a certain rev. It is more than likely in the Goldwing also, but you would not hear it when enclosed in plastic and sound reduction foam.

You can read magazines on how the Valkyrie handles, but in my opinion most of these guys drive sports bikes and are not used to this size/style of bike. It is very maneuverable in the city, with a very good lock at the steering, and for a bike this size, it does handle very well. I am not saying it is a sports bike, but I can be honest in saying that I have left a red face on a few crotch rocket riders. Up front there is upside-down forks that keep the front end on the road very well {45 milers), along with full floating discs. In my experience a lot of people do not know what the benefit is of having upside down forks except that is on a lot of sports bikes so it must be good. What it does is it cuts down on a lot of weight at the wheel, so in fact, it makes the front wheel lighter, and thus has better shock/rebound characteristics. Take a look at the next bike you see with upside-downers and you will see what I mean. The full floating discs keep the weight down also. This is needed as the front wheel is a big one {150/80, or to put it another way, the same size as most 600’s back wheel). The rear end is a twin shock affair with 0-5 pre-load. I drove mine for a while at different levels, and prefer it at 4, but I do drive fairly hard so this suits me. Progressive make a couple of different types of after market shocks for the Valk, and there is Super-Brace, that makes a brace that clamps onto the forks to reduce flex. Is this brace needed, I don’t think so but who am I? Unlike the Wing, the engine is not rubber mounted, but bolted directly to the frame. This is to make it stiffer, and eliminates the high-speed wobble at bends you get with the Wings and other big heavy bikes. With the engine a flat sex job, you would also think that this thing would not bank over. Not true. The lower the center of gravity on a bike (C of G); the less you have to bank it over in comparison to a higher C of G bike. You will be looking very hard to find a bike with a lower C of G than the Valkyrie. An example of what I am talking about here is if you were going around a corner siting up on a bike, and you then got your knee down and hung off the side of the bike. Your bike will not need to bank over as far to go around the bend at the same speed. This is because you are after lowering your C of G {by using your body weight). Getting your knee down on the Valkyrie is hard unless you have long arms, this is because it has wide bars, so it is a good job it is low. You would also be surprised how far it does bank over before the peg scrapes. When this happens you know you have about 1 inch of travel before before the crash bars start to scrape too.

The brakes on the Valkyrie are another good point. Although I have read somewhere that they are the same as the ones on a CBR600 {the brakes on the CBR are very good also}. This is not the case. I saw this at first hand one weekend when I was working on a mates CBR. We had the two bikes in the garage and the calipers are bigger on the Valkyrie. They are not linked up like the Goldwing or Blackbird etc. That is, you pull the front lever and the front brakes alone work, and when you press the rear brake pedal, the rear brakes alone work. Simple. The rear brakes are a twin pot-job. Again, a lot larger than the CBR.

I do all my own servicing on my bike, and it could not be simpler on this one. The oil filter and plugs are all exposed and require no stripping. Because there is no hydraulic tappets, {as in the Wing}, you have to adjust the tappets yourself. My bike at the moment has only 6,000 miles on-er and they are grand. I have heard they are good for 20,000 before any adjustment is necessary. Again this is simple. Just remove 6 Alan bolts on each head, and adjust away. Half an hour tops . No shims mean you do not have to go into town to buy shims and then come back and put them in the bike.. The six carbs may sound like a nightmare to synchronize, but this is only a 20-minute job. Everything is exposed and you have to remove only six screws (three at each side) at the carbs to get at the adjusters. The tank can stay where it is also! Shaft drive means no messy chains or adjustments. Just change the oil in the rear every couple of years, full service around 6000. Hydraulic clutch and brakes means no adjustments for wear and tear.

The aftermarket accessories you can buy for the Valkyrie. is second to none, and there is more coming out all the time. I have bought parts from England, the States and the North of Ireland. There must be about 5 different crowds that make seats for it, so there should be something for everyone in the audience. One of the first accessories I put on was the Givi screen. This is a must on this bike. I cannot understand when people tell me that they do all sorts of speeds on their customs, with no screen. The wind buffs you around because you are sitting up straight catching the wind, so when you are going into a corner you are concentrating more on hanging on, than watching your line. Dangerous and you cannot relax and enjoy the ride. An added bonus is you can have a cancer stick when riding! There is also a crowd that makes super-chargers for it. I have seen pictures of a supercharged Valkyrie and it is some sight to see!! The two chargers are placed where the carbs should be, and go up the height of the tank on each side. The crank in the middle of the engine is extended with a twin pulley, and then two belts run up in a V to each set of chargers. There is also a wide range of exhausts systems available. Two Bro.’s do a nice six into six job with the rocket type exhaust. These are like the ones on the last type Magna, except 3 on each side. I would not like to be on the back with this set up, the end of the pipes look like they are pointing at the passengers head!! There is also a Supertrapp job available. I cut the pig-tails off the inside of my pipes, no cost, and the sound is amazing. Not basting load, but a nice rumbling sound. It sounds like a Chevy V8 . Grin!! You can also remove 2 baffles on each side with no adjustment needed on the carbs, but when you remove the 3rd on each side you have to re-jet or add shims to the carbs to allow for the loss in pressure. This all makes more noise at no cost, but I will be kicked out of my hometown if the bike goes any loader. I have also heard that adding glass packs inside the exhausts makes the best sound from the Valkyrie.

Now…………Fuel consumption. I have heard that this baby will suck the tank dry in no time at-all. I do a lot of city driving, and going in and out to work I am getting on average 120 miles to a tenner. The most I got before going into reserve was 170 odd ( a trip to Scotland). To me I am happy with that. If I was going touring 170 miles without a stop would be long enough. Besides, if I was getting only 80 to a tenner, I would still drive the thing. To sum up, 35 to 45 mpg.

How do you keep all that chrome so clean? I am constantly asked. I have tried a few polishes, some of them are actually good believe it or not. But the best I came across is any of the window cleaners, preferably with Vinegar, as this is good on tar spots. You see chrome is already a perfect mirror finish. That’s all a mirror is anyway, a sheet of glass with a metal/chrome coating on the back. So why use polish when it is as clear as you can get. Also, window cleaner removes tar and road grime when let to dissolve, it does not have any abrasives and best of all it does not leave any smears. I have noticed also that dust does not stick as much when using the window cleaner. I use Mansion Wax on the paint-work. This is like Pledge in a can, except it is thicker. You can use this also on the chrome which leaves it nice and polished and smooth, but it will have a blue shine on it. Again, window cleaner is much better.

No bike is without some bad points. One thing it has is a very clunky gearbox. I was talking to a group on the Internet a while ago about this. Most of them agreed, but there was a couple of guys who swore it was not clunky, and they proved it to a couple of other guys who’s bikes they took for a spin. If you give the trottle a bit of a blip before downshifting, and pre-load the gear selector before up-shifting, yada yada yada. Bollox. It has a clunky gearbox, and doing all this only hides the point. I added Slick-50 to my last oil change, and it helped a bit, but not much. I will see when a few more thousand is up on her and see if it settles in a bit more. Another thing is the clocks are hard to read when it is starting to get dark, the helmet holder does it job, but could be a lot better, the chrome accents at the side of the Rad are cheap and not mounted solid on the bike, and worst of all, the horn is a joke. I mean, its like something you get in a moped. Its just one little beep beep thing at one side of the engine, and its not even chrome!!! What are you at Honda? A main stand would be nice, but Honda says it should not be on a real custom. Does the Shadow have a main stand? I believe so…..

 

Update 12th. January 2000;

With 7,000 miles on it, the gearbox has quietened down considerably.

 

Update 18th. September, 2000;

Mileage now 10000 miles, The gears have quietened down a lot. I am getting around 5,000 miles on a set of tires so far. I wish Honda put on the main stand as it is a nightmare to take off the wheels, especially the back one. I am thinking of buying a chrome stand from the F6Rider Webzone. I still have not done the Tappets, as they do not need doing, and I put a set of vacuum gauges on the carbs, and they are still spot on. I am just about finished doing work on the bike and the last job will be a bit of a spray job done by Steven. So when all is done, with a few new pics available, I will go through all the work I put into the bike, along with the pro's and con's of them. I would like to say that after just over a year driving this bike, and 10,000 miles later, I have no intention of changing to any other bike. As far as I am concerned, it is more than likely the best motor bike out their. Sure, I get the odd smart allick with a comment like " would you not be better off buying a Harley?". My reply is if Harley built a bike like this, I would gladly hand over the money to them, but they do not, so I won't!!! There is light years between the comparison. Save driving...

To some it all up, the Valkyrie is a powerful chrome engine on two wheels, that handles, stops and goes like a snot. There are not too many customs out there that can say that……

 

Update 27th. October, 2002.

With just 20,000 miles on’r at this stage and after installing over 300 bike alarm/pager systems to all models of machines (so I have seen a lot of nice bikes in the close up), I still get that grin every time I take her out!!

Recently I polished the intake manifolds, cleaned the K/N filter, adjusted the valves and gave it a service, and a wash of course! This has made an amazing difference and I would recommend anyone who has near this mileage on their machine to do the same. Bear in mind my bike seemed fine before this work. I would says the tappets made the most difference, with the exhaust valves clearance on all cylinders being a good bit out of tolerance on the plus side.

The best tyres I have used out of Dunlop/Bridgestone and Avon was by far the Avon Venom R. With about 3000 mile on them there is no visible sign of a flat spot, which would be noticeable on the other brands at this stage. Grip in very confidence inspiring, even in the wet.

As mentioned in the earlier write up, I am not happy with the rear shocks. Recently I adjusting the preload from 4 to 5 and this stopped it from bottoming out. I could only do it recently because the numbered labels on the shocks blew off miles ago! Bear this in mind when washing any bike with such labels. I ran my tyre pressures at 40psi front and rear as I was recommended, but then changed it to 37 front and 36 rear. After adjusting the shocks to the max ( so they would not bottom out ) they were a bit hard, so reducing the tyre pressure softens the ride a bit. I have noticed no drop in handling due to this, or extra wear on the tyres. To be straight up about it she will still go the ton banked right over with no wobble, which is enough for me.

I am not a gold-star rider or any of that lark. But I will give some advise on handling at speed with this machine and you can try it yourself and see if your riding improves. When driven hard into bends I find the bike handles much better if you blip the throttle and down shift one or two gears and let the engine do a lot of the braking along with both brakes, but use more of the back brake that you would normally. If you are redlining you are down shifting to quick and the rear and can skip. Then as you enter the bend ease off the front brake and with the rear brake still on gently roll back on the throttle, then releasing the rear brake as you go. The Valk weighs a lot, especially in the front. If you stomp hard on the front brakes going into a bend the front will dive a lot, reducing you’re front shock travel considerably, along with reducing your wheal base. The rear end gets very light, and too much brake and engine braking can cause a lock up. Not good on a big heavy bike. After a while practicing this you will be doing it without even thinking about it.

The brake pads I use are EBC double H. I have heard that these wear your disks prematurely due to being a harder pad but after two sets there is no extra wear on my disks. I am going to put the steel braided lines on mine at some stage. I am you know…….

The best oil I have used us Castrol Magnetic. I Luv this stuff. I noticed a big improvement in the gear change that will not diminish after 1000 miles like most brands when they get chopped up by the gearbox. We could talk for ages about oils, but it’s all down to the polymers folks!

Another thing to mention is the seat latch. It can get stuck and if you are out on your bike and you need to get at tools or wet gear under your seat it can let you down. After taking mine apart I can see why. A cable from the key to the latch operates it and it goes into an “S” shape. This cable only needs to be ¼ of the length that it is, but it must be that long because of assembly line methods or something. Water travels down it and gets trapped, rusting the cable. Anyway, make sure the latch for the seat is well greased, and if you can manage it take off the latch that is held in by that 10mm bolt and lube the cable. I went further and angle grinded a bit of the latch itself so now it does not have to move as far to open the seat, but you still cannot force the seat open. Of course this can be applied to nearly all other bike latches (Hornets, CBR’s etc) as Honda uses a lot of common parts for all their bikes.

If you have a Valk check these areas for rust. Inside the head light, behind the rear side chrome rails, under the mudguards and behind the swing arm. These don’t cause a problem but if left may turn into a problem in a few years. I cleaned and protected all of the above in one day when I changed my tyres. Check yours on your next change.

The exhausts on the Valk get very hot, and if you are caught in the rain and park your bike up all the dirt and tar bakes into the exhausts chrome. Cleaning it wrong will damage the chrome. In this case I park the bike up and when its cooled a bit I spray WD40 or similar on the exhaust and leave for a while (or over night). When washing the bike leave the exhausts till last. When you wash them they will come up like new, with NO scrubbing. Another way is to run the engine until the exhausts get hot, then put a bit of polish onto a cloth ( any good car polish will do) and rub gently into the marks. Keep the cloth damp with polish and don’t burn yourself!! Try this on those bet in tar marks or high heal marks! Do this and you will not wear away that chrome, as well as polishing it. I have heard oven cleaners and the like do similar, but I don’t even use them yokes in the oven!

 The best aftermarket accessory by far (IMO!) is the Kuryakan range. Most accessories I bought, and I do not want to mention them here, had there chrome peal in no time or they rusted. They might be all right in a warm dry climate, but not in Ireland. A friend and myself got a pair of Highway boards at the same time. When I told him mine was pealing badly after 70 miles he checked his. He had not driven his yet but the chrome was pealing with the bike parked in his garage. They cost over 250 dollars each. Kuryakan may be a bit more expensive, but you can see and feel the quality. Nuff said.

 On the note of accessories I have made and installed a Neon lighting system on my bike and hope to get pictures up on the NET of it at nighttime. All you see is just the “glow” around certain parts of the bike that will look well highlighted with a hidden light. These things are tiny and are as tough as nails. Ye never know, I might end up making more and selling them……..

 Maintenance Tips. Joe Foley

GREASE THEM CONNECTORS. I specialise in motorbike Alarm and Pager installations so I have worked on a lot of different bike electrical systems. I have in my time come across a lot of Honda bikes that have the same problem. That is the connector blocks rusting. Probably due to Irish weather. The main connectors in question are the one on the starter solenoid and the rectifier. A lot of power goes trough these blocks so keep them clean, and greased. A lot of alternators/rectiviers and CDI’s can be saved if these blocks are kept clean. This can of course be applied to ALL bikes.  As a rule the bigger the bike and its accessories ( GoldWing for example), the more power is going through these. If these go, your bike will die on you with a nice bill to match (if it does not go on fire!!).

Solenoid…

Take off the connector block on top of the solenoid. This is a red connector going into the green block. (hint. on all bikes follow the Red wires coming from the Battery, one of them will lead to the solenoid ). Pull off the connector. Under it you will find a fuse. Take this out and grease up the fuse along with the rest of the connections. Put the connector back on. It will only go one way, so if it is hard to put back on turn it and put it back on again as it will fit with force, but it will blow that fuse (usually a 30amp), and there is usually no spare one in the bike! Also if you take this connector off, it will kill power in your bike (I told you there is a lot off power going trough this block!) so if you have an alarm or stereo, these might have to be reset.

Rectifier …..

This is a metal box, with fins on it. The fins are called Heat Sinks, and are called this to keep it cool. It is usually bolted directly to a metal part of the bike (e.g frame). This is both to keep it cool, and provide a good ground point. There will be usually 3 wires going into this ( all yellow on a Honda ), along with usually a red and green wire. These are all heavy gauge wires as a lot of power goes tru these. Take off the connector going into the rectifier ( usually a White block) grease it up and put it back. What usually happens is the connectors rust a bit and build up a resistance. The yellow wires are coming from your alternator and are a higher Voltage ( about 70v ea ). With the higher voltage on these wires and a connection with resistance you will get heat, and eventually will melt the block. This can cause a lot of problems, along with people giving the wrong advice as to what caused it, from “it was your alternator that blew your Rectifier and CDI” or “your battery caused it because it was knackered for so long”. It is usually the Voltage sensitive parts of your bike that will go first. These are the CDI, Stereo and dare I say it, an alarm ( although these are fairly tough these days, honest!) . The bike might even charge O.K when tested, but when it gets to operating temperature and heat builds up it could fail on you down the road. Be warned…………………

 

I think that is it! If you need anymore information you can call, no hassle.

I also do bike alarms if you are interested The best around and the best work done {self praise you know).

What ever you ride, ride often and stay safe.

Thanks again to Steve for posting this write up. I still get E-Mails and phone calls from the first report. All happy bikers I might add……………. 

All the best

Joe Foley

JF Installations

086 4182270

087 4182270

jfinstall@eircom.net

Web site coming soon……( thanks again to Steve)