HOME

STORY OF THE VALKYRIE

AS TOLD BY A FRIEND OF JOE BOYD

Copied from the UK Board and posted by Bobbyvalk

Between 1997 and 2003 Honda had what was declared the "Cruiser of the Decade" in a Flat 6 Valkyrie. The problem that I believe that it is no longer in production is that the man responsible for it was killed in a motorcycle accident and no one at Honda wanted to take the ball. The following is a letter that was printed in another magazine that will explain: A letter posted at motorcycle consumer news on line.

"Interesting that maddjack would note that "Honda never really marketed the Valk." I'll tell you a story, strictly from my own perspective as a "kind-of" insider:

Of course, Honda did market the Valkyrie, but I agree, never with the kind of enthusiasm they often show for other bikes in their lineup. The Valk was pretty much the brainchild and "baby" of one guy at Honda who really believed in it. His name was Joe Boyd, but around Honda they called him "GL Joe," because of his love of Gold Wings.

The majority of the marketing experts at Honda never believed the Valkyrie concept would work, but Joe used his considerable influence and personal charisma to push the project through. Of course, the Valk became a success. Never a huge one, but a success nevertheless. And I personally believed that since Joe had proved so many people wrong, that those same people were reluctant to aid in the Valkyrie's rise. Not that they intentionally stymied it, but I just don't believe the project ever got the kind of all-out support it deserved, just because Joe had stepped on so many toes in his headlong push to make it a reality.

Around the time the new 1800 GL was becoming a reality, Joe was killed in a tragic accident at the Honda test track. With his death, the prime motivating force behind the Valkyrie project died, also. I personally believe we'd have an all-new, radical, Valkyrie 1800 today, if Joe had lived. Not the Rune, as amazing as it is, but something much more practical and affordable.

AS a side note,I would like to add that Honda paid a quiet, yet memorable tribute to Joe, for several months after his death. I rode with Joe a number of times. We were casual friends, and used to ride across the Mojave Desert together, as we both loved the old backroads out there. Along the way, one of Joe's favorite things was to stop in at the tiny town of Amboy, at one of the last remaining original Route 66 tourist stops, Roy's Cafe, and get himself a chocolate milkshake.

If you remember, for about six months, several years ago, in virtually every major motorcycling magazine in the country, Honda carried a full-page ad with a picture of a Valkyrie, sitting under the Roy's Cafe sign in the Mojave, with a setting sun in the background. It was a quiet, memorable tribute to the man, that was easily understood by those who knew him.

Often, a radical or interesting new bike is developed primarily because one person, with the influence, drive and passion to see it built, puts his weight behind the project. Love it or not, such was he case with the Rune, which had Honda VP Ray Blank as its "Angel." One could say the same of Pierre Terblanche, and the Ducati 999. And such was the case with Joe Boyd and the Valkyrie. Whether such bikes are a design, marketing or financial success is really irrelevant -- I think -- What is important is that we have an industry in which such things can happen, because they push the envelope. True innovation rarely comes from a committee decision.

Enough of my maudlin remembrances. Just thought you might find it interesting. Fred Rau"

Now if Honda had continued to market the Valk I believe that it would run circles around all the V-Twin Harley want-a-be's. There is an unlimited amount of customizing that can be done to them where they don't look just like the one down the street.