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Joel,

Welcome from N TX, where I appreciate your point that riding in TX is fairly exceptional but for a few states like Montana, Wyoming, Dakotas, Utah and Nevada. I’ll offer that this thread is one of the best discussions on this site. For being new to riding, you’ve hit on a lot of key points that show a LOT of insight. Thanks for taking the time to assemble your responses to so many users in a single message, and I’ll be very interested in your future postings on other topics.

Here's the link to the VIN# discussion that Richmonder mentioned: VIN #'s, ... enjoy the fact that ABS is only a sliver of what is already a very rare bike! Another thing to check out is the annual Valk-A-Topia in Eureka Springs May 4th Log into Facebook

To summarize, this generation of VALK, more than any other bike out there, really hits my sweet spot for balancing performance, reliability, range, comfort, style and affordability…until some of those 2018 GWings age another 3 years or so and come down in price. When people at gas stations often look and say, ‘Wow, that looks cool and fast’, my standard response is ‘Well, it’s not quite Hayabusa fast, but it’s great to ride for thousands of miles in and out of the Ozarks, Appalachians and Rocky Mountains.’

Henry’s final drive has been on my list for quite some time, that guy has serious creds and it seems to address what I consider one of the few weaknesses of this bike. Following it for a few years, Henry was slammed by overwhelming demand and delivery timelines in early 2021 after being highlighted in a GoldWing publication a couple/few years ago, and his prices jumped 50% last year, causing me to take my finger off the trigger for now. I’m guessing he’s catching up nowadays. I also know some high mileage GWing riders that say the stock final drive was the first major failure they experienced, so perhaps after I get a few more miles on the stock version – how long did it take to receive it after ordering? Are you also planning to use the ‘Dakota Digital Speedo Healer’ or another speedohealer when you install the drive? For others reading this and interested, here’s a great thread, but you might have to register on that site to read it: 2001-2017 GL1800 "Modified Final Drive Ring & Pinion" gear change. - TheGLForum

The only other bike I’d consider with better performance would be a pre-owned 2018 version (newest generation) GoldWing that offers a bit more power, lot of features and the same Honda value, comfort, reliability, etc.

Yes, many of those strong comments about the bike’s power and performance are from people who came from smaller non-sport bikes or dog slow Harley’s and other larger bikes that feel like a truck by comparison, with a few exceptions like the VRod, where comfort and range are sacrificed in a big way (like the VMax, looking for a gas station every 100 miles). My last bike was a Magna that would rev like you want, so yes, it's surprising that Honda hasn’t improved performance of powercruisers much beyond the V65 Magna of the 1980’s that broke 1/4 mile records at the time. I’d still have one of those if they weren’t 40 years old…. A higher revving, 24-valve version of the Valk with a little more compression would be an improvement on what is already awesome!!

I occasionally ride with a guy who has a K1600 B and he loves it except for the BMW maintenance cost (especially the frequent adjustment of 24- valves and cost of any parts). Since you’re obviously quite handy, perhaps those wouldn’t be issues for you.

I also ride with a guy who has a VMAX where he added a 2nd fuel tank that you don’t see, as the range otherwise rules that bike out for rural riding in many parts of the west of the Mississippi. Not sure I'd want to ride it for a weeklong trip though...

Give me a shout if you're ever in the DFW area and have time for a beer or a ride.
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you got the wrong bike……

there is some significant disatisfaction w your opinion of the performance of the Valkyrie- not saying i think you are wrong or dont have a right to speak your mind, but it seems that you obviously just bought the wrong motorcycle. this bike hasnt been made in 7yrs - the luggage, seat, windscreen, electronic gizmos etc are lacking as well on the stock bike. it just is what it is. you buy the bike knowing what your getting- i think you bought it w some high expectations of performance that it cant live up to. the bike was never made to be an ultimate muscle cruiser.

again, if you want ultimate shit your pants power, along w japanese technology and reliability, check out the V-Max 1700
 

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I am 41 years old and my wife and I have decided to start riding after wanting to do it for years but just recently are in a position where that is viable.

We ended up getting her a 2021 Rebel 1100 DCT, which is a great bike, but simply uncomfortably small for me. I bought a couple not running older bikes and got them running and flipped them right after deciding they were simply not big or powerful enough for the freeways in South Texas and I didn't want to get run over.

I ended up deciding on a 2014 Valk with 36k miles. I could have got one with less miles for the same price, but mine came with ABS, Corbin bags, a Honda windshield, and a few other accessories, and I figured 36k miles on a Goldwing drivetrain really should not make that much difference one way or another.

Maybe it is just because I am new, or because I am a really big guy, I do weigh about 360lbs, but the Valk just doesn't feel huge or scary or insanely powerful like so many people say. Sure, it is torquey on the low end, but being a long term Honda car fan I would gladly trade off a lot of low end torque for top end power. I mean sure it is a cool stunt to start it in 5th gear with no gas input, or just drive around town in 3rd without having to shift, but those things are really not that useful in a practical way the VAST majority of the time.

Trading off torque on the low end for more power on the top end with the current gearing would make it less twitchy on the low end, and would make a lot more sense for how deep the gearing is. I have an old mid to late 90s 1.8L 180hp Acura Integra engine in my garage that would scream to its 8k redline, and man I cant help but think a powerband like that in this bike would be amazing.

Don't get me wrong, it is a great bike, and I do really love it, I cant think of a better bike for a huge guy that wants something a bit sportier than a Goldwing, but still very comfortable. I even think the stock seat is far more comfortable than people give it credit for as I have already done a couple 500 mile rides on it with no issues, which I feel is pretty good for a newbie.

But I do think people tend to oversell the whole "its insanely huge, and insanely powerful!" bit with this bike.
If you haven't seen this Manual

 

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Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
Welcome from N TX, where I appreciate your point that riding in TX is fairly exceptional but for a few states like Montana, Wyoming, Dakotas, Utah and Nevada. I’ll offer that this thread is one of the best discussions on this site. For being new to riding, you’ve hit on a lot of key points that show a LOT of insight. Thanks for taking the time to assemble your responses to so many users in a single message, and I’ll be very interested in your future postings on other topics.
Thanks! It is nice to hear that acknowledged. I was on another forum before this on the Shadow Spirit, and it was amazing how many people thought I was reckless and insane for wanting the capability to cruise at 90-95mph and still have some acceleration on tap for an emergency, the usual conversation went something like "Why would you ever want to do something so reckless, insane and foolhardy as trying to do 95mph! ESPECIALLY on a public road, that is so dangerous!" the which I would reply something like "Because I want to keep up with the flow of traffic and not be run over?"

I think a lot of people who don't live in these wide open areas just have little concept of distances and speeds that are normally traveled, and I do mean normally, not for a special occasions, not for some road trip, vacation, or rare adventure, but just normally. I get that, I grew up on the west coast, mostly up in Washington state, where doing something like driving to Portland is about a 2-3 hour 170 mile trip from up near Seattle, and that is a road trip I took on rare occasions, probably no more than once or twice a year at most. Because why would you? There is like 50 cities closer to Seattle than Portland is, unless you need something VERY specific, there is no reason you need to make that drive.

But here the closest decent sized city to me is about 125 miles away, when my wife goes to get her hair and nails done with her mom every few weeks it is 165 miles each way. When I need to run by Costco for something, it is about an hour and a half drive each way. There is just so much traveling as a normal part of life, and these are mostly all long, fairly straight, low elevation change boring roads.

The last part of this is that if you don't drive in places like this, you probably don't realize how fast just about any normal relative late model car can go without that much effort. That is driven home the first time you are WOT in top gear on an 1100cc motorcycle tucking down and pulling in trying to see how fast it can go, and you are passed by a Dodge Caravan driven by a soccer mom with the cruise control on and 5 kids in the back heading to a swim meet.

Henry’s final drive has been on my list for quite some time, that guy has serious creds and it seems to address what I consider one of the few weaknesses of this bike. Following it for a few years, Henry was slammed by overwhelming demand and delivery timelines in early 2021 after being highlighted in a GoldWing publication a couple/few years ago, and his prices jumped 50% last year, causing me to take my finger off the trigger for now. I’m guessing he’s catching up nowadays. I also know some high mileage GWing riders that say the stock final drive was the first major failure they experienced, so perhaps after I get a few more miles on the stock version – how long did it take to receive it after ordering? Are you also planning to use the ‘Dakota Digital Speedo Healer’ or another speedohealer when you install the drive? For others reading this and interested, here’s a great thread, but you might have to register on that site to read it: 2001-2017 GL1800 "Modified Final Drive Ring & Pinion" gear change. - TheGLForum
I got mine a bit over a month ago, and I know right after I got it his website showed out of stock. I think it took about a week, or maybe just over for it to reach me? Something like that. As far as the speedo healer goes, I will probably do something like that eventually, for now though I have a handlebar phone holder and I can just watch my GPS speedometer and see what it looks like for accuracy first.

The only other bike I’d consider with better performance would be a pre-owned 2018 version (newest generation) GoldWing that offers a bit more power, lot of features and the same Honda value, comfort, reliability, etc.
Those do look appealing.

Yes, many of those strong comments about the bike’s power and performance are from people who came from smaller non-sport bikes or dog slow Harley’s and other larger bikes that feel like a truck by comparison, with a few exceptions like the VRod, where comfort and range are sacrificed in a big way (like the VMax, looking for a gas station every 100 miles). My last bike was a Magna that would rev like you want, so yes, it's surprising that Honda hasn’t improved performance of powercruisers much beyond the V65 Magna of the 1980’s that broke 1/4 mile records at the time. I’d still have one of those if they weren’t 40 years old…. A higher revving, 24-valve version of the Valk with a little more compression would be an improvement on what is already awesome!!
If Honda made a newer 1100cc+ Magna... Man that would be awesome!

I think as time goes on, budgets get tighter, and space is more limited, we are going to see more and more demand for bikes that are more capable of being used in a variety of ways. Even Harley has realized that they can't just pumping out the same old bikes that cant keep up with a 90s Ford Escort, vibrate worse than an old washing machine, and have worse gas mileage, range capability, and dependability than a purpose built drag car.

I think the majority of people have just woken up to the fact that if they are going to spend good money on something, they want it to be capable of more than just limping a couple miles to a bar so they can do leather based cosplay.

I occasionally ride with a guy who has a K1600 B and he loves it except for the BMW maintenance cost (especially the frequent adjustment of 24- valves and cost of any parts). Since you’re obviously quite handy, perhaps those wouldn’t be issues for you.

I also ride with a guy who has a VMAX where he added a 2nd fuel tank that you don’t see, as the range otherwise rules that bike out for rural riding in many parts of the west of the Mississippi. Not sure I'd want to ride it for a weeklong trip though...
Yea... BMW has several nice bikes, and several of those K1600s are VERY appealing, but as someone who has worked on cars my whole life... Eash... Buying anything BMW is an uncomfortable feeling.

The VMax is also appealing, but seems like less comfort and as you said about the range, that is a rough pill to swallow. If I was in a position to test drive all 3 bikes, I gladly would have done so.

Give me a shout if you're ever in the DFW area and have time for a beer or a ride.
Absoutely!

you got the wrong bike……

there is some significant disatisfaction w your opinion of the performance of the Valkyrie- not saying i think you are wrong or dont have a right to speak your mind, but it seems that you obviously just bought the wrong motorcycle. this bike hasnt been made in 7yrs - the luggage, seat, windscreen, electronic gizmos etc are lacking as well on the stock bike. it just is what it is. you buy the bike knowing what your getting- i think you bought it w some high expectations of performance that it cant live up to. the bike was never made to be an ultimate muscle cruiser.

again, if you want ultimate shit your pants power, along w japanese technology and reliability, check out the V-Max 1700
I might be coming across a little strong here. I am not saying the Valkyrie is wildly underpowered, but I also dont feel like it is substantially more powerful than just an average late model street car for my use case scenario, which is high speed freeway cruising with the occasional need to lay into it hard if I want to pass a couple cars on a 2 lane highway because some farm truck is slowing things down. I am not going WOT in town, or racing anyone off the line, or anything like that. In fact for me up until about 60MPH the 1100cc Shadow Spirit seemed absolutely fine for my performance needs, and the Valkyrie seems fine up to 95ish mph cruising. It is just the high speed passing performance that could be better for my use case. I dont know if you have ever been doing 95+ mph into oncoming traffic while they are also doing about the same towards you, and you are basically racing to pass the cars in your lane before you splat into that truck coming at you at 190mph, but even with a good bit of passing room, that is a maneuver I would prefer to be able to complete as quickly as possible when needed.

I guess what it comes down to is that the Valkyrie performance for my use case is... Adequate, I guess is the best term.

If you haven't seen this Manual

Thanks, I appreciate that link!
 

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Joel, please let me make one comment, without trying to offend either you or anyone else on the forum. Twice in this thread, you have commented about having to zip around traffic on a two-lane because some farm vehicle is slowing you (and the ones in front of you) down. Although I now live in SE Illinois with lots of rural areas (with farmers' vehicles, especially at certain times of year), I grew up and learned to ride in Iowa City, Iowa. A university city surrounded by lots of rural communities. And lots of tractors, many pulling one or two additional vehicles, such as various discs, fertilizer tanks, combines, etc. I learned to give them wide berth, ESPECIALLY when passing them, for a variety of good reasons I won't bother to enumerate. I'll leave it with this: I was hooking up with some of my buddies when I lived in St. Charles (far-west Chicago 'burbs) to ride up to Milwaukee for the annual HD ride-in festival near the lake. We had gone in years past, had a ball, and were looking forward to this one as it was the 90th (?) anniversary of the event. We were still in Illinois countryside on a beautiful two-lane, just about to cross into Wisconsin, when we got held up by a very large tractor taking up most of the road, having to put one side into the ditch for on-coming traffic. After several miles of this, my impatient friend in front of me downshifted and lit it up. JUST as he was about to reach tractor, after zipping past the 3-4 cars trailing the tractor, the farmer turned his tractor left into his farm's driveway. My friend lost his left foot and considered himself lucky. And we lost our desire to party in Milwaukee that year. If this cautionary tale, which is a true story, saves even one of you reading this, God Bless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Fair warning.

I am including all sorts of slow moving vehicles in this, moving trucks like Uhaul I know are speed limited from personal experience, big trucks, slow moving cars, farm equipment, kids on ATVs sometimes, all sorts of stuff.

It is odd coming from the west coast, where there are so many major freeways, but LOT of moving around in Texas is done on rural two lane highways. Not at all uncommon to be on a two lane rural road passing driveways and mailboxes with a posted speed limit of 75 mph, where the flow of traffic is doing 90 mph. As I said earlier with the 500 mile drive to Oklahoma City, I didn't even see a freeway for the first 3.5 hours, Austin and San Antonio are 2-2.5 hours from me, and I do not see a freeway until I am practically inside their city limits.

Anything can happen out there, and you don't always get passing lanes, and spending 50-100 miles behind a tractor doing 30 miles an hour under the speed limit can REALLY add to travel time.
 

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"Anything can happen out there, and you don't always get passing lanes, and spending 50-100 miles behind a tractor doing 30 miles an hour under the speed limit can REALLY add to travel time." - JoelEspinoza

I totally get it, although with the very different (from yours) conditions I deal with when riding, it's hard to relate to. I have often wished for roads and country like that when the 'Burb's traffic got me down, day after day. And I was very often in more of a hurry in my 40's than I am now at 70. All I know is, is that if my friend was given an option to have that day back, he'd gladly take it and follow that tractor for the rest of the afternoon, arrive late, and walk another day.
 

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I’m agreeing with you,Kugo. That old chestnut that says “There are bold pilots, and there are old pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots” comes to mind. It’s easy to get frustrated and impatient behind a 30mph tractor, and I get that, too. We make those choices when we get on the bike. Best wishes,Joel, I’d like to keep reading your posts.
 

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Welcome to the Valk life. I am 215lbs and the Valk I have is a 2014 none ABS so i have to be careful on the rear brake mostly.

The bike has a pain in the ass air filter but once you do it you have the process down and can do it quickly. I put a K&N and am st 7K miles. Previous owner seemed to live in the country and just let it soam up dirt but some love made it like new.

Now with your weight along with any accesories you will probably see less take off than the lighter folks. But with what? A 3.4sec 0-60mph if im not mistaken, your going to make a Corvette Stingray sweat a little. If that matters to you.

If your not getting that power then it may be because something is up.

The air filter would be where I would start. If it has no record of being changed at that mileage, i would bite the bullet. I. Glad I did and changed it.

Included are pics of mine.

Im in San Antonio TX. So if your near me and want a hand let me know.

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Blue Purple Gas Tints and shades Electric blue

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Photograph Light Motor vehicle Automotive tire Road surface
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I’m agreeing with you,Kugo. That old chestnut that says “There are bold pilots, and there are old pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots” comes to mind. It’s easy to get frustrated and impatient behind a 30mph tractor, and I get that, too. We make those choices when we get on the bike. Best wishes,Joel, I’d like to keep reading your posts.
Usually this is pretty easy to tell with actual farm equipment, as most of the time they will ride somewhat on the right shoulder while they are going along and then only move into the center of the lane if they are turning left. So if you are watching a tractor and they:

Are riding on the right shoulder and have been for a while, you are usually ok to pass them on the left.
Are riding fully in the lane and have been for a while, use extreme caution.
Were riding on the right shoulder and have now moved fully into the lane, do not pass them on the left.

Honestly more problematic than the actual slow vehicles is usually the people who pile up behind them. For instance you have a semi on a 2 lane county highway doing 60mph when the speed limit is 75 and everyone else wants to be doing 90. There is nothing wrong with that, the semi is perfectly fine going whatever speed is comfortable for them, there is no slow lane to be in, and quite often they will even move over slightly when they can so people can pass them more easily. The problem comes in when you get one chicken who wont pass the semi no matter how much space there is, then of course the next person behind them has to pass not just the semi but also the first person, and the longer this goes on the worse it gets.

So when I get there and I am looking at 3-6 cars all lined up behind a semi, or a tractor, or whatever, and I want to pass them all at once, the faster I can accelerate, pass everyone, and get back into my lane, the safer it will be.

As I said, I am from the west coast, and if I had only lived there my whole life, I wouldn't get why this was an issue. You either have short sections of highway where you might have to deal with this for 10-15 minutes or so at the most, or you have longer stretches of highway with regular passing lanes, turnouts, and signs everywhere saying it is illegal to delay more than X number of cars, and you must use a turnout if doing so. With either of these you may see a few minutes delay to your trip, which may be a minor annoyance, but is usually insignificant.

Texas has LONG rural highways, that you may be traveling for several hours without turning, many of which don't have passing lanes, and I have never seen a sign anywhere in this state that says anything like "It is illegal to delay more than X number of cars, and you must use a turnout." and even voluntary turnouts are rare. When you are looking at reducing your speed by 30-40mph for what was going to be a 3 hour trip at 90 on this section of highway, but is now looking more like a 4.5 hours+ it becomes more than a minor annoyance. Add to the fact that these trips are not a once in a blue moon special occasion, but just a regular part of getting around this state, and it becomes an even bigger deal.

Welcome to the Valk life. I am 215lbs and the Valk I have is a 2014 none ABS so i have to be careful on the rear brake mostly.

The bike has a pain in the ass air filter but once you do it you have the process down and can do it quickly. I put a K&N and am st 7K miles. Previous owner seemed to live in the country and just let it soam up dirt but some love made it like new.

Now with your weight along with any accesories you will probably see less take off than the lighter folks. But with what? A 3.4sec 0-60mph if im not mistaken, your going to make a Corvette Stingray sweat a little. If that matters to you.

If your not getting that power then it may be because something is up.

The air filter would be where I would start. If it has no record of being changed at that mileage, i would bite the bullet. I. Glad I did and changed it.

Im in San Antonio TX. So if your near me and want a hand let me know.
Thanks for the offer!

That is a good point on the filter, it has like 37k miles and did not come with any records from the previous owner as I got it from a dealer. Plus I need to take off a bunch of old peeling and breaking LEDs as well as run the wiring for some heated grips and an accessory plug, so I might as well do all that together.

As far as acceleration goes up until, ohh I don't know certainly 90ish or so, is more that sufficient for my current needs. As I said even the 62HP Shadow Spirit 1100 was perfectly fine around town and I didn't feel the need to go any faster until I hit the highway. I doubt I have done much more than 50-60% throttle in second gear on the Valk, and I barely even use first gear.

I don't race the bike, I am not interested in quarter mile times, or wanting to leave stoplights faster, or how fast it comes out of turns, all of that is fine. Basically my concern is how fast it can accelerate when you are already at a cruising speed of 90-95mph when you goose it hard, both as a forward escape option from no look lane changes, and to complete multi car passes quickly and efficiently. To be fair a dirty air filter may be impeding this, this is the only 2014/2015 Valk I have ever driven, so I am not sure if it is down in power here or not.

Hmmmm now that I am thinking about it, this is probably a total of maybe 10-20 seconds of significantly more power that I want on the top end every month or two. Occasional use, very short term drastic power increase... So... Nitrous then? 🤣
 

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I had a Vette with NOS. Judicious use of it at just the right time, usually at the end of the 1/4 mile track so that your opponent wouldn't have time to respond, would scoot you across the finish line just ahead of him. It was my daily driver, but I took 1st place at Super Chevy Sunday Nationals at Indy against over 1,000 other (trailered in) entrants in the Street Tire class. It's an addictive additive, to be sure! Maybe that is your answer, Joel, and they have very sophisticated kits available for bikes today without breaking the bank, unlike my professionally hand-built unit. I'd certainly look into it.

Also, if I may offer an additional perspective you may not have considered: ("The problem comes in when you get one chicken who wont pass the semi no matter how much space there is, ..." - JoelEspinoza)
I used to have to be that "chicken" for about four years, until a year ago last October when I had dual cataract surgeries. Again, I'm 70, and when I was your age I felt your same frustrations. "Why the hell don't they pass???!" Maybe they can't see. It got so bad for me, especially on gray, rainy or snowy days that I couldn't tell for sure whether or not traffic was coming at me from the opposite lane. Daytime headlights/running lights helped, but you couldn't rely on everyone having those on, so I just didn't dare. I felt badly for folks behind me. Post-surgery, I have better than 20/20 vision in both eyes, day or night. (Didn't/couldn't ride/drive at night for five years.) Can't believe the difference now. It also helped me relearn the lesson that "even though they seem to be looking right at you, they may not see you" at intersections. Especially with us oldsters that are cataract-prone!
o_O
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Also, if I may offer an additional perspective you may not have considered: ("The problem comes in when you get one chicken who wont pass the semi no matter how much space there is, ..." - JoelEspinoza)
I used to have to be that "chicken" for about four years, until a year ago last October when I had dual cataract surgeries. Again, I'm 70, and when I was your age I felt your same frustrations. "Why the hell don't they pass???!" Maybe they can't see. It got so bad for me, especially on gray, rainy or snowy days that I couldn't tell for sure whether or not traffic was coming at me from the opposite lane. Daytime headlights/running lights helped, but you couldn't rely on everyone having those on, so I just didn't dare. I felt badly for folks behind me. Post-surgery, I have better than 20/20 vision in both eyes, day or night. (Didn't/couldn't ride/drive at night for five years.) Can't believe the difference now. It also helped me relearn the lesson that "even though they seem to be looking right at you, they may not see you" at intersections. Especially with us oldsters that are cataract-prone!
o_O
I get that, but if you cant see far enough ahead on a clear sunny day to at least get some idea what is happening a few hundred feet in front of you, you probably shouldn't be driving on a 2 lane rural road passing houses and driveways where the average speed is 90mph.
 

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I get that, but if you cant see far enough ahead on a clear sunny day to at least get some idea what is happening a few hundred feet in front of you, you probably shouldn't be driving on a 2 lane rural road passing houses and driveways where the average speed is 90mph.
I totally agree with you. The experiences I was recalling were over the past five years, pre-cataract surgery. My mother was in a nursing home four hours north of me (she passed away two years ago today) and the quickest route to get there required mostly two-lane. I dreaded every minute of it, especially in anything less than sparkling weather. And during the short days winter time, I had to time the four hours up and four hours back (when I simply had to be back home the next day) so that I would get home before twilight. Felt like Cinderella, and came close a couple of times to missing my "window". I'd a had to pull over at a gas station and wait until morning. (Almost no hotels on that route.) Obviously, I drove the cage many of those trips, as I couldn't count of the weather whenever I was coming back. Moral of the story, if you're of an age and your eyesight is failing, DO something about it, if at all possible. It'll change your life!

(Joel, BTW, I checked up on Nitrous systems/kits after I responded to your last post. May be more complicated than I'd first thought, unless others have had success with it. The six cylinders may be the issue, unless you went to port injection. Most of the premade kits are for 1, 2, and 4 cylinder bikes, however, where there's a will, ...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
If I was going to do a Nitrous system, I would probably just do a single point sprayer in the airbox between the two throttle bodies. I am sort of tempted to grab a speedino and play with it a bit, but I wouldnt want to do that on my bike until I had a working version. I should keep an eye out for cheap wrecked bike no too far from me.
 

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That might work. I wondered basically the same thing, but using the 2-cyl. nitrous kit for parts and feeding both throttle bodies. I'm not inclined to mess with such things anymore, as I no longer am in the Chicago area with friends in the professional racing business. I always knew that if I really messed up, one of them would be able to bail me out. Frankly, at my age, I can't imagine the extra pull on my shoulder sockets! She's got enough for me. Let us know if you end up exploring that route. I noticed in your photo you have the nice bags. Don't know how full you keep them, but sure does look like a great place to hide a blue NOS bottle!
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Yea, I was measuring them last night while looking at nitrous kits...

And as you said dual port injection would be good as well, either in the airbox above each throttlebody, or in the intake right after each throttlebody.

It is a bit tempting, if I had easy access to a dyno and a wideband sensor to make sure it was running the correct AFR, the idea would be more appealing to me.

Honestly having seen the internals for a GL1800, which looks like it has pretty beefy rods and plenty of meat above the top ring on the pistons, as long as the AFR wasn't going lean I wouldn't be concerned with running up to about a 50 shot or so once in a while. Honestly my expectation of first failure at that point would probably be the clutch.

Either a mild turbo build or shipping off some cams to Web to see what they can do with them, and doing some flow work to make it breathe better sounds like it could be fun. I read somewhere that the cams in these have 0 overlap and pretty moderate lift. So modified cams, a bigger exhaust, and either some port work or more realistically swapping to some sort of ITBs could be an awesome result on this bike. Finding high compression pistons without going totally custom would probably be a chore, plus all the wiring and working out a Megasquirt or Speeduino basemap would take some time...

Honestly that Nitrous is looking better and better all the time.. :ROFLMAO:
 

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Ok, Joel, now you're gettin' serious! Don't know how serious you actually are or how much you may be day-dreaming or baiting me to talk about nitrous! ;) You're the OP, so I guess I'm not hi-jacking your thread by responding to you, but you're starting to make me drool thinking about the potential mods! I'm a bit of a hotrodder at heart.

You seem to be straight-up in your posts, so let's get back to your original stated purpose: extra acceleration at 85-90 mph to "squirt" through the occasional (or recreational) potential situation/crisis. What are your options? Realistically, "porting/polishing/cams" and other basic tuning ideas have already been done to a high degree by Mother Honda. I'm not sure that trying to improve that alone would be cost-effective. So, unless I'm missing something, we're looking at 1) turbocharging, 2) supercharging, or 3) nitrous. Both Options 1 and 2 are going to be heavily self-engineered, expensive, probably ugly, and they'll both sap power from the engine and cause additional wear all of the time the motor's running. But you don't need that extra power all of the time. That leaves Option #3, nitrous. It's activated at the touch of a button, it can be disarmed at the touch of a button (in high-traffic/city conditions, for obvious safety considerations), and, as you said about the high-qualify internals, the 1800 engine can easily handle the extra pressures involved. (Disclaimer: read "Pro Tip".)

"Pro Tip": (Which is that I'm not a Pro! True story.) Don't get greedy. You probably already know this, Joel, but for those that don't have experience with NOS's, you can get commercial nitrous kits in various "stages" for cars and bikes that provide different levels of (advertised) additional HP, e.g. 50-100-150-200 and more. Some teenagers-at-heart think that "the more the merrier", so +200 HP is the no-brainer! There's more to it than that. I think it's obvious that a 50-shot would be more than enough for this application and would probably not cost the bike much at all in terms of additional stresses. My question to those of you out there that really know this stuff would be: how would you best add the extra required fuel, with the least fabrication issues, to ratio correctly with the nitrous when pushing the button? I'm not talking solenoids, I'm asking about mixture ratios. Would an additional fuel pump be necessary, or better yet, could the bike's OEM fuel system be adapted somehow with some tweaking? With this bike's computer management systems, would it be able to adjust itself?

I personally found that with my (carbureted) '80 Corvette that trying to get the ratios right from 0-? RPM across the board was difficult, but you really only needed to use the boost at higher speeds/RPMs, so why not just optimally tune for that only? It worked well for me.

Lastly, you mentioned the weak point may be the clutch. When you are using the nitrous only occasionally, whether for frolic or frantic, you probably aren't using it "off the line" (except for a few times when you first install it, for the sheer pleasure of your own raised eyebrows and slack-jaw). That can burn out a clutch. The Valkyrie does have all the power necessary to deal with most normal situations, but with the riding conditions you talk about, having that "squirt" button could be at least as important and useful as your horn button. Everything has an Achilles Heel. I lost that Vette I mentioned at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wisconsin about a year after the Super Sunday Chevy Nationals win. The right rear U-joint snapped during a hard shift at 100+ MPH and caused me to veer off the track, into the guard rail, flipping it four times, yada, yada. Totaled. The extra pressures of several years of nitrous use had finally found the weakest link.

Apologies to the disinterested for the long post. I just figured that if you weren't interested in the topic you wouldn't still be here. I am not an old or bold fighter pilot (Smokedeel). I'm just grateful to still be here!
:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 · (Edited)
Ok, Joel, now you're gettin' serious! Don't know how serious you actually are or how much you may be day-dreaming or baiting me to talk about nitrous! ;) You're the OP, so I guess I'm not hi-jacking your thread by responding to you, but you're starting to make me drool thinking about the potential mods! I'm a bit of a hotrodder at heart.

You seem to be straight-up in your posts, so let's get back to your original stated purpose: extra acceleration at 85-90 mph to "squirt" through the occasional (or recreational) potential situation/crisis. What are your options? Realistically, "porting/polishing/cams" and other basic tuning ideas have already been done to a high degree by Mother Honda. I'm not sure that trying to improve that alone would be cost-effective. So, unless I'm missing something, we're looking at 1) turbocharging, 2) supercharging, or 3) nitrous. Both Options 1 and 2 are going to be heavily self-engineered, expensive, probably ugly, and they'll both sap power from the engine and cause additional wear all of the time the motor's running. But you don't need that extra power all of the time. That leaves Option #3, nitrous. It's activated at the touch of a button, it can be disarmed at the touch of a button (in high-traffic/city conditions, for obvious safety considerations), and, as you said about the high-qualify internals, the 1800 engine can easily handle the extra pressures involved. (Disclaimer: read "Pro Tip".)
At the moment I am just spit balling ideas at the wall. If I could find a decent dyno/tuning shop I wouldn't mind adding a properly tuned wet nitrous kit to my Valkyrie, but anything involving super charging, turbo charging, or an engine internal rework would not be something I would do until I had a test bike at my disposal so I could get the major kinks worked out before moving it over to my bike.

I am not convinced that this engine couldn't make a LOT more power NA, but I do think it would take some work. Here is a picture of the pistons, head, intake, and cams:

Automotive tire Bicycle part Cylinder Rim Auto part

Land vehicle Automotive tire Tire Bicycle part Wheel

Auto part Metal Bicycle part Wood Aluminium

Engineering Tool Household hardware Auto part Automotive tire


I have never even had one of these apart in front of me, so take all this with a HEFTY grain of salt, but it looks like you could get some much better head/piston quench interaction going on by switching from those dished pistons to flat top pistons, those runners on the intake look pretty long and skinny and paired to what appear to be small throttle bodies for a 1.8L engine, and that cam looks like they were going for about the shortest duration possible. I would have to look around to find it and verify, but I remember recently reading that those cams had 0 degrees of overlap, which seems plausible looking at them, but if so, it is no wonder the engine starts running out of breath as early as it does.

So yea, I think with some work, some creative parts, and a good standalone ecu the GL1800 engine could very likely be tuned to make a lot more power even NA, but I dont think it would be quick or easy.

"Pro Tip": (Which is that I'm not a Pro! True story.) Don't get greedy. You probably already know this, Joel, but for those that don't have experience with NOS's, you can get commercial nitrous kits in various "stages" for cars and bikes that provide different levels of (advertised) additional HP, e.g. 50-100-150-200 and more. Some teenagers-at-heart think that "the more the merrier", so +200 HP is the no-brainer! There's more to it than that. I think it's obvious that a 50-shot would be more than enough for this application and would probably not cost the bike much at all in terms of additional stresses.
Absolutely, an occasional 50 shot wet shot with a 12ish:1 AFR I think would be well within the capability of this engine to handle. I think slamming WOT in 5th gear at around 95mph and hitting the happy button for that extra 40ish at the wheel would be a sufficient boost. Could it live through a few 75-100 shots if it was well tuned? Probably. Could it do a few 200 shots? Ehhhh... ummm... I wouldnt put money on that... But for me pushing any power adder just means you are eating up goof up leeway. You get a tank of crappy gas with low octane in Nowheresville on a stock Goldwing? No sweat. You do that with 35-50 wet shot of nitrous and hear some pinging and complaining, you probably have a few pings in her before it is a serious issue, so you can probably finish what you were doing and ease out of it, then just stay off the juice until you get better gas. The same thing with a 75-100 shot and you better let off immediately, the same thing with a 200hp shot and you probably wouldnt have time to know anything was wrong, your experience would probably be something like "Push, bang, boom" quickly followed by pieces of shrapnel shooting out the engine casing.

My question to those of you out there that really know this stuff would be: how would you best add the extra required fuel, with the least fabrication issues, to ratio correctly with the nitrous when pushing the button? I'm not talking solenoids, I'm asking about mixture ratios.
It has been a bit but the last decent wet kit I saw was designed to tap into the stock high pressure fuel system go through the fuel solenoid, then go through a metering jet and into the nozzle where it mixes with the nitrous and then into the intake. The Nitrous had a similar path from the bottle, through the solenoid, through a metering jet, and into the mixing nozzle, then into the intake of the engine. It had nitrous metering gets in HP ratings, something like 35hp, 50hp, 75hp etc, and then recommended fuel jet metering sizes with a bit of a range above and below.

So you would put the whole thing together, probably with the smallest nitrous jet and recommended matching fuel jet, optimally had some sort of pressure gauge on your fuel line, even if only temporary. Then you would take it to a dyno shop with a wideband O2 sensor and do a baseline run to get what the stock AFR is doing and watch the fuel pressure gauge. Then turn on the nitrous and do another run on juice and see where your AFR and fuel pressure went while on the juice. If your AFR stayed around 12ish, and your fuel pressure didnt drop, you have the option of stay there and calling it good, or going up a nitrous jet size and matching fuel jet and try again until you have reached whatever you think is reasonable for the application.

I dont really see much reason to tune nitrous for anything other than full throttle, and I have always preferred the setup that has a toggle arming switch and a full throttle switch activation.

Would an additional fuel pump be necessary, or better yet, could the bike's OEM fuel system be adapted somehow with some tweaking?
If the fuel pressure isnt dropping on WOT at the top of 5th gear on whatever level of juice and fuel jet sizes you have decided on, then I would say you are fine using the stock fuel pump. You would need to increase the fuel pump output if you were getting pressure drop on the fuel system, either by a replacement fuel pump, or if it is on the edge, you might be able to flow enough by rewiring the stock fuel pump with a more direct power line and electrical solenoid to reduce voltage drop.

With this bike's computer management systems, would it be able to adjust itself?
I would never depend on an OEM fuel system to compensate for something like a dry nitrous hit of any real amount. Even if the stock ECU had the flexibility range to add enough fuel to compensate without freaking out, which I have never seen in person, it would still take a bit to do, which means your engine will spend some amount of time running VERY lean while being pushed past its design limits, which sounds like a good recipe for disaster.

For me OEM fueling = wet nitrous. I would only ever run a dry nitrous kit on something with a programmable ECU that had the capability of being programmed to know when the nitrous was switched on, and how much additional fuel it had to add to compensate during that time. Not something that would try to react and catch up only after the engine had gone lean from the nitrous.

Lastly, you mentioned the weak point may be the clutch. When you are using the nitrous only occasionally, whether for frolic or frantic, you probably aren't using it "off the line" (except for a few times when you first install it, for the sheer pleasure of your own raised eyebrows and slack-jaw). That can burn out a clutch. The Valkyrie does have all the power necessary to deal with most normal situations, but with the riding conditions you talk about, having that "squirt" button could be at least as important and useful as your horn button. Everything has an Achilles Heel. I lost that Vette I mentioned at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wisconsin about a year after the Super Sunday Chevy Nationals win. The right rear U-joint snapped during a hard shift at 100+ MPH and caused me to veer off the track, into the guard rail, flipping it four times, yada, yada. Totaled. The extra pressures of several years of nitrous use had finally found the weakest link.
I am thinking more of the stress the clutch is under at high speed from wind resistance and the additional power being dumped in. I dont know for sure that would happen with this bike, considering the trailers and stuff people tow it might be just fine.

Actually now that I think about it, I am sure that clutch could probably hold quite a bit:

Apologies to the disinterested for the long post. I just figured that if you weren't interested in the topic you wouldn't still be here. I am not an old or bold fighter pilot (Smokedeel). I'm just grateful to still be here!
:cool:
Yea, I get pretty chatty sometimes too.
 

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I dont really see much reason to tune nitrous for anything other than full throttle, and I have always preferred the setup that has a toggle arming switch and a full throttle switch activation.
First of all, thanks for the great photos, Joel. I hadn't seen those before, probably because I've never looked, but the manifold pic really held my interest (re: nitrous). And it was fun to read your entire post, as it really shows you have a good understanding of "The Magic Mist" process.

On my car, I had it set up as follows: the tank was not in the interior of the car (picture a 1980 Corvette, where many people would put a tank in a bracket under the rear window), but rather I made a custom bracket to hold it securely behind the front bumper and my custom front spoiler. Think Greenwood Corvette, style-wise on the spoiler, but no wide-body stuff (Greenwood Corvettes - Wikipedia). This avoided the sun from hitting the tank through the window, even though it was tinted, and fed it fresh air as I drove to keep the tank cool. (As I'd said earlier, this was one of my daily drivers and my wife and I liked to throw our luggage in the back and head out. Such as our excursion from Chicago Far West 'Burbs down to Patrick AFB in FL to participate in an autocross event on the airfield. GREAT fun! A big NOS tank in the rear window would take up too much luggage space. And gave my secret away!) I'd have to manually turn the "SCUBA" tank main valve open before I got in the car. You had to then press an activation "Go Hot" toggle switch hidden under the dash. I had a choice of it activating automatically at WOT or using the index finger switch on the gearshift lever as needed, which I greatly preferred. More control on exactly when I wanted the power to hit and scoot past the opponent at the finish line. Had a five foot "mother tank" of nitrous in my garage for convenient refills. I never had a problem with this system nor my hand-built 383 stroker and used it many, many times, both on the street and on the track, grin after grin. Bullet-proof, when used properly. Detonation-determined if you don't!
:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
I have hear quite a few hidden nitrous stories over the years, everything from a friend of mine with fairly huge nitrous bottles hidden in the bottom of both front doors of a coupe and hidden lines running along with door electronics bundles. It actually all looked stock when the door panels were on, the only giveaway was the windows only rolled about halfway down. That wouldnt have passed a hard core tech inspection, but he was not running anything that intense. All the way to a very early prostock driver recovering from cancer who had a "pillow" he carried with him for his back that had a small bottle and a convoluted routing system through a harness latch, moulded into body work, and out through a hollow rivet head in the hood scoop. That apparently did make it through all the tech inspections because when they popped the hood, nothing extra was going to the engine, and when the driver got out the botttle effectively ceased to exist.
 
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