The Valk is a very different ride from the Raiders, or any other V-twin cruiser for that matter. There's the more upright riding position that will take a few rides to get used to if you've spent a lot of time with the feet-forward position. Then there's the silky-smooth engine that's unlike anything else you've ever ridden, with torque out the wahoo from just off idle to red line.
I've had mostly cruisers, but I've also had a sport-tourer or two over the years. Most recently before this one I had a CTX1300 which has a very similar riding position to the Valkyrie right up until I totaled it. I'm loving the Valk now. No frills, just big smooth comfort and power. It's like the hot rod Lincoln of bikes.
The only complaint I have is the seat -- I can't spend more than a couple of hours on it before my tail bone goes numb, and I'm most likely gonna look into a Corbin over the winter. Really can't think of anything else I want to do to it.
Hey thanks for the reply SB, I love the Raider but it's be nice to have something more comfortable. I know there's a place called Mean City Cycles that will redo a seat and add all sorts of extras to make it work better than stock, and cheaper than Corbin, etc. There's also a place in CA called http://day-long.com/ that has a unique take on seats, but the old-timer I met one day that had one on his HD swore by it, and it looked **** comfy too.
A Raider and the Valkyrie basically fall into the same category to me. The "big engine flagship" of each manufacturer.
I owned a Roadliner (same engine as the Raider) so I'd say reliability of both bikes is about the same. I rode mine Roadliner across country four times and did nothing but change the oil and tires. I expect the same from the Valkyrie based on Goldwing engine maintenance. The Raider though is by far an easier platform to do repairs on.
Comfort goes to the Raider.
Customization goes to the Raider.
Overall rideability probably goes to the Valkyrie (the Goldwing platform is tough to beat in turns and throttle).
Sound and style (is subjective) probably goes to the Raider (the Valkyrie sounds like a sewing machine to me).
So it's kind of 50/50 in my head. Is it a bad bike? No. Is is a great bike? No.
Would I trade mine for another Roadliner? Eh...... probably but that's just me. I hate the handle bar mounted windshield and utter lack of aftermarket options for the Valkyrie. That's the main thing that ruined my opinion of the bike. If they made fork mounted fairings/windshields and had some exhaust/performance options, then I'd side with the Valkyrie.
Very good input my friend I appreciate it a great deal. I'm not sure how much more aftermarket exists for a Raider but I'll take your word. I did all my own pegs/shift/brake the homemade route, and just standard trim swaps gave it a nice touch. For Sale actually lol - $6900. I'd like to have a bike that's a little smoother, fuel injected, reliable, and fun around town but I can take off across country to with some added bags and shield of course, etc.
Raiders are fuel injected and reliable. I went to forty six states on my Roadliner which uses the same engine the Raider has. As far as smoothness.... well that one goes to the Valkyrie. It's unpleasantly smooth and quiet. It feels like riding a sportbike. Not much noise and RPM's fairly quick.
Hehe have to disagree with you there mrtappan. It is not smooth and quiet like a sports bike, it makes a sports bike seem like a shaky noisy broken thing.
I used to get pain in my hands and feet and considered it a normal part of riding until I got my Valk' and never had the pain since. It turns out it was caused by constant vibration all these years. I remember the first time I road a Valk' I thought "Cadilac", it was freaky how smooth it was for me.
But the seat. OMG the seat. It is just crap on a whole new level. Noooo didn't see that coming in the test ride, did later