Pros: Comfort of an old man's bike...Power of a kids bike!
I've owned several street bikes over the years, Honda's, Kawasaki's, Suzuki's, a Triumph and even a BSA. I've also ridden several other very impressive bikes that I didn't own.
The Honda Valkyrie is simply in a class by itself. I have difficulty making meaningful comparisons to any other bike I've ever owned or ridden. I own a 1997 (first year production) but the Valkyrie is virtually unchanged to date so my experience is valid through 2001.
The obvious is that the Valkyrie is a BIG bike with a BIG motor. It's beautiful (recognizing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder). But if the attention and comments elicited as you ride or park this motorcycle are any indication, this is a great looking bike.
When you first get on a Valkyrie you will be intimidated by the HUGE look and feel. This is where some give up and it's a shame. If you can get beyond this point and actually ride this motorcycle you will quickly discover an experience that you did not expect.
You will expect the Valkyrie to be clumsy and a behemoth to ride. Nothing could be further from the truth. At any speed beyond a crawl you will find yourself picking up your feet and confidently placing them on the foot pegs. While not nimble in the sense of a Ninja, the Valkyrie, due to it's very low center of gravity (heavy stuff concentrated low on the bike) handles and feels like a much lighter bike.
Power is absolutely NO problem. You can feel the power from 2,500 rpm up. It comes on smooth but it REALLY COMES ON! No surprises just hunks of power. No vibration, no dead spots, no flat spots, truly seamless power.
I've heard complaints of poor gas mileage. I get 32mpg on a regular basis. On a trip from San Diego to LA and back (all freeway) I got exactly 40mpg. I must say, though, I have replaced the stock trigger wheel with an after market 6deg wheel. I have a friend that had one of these trigger wheels on his Valkyrie and he told me I absolutely had to have one. Well, I've tried all kinds of "Power" upgrades in my life and I've been quite under-whelmed by them. But I agreed to try this device and I was amazed. My throttle response, power and gas mileage improved. So that may be one reason I'm doing better on gas mileage than others with this motorcycle.
Another complaint is the rate of tire wear. It's true that the stock rear tire lasts only about 8~9k, which isn't great. But there are tires that will go 15~20k that can be purchased for the Valkyrie.
In conclusion, if your need is great gas mileage and 30,000 miles between tire changes then the Valkyrie is not your bike. Otherwise, it's NO CONTEST!
Just imagine what this bike will be like when they place the 1800cc, fuel injected engine in it!
Try one...You'll love it!