Frequently asked questions
What is hydrolock?
(a) The connecting rod to that cylinder can get bent. That’s a major overhaul to replace.
(b) More likely, the starter motor will shear off a tooth or two on the driven gear. Not the gear on the end of the starter motor shaft, the gear in the transmission that it turns. Now you get to remove the engine, take the back cover off, replace that gear, and put it all back. Oh joy.
(c) There are actually 2 gears in the transmission that can get damaged. Your starter is strong enough to break teeth off both of them. It’s no extra labor to do the 2 gears, just more cost for parts.
(b) Let’s say you smell gas and there is fuel leaking out of one of the rubber hoses that go from one side of the carbs to the metal crossmember at the back of the carbs. Those hoses terminate by simply sticking through a hole in the bottom of the crossmember. They connect to your air rail, which is an air vent for the carbs. But the air rail is near the top inside the carb, which is actually higher than the intake manifold tube. By the time gas gets high enough to run out the air rail, it is already filling a cylinder with gas.
(b) Fix the problem and change the oil before starting the engine. If gas has flooded a cylinder, you also have gas mixed with your oil. That’s not good.
(b) It gets a slow leak in the diaphragms. The diaphragm closest to the vacuum nipple moves back and forth a lot when the engine is running, but the inner one just barely moves and does so slowly.
- It is the inner one that is exposed to ethanol and gas, so it gets brittle. If it starts leaking, there is a weep hole in the center metal cover that is supposed to let the gas out, and alert you to a problem because you will smell gas. For some reason that weep hole attracts bugs that pack it with mud, lay their eggs, and then cap it off with more mud. It gets stopped up. One guy had a very slow gas leak there and “fixed it” with JB Weld. Another thing not to do.
- The outer diaphragm, that moves so much, can develop a pinhole over time. If it were a major tear, the diaphragm would close and the engine would run out of gas. And that can happen, but more likely it will be a pinhole that develops. Then the inner diaphragm suddenly starts moving a lot due to the vacuum impulses from that intake. It is stiff and brittle from age and ethanol, so it tears. If the weep hole is plugged up, you now have a leak down the vacuum line. If you cut it off to eat lunch and get back to riding in 30 minutes, you will never know. But if you park it for a while, you will have a hydrolock on #6 cylinder when you return to the bike. I repaired a hydrolock for a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune (1 hour away) a few years ago. His Valkyrie hydrolocked on #6. When I pulled the vacuum line off, it was damp with gasoline. I let it hang and we timed the drips. It would drip 1 drop every 11 minutes, whether the petcock was switched on or off.
(a) Convert your OEM petcock to manual function only with a new Viton rubber gasket, available only from me. Or make your own if you can.
(b) Replace all 97 rubber pieces in those 6 carbs with Viton rubber ones (yes, I counted them).
(c) Install a Dan-Marc Electric Fuel Valve as low as possible directly between the fuel rails with a T on the outlet side heading straight into the fuel rails. This greatly limits the volume of fuel available to cause a hydrolock in the event of a leaky float valve at some time in the future. After doing the above steps, you never have to switch your petcock to “off” except when you remove the gas tank. Just use it to switch between “on” and “res”. The Dan-marc will cut off the fuel flow for you every time you switch the key off. And there won’t be a vacuum line from the petcock to intake #6. Problem solved. Enjoy the ride!
Why won't my Valkyrie start when it's cold?
If it’s really cold and it’s not starting or won’t stay running, push down on the “choke” until it’s all the way down...and then throw your whole body weight into it until you think it’s going to break. NOW it’s working (and it’s not really a choke, it’s a fuel enrichment thingy).
Why does my Valkyrie scream when accelerating, especially around 45?
Because of the Valkyrie's power, Honda used straight cut gears and they're pretty noisy. It just adds to the visceral feeling of raw power the Valkyrie gives you. It all goes away at highway speeds.
Why is it hard to shift from 1st to 2nd gear?
Just put a little up pressure on the shifter before you engage the clutch to shift into 2nd and it’ll be smooth as silk. A lot of people us a Shifter Buddy (https://www.facebook.com/groups/474127493287210/)
or a Jersey shifter bracket (https://jerseymcproducts.bigcartel.com/)
This is because they stabilize the shifter which also helps the shifter seal last longer. The seal is prone to failure due to the stock shifter design and is really the only source of possible oil leaks on a Valkyrie.
Why does it sound like marbles are loose in the engine when you’re idling in neutral and let the clutch out?
It's all got to do with straight-cut gears and spinning clutch pieces parts but it's normal. Turn up the music!
What is de-smogging?
De-smogged bikes have no performance gains or fuel economy gains, just eliminates a lot of unnecessary parts and future problems with vacuum leaks. Looks a lot cleaner too.
What is "darkside"?
"Going darkside" is the practice of using a car tire on the back of the Valkyrie. Promoters and detractors are very passionate about this practice and will argue endlessly over the merits and pitfalls. We won't go into a discussion about it here but suffice it to say many riders do it and have put on millions of miles with no ill effects. A Valkyrie with a car tire on back can scrape pegs in the turns with no loss of traction and many claim it handles better in rain and unpaved roads plus you can put double, triple or better the number of miles before needing to be replaced. Car tires with more rounded sidewalls work the best. Do your own research and talk to other riders before deciding. Would you put a car tire on a racing bike and hit the track? Probably not. Does it make sense on a heavy cruiser with comparatively limited lean angles? Your call. There is an interesting video on YouTube of a darkside Valkyrie running the Tail of the Dragon (beginning at Deals Gap on the Tennessee/North Carolina state line). See it here.
What kind of oil should I use?
Valkyries do require oil but they don't use it like some brands :-). The discussion about what kind of oil to use and how often to change it with regards to Valkyries has sparked heated and lengthly debates for years. Amsoil, Mobil 1, Rotella, etc. are all great oils and every oil has it followers although they do vary in price. Some claim their bikes run cooler, shift smoother, are quieter, etc. with different oils but there is no common denominator with regards to the oil brand. A straight weight oil isn't recommended due to the clutches so something like 5-40W or 15-40W is best depending on if you're in a predominately hotter (15-40) or colder (5-40) climate. Most people change their oil every 5-8k miles with a new filter and to the best of anyone's knowledge no Valkyrie engine has ever failed due to the type of oil used. Conventional or synthetic, either can do the job and a regularly serviced Valkyrie can go for hundreds of thousand of miles. The main thing to look for is oil that doesn't include "friction modifiers" or are labelled "energy conserving" which can cause clutch slippage.
Why do people refer to Valkyries as Dragons?
A question often asked, why do we call our bikes "DRAGONS"?
Back on Sept. 1, 1996, the first internet site dedicated to the Honda Valkyrie, "The Valkyries' Lair," was launched. The site, built by Craig Buhl, contained the tag line, "For Those Who Ride the Dragon." Craig referred to the Valkyrie as the Dragon because of the definition of a dragon: "*Dragon (n.) A legendary fire breathing beast of great size; renowned for its immense power and ability to fly."
It just caught on and stuck, to this day we still refer to the mighty Honda Valkyrie as "The Dragon"
What's the deal with Cobra pipes and K&N air filters? How do they affect horsepower? (Answer by David Wilder, carb guru)
The Keihin CD/ CV carbs on your Valkyrie are very advanced carbs, among the best ever designed. They automatically adjust for air density (due to humidity and altitude changes) as well as load (throttle, terrain, etc.) as you ride. This is done without electronics, exhaust gas sensors, etc. The results are very similar to what electronic fuel injection accomplishes. BUT, they are most efficient at doing all this within a narrow range of parameters.
The fuel mixture is regulated by the vacuum operated slide and needle assembly, controlled by sensor ports adjacent to but not inside of the air horns (aluminum parts at the top of each carb, where the hoses from the air box attach).
Without going into a bunch of details on how this works, the simple answer is that your carbs require a certain amount of intake side resistance to operate properly. Exhaust side back pressure is also important, but the intake side is critical.
Decreasing exhaust back pressure hurts your performance some. Decreasing intake resistance (vacuum) makes a lot more of a performance decrease.
In a typical old-school hot rod, you want little exhaust back pressure and as free-flowing as possible intake. A Holley dual pumper quadrajet carburetor with this setup ensures great gobs of horsepower, but not great efficiency. This is not at all the case with your Valkyrie. The Valkyrie engine was designed for both efficiency and power, and to utilize the last highly advanced fuel management system in carburetor design. From this era on, all advances in fuel management have been in the area of fuel injection and electronics.
Opening up the flow of air by using a free flowing air filter changes the parameters for the carbs to work in. It moves them out of their most effective range and results in a net loss of horsepower and torque.
Lots of people are happy with their Valkyries using K&N filters with equally free flowing exhaust systems. Starting with a 6 cylinder engine that is geared fairly low and producing around 100 HP, then reducing that HP by 8-12%, still leaves you with a very powerful motorcycle. Plus the sound might make it seem mean. But put that modified Valkyrie on a dyno and compare it to an unmodified Valkyrie, and you will see a difference.
The story isn't just about power. It is also fuel efficiency. A stock Valkyrie (intake and exhaust) running 87 octane fuel will go farther and faster than one with a K&N filter and Cobras running 93 or higher octane.