Bike specific Gremlins

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The Gremlin bell on my Valkyrie has so far kept the dreaded hydro-lock
demon at bay.

I’ve owned five different motorcycles. Several of them seemed plagued by a model-specific gremlin. The two bikes I presently have are good examples of this. I would guess that 80 percent or more of the technical talk on the Magna boards revolve around the carburetors. There is a well-documented “flat” spot in the Magna power curve commonly remedied by shimming the main jets with a couple of washers. But the real problem with the Magna carbs seems to be a tendency for the slow jets to clog up if the bike sits for even a short period of time with gas in it. Most folks on the Magna board are big proponents of a specific gas additive that is supposed to help keep the carburetors clean. I’ve experienced problems with mine after having it sit up for a couple of weeks. So far, I’ve been able to rectify the issue with gas additives.
The Valkyrie is also a Honda product with carburetors. It doesn’t seem to be as bad about clogging up as the Magna, but the model does have its own gremlin. The dreaded hydro-lock. It hasn’t happened to me, but I’ve seen it twice in the last three years on other bikes in the small groups of local dragon riders. The reason this issue gets so much attention is because of the potential it holds for expensive damage. I’ve seen several reports on the national Valkyrie board of a hydro-locked bike having teeth knocked off the fly-wheel or starter gear. Something that can do that much expensive damage is bound to get a lot of attention.
But as one poster pointed out, we get a false idea of the danger. Because it is such a scary problem, there is a lot of talk about it. But in actuality, the percentage of Valkyries with this problem is less than 1 percent. But it takes up a much larger percentage of the posts on the board, causing members to get the impression it’s much more prevalent.
But if you find a bike, or bikes, that holds a special place in your heart, then you find yourself loving them in spite of their flaws. Those peculiarities become part of the bikes’ “character.” A friend of mine, when comparing products or services, frequently says, “all dogs have fleas.” Paraphrasing, “all bikes have gremlins.”

- Guy Wheatley

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