A concept bike come to life, it was built without regard for cost.
- The Rune was Honda showing off its innovative strength despite incurring a massive loss to produce it.
- The Rune took inspiration from the Valkyrie, but its radical appearance and plenty of unique chrome accents set it apart.
- This one has about 6,000 miles on it.
Honda isn’t usually renowned for getting carried away, but this motorcycle is definitely an exception to that rule. Big H’s staggering NRX1800 Rune loss can be directly attributed to the company’s obsession with form over function. Its claimed $225 million in development costs belies its tiny production run.
The Hearst Autos Group, which includes Car and Driver, is auctioning off a low-mileage 2004 Rune in burgundy on Bring a Trailer. It’s a work of art on wheels, a realized concept motorcycle, and yet it handles and rides as well as anything Honda has ever made.
At the Cycle World event in Long Beach, California, in the year 2000, Honda displayed three different concept motorcycles. The T2 idea was the sole focus of discussion. Honda employees in attendance were overwhelmed by the show of support they received, but there was a major caveat. T2 was a theoretical exercise in design only.
But Honda went ahead and made a mass-produced one anyhow. The fact that the silencers are cast using a lost-wax procedure exemplifies how challenging of a task the engineers were given. Although the gorgeous radiator slits of the concept could potentially cool an engine producing 20 to 30 horsepower, the 1832cc flat-six producing 118 horsepower in the production Rune required Honda to use ultra-conductive alloy to achieve this.
Considering potential returns and operational efficiency, constructing the Rune was an impossible. So, Honda disregarded those concerns entirely. The Gold Wing and the Valkyrie motorcycles would benefit greatly from having a production Rune as a halo model. Honda likely spent around $150,000 on the development of each Rune. Each bike cost $25,000 when it was brand new.
This 2004 model is a rare chance to get your hands on a luxurious, aesthetically pleasing machine that won’t break the bank. The Rune looks like the hero car from an action movie, what with all that chrome and the extremely low ride height. It reminds me of a combination of Akira and Duke Nukem.
A Honda’s torque-rich powerband provides the muscle necessary to accelerate quickly from a stop, making this bike a pleasure to ride. Comfortable in traffic thanks to a low seat height and a light clutch thanks to the clever trailing front suspension that allows for a surprisingly tight turning radius.
The highest bidder will find that the Rune is a visual nightmare but an unforgettable experience. The end date of the auction is May 22.