Honda Motor Company is the largest engine manufacturer in the world. And while they are known for some fine high end, high performance motorcycles, they became famous through their Honda C100, the little “step-through” 50 from the early 1960’s. This modest machine attracted many new riders to our sport. None the less they have brought us engineering marvels and oddities like the oval piston NR750, the limited production NSX automobile and this Rune for the cruiser segment. These machines seem more like engineering exercises than production for corporate profits, which is by far most of what Honda has been about, besides racing. But this unusual project was driven by American Honda, did not originate in Japan. Over several years styling models were built and displayed at motorcycle shows and voted on. The final product is this machine which was built in the Honda factory in Marysville, Ohio.

To power Honda’s Rune, the well developed flat six cylinder engine was borrowed from the Gold Wing. It had been used in the more traditional Valkyrie and with some design work, the 1832cc, 112 cubic inch motor became a stylish powerplant. The Rune motor got six throttle bodies, the Gold Wing uses only two larger units. According to a contemporary RIDER magazine dynamometer run, the Rune motor puts out slightly more horsepower and torque up to about 4000 RPM, but makes much better sound. At 878 pounds, slightly more than a Gold Wing, it needed the power. No slouch, some tests had the big cruiser running 12 second quarter miles at 105mph.

While there are many parts of this bike for your eyes to feast on, the trailing link front fork is perhaps most interesting and a real throwback for Honda. Completely chromed, very stylish and unique it might cost as much to manufacture as some complete small Hondas.

Most of us that have watched Honda for its 70 plus years have seen engineering at the fore. In this case the stylists started the project, and the desire was to set a new, higher bar for production cruiser class motorcycles.

We would appreciate your feedback, but with the possible exception of the limited production Confederate machines, Honda succeeded. But at $27,000 only a few thousand units manufactured over 18 months were needed to satisfy customers.

The National Motorcycle Museum has a good number of Japanese-made motorcycles, even a scooter, on display. So in case you have not had a chance to see a Rune up close, stop by and take a look at it and dozens of other Japanese street, competition and custom bikes.


    • Engine: Opposed Six Cylinder
    • Type: Liquid Cooled, SOHC
    • Bore & Stroke: 74mm x 71mm
    • Displacement: 1832cc’s / 111.8 Cubic Inches
    • Induction: Six Throttle Body Injectors
    • Ignition: Electronic
    • Compression ratio: 9.8 : 1
    • Starting: Electric
    • Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
    • Horsepower: 118HP
    • Primary: Gear Driven
    • Transmission: 5-Speed
    • Final Drive: Shaft
    • Suspension: Trailing Link Fork / Single Side Swingarm
    • Front Brake: 2 x 330mm Disks, 3-Piston Calipers
    • Rear Brake: 336mm Disk, 2-Piston Caliper
    • Wheelbase: 68.9 Inches
    • Wheels / Tires: 150/60 R18 / 180/55 R17
14 replies
  1. Michael Jones
    Michael Jones says:

    I was a Honda dealer when the Rune was introduced and was blown away by it for several reasons, the price being the first. 27K doesn’t seem like all that much today but in 2004 it was crazy expensive. I just bought a new HD Softail for less than that.
    The styling was, of course what really set it apart, then and now. I thought it was magnificent but also an answer to a question nobody had asked from a sales point of view. Best I can recall we sold four of them.

  2. Tommy Mack
    Tommy Mack says:

    Hi Michael I purchase my rune two and a haft year before Honda start the production of the rune I call Honda USA in California they give me a special code number to put on the contract because it was way to early for a name or the official code to order basically I was the first one to put money on a motorcycle that don’t even exist yet it was a long waiting period I was reading about that incredible bike in different magazine during those long months to make it even longer ,for the Rune when I place my order the dealer didn’t know what to put on the contract they didn’t have any information of color or all the options and especially when it will be at the dealer , so during the long period of waiting more people was placing order with different dealer in the US ,around a year and half before delivery I got more information about options on the Rune it was two with all chrome or not the handle bar further forward or a little more backward for smaller guy like me ,for a extra 4 thousand dollars , also during that long waiting time my dealer call me saying Tom Cruze was offering me double on the price of the Rune to get my position to get my Rune because I am the same size as he is , with that I have to wait a extra time that might go to a extra six to ten more months ,I was not ready to wait for the painful period any longer so I declined the offer . finally the day come my Rune is in the dealer ship getting ready for me to pick up in a few hrs I will be driving this incredible machine , so I leave the dealer with my Rune and get on the street facing the dealer for line street at the first light a pick up driving next to me looking at the bike like a eagle on is pray and not paying attention on the trafick rear the Car on the front of him I said to my self wow that beauty of the Rune will cause accident ,that was the one incident like that happen but lots of people’s was taking pictures me driving that beauty and every where I go the people’s was around my bike looking ready to ask tone of questions about it ,just incredible, even today people are doing the same thing nothing match this bike I have twenty seven motorcycle the Rune is the only one that is so sexy even after seventeen years ,thank you to give a opportunity to share my story with my Rune that still enjoying like my first day with it ..Tommy Mack

  3. Roy Arrambide
    Roy Arrambide says:

    I have Is an 04 run for sale It only has 4300 miles on it. I always describe it as Rides like glass if Mercedes made a motorcycle I believe this is what it would be like.

    • Rick Sullivan
      Rick Sullivan says:

      I have a Rune For Sale with 5,000 miles. Always Honda maintained since new and in like new condition. Black with chrome wheels and all the Original Owners materials. Rick Sullivan

  4. Brian Baumler
    Brian Baumler says:

    I have two Honda Runes both 2004..Maroone. One has only 450 miles on it the other about 9k. They both sit in the house since they are way to pretty to ride.


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