Fords that look like Ferraris, scooters that look like sportbikes, cruisers that look like custom choppers … And it’s often those who can bring that cool image to the average folks who become the most profitable. Seemingly this is the reason Honda has entered the custom chopper market. Why else would Honda, a company based on pushing the performance envelope and driving technological innovation, build a chopper? Because they can sell it for $12,999 and people will buy it in large numbers. Thus, the 2010 Honda Fury was born.
But don’t dismiss it as a shameless money-maker too quickly. After all, Honda is responsible for some seriously cool outside-the-box bikes – just not recently.
There will always be those who say it’s not hardcore or radical enough. In fact, I was part of this group when I first saw the machine. Now, having just spent a full day riding the new machine, I can tell you this: it works well cruising down the coast on a sunny day, looks relatively cool – nothing ground breaking – and at only 13K it’s undeniably a good deal. (I wonder what the price would have been had the economy not taken such a massive dive in the last year? Either way, it’s a buyer’s market…)
The majority of this bike is a collaboration between HGA in the U.S. and Honda Japan’s engineering crew, with a Japanese Project Leader who lived stateside for seven years. Thus, the amount of “Honda” in this Honda is far less than one might expect, without sacrificing its trademark quality. The only Honda Wing logo you’ll find on the entire machine is about half-an-inch big and it’s on the key. When was the last time that happened? They claim chopper guys are more interested in the design and build of the bike than the name on the tank. I’m not sold on this one. Just think how big OCC choppers are – solely because of the name on the tank.
As for the technical details, it’s easy to see Honda started with a blank sheet of paper for the Fury. Knowing its existing 1300cc V-Twin would give the most appealing layout design-wise, they used this as a starting point…
Turn the side-engine-mounted Harley-style key and thumb the starter. The Fury fires up with a docile rumble, the nice thing being it comes to life each and every time without any issues, which can’t always be said for those high-end, high-power choppers.
Right off idle the torque propels you seamlessly, there just isn’t that much of it. Sound picks up and starts to serenade the ear drums, though never really hits the target intended. We can thank good ol’ Uncle Sam for that one. A set of aftermarket pipes will quickly remedy this. Once up to speed the Fury cruises with little to no vibration through the bars.
All of this is the result of an 89.5 x 104.3mm bore and stroke making for a 1312cc V-Twin engine, which sits at 52 degrees with a compression ratio of 9.2:1. Redesigned single overhead cams operate three valves per cylinder. Inside sits a single-pin crankshaft design to give that lump and
character the cruiser crowd holds so dear – it’s one of the reasons people love Harleys. And that lumping single-pin feel is there, just masked under layers of government emissions and sounds regulations. Dual balancers smooth out vibration as speeds increase to reduce rider fatigue. PGM-FI fuel injection feeds petrol via a single 38mm throttle body with an automatic enricher circuit so no choke is needed whatsoever. Simply push the button and hit the road. All-new twin exhaust exit spent gasses in style, designed to complement the lines of the minimalistic machine.
Typical Honda, the five-speed transmission is seamless and extremely smooth. Gears fall into place with a reassuring click and positive feel.
Clutch action is equally easy and still provides ample feedback.
This connects to shaft final drive, an area many have voiced complaints about, as it makes swapping to a larger rear wheel next to impossible. We asked the boys in red the same question and their response: “The shaft drive is in place because it’s maintenance free, makes for much cleaner rear-end styling and gives the Fury some Honda-type technology.” It does work quite well, with zero driveline lash and slick engagement; though in context it’s a bit too good, detracting from the machines personality. The housing also has a very generic plastic feel to it, cheapening the look of the back end from the non-pipe-side view.
The chassis and suspension layout is where the Fury starts to get more radical. A 45mm fork with 4-inches of travel sits a caster angle (rake) of 38 degrees with 3.5 inches of trail. This makes for a 71.24-inch wheelbase, the longest of any Honda ever produced. Out back a single shock is totally hidden for the hardtail look and features adjustable preload and rebound. Biggest flaw here? The welds around the steering head are extremely sub-Honda in quality. Here’s hoping they fix that for the production models.
The first thing one notices throwing a leg over the Fury is its extremely low 26.7-inch seat height. This combined with the tall bars and forward controls should make the Fury comfortable for all shapes and sizes. At 5’7” I was totally at home on the Honda, as were the taller members of our group. No one complained about the ergonomics at all.
The massive amount of rake (for a metric cruiser) makes for a somewhat harsh ride through the bars. Its fork stutters and skips over the bumps more than it really soaks them up due to the angle of attack. But I like it. It gives the bike a bit more street-cred, making it feel more like a true chopper should – rough and ragged. In fact, it’s one of the only things rough and ragged about this bike at all. The rear shock works well to counteract the fork and makes for a plush ride under one’s rear end, plus its adjustability accommodates various sized riders.
A 200-series tire comes shod on an 18-inch rear wheel for that ‘fat chopper look,’ while up front a large and skinny 21-inch wheel is wrapped with a 90-series tires. While neither sound conducive to good handling per se, the Fury does quite well. Easy to turn around in small areas and still very stable at speed, neither of those two qualities are very common for a chopper. This is where Honda’s R&D abilities shine through. However, Its biggest limitation is the footpegs grinding quite hard into the pavement at less-than-extreme lean angles.
Slowing things down is a 336mm single disk and twin-piston caliper up front and a 296mm single disk single-piston caliper out back, which are more then up to the task of getting the Honda to a halt in haste. It’s a Honda, thus we knew all of said equipment was going to work before we ever rode it, but key being their design. And really the key to the entire machine is its styling.
The design centers around a high steering head, pronounced rake and open-air look up front, which then translates into a more substantial engine and rear end. Keeping clean lines throughout was key. The sculpted tear-drop tank is a work of art on its own and several clever technological advancements allowed this to be showcased. One of those being a patented top radiator hose that is hidden beneath the front valve cover. Forward controls, high fat bars, a 1950s-looking gauge cluster and custom-looking alloy wheels round out the chopper look.
The three standard colors (Black, Electric Blue, Dark Red and Silver) retail for $12,999, while a limited-edition Matte Silver with black wheels will be $13,499. Also, an ABS version will be released later this summer in the Black color only for an MSRP of $13,999. The standard models will hit dealerships in April along with a full line of Honda-branded accesories, while the ABS bike will come this fall.
And the Verdict is…
Honestly, I’m quite fond of the Matt Silver and Black color scheme, it behaves extremely well for a chopper (maybe too well), and at 13K the price point is hard to argue with. So did the cost of cool just get a whole lot cheaper? Sure. And I can guarantee you for a lot of people it will buy the new Fury. But the question is, whom? What generation will think the Fury is cool? I’ve got my money on baby boomers going through a budget-minded mid-life crisis…