The 2010 Honda Fury is one of the only liquid-cooled choppers around and sports the longest wheelbase ever in a Honda motorcycle.
Styling aside, it’s time to crack open the throttles and ride. Pushing the buttons on the choppers’ electric starters, the Honda’s PGM-FI fuel injection system with an automatic enricher circuit helps crank the Fury right over. The Coyote uses a two-stage system. Press the starter, listen close and you can hear the carb get primed with a squirt of fuel that helps the larger displacement, high compression engine to reliably turn over. Where the Fury’s starting system is push and go, the Coyote needs a few twists of the throttle to get the fuel flow circulating before riding.
The Fury’s 52-degree V-Twin comes to life with its dual cylinders pumping up and down the 89.5mm (3.52 in.) bore efficiently courtesy of a single overhead cam that is operating three valves per cylinder. The 104.3mm-long (4.1 in.) stroke is compressing gases at a 9.2:1 ratio while its single-pin crankshaft gives the mill the lumping feel that is characteristic of the engine configuration, an dual counterbalancers fore and aft of the crankshaft quell the vibes. The engine is silky smooth, almost too refined for this class of bikes, because even though it has the single-pin crankshaft, it runs with typical Honda efficiency and there are almost no noticeable vibrations through the bars, even at higher rpm. The thrust of the torque is found on the bottom end just above the 2000 rpm range while horsepower continues to be distributed until about 5000 rpm.
“Right off idle the torque propels you seamlessly, there just isn’t that much of it,” said Motorcycle USA’s resident speed demon, Steve Atlas, after his first ride on the Fury.
Sleek and tretched out, with a tall steering head and a heavy rake, you’d think Honda had been in the chopper biz for years with clean styling like this,
The Fury’s 1312cc engine is mated to a slick five-speed transmission. Again, it’s everything you’d expect from a Honda motorcycle, as the five-speed gearbox engages easily, doesn’t miss a shift, and ‘clicks’ instead of ‘clunks’ into gear. And though the engine is sourced from the VTX1300, the mill in the Fury benefits from the addition of EFI (the VTX1300 fuel system uses a single 38mm constant-velocity carb) that contributes to the bike’s responsive bottom end.
“The Honda is smoother to ride and I thought it was well sorted out – meaning the transmission and engine were so well mated,” said our journeyman test rider and photographer, Tom Lavine.
Our one complaint is that the Fury signs off too early in the powerband. Would the VTX1800 engine suit this style of motorcycle better? That’s debatable, because if it did have the larger powerplant, the radiator would have to be larger, airbox and exhaust volumes would need to increase, and more weight would be added. Personally, more power and another cog on the tranny would be a welcome addition, especially with a bike whose curb weight is 663 lbs.
Launch the Fury hard and grin as the back tire hooks up and leaves a black streak on the pavement beneath you. Power to the 200mm rear tire is distributed via shaft drive. During our week-long adventure, the shaft gave us no driveline lash, and we’ve already commented on how cleanly it integrates into the rear end, but the housing sports the same lackluster appeal as the hard plastic on many of the engine’s covers.
Throw a leg over the Fury’s 26.7-inch seat height, reach out for the chrome pullback handlebars, put your feet up on the forward-mounted foot controls, and you’re welcomed by comfortable, upright ergonomics with a tad-forward lean. The reach to the bars is about mid-chest high, the placement of the foot controls allows me to stretch out my legs comfortably at six-feet-tall, and the tall steering head gives some reprieve from wind blast until you’re up to highway speeds. The Fury has firm-edged seat padding, comfy around town but butt-numbing after hours on the highway. A single-shock smoothes the ride on the back end while the 45mm inverted fork has enough travel (4 inches) to soak up some of the roads imperfections but doesn’t always stay firmly planted over bigger bumps. But the overall ride quality for a chopper is smooth, almost too smooth to be a chopper. The Fury is well-balanced and you can lean it over confidently in turns until reaching the max angle allowed by the pegs. On the curvy roads around Oatman, Arizona, it quickly closed the gap that the Coyote had opened up on the straights with its easy-handling nature.
Upon arriving in Laughlin, we parked near the Vance & Hines trailer where they were setting up for the River Run. Two reps immediately came over upon recognizing the Fury. V & H was
anxiously awaiting the arrival of their own test unit to see what they could do with the platform. Which is a good thing, because one of the first items the Fury could utilize is different pipes. It was already at a disadvantage to the Coyote as far as exhaust notes right out of the gate seeing as how the Big Dog chopper was running a set of aftermarket Vance & Hines Big Radius pipes. The Fury’s 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust puts out a soothing va-va-va-vroom, but teeters more toward the sanitary side than the booming note of even the stock 2-into-1 double barrel exhaust of the Coyote, which I sampled at the 2009 Big Dog Motorcycles’ press intro.
The list of Honda Genuine Accessories for the Fury is small but will surely grow with sales. The list includes custom-stitched rider and passenger seats, a sissy bar and passenger backrest, a chrome rear fender panel, boulevard screen, braided clutch and brake lines, and a front chin spoiler. An ABS version is said to be available come fall, which I believe may be a first for a factory chopper, and lists for a grand more than the stock disc brakes that features twin-piston calipers biting down on a healthy 336mm front disc. To get the front to bite requires a solid squeeze, but used in conjunction with the single 296mm rear disc you can rein in the big chopper easily.