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Honda Custom Slammer, Switchblade, Furious

Wednesday, January 12, 2011
There’s no denying that Honda builds some of the smoothest running, best performing motorcycles out there. The CBR1000RR has won our Superbike Smackdown numerous times, its Honda CRF450R is always competitive in our 450 Motocross Shootout and many claim its Gold Wing is the best touring motorcycle out there. Despite making some of the most rider-friendly motorcycles on the market, Honda has also been known for its conservative styling, a label it tried to shed with the introduction of its first factory chopper, the 2010 Fury. Aftermarket firms like Cobra have demonstrated the customizing potential of a Honda cruiser with its Cobra Scrambler and Tracker, two Honda RS750 project bikes it introduced at the Long Beach IMS. Honda’s own R&D department also introduced three new custom motorcycles based on the company’s VT1300 line at the LB IMS, which our own Ryan Merrill touched on in his 2010 Long Beach Motorcycle Show Review. Honda released more specs and information on the 2010 Stateline “Slammer,” Sabre “Switchblade” and “Furious” Fury yesterday so we thought we’d take a closer look at its VT1300 Series Concepts.

The Honda Concept Switchblade has styling cues gleaned from Formula 1 and MotoGP  utilizing a three-way  race-inspired adjustable suspension and plenty of carbon fiber parts.The Furious Fury concept bike was created by Honda R D Americas Nick Renner. The Slammer was once a Honda Stateline until Erik Dunshee converted it into this wicked-looking bagger with an air ride suspension.
Honda R&D Designers show what can be done using a 2010 VT1300 model as a base model for customization. (R) The "Switchblade" started out as a 2010 Sabre, (M) the hardtail "Furious" was once a Fury, (R) and the "Slammer" started as a Stateline.

For the custom builds, Honda enlisted the services of three young, in-house designers from its SoCal HQ. The designers had to work within a limited budget but were given free reign as far as creativity goes. The only two restrictions were the bikes had to be full on runners and they had to “stay true to the core of the production vehicle.” In other words, make it your own but don’t deviate so far from the original that its roots are unrecognizable. The last stipulation was that they only had three months to complete their builds in time for the Long Beach IMS.

2010 Stateline "Slammer" (Bagger)

Honda R&D Americas designer Erik Dunshee converted a 2010 Stateline into a wicked looking bagger. He wrapped the bars in a fork-mounted front fairing which carries the same sharp lines as the stock tank. The front end has been
The Slammer was once a Honda Stateline until Erik Dunshee converted it into this wicked-looking bagger with an air ride suspension.
Erik Dunshee converted the "Slammer" into this wicked-looking bagger with an air ride suspension.
completely revamped, including swapping out to an inverted fork wherein a 23-inch tall custom wheel lies. Brakes have been updated with a composite-coated, narrow track front rotor with a six piston caliper. The front fender hugs the tire more and now flares at the bottom. Inside the sleek fairing is an all-in-one NAV/Multimedia system with a GPS speed display.

Custom bodywork is also draped over the back end, including hard bags integrated into the rear fender. The fender has the look of a classic American car from the ‘50s. Somewhere in the bags is hidden a 10-inch subwoofer and an amp to drive the stereo system’s 500 watts of power. The bags are molded over custom crossover twin exhausts. The ride is slammed via an adjustable air-ride suspension, dropping the 6-inch ride height to 2.25-inches when lowered. The entire bike is covered in two-tone satin metallic black and pearl black paint. In keeping with the “stay true to the core” requirement, the frame, swingarm, tank and engine are stock except for a custom air cleaner jutting off the “Slammer’s” right side. Give Dunshee props. He was able to put an edgy, modern spin on an otherwise tame stock bike.

2010 Sabre "Switchblade" (Pro Drag)
Instead of the “Slammer’s” taking it to the streets styling, designer Edward Birtulescu recreated a Honda Sabre that is
The Honda Concept Switchblade.
The Pro Drag "Switchblade" has a three-way adjustable suspension with cruise, sport and race modes. 
The Pro Drag Switchblade has a three-way adjustable suspension with cruise  sport and race modes.
ready to take it to the strip. Drag strip, that is. Gone is the casual cruiser. In its place is a bike meant to be ridden fast and hard. The fenders on the original Sabre are chopped more than the other two VT1300 models, but Birtulescu took the “Switchblade” to the Nth degree. A minimal patch of carbon fiber serves as the front fender and the rear has been converted into a sportbike-like tail section that barely covers the back tire and is also made of CF. The new chin spoiler is also formed out of the lightweight, bulletproof compound.

Birtulescu totally recreated the back end of the stock Sabre, giving it a racier look with a single-sided swingarm and a chunkier back tire wrapped around an 18-inch carbon fiber wheel. He also ditched the shaft drive for a 535 chain conversion and threw on a race-inspired, three-way adjustable Ohlins suspension. Riders can dial it in for cruise, sport or race mode via the knobs in the cutout of the custom carbon fiber seat. The stock brakes have been swapped out for dual wave rotors on the front with Brembo racing-spec calipers while the 21-inch front hoop is also carbon fiber. A forward-facing heavy breather air filter boosts the flow to the stock engine and the rider position hunches over the tank stretching out to grab hold of the clip-on bars and reaching back for the rearset foot controls. Some burly custom pipes complete the conversion from a low key, laid back ride to a “Let’s get it on” burnout king.

2010 Honda Fury "Furious" (Hardtail Chopper)
Of the three neo-VT1300 customs, the original lines of the base motorcycle are most easily recognizable in “Furious.” But when your base platform is an open-necked, raked-out factory chopper, that’s a good thing. Honda R&D Americas
Nick Renner raked out his Fury version to 45 degrees and threw on some custom  oversized drag bars.
Nick Renner gave the "Furious" a retro vibe by converting it to a hardtail, doing away with the front fender, throwing on some straight pipes and adding a diamond-tuck seat and metal flake paint.
designer Nick Renner took the 2010 Honda Fury and injected it with some old school cool. He raked-out the front end to a crazy 45-degrees, seven degrees over stock and threw on a bigger hoop, 23-inches tall. He did away with the front fender altogether and dropped the bars, replacing them with oversized drag bars. Internal wiring and the absence of control housings also gives the handlebars a much cleaner look. He also made the stock VT1300 engine stand out more by replacing some of the bulky covers by relocating the battery and doing away with the faux chrome for blacked-out components. Renner did away with the mass of wires between the cylinders and replaced the air intake, creating a space that also makes the engine more prominent as a focal point.

Unlike the other two, Renner modified the frame, transforming “Furious” into a rigid with a custom hardtail frame conversion. The rear fender has been chopped down and hugs the custom five-spoke, 20-inch rear wheel. Dual straight pipes add to its throwback style, as does the diamond-tuck seat. The tank is stock, but the Fury’s original tank was already one of its strong suits. Its metal flake paint job and variegated leafing, though, adds to its retro-styling chops.

The three Honda designers did a bang-up job of creating three totally different styles of custom Honda motorcycles based on the VT1300 platform. These motorcycles definitely give Honda more street credibility. The “Slammer,” “Switchblade” and “Furious” are currently making the rounds at the IMS, so if you plan on going to one of the remaining shows, stop by the Honda booth to check ‘em out.
Honda VT1300 Concepts Photo Gallery
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ms62   November 7, 2013 03:58 AM
Obviously Milwaukee Mike doesn't know that Honda is the largest Motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Stop building bikes? What a great idea!!!!!!!! DUH!!!
Gripnrip -time out Brian  January 20, 2011 09:44 AM
Brian, take a pill, milwaukee mike has a point, this bike does resmble harley style and why not, it works and to say that Honda has not borrowed over the years from harley suggests that it was your mom dropping the baby. Mike never said anything to suggest that honda riders are not happy, only that the honda corporation is having problems in the MC market. Mike was not being derogatory to anyone who rides a metric, but your tone suggest you may have some angst against harley owners
Nick -If there are two things the 1300s needed . . .  January 19, 2011 01:19 PM
they needed to be uglier and less comfortable. Glad Honda's on the ball!
Brian M. -milwaukee mike needs help  January 18, 2011 05:52 PM
I have to say every time I read some of the post on here one person always stands out. And that is milwaukee mike..... did your mother drop you on your head? or is it all the drugs you have taken over the years? or is it that you hate your fellow man and cant stand people being happy and likeing whatever they want, be it metric or HD..You must be one bitter man. I hope you get some help.
Past HD owner -Everyones got one...  January 18, 2011 05:22 PM
I would love to see the parts lists and the total cost to build these bikes. It would be nice for a guy that would like to go the same route. Personally the current fury does nothing for me. The 3 different models they developed was a start, but still not the bad ass some of us want. Listen guys, Honda is pretty set in their ways and sells different bike models all over the world. They are not going to listen to us or there would of been 1800's and belts on these in the first place. Maybe the R&D decided the rest of the bike couldn't handle the stress's that the 1800 would put on it, I don't know. I'm not even sure why it has to be water cooled. I do love the way that we can all voice our opinions about these bikes without bashing Honda in the process. Hell we're just happy that there are many nice alternative bikes for us to choose from. In fact no one is bashing anything but HD. I believe if the HD riders hadn't started the bashing in the first place no one would be knocking their high priced, poor handling, poor build and engine quality, and quick to break down bikes. Nothing personal, I'm sure the subject wouldn't even come up. I and many others have owned one or even many HD's over the years and speak from our own experience, and are also just happy that there are many other alternative bikes to choose from. And Mil.Mike, guess which motorcycle company needed a government bail out loan. Should be an easy answer dude, there was only one. So as far as your advise to sticking to only cars, well, whatevahs...
sledge -chief hammer  January 18, 2011 04:17 PM
all 3 are nice but all i see now is everyone is bobbing there scoot.
BLU98 -SUWEET!!!!!  January 18, 2011 01:49 PM
Slammer is lookin good. Now grow a pair honda and build it. I'm tired of the outdated Harley crap. Rode HD for 20 years, then went to Victory. I ride a motorcycle, not a logo.
RJ -Erik Dunshee nailed it...  January 18, 2011 11:54 AM
I'd like to see a production model Slammer compete in the mix of Victory Cross Road/Country, Yamaha Stratoliner Deluxe, Kawi Vaquero and HD Street Glide. They'd have to come up higher on the bags to get any type of cornering/handling clearance but it could be done. Nicely done. The other bikes are just as stylish and I love the idea of moving away from the dull stock versions to show people what can be done. I'd also be interested to see what the guys on the VTX forum are doing to get some HP increases out of that 1300 too.

Mike in WV -Jersey Mike  January 14, 2011 07:01 AM
Couldn't agree more. The VTX 1300 is ok if you're a smaller rider and will never ride 2 up. I really wish they would have used the 1800 for the Fury and on these new bikes as well. I think Honda needs to understand they can sell to more people if the bike has the power for 2 up riding and passing. It's not that you always need the power...but when you do, it's nice to have. The VTX 1300 is a great bike and with regular oil changes, your wife may never need another bike. Honda does build bikes that will last. I loved all my Hondas for that very reason. Let's see where Honda goes from here. I'm actually stoked at seeing what they do with the Goldwing!
JerseyMike -Mike in WV  January 13, 2011 04:48 PM
What about the H-D Rocker? I like the look of the Slammer, and Honda should build it. Personally, I don't care for the VTX1300 motor, but that's just me. My wife rides a 2006 VTX1300 and it's fine for her. I think the Fury is a really hot bike, but it should have the 1800 motor in it. According to Honda, that decision had to do with hiding the cooling lines and allowing a smaller radiator. Hopefully if these bikes make it to the showrooms, they will be priced right. I can't see more than $10-12k for any bike with the VTX1300 motor in it. We bought my wife's VTX for $6500, one year old with 2700 miles on it. It also had extras added, Leatherlyke bags, windshield, Cobra exhaust, etc. The Hoda Rune is an amazing bike, but when they first came out, the prices were off the charts. If it was priced within reason, I would have bought one. When it comes to cruisers, Honda always seems to be at the back of the pack. They finally produce a factory chopper(Fury), but it's about 5 years too late. They missed the custom bike boat. Now "baggers" are in. Let's see what happens.
MDR -Switchblade please  January 13, 2011 09:36 AM
This may be revolutionary for Honda design and what not, but thats only if these bikes are produced. If they keep them as concepts Honda just proves they can pay three people to make a "radical" bike. I've been looking for a new bike for a while, I was previously looking at sport/naked bikes for their comfort, performance, and price. My only problem was that Honda didn't sell one in the US until this year and the cb is a cool bike but im not enticed by inline 4's. That's why Honda should produce the switchblade. The thought of a sporty v-twin made by Honda makes me want to pull out my wallet. Honda's only problem is price, no matter what it will be over priced. To counter this I wouldn't care if they downgrade the suspension on this bike, they defiantly don't need brembo brakes, but dual disks is appreciated. Now most important of all the power, give this bike some stones, let the engine rev a little, make it bigger, just do something to keep it from having 55hp something closer to 110 would be amazing.
Christian -Harley the best???!!!!!!(alittle off the subject)  January 13, 2011 09:24 AM
Frist off im really not one to bash any brand bike but im so sick of hearing how harley has the best quality and how if you dont ride a harley your a poser! Harleys quality is iffy at best,yes their paint is tops but I had a 2008 nightster and the front end shook quite badly between 85 and 95 mph and the dealer told me all sportster do that not to mention it turned like crap,stoped like crap,and handled bumps like crap! so wheres the quality?,My friend has the same harley with 6800 miles on it and the spokes are rusting,the podercoat on the engine and trans is flaking off,and has had both headgaskets replaced for leaking(sure glad I traded mine for my warrior when I did)and whats with harley riders thinking that they are the only true riders out there? is it because if you push them hard you risking your life due to how the HIGH QUALITY BRAKES,SHOCKS,AND EXTEREME POWER(about 60hp!!)will land you on your a$$,or maybe your brains need to shaken into jello when at idle,yeah thats it you have to abuse yourself to be a true rider! My warrior has everything a harley offers only with better handling,power,brakes,and comfort! so why are us metric riders posers? because we demand better quality for or hard eard coin? Please I would love to hear a reasonable and logical answer to this question. P.S. Isnt it strange that once Eric Buell dumped the harley drivetrains on his new line of bikes and they became soooo much better harley saw fit to dump the brand the first chance they got? a true testament to harleys top quality and engineering!or maybe the fear that people would finally see the truth about their products!
MD1976 -Bagger is nice!  January 13, 2011 09:16 AM
The bagger is bad to the bone, dont know what you guys are smoking.
Dan -Mike- A closer look.  January 13, 2011 07:52 AM
Mike I think your emotions betray your logic. Harley has never produced a hard tail chopper, a serious drag bike, and if anything the stealth like lines of the Slammer emulate the Victory Cross Country more then a Street Glide (look at them side by side) If anything they emulated what other individual customizers have done in the past and present. That being said I think it would be nice for Honda to come out with a 1800 bagger kinda like the Slammer. A little brother V-twin tourer to the Gold Wing would balance out their touring line quite well kinda like the X-Country & the Vision.
Mike in WV -Nothing Original???  January 13, 2011 07:36 AM
The Slammer is bad ass and thanks EMD for posting the video link. Loved that rear tail light. Tell ya what...if they (Honda) went into production of that bike with their VT1800...I'd buy it in a heart beat! Love the style and the minimalist approach.

I'm amused how certain people always have to think they have to put something or someone else down in order to elevate themselves or what they like. What brand new models has HD put out recently? I'm talking new from the ground up...from the drawing board to production. Uh huh...I didn't think so. lol You can't take an existing bike and throw a beagle and chrome on it and call it a new bike. Take a look at the front forks on the larger cruisers and tourers and look at the shitty stamping leaves crimp marks on the seam of the chrome cover...yeah...that's real quality isn't it? lol How about the shitty rims that had so many people pissed off because they were rusting out??? Quality my a$$! HD's best quality is paint and chrome...and you know what...the old saying that "you can't polish a turd" has been disproven by HD...they've been polishing them and selling them for years.

You know what I can't wait for?... I can't wait for the new Goldwings to come out, just to see how much farther they leave HD behind in design and performance. I would love to see HD step up to the plate and sink some money into R&D and come out with some new designs and technology...scratch the pushrod altogether. It really would be nice to have more options as far as American made bikes. But a bike is a bike...and Hondas have always built dependable bikes that last and perform well. My old 750 four would run rings around those old AMF POS's.
wildpig -thats mr wildpig to you  January 13, 2011 06:40 AM
wow-- impressive . im a harley guy -- had em all the last 50 yrs but i must admit --quite impressive. more revealing however is the fact that the jap bike manufactorers shoot themselves in the foot by not exploring these product lines further. harely sits on its ass an does nothin other than change a paint scheme an call that a new advancement.............. or maybe harley will raise or lower the handlebars an call it -- an option --- hahahahahaa
EMD -Video  January 12, 2011 10:01 PM
Check out the video of the bike, kinda sh!tty but still gives you a pretty good idea http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzwU2HzO_9Y
eze1976 -Bagger is Sick!  January 12, 2011 09:33 PM
I love the bagger, I dont really see it as following anything other than the lowrider trend which is cool by me. To me its a killer custom. I also think the Switchblade is pretty cool in itself as a concept, I would like to see both of these go somewhere
No Pork -Nothing original  January 12, 2011 09:15 PM
That pretty much sums up your constant drivel, Mikey.
Oliver -Honda Should Get out of the Business?  January 12, 2011 08:12 PM
Really? REALLY? How many MotoGP, Motocross, Supercross, Superbike and countless other championships has Harley won, other than dirt track? Honda's got countless. I don't insult Harley because I like some of them and feel they have character. All motorcycles do, in some way. But Harley is not the "be-all and end-all" of bikes. The motorcycle world would be far worse off if Honda were not around. Watch "Twist the Throttle"; or read the reviews on this website, or read up on the history of Honda and see how much Mr. Honda contributed to racing and the development of motorcycles. Ask "Fast" Freddy Spencer, who started dirt track racing and wound up at Honda. Harley is still using pushrod motors, with the exception of the V-Rod that uses a motor developed by Porsche. Honda's using pneumatic valves and traction control in MotoGP. Technologically speaking, comparing Harley to Honda is like comparing a slingshot to a F-22 Raptor. They each have their uses, but the slingshot is a "tad" more limited.
Honda Fan -Love the Slammer (BAGGER)  January 12, 2011 04:46 PM
Great lookoing bike, Honda needs to get off of their rear end and become the leader again. Remember their jingle, "Follow the LEADER, he's on a HONDA". They watch what yamaha, Kawasaki and HD bring out, then 2 to 5 years later, they bring something similar out. They can sell alot of each of these models, but they have to get realistic on their pricing. The Fury should be $10,995, not $12,995. The Sabre and Stateline should be $9995, not $11,995. They make a great porduct, but they are pricing themselves out of the market. The Slammer (Bagger) if they build it will be priced at $18,995. The Yam, and Kawa are in the $17000 range. The bikes will sell but they have to build them and price them at a value. They cam into this market as a value leader, now they want to be the PRICE LEADER. Wake up big H and build them and price them at a value. Regain your status as a value leader.
milwaukee mike -Nothing original  January 12, 2011 04:06 PM
Honda is having such a hard time selling their current line-up; so now they are copying customized HDs. They should get on with building Civics and Accords, and just get out of the motorcycle bussiness alltogether.

Chris -Switchback  January 12, 2011 11:49 AM
I think the switchback is sweet,I would love to see honda or any of the big 4 metric companies for that matter make a true sports crusier with clip-ons,rearsets,adj usd forks and rear shock,chain or belt drive,and good power to boot(doesnt have to be super bike power but 100-125hp at the wheel would be nice with some nice fat torque). This could be a great thing for riders who like crusiers but want more sport injected to the design,compaired to sports bikes R&D for crusiers are almost at a dead stop,choppers,baggers,bobbers,and power crusiers are all over the place but no true sports crusiers(except for the VMAX at a insane $20000!) I say to honda,GO FOR IT AND MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!!(1800cc V-twin from the VTX with some slight mods for a slight power increase,aluminum frame to keep weight down,and use as many parts from your other bikes to help keep cost down,if you can offer your flagship cbr1000rr super bike for $13 grand then you should be able to offer a sports crusier with the above mentioned specs for around $15 grand.Then again maybe yamaha/star should just bring the warrior back with updates(clip-ons,rearsets,their 1900cc twin,and a sleeker exhaust and call it a day!(I own a 2007 warrior and its a SWEET BIKE!)