2010 Honda Fury - Welcome To The Wild Side-Of Honda

They say: "An extreme chopper with a serious dose of attitude."
We say: "And a healthy serving of Honda refinement."

By Toph Bocchiaro, Photography by Kevin Wing

There aren't many things in this world as cool as a chopper. Long, stretched, low bikes are as much a part of Americana as rock-and-roll and Levis. Brando, Presley and the 1969 film Easy Rider helped ingrain the image of individuality and toughness that has persisted for generations. As antithetical as it would seem to performance-minded readers, form trumps function when it comes to chopper-style motorcycles-it's about style and attitude. Everything that doesn't need to be on the bike is "chopped" and pitched into the dumpster.

Until the '90s, fringe-type individuals dominated the chopper scene. Then came the TV-chopper craze with the likes of Jesse James and Orange County Choppers. Suddenly doctors and lawyers populated the former province of outlaw bikers. "Production-custom" motorcycle companies sprang up like weeds. However, none of the major manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon-not even Harley-Davidson.

In an unprecedented bold move, Honda has introduced the first-ever factory-built chopper. The 2010 Fury is long, low and has plenty of attitude. Boasting the longest wheelbase of any Honda ever, it's powered by a fuel-injected V-twin based on that of the VTX1300. New cams, a single-pin crankshaft and a sleek, chrome shotgun exhaust produce a satisfying growl while delivering a copious amount of grunt. Torque rules in this market segment, where stoplight-to-stoplight blasting is more the norm than long-distance touring. Think of this bike as rolling jewelry.

Probably the most attention-grabbing feature is the extended fork attached to the 6-degree-raked triple trees. Combined with 32 degrees in the neck, trail is brought in to a relatively agile 3.5 inches. Sitting on the bike, one immediately notices how light the steering feels; there's no flop or heaviness at all. Despite the raked front end and long wheelbase, the Fury is nimble at parking-lot speeds yet stable on the highway. This is a Honda, after all, and the engineering is top-notch.

We got to spend a beautiful day aboard the Fury along the Pacific Coast in San Diego. It was amazing to see the head-turning effect this bike had on the general public. At first glance this bike doesn't scream out any particular brand-corporate logos are all below the belt line. There is no badging at all on the beautifully sculpted fuel tank, and a solitary Fury sticker on the rear fender. The only permanent Honda logos are on the engine and side covers.

Although this is a modern motorcycle, Honda went to great lengths to give it a retro flair. Unlike most American choppers, a liquid-cooled motor with shaft drive powers this one. A small radiator was slipped between the color-matched downtubes with an almost invisible hose entering the front valve cover. What appears to be a rigid rear end is actually a swingarm, controlled by a hidden shock. This tidies things up while allowing the fender to float over the 200mm-wide rear tire. An LED under the rear fender functions as the brake/running light, further adding to the sanitary look. Large, government-mandated turn signals add the only clutter to the backside.

Nicely shaped 1 1/4-inch (tapered at the grips for the 7/8-inch controls), pullback handlebars bolt directly to the top triple clamp. Combined with the two-up seat and forward controls, the cockpit is roomy and comfortable. Riders ranging from 5-foot-6 to 6-foot-2 shared this sentiment. The low seat height and easy maneuverability make this bike well suited for beginners and veterans alike. An uncluttered speedometer sits between the bars, with the requisite idiot lights and odometer. The chromed headlight appears to be lifted straight from the American V-twin aftermarket parts bin.

Out on the road, the Fury is well mannered without any hint of wobble or shake. Ground clearance is better than average for a bike like this, but the chassis is still stable enough to carve turns while grinding the peg feelers into the tarmac. Vibration is minimal, even at supra-legal speeds on the freeway. An easy clutch pull and smooth EFI allow the five-speed gearbox to do its job well. First through third are geared nicely for launches and around-town riding, but a tall fifth makes downshifting necessary if you really need to pass that Prius. Brakes are adequate but not overwhelming. Although the optional ABS wasn't ready in time for the launch, Honda expects it to be available by summer. Strangely, if you want ABS it only comes on the black model.

This bike should appeal to riders of all ages and styles, from Vans-wearing Gen-Xers to Baby Boomers looking to flee the old-folks' home for a spell. Aside from great style, the buyer also gets Honda's legendary quality and reliability. A number of accessories are already available, as customizing is expected to be a priority for most Fury owners. There should be a lot of aftermarket support for this machine as well.

Only time will tell if the Fury is destined to become the milestone machine Honda hopes it will.

By Toph Bocchiaro
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