2010 Honda Fury - The Power To Evoke

First Ride!

It seems the reactions to Honda's Fury are violent in one way or another. Some are shocked that Honda has taken a step into a chopperdom with a high-necked bike, while others scoff that the market for bikes of this sort is deader than bellbottoms. Cruiserphiles scoff that its not a cruiser at all, while chopperfolk feel the exact same way.

What remains, regardless of your particular bent on bikes of the long, skinny persuasion, is that no other major manufacturer has really "gone there." And not for any particular reason either. It's not rocket science to make a bike with a big rake and tall steering head handle; though many "master builders" fail to make bikes that perform to minimum safe standards, there are several garage mechanics who have worked out decent geometry numbers and produce very rideable customs. So it's no surprise that Honda's engineers worked out that a 71.24" wheelbase bike (longest in Honda history) with 38-degrees of rake (32 at the neck plus six through offset trees), and 3.5 inches of trail. With these numbers, it manages to score 4-inches of wheel travel up front and 3.9 in the rear, for a fairly plush ride (other than on sharp-edged bumps and freeway expansion joints). Much of the rear wheel travel is taken up in static sag, which helps to keep it on the smooth side if it's not overwhelmed, but choppy if it is.

According to multiple sources inside Honda's R&D; department, there's a big book of engineering guidelines that must be met by every Honda product. Way back 11 years ago when the 1100 version of the Aero came out with Honda's very first floorboards, they brushed up against some ground clearance guidelines and had to be altered. Just a couple years ago the Rune actually caused the lean angle number to change (decrease) to be able to be built, and thanks to that reduced requirement, the Fury was also made possible.

Unsurprisingly, the result is that, an aggressive rider will drag the peg feelers in any corner he wants to, as a long bike needs more lean angle to complete the same turn as a shorter bike. Simply leaning one's body into the turn creates more clearance, but this is a chopper, not a sportbike, right? The Fury is extremely stable, both leaned over and in a straight line, yet retains acceptably light steering and easy handling. Turning around at a standstill takes some back-and-forth, but when rolling it's got a pretty decent turning circle.

While the overall concept of the bike was foreign to Honda, making the behemoth company stretch in ways they hadn't stretched before, in many areas they reverted to form, going conservative on some notable things like rear tire size (200mm is wide but not wide), and going with its midsized 1300cc version of the VTX motor, not the 1800. The engineers had trouble reconciling their (stated) basic perception that the Fury "guy" isn't going to be a hardcore rider, while making several nods to rideability (like the 1300cc motor, over the more lurchy 1800). In fact, this perception was reflected in the ride we were taken on at the press launch. We rode a total of under 100 miles on the day of the launch, though we've managed to clock quite a few more since then. Much of the ride was along the coast highway, down the freeway, and through urban areas, ""bar hopper" style. While we don't doubt that most Fury (or chopper) owners will do just that, it isn't a good start to have obvious contempt for your customers (or their own bike, for that matter) like that without regard to their potential riding aspirations.

There were some straight expense things that got glossed over as well, hand controls are still standard Honda buttons circa 1990. But in their defense, they're mounted to sinuous pullback fatty (1") bars. Some might also complain of the thick, messy MIG weld (thanks, Mark) at the exposed steering head, but you could say it adds an element of rawness, or that if you're a real chopperista you'll grind it down yourself. That said, they did paint the frame to match the sheetmetal. Speaking of the sheetmetal, with it, Honda has raised the bar for what we can expect from an OEM in this department, with a full, tire-hugging fender up front, a pretty good rear, and that devastatingly complex tank flowing up the frame rails, then around them at the front.

The 1312cc 3-valve VTX mill should be familiar to fans of Honda's lineup. However, this one is the first to come with electronic fuel injection. Having just tested an '09 VTX for our cover story, there is no doubt that the addition of EFI is a huge deal for this motor. Not only does it carburete flawlessly, it gives a decent boost to bottom end power. The tucked-away radiator is beautifully executed, but not only for going between the framerails, but also for not distorting the frame to house a standard rectangle up there. The wedge shape looks like it belongs there, and the (patented) hidden radiator hose is a nice touch. The same could be said about the shaft drive. Without all of the ugly bumps and shapes of a traditional shaft, this one (rightfully) fades into obscurity. The transmission is standard-issue Honda with a satisfying "clunk" into first gear and buttery-smooth engagement elsewhere.

Overall braking power is slightly lacking, but with a concerted effort from front and rear it'll stop where you want it to. The front's wooden touch is probably out of a desire to keep the skinny 21" tire from locking up, while the rear is about right for a bike with a significant rear weight bias.

All that said, compare how it works to anything called "chopper," that came before it, and it completely kicks a--. It's smooth, satisfying, makes all the right noises, and with adequate thrust to boot.

The Fury does the thing that a chopper or a custom is supposed to do. It's a thrill just to gaze upon. It makes the heart race at first glance. Throw open the garage and you are coaxed to go for a ride any time day or night. And when the price of admission to chopperville has always hovered somewhere north of $20,000 that's saying a lot. Is it the only bike that will do this for this price? No, there are bikes in other niches that could pull it off as well. In style or not in style, this is a basic, classic design in many senses, which was just not available anywhere near this pricepoint ever. For that matter, we don't know of anything even vaguely chopperlike that has ever been offered with ABS. High style with supreme practicality...maybe it is a Honda.

2010 Honda Fury
MSRP: $12,999 (base); +$500 for Matte Silver, +$1000 for ABS version

Type: liquid-cooled 52 degree V-twinValvetrain; SOHC, 3 valves per cylinder
Displacement, bore x stroke: 1312cc, 89.5mm x 104.3mm
Compression Ratio: N/A
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection w/38mm throttle body
Transmission: 5-speed
Final Drive: Shaft

Front Suspension: Telescopic fork, 4-in.travel
Rear Suspension: Single damper, 3.9-in travel, preload adjustable
Front brakes: 336mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Rear Brakes: 296mm disc, single piston caliper
Front Tire: 90/90-21
Rear Tire: 200/50-18
Wheels: 9-spoke cast aluminum

Overall length: n/a
Seat Height: 26.7 in
Wheelbase: 71.24 in
Rake/trail: 38.0/3.5 in
Fuel Capacity: 3.4 gal
Wet Weight: 663 lb/681 (w/ABS) (claimed)

Helmet: Shark Evoline
Jacket: Vanson B
Gloves: Shift Torrent SS
Boots: Redwing Lace-Up
Spot The Changes?
Honda knows they don't have the best reputation for releasing accessories for new models...or for that matter at all. So the Honda Genuine Accessories folks were brought in early on this project to get a few things ready for he launch. We got to ride a Fury with their current crop of practical and dress-up parts, and while it's still pretty skimpy compared to the onslaught that Harley-Davidson or Star will bring with a new model, it's a vast improvement over Honda's past habit of waiting until Year Two.