2011 Honda Fury
Last year when Honda revealed its first truly chopper-styled bike, the jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring Fury, the trade headlines read "Honda Pulls An Orange County / West Coast Choppers / etc." However it turns out that Honda was not cloning the motorcycles built by the chopper builders and cake decorators, but completely revolutionizing the motorcycle industry with the first true metric chopper.
In order to obtain this level of righteous chopper styling directly from the dealership floor prior to the advent of the Honda Fury there was no choice but to turn to the relatively tiny "cottage industry" chopper builders. These small businesses generally utilized S&S or RevTech off the shelf engines and could not begin to live up to the research, development, and engineering prowess of the planet's largest motorcycle manufacturer. Motorcycling forums and court dockets are filled with tales of frames cracking, components falling off, and a myriad other failings which are inevitable when any kid with a garage and a welding torch can call himself a motorcycle manufacturer.
When you first settle waaaaay down into the ottoman level 26.7 inch height saddle which sets you deep within the 71.2 inch wheelbase and crank that smooth, throaty, willing and able 1312cc liquid-cooled 52 degree V-twin you will immediately be aware of two essential factors about riding a Fury. It's supremely satisfying, competent, and handles better than any bike with a 38 degree rake deserves to, and that it leaves a wake of rubberneckers everywhere it goes. You couldn't turn more heads if you were driving a gold plated Hummer H1 with Lindsay Lohan strapped to the hood.
Although the Fury comes close to being perfect it does miss the mark on a few points. The excessive extent of plastic parts on a $13,000 chopper has been widely lambasted, especially since the Fury still ends up weighing 663 pounds wet. The presence of the 200/50-18 seems to cry out for a hulking 240 rear tire. The bulky headlight should be swapped out for a traditional Sportster eyebrow style. The Rune-styled front tire hugging fender seems discordant. The semi-flat bars should be ripped off and replaced with some sit up and beg buckhorns. And what is it with Honda favoring Canada? The Fury is available with ABS in that market but not in the USA!
Then there are the detractors who feel that at 1300 ccs the Fury is too puny to compare to the 2011 Yamaha Raider's 600 extra cubic centimetres and on the other side, the ones pining away for an affordable and practical Fury-ized VLX600. These usual extreme views should never detract from the total eye candy that is the Honda Fury, or the fact that it is currently the best engineered, highest quality, most alluring true chopper on the road.
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Honda Fury At A Glance
Base MSRP: $16,133
Engine Displacement: 1312 cc
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled 52-degree V-twin
Bore & Stroke: 89.5 mm x 104.3 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.2:1
Valve Train Type: Chain-driven SOHC, 3 valves per cylinder
Transmission Type: Five-speed
Final Drive Type: Shaft
Front Tire: 90/90 - 21
Rear Tire: 200/50R - 18
Wheelbase: 1,804 mm (71 in.)
Saddle Height: 678 mm (26.7 in.)
Curb Dry Weight: 302 kg
Fuel Capacity (US): 12.8 litres
* Specs/pix apply to 2010 model, updates as released