When Honda announced its 2009 lineup last fall, many, including us, scratched our heads at the scarcity of new models from this motorcycle giant. It turns out that Big Red was holding at least one valuable card up its sleeve, as we can now report on one of the coolest-looking cruisers ever offered by a Japanese manufacturer.
You’re looking at the 2010 Honda Fury, an inspired design built around a familiar motor. Featuring chopper styling cues such as the high headpipe and the largely exposed backbone frame tube, the Fury is Honda’s attempt at creating a mass-produced “custom” chopper.
First seen in public today at the IMS show in New York, journalists got a sneak peek last month in American Honda’s high-security R&D center in Torrance, CA. Company reps say customers want a “radical” looking chopper with Honda durability, quality, reliability and affordability.
“To say that we got jazzed was an understatement,” said media-relations good-guy Jon Seidel about when he saw the Fury in person for the first time. Reaction from Honda dealers was reportedly “over the moon.”
The most expensive component of any motorcycle is its engine, so Honda was fiscally responsible and fitted a modified version of the 1312cc V-Twin seen in the VTX1300 variants. It retains the 52-degree Vee angle and single-pin crankshaft, but it differs in its cylinder heads, cams, port shapes and exhaust system. Most important is the addition of fuel-injection to the VTX’s carbureted mill. We expect slight increases from the VTX’s rear-wheel numbers of 59 hp and 71 ft-lbs of torque.
“It does have a different feel, character and sound,” said Steve Paulos, a senior test engineer at Honda. Single-overhead-cam cylinder heads retain the three-valve, dual-plug design, while a stacked and blended shotgun exhaust appears appropriately butch. Chromed engine covers add bling to the air/liquid-cooled powerplant, but their plastic construction loses a bit of authenticity points.
Paulos said the bike’s biggest engineering challenge was integrating an unobtrusive yet effective radiator (set neatly inside the frame’s dual downtubes) that met Honda’s tough standards.
Like the VTX, the Fury has a five-speed transmission and utilizes a shaft-drive system. A color-matched aluminum swingarm with revised styling spices up the back end. Honda gave some consideration to using a belt-drive arrangement on the Fury, but it was cheaper to stick with what was already developed. There isn’t one belt-driven bike in Honda’s catalog.
But the mechanical bits play second or third fiddle to the outlandish (for Honda) styling of the Fury. Company reps emphasized that cruisers appeal to a rider’s emotions, so Honda stepped a bit outside its typically wide comfort zone to create a bike that initially appears could’ve been built in a small fabrication shop. “Welcome to the wild side – of Honda,” reads the PR materials.
Its body-colored frame tubes look elegant, given extra spotlight by an artful fuel tank that exposes the triangulated headstock and horizontal backbone frame tube. The mid-tank crease that arches downward to the seat is another styling success. Fashion has its price, and here that cost comes in the tank’s modest 3.4-gallon capacity. You’ll note the lack of Honda badges on the bike’s flanks; the bike’s origins will remain a mystery to the general public.
A lovely front fender wraps neatly around the skinny 90/90 front tire, highlighted by a handsome 21-inch front wheel. A 200/50-18 rear tire resides under a traditionally shaped rear fender with a tidy brake light slid under its tail. Blame pesky federal regs for the large turnsignal lamps that look bulky alongside the bike’s lean design. More appealing is the shape of the chrome headlight arching forward from between the 45mm fork tubes.
As for how the Fury will ride, Honda reps assure us the bike isn’t at all awkward to handle. A 32.0-degree rake angle is quite chopperish, but it’s balanced by a modest 3.5 inches of trail. At 71.2 inches, the Fury’s wheelbase is the longest of any production Honda.
The view from the cockpit is clean. Throttle cables and brake lines are exposed, but every other wire is hidden inside the bars. A scooped saddle placed 26.7 inches from the ground blends nicely into the tapered gas tank. At a listed curb weight of 663 lbs (full of fuel), the Fury is about 6 lbs lighter than the $9,899 VTX1300C.
We’ll know more about how the Fury performs after we ride it in the latter part of February. The Fury will be one of the first USA-bound bikes to be produced in Honda’s extensive new factory in Kumamoto, Japan. It is scheduled to hit American dealers around the latter part of March and will eventually be sold in Europe
We’ll finish up here with a snippet from the Fury’s PR materials, which kind of sums up how Honda perceives its newest bike.
“Destined to become a milestone machine, the Fury captures the pure, undiluted chopper essence, places it within easy reach of nearly every rider and then backs it up with the same quality and reliability built into every Honda.”