2012 Honda Fury vs. 2011 Yamaha Star Stryker [Video]
Chopper Lite Shootout
Choppers are as American as Chevrolet, apple pie and Homer Simpson. With lengthy wheelbases deserving their own zip codes, choppers stake a major claim in our motorcycle landscape. Indeed, American bike builders have been chopping and customizing bikes for years, and when the movie Easy Rider played on the silver screen in 1969, the long bikes etched their place in American bike lore for good.
So what are the two leading Japanese motorcycle brands doing, producing what appear to be American choppers? Good question, and the answer can be found in the economic side of the motorcycle business equation. Several years ago when cable television programming grew top-heavy with biker build-off shows, choppers regained their former stature among enthusiasts.
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The rekindled interest in choppers fueled a fledging cottage industry of builders, ranging from small back-alley shops with sinister names like Darkside Customs and Wicked Bros. Choppers to major brands such as Big Dog Motorcycles, American IronHorse and Titan that offered hundreds, even thousands, of ready-made custom bikes for sale. By 2008 even Harley-Davidson joined in with the Rocker C, a model that represents the Motor Company’s version of a turnkey chopper.
We all know that the chopper boom went bust with the economy a few years ago (Big Dog Motorcycles was the last major brand to go out of business, mercifully being put down earlier this year), but by that time Honda and Yamaha were committed to their respective chopper programs. Their resources already committed to making new chopper models, they forged ahead anyway. Honda’s turnkey chopper, the Fury, was first to the market, leaving the chopping block in time for model year 2010. Yamaha Star’s Stryker was next, bowing earlier this year.
That brings us to our chop-off that pits these two Samurai warriors on American soil. Which of the two Japanese brands offers the better American chopper? We ventured to find out, and perhaps the most appropriate place to begin is with the first entry, Honda’s Fury.