Surprise! It’s a Chopper!
Honda hits us with a raked-out custom that no one saw coming, or did we?
NOTHING IS SAFE FROM PRYING eyes anymore. The Internet may be an incredible resource for research and a massive marketing machine, but we bet Big Red lists it as Enemy Number One. You see, the World Wide Web has made no secret secure-certainly no new motorcycle model. Searching the Internet days before the press unveiling for the 2010 Honda Fury, there was already a grainy, poorly lit, lo-res image on forums everywhere. But was this really the bike?
Following threads on various websites early in the rumor cycle was entertaining. Speculation about the Fury ranged from the bike being an electric hybrid to it being a trike. But then we started coming across more detailed bits of information, and that same grainy, poorly lit image was leaked from Honda’s own online-only U.S. dealer “Unconvention” (a new approach in place of conventional, usually Las
Vegas, dealer shows). Ironically, Honda plans to wage a viral marketing and teaser campaign to promote the bike. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
The Fury was rolled out in real life during a special press luncheon at Honda’s R&D facility in Torrance, California. The room literally went silent as the Fury was set on its sidestand. Either everyone was shocked or we’d all seen the same online images. Every bit a chopper in silhouette, it’s as if someone took a backyard-built special and completely sanitized it. It is so very Honda, polished, finished and with excellent
attention to detail. No gnarly, unfinished welds, no rigid rear end, no 300mm-wide rear tire, no hand-hammered panels and no flames or iron crosses anywhere. Bom to be mild?
Honda says that its customers were looking for “flashy,” that focus groups asked for the chopper look. Hence the high steering head, raked-out 38-degree fork angle and low 26.7-inch seat height.
Power comes from the same 1312cc, liquid-cooled, 52-degree, single-pincrank V-Twin as in the VTX1300 series. When we asked Senior Manager for Product Planning Chuck Miller why not something larger in displacement, he said, “The 1300cc engine is the target for us at the moment, because that is what we’re the best at and because that is what our customers tell us they are looking for.”
But a chopper? ! Albeit with fuel-injection, shaft drive, 4 inches of travel front and rear, perfect paint and, hiding under the hood, all the electronic sophistication you’d
expect from a Honda. “Nothing was compromised on this machine,” said Miller. “It’s not easy to make one of these and make it a Honda, too.”
Honda feels that the days of the bigbuck chopper are over. “It’s a tough sale to try and move a $35,000-$40,000 custom chopper right now,” Miller added. So, this is no Rune. The Fury will have an MSRP expected to be under $15,000, with a pile of accessories available. “That will allow the consumer to accessorize it or detail it as they want,” Miller said. “There were a lot of ideas about hanging other things on it, but we wanted to start with a clean slate.”
But why this, why now? “It’s different and we’re just trying to create some enthusiasm to drive people into the dealerships,” said Miller. “We feel that with customs, everyone’s bikes had become so similar. We wanted to break out with this machine, which I think we did. It’s a completely different look and a different style than what we’ve done in the past. Quite frankly, it’s a fresh beginning for us. We just wanted to come out with the right machine that separated us from everyone else.”
Okay, but what would Captain America and Billy say?