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NEW YORK– In a move that shocked the motorcycle industry, Honda has unveiled a custom-style chopper they call the Fury—and it's coming to a Honda store near you this spring. At first glance the bike boasts the usual chopper cues, but closer inspection reveals modern touches like liquid cooling (note the discreetly placed radiator) and shaft drive, as opposed to a traditional chain or belt. The fork is raked a considerable 38 degrees; for reference, the famous "Captain America" chopper from the film Easy Rider has a 43-degree rake.

We got an early look at the bike in the metal at Honda's R&D headquarters in Torrance. And the attention to detail is impressive. We dig the bike's silhouette and its general absence of badges or overt branding—you'd never guess this was a Honda. But we're still scratching our heads about that radiator and shaft drive. Then again, Honda is a company that has a long history of doing things its own unique way, look no further than the insanely rev-happy, four-cylinder Honda S2000 or the unibody Ridgeline pickup truck .

The Fury's tank looks like a stretched piece of taffy, leaving plenty of space above the large chrome cylinder heads that cap the fuel-injected, 1312 cc, 52-degree, single-pin V-twin. While Honda asserts the engine will have an intoxicating exhaust note, we won't be able to confirm that claim until we ride the bike at the end of February. The seat sits at a low 26.7 in., and the 200 mm rear tire is fat, though it looks somewhat dwarfed inside the large rear fender. Several bikes were on hand, including a fully accessorized model decked out with a color-matched chin spoiler, an embroidered seat, a small windscreen, and a few miscellaneous chrome details. One mean-looking matte black Fury also caught our eye, offering a respite for those who may be visually allergic to chrome and gloss.

Launching a chopper during a recession may seem like a counterintuitive move. But if there are potential buyers out there who have balked at pricey customs, and their rather sketchy rideability, the Fury might be an opportunity to get in on the raked-out, two-wheeled lifestyle. Honda rep Jon Seidel explains, "Bottom line, customers want a radical-looking chopper, but with all of those Honda characteristics that we know about," adding, "I think we hit the nail on the head." —Basem Wasef
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