Cigar Aficionado

Honda Fury

By delivering 95 percent of the outlaw biker experience but without most of the compromises, the 2010 Honda Fury makes entry into the chopper bike realm easier than ever. No waiting months for a persnickety custom bike builder and no unwieldy riding dynamics to frighten even experienced riders. And with the Fury being built by the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer, no reliability concerns.

The emergence of a bad-ass chopper from the normally conservative Honda is a bit of a surprise, but it's a lovely design from tip to tail, boasting pleasing curves and sensuous shapes penned by an in-house American designer. Its stretched stance has a harmonious and sweeping flow, and its distinctive fuel tank is as pretty as it gets, gracefully shaped and with a prominent character line running down its side.

Out for a spin, the Fury responds with unheard of agility for a long, rakish chopper. While it wouldn't be a prime choice for tackling your local DMV parking lot course, the Fury is nonetheless remarkably well balanced and easy to maneuver despite its elongated size (it has the longest wheelbase of any bike Honda has ever built). The same can't often be said of choppers produced by small-volume manufacturers. A low seat provides secure footing.

The 1300cc V-Twin engine produces a pleasing rumble and more than enough power to blast past 100 mph if you dare. Fuel injection ensures excellent throttle response and 40-plus-mpg economy. Clutch effort is lighter than you'll find on most custom bikes, and a shaft drive powers the rear wheel, so there's no messy chain to adjust.

A cruiser is all about thrumming down the road, taking in the scenery and being stared at by admiring passersby. And the Fury's curvaceous design causes a beholder's eyes to longingly linger. If you were neglected as a child, this will surely give you the attention you're craving.

The imaginations of Middle America have been fired by the plethora of TV shows glorifying the biker lifestyle, and at a $12,999 list price, the Fury offers an easy way to dip your foot into it. A Honda isn't likely to impress the tattooed career biker who rides a more authentic (and expensive) custom, but it's sure to gather admiring glances from anyone who can't spot the difference.

It's a chopper-lite, and for many, that's rebellious enough.