More and more riders have come to appreciate the look associated with what I would call Classic Americana, and manufacturers around the world have responded in recent years to try to exploit this niche interest. This movement has actually been on and gaining momentum for a few years now, and we are starting to see some fairly bold designs from some of the big names. Honda had two such designs available for the 2016 model year. First was the Stateline , the sole surviving member of the 1300 Custom Line having outlived its siblings, the Interstate and Sabre cruisers, though it met the same fate coming into 2017. The Fury joined the Stateline as a sort of brother-from-another-mother with lots of shared DNA, but with a few critical differences, and it represents a very bold design concept indeed.
Join me as I critique Honda’s attempt to recapture our glory days.
Historically, the overseas interpretation of the custom culture from back in the ’50s through the ’70s is, ahem, interesting to say the least. Sure, the old Honda Rebel has a certain charm, but it is really a mish-mash of features that doesn’t exactly target any specific era or bike and has come to have a place in the hearts of many.
Unfortunately, the Stateline sort of falls into this visual category. To my eyes, the parts don’t really match,which may explain why it was dropped. We have a full rear fender and deep-scoop solo saddle that is in keeping with certain old-school, cruiser styles, but then the swoopy gas tank, raked front end, and curved downtube veer sharply toward custom-chopper territory. The result; a confused collection of parts that doesn’t really do more than suggest at its collection of influences.
Ah, but the Fury, now that is another thing entirely! The designers targeted the outlaw chopper culture of the ’60s and ’70s, and managed to turn out a fairly faithful interpretation. A big, skinny, 21-inch front hoop and cut-down fender fit right in with the 32-degree rake of the forks. The upper lines flow across the same swoopy tank as the Stateline, but with one important distinction – it fits well with the rest of the bike; as does the deep saddle and cut-down rear fender.
An air-cooled V-twin completes the package, and at 52-degrees, the “V” angle doesn’t immediately scream import at a casual glance. Last but not least, Honda’s boldness really shines through in the stretch of the downtubes that couple with the rake for a truly custom look. Now, if I could just add a tombstone taillight and a coffin tank I think we would really have something. Oh, a slapshifter and a kickstarter would be nice, too.
As always, the frame dictates the direction of the overall look, and that’s certainly the case here. Both bikes boast double-downtube, double-cradle frames, and quite a bit of rake. The Fury carries a 32-degree rake and quite a bit of stretch, while the Stateline has distinctly curved downtubes and a 33-degree rake. Beyond that, both bikes carry their seats just below the 27-inch mark for a classic, low-slung look and feel that fits well with the rest of the bike.
In spite of the fact that both run a standard, yoke-style swingarm, the hidden rear shock and frame geometry manages to pass on the suggestion of the old rigid frame lines. You might expect the trail numbers to be rather large with such radical front ends, but the 4.6-inch trail on the Stateline is fairly standard for a cruiser. I was really surprised to see only 3.6-inches on the Fury, but I guess looks can be deceiving after all.
The Stateline runs 41 mm, right-side-up forks that fit right in with the front wheel and fender, plus they provide 4 inches of wheel travel. A hidden monoshock supports the rear on 3.9 inches of travel. On the Fury, a set of beefy, 45 mm forks provide the same 4 inches of travel, but the rear monoshock only gives up 3.7 inches of travel. Not stellar, but within reason for sure.
Wide tires cap the 17-inch front rim and 15-inch rear, and contribute even more to the low-and-wide look of the Stateline. The Fury comes jacked up just a bit more with a 21-inch wheel up front and 18 in back, sizes that also add to the custom feel and radicalpanache.
Brakes are consistent across the board, with a 296 mm disc and single-pot caliper to bind the rear wheel, and a single, 336 mm disc and twin-pot caliper up front. At over 650 pounds, this is a lot of bike to tray and control with a single front brake, so maybe the optional ABS isn’t such a bad idea on these rides.
Honda’s 1,312 cc mill powers these two rides with a 52-degree angle that’s pleasing to the eye, and doesn’t wreck the effect builders were going for. Blackout jugs house an 89.5 mm bore and 104.3 mm stroke with a common crankpin for that typical, V-twin cadence and torquey bottom end. I’ve got to say that the bike could look cooler without the radiator, but it certainly runs cooler with it, plus the water jacket helps attenuate some of the mechanical noise from the three-valve-per-head valvetrain. A computer-controlled, fuel injection system in the 38 mm throttle body maintains a proper stoichiometric ratio, and a digital ignition system manages the timing for the dual plugs in each head.
The Fury and the Stateline come geared for 46 mpg and 45 mpg, respectively. This isn’t too awful bad for a 1300 cc-plus engine, and makes it suitable for use in a really bitchin’commuter bike. A five-speed transmission and shaft drive send the power to the rear wheel, and as much as I prefer anything but a shaft drive, I have to admit they aren’t as undesirable as they were a few decades ago.
Both the Stateline and Fury rolled for a base MSRP of $9,999 in 2016, with ABS as an available option for a smooth grand extra. In 2017, the Fury runs $10,299 in Matte Black Metallic and again you can tack the $1,000 onto that for ABS and get it in Candy Red.
Since the Fury looks more like something that came out of a chopshop than a production bike, I picked another bike with strong, custom undertones; the Softail Breakout from Harley. They both reach for the same sort of dated feel and wind up with similar looks, but not too similar.
Rake is cool, and the 32-degree angle on the Fury and 35-degree angle on the Breakout strike an unquestionably custom pose, but the stretch in the Fury frame really sets it apart. The Fury comes off looking a little cleaner, even though Harley chopped down the Breakout’s fenders, bobber style and kept the hang-on gear to a minimum.
Prices vary widely, and though some of it may be the usual name-pride H-D consistently demonstrates, at least some of it is due to the discrepancy in engine size. Honda runs a 1,312 cc mill in the Fury, but Harley stuffs a massive, 1,689.5 cc lump into the Breakout. Folks, that’s a difference you can feel in your pants, unfortunately, you will feel it in your wallet as well. The base Fury rolls for $9,999, a little more than half of the $18,799 sticker on the Breakout. Of course, H-D offers some fabulous-looking paint as usual, but you will have to skin that checkbook if you want anything but the basic, Vivid Black. That’s a lot of cheddar for a name and a few (hundred) extra cubes in the engine, so if looking good is good enough for you, I would say the Fury deserves a test ride, and soon.
“Man! I am really feeling the Fury. I realize that I may be in a small minority here, but I love a bit of stretch in the tubes, and that’s just icing on the cake. Not feeling the Stateline so much, but I recognize that looks are subjective to taste, and some folks may prefer a more docile custom look to the radical nature of the Fury. Whichever you prefer, price alone is enough reason for these two to be on your short list.”
My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Though the Stateline came into 2016 unchanged from last year — not even the color — the Fury saw what I consider a noteworthy change; for 2016, it lost the pillion pad. Okay, it’s not a big big deal, but as the wife of a biker, I tend to notice things like that.”
|Engine Type:||1312cc liquid-cooled 52 degrees V-twin||1312cc liquid-cooled 52° V-twin|
|Bore And Stroke:||89.5mm x 104.3mm||89.5mm x 104.3mm|
|Induction:||PGM-FI with automatic enricher circuit, one 38mm throttle body||PGM-FI with automaticenrichment circuit, one 38mm throttle body|
|Ignition:||Digital with three-dimensional mapping, two spark plugs per cylinder||Digital with 3-D mapping, two spark plugs per cylinder|
|Valve Train:||SOHC; three valves per cylinder||SOHC; three valves per cylinder|
|Chassis / Suspension / Brakes:|
|Front Suspension:||45mm fork; 4.0 inches travel||41mm fork; 4.0 inches travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Single shock with adjustable rebound-damping and five-position spring-preload adjustability; 3.7 inches travel||Single shock; 3.9 inches travel|
|Front Brake:||Single 336 mm disc with twin-piston caliper||Single 336mm disc with twin-piston caliper|
|Rear Brake:||Single 296 mm disc with single-piston caliper||296mm disc with single-piston caliper|
|Rake||32° (Caster Angle)||33° (Caster Angle)|
|Trail:||92mm (3.6 inches)||118mm (4.6 inches)|
|Wheelbase:||71.2 inches||70.1 inches|
|Seat Height||26.9 inches||26.7 inches|
|Curb Weight:||663 pounds (Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and a full tank of fuel ready to ride)||672 pounds (Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel-ready to ride.)|
|Fuel Capacity:||3.4 gallons||4.4 gallons|
|Miles Per Gallon:||45 MPG|
|Emissions:||Meets current EPA standards. California version meets current California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards and may differ slightly due to emissionsequipment.||Meets current EPA standards. Models sold in California meet current California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards and may differ slightly due to emissions equipment.|
|Factory Warranty Information:||Unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.||Transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.|
|2016:||Matte Silver, Ultra Blue Metallic||Blue Metallic|
|2017:||Matte Black Metallic (ABS: Candy Red)|
|2017:||$10,299 (ABS: $11,299|