Light at the End of the Tunnel

My lawyer has informed me that after two months of stalling, CNA Insurance has finally accepted liability for the driver who ran the stop sign and hit me.  A check for $6,700 is on the way to repair my FJR.  And now that they’ve accepted liability, that means that they’ve accepted that they’re on the hook for my larger personal injury claim for my injuries.

One more week of physical therapy, and I’m done.

Now THAT’S a Chopper!

Below, I write about the Honda Fury, and their try at making a radically designed chopper.  It doesn’t quite cut it.  Meanwhile, extreme rake excepted, the guys at Victory are getting the job done.  They’ve unveiled a new concept bike called the CORE.

Victory Chopper
Victory Chopper

It’s just a concept bike right now, but apparently it’s the basis for a new generation of naked bikes from Victory.  No compromises on this beast.  It sports heat wrapped straight pipes, hardtail frame, and instead of the little 1300cc VTX engine, it’s the full 1o6ci (1731cc) air-cooled Victory twin.

One notable difference between the Victory Vision Street and Tour production motorcycles and the CORE Concept Motorcycle is the absolute absence of bodywork on the CORE. In fact, the concept bike’s frame is the body, incorporating fuel, air-box, battery box and the entire electrical system. Maintaining the minimalist theme, the motorcycle is a rigid frame without rear suspension and features a contoured mahogany seat. The overall impression is a thin, low, sharp and purposeful motorcycle that is elemental and fierce at the same time.

I imagine that the lack of a rear suspension would make sitting on that hard seat a bit more painful than it has to be, but overall, this an Epic Win as far as I’m concerned.  In looks, at least, if not in rider comfort.

Five. Count ’em. Five.

Stellan Egelund of Sweden was commissioned by Triumph to build a cafe racer out of the…wait for it…Rocket III.  Triumph is going to make five of these motorcycles, and all five of them will be sold in Sweden.

This is what Egelund came up with.

Egelund Rocket Cafe Racer
Egelund Rocket Cafe Racer

All I can say is, that must be one hell of a cafe racer.  Going the dark custom route works really well for the Rocket, in my opinion.  It really does minimize the brutish look of the tractor engine that runs the thing, and that big ol’ radiator almost seems to disappear.  I like it a lot.

The “bear claw” is gone from the left side of the bike, too.  The air filters are fully exposed.

Those air filters exposed like that are badass.
Those air filters exposed like that are badass.

I like the looks of this bike a lot.  And with 161hp, and 160lb/ft of tourque, I bet it’s a hoot to ride, too.  I bet Triumph is charging a pretty penny for this factory custom.

And that doesn’t even include the air fare to Stockholm to buy one.

Honda Fury: All the rage of a…bunny.

All right.  I admit it.  I’m not that much of a chopper guy.  Some of them look OK, and have fantastic paint jobs.  On the whole, though, they strike me as inconvenient with their tiny little gas tanks.  And they don’t seem very maneuverable, with 70° of rake, and wheelbase as long as a Cadillac’s.  There are some functional problems with that cool chopper look. The other drawback has always been price.  Choppers are essentially custom motorcycles with a custom price tag.

Honda Vury: Right Side
Honda Fury: Right Side

But, Honda is addressing the price problem with a new factory chopper called the Fury.

The guys over at Gizmag are writing about it.

hough no-one outside Honda has ridden it yet, we’d suggest that it will be the best handling, sweetest running, most comfortable, most reliable chopper the world has yet seen, lacking just one thing – a Harley Davidson badge.

That’s not the only thing it’s lacking, but we’ll address that in a minute.  Gizmag continues…

Sketches from Honda’s trademark application for the Fury have been circulating across motorcycle news magazines around the world recently, and we’ve gotta say that the first reaction amongst the motorcyclists on the Gizmag team was … why?

The Japanese big four bike manufacturers have been chipping away at the Harley Davidson market for decades, and we thought that it had already been proven that you can build a better Harley in every respect, add more cubes and take full page adverts in all the magazines, but it still won’t be a Harley Davidson. You can even build it in America, but it still won’t be a real Harley.

Perhaps the regular winds of change and the passing of time that slowly soften and dissipate long-held, deeply-rooted, emotionally-based attitudes and prejudices within certain population groups will prove us wrong, but … we’re still wondering why now we’ve seen it.

Honda Fury: Left Side
Honda Fury: Left Side

I’m wondering, too, especially after looking at the left side of the bike.

Ick.

There’s something non-choppery, and too high-tech about that look.  The way the engine and tranny mates to the frame has a weird, science-fiction look to it.

It’s too finished, too…perfectly formed for a chopper.  Too refined, but in an unpleasantly styled way.

But that’s not the worse thing.  I mean, sure, the styling alone is enough to ensure that no Harley guy will want to touch it with a 10-foot cattle prod.  But as Steve, at BikerNewsOnline notes:

I knew it all along, this new Honda Fury that everyone’s been raving about is just another VTX. They took their VTX 1300 engine (1312cc, 52°) and slapped it on a different chassis.

And now metric fanatics are saying this is going to erode away at Harley’s market.

Yeah, right, as if the VTX ever eroded away at Harley’s market.

And there you go, in a nutshell.  Honda slapped a VTX1300 engine into a chopper frame, and then  writes it up like it’s the King Hell chopper they’ve got coming off the factory floor.  And, the Honda riders who already like the VTX will probably buy some.

But this isn’t the thin wedge of Honda’s cracking of the Harley market.  It’s just a segmentation of the already existing VTX market.

But, if you want an aggressively styled VTX, I’m sure you’ll love this.

Americans Need Need Not Apply

The dark custom movement isn’t restricted to the cruiser set, apparently. Buell is introducing a dark custom version of the XB9, right along with HD’s rollout of the Iron 883. It’s an all-black version of the Lightning, and it’s aimed for the low-priced cycle market, coming in somewhere near $8,400.

Buell Buell XB9SX CityX Black
Buell Buell XB9SX CityX Black

There’s only one catch.  It isn’t available for the US Market.  Buell is only rolling this baby out in Europe, so all American customers do is complain to their local Buell dealers, and hope that their message gets through to Buell HQ.