Honda hopes for cut of chopper market

Honda has a new motorcycle that looks about as far from a Honda as one could imagine.

“The Fury opens the door to the most extreme level of custom looks,” the company said of the 2010 model. “But once you’re rolling, the Fury experience is all about that special bond between rider and machine: the unmistakable big V-twin pulse, the characteristic Vee engine note and the no-nonsense stance bring you back to the core elements of riding.”

The bike starts at $12,999.

“The reaction from media and consumers alike has been great,” said Bill Savino, manager of motorcycle press at American Honda

Savino said that the company’s test-riders have said that “the neat thing about the motorcycle is it gives you that sense of going back: It’s simple; it works; and it handles well.”

He also pointed out that for those who want to customize the bike, Honda offers an array of accessories, and outside companies such as Cobra make “chrome goodies for it.”

What remains to be seen is whether motorcycling enthusiasts embrace a chopper made by Honda or merely consider it a poseur. Honda, for one, isn’t too concerned about the latter or its relevance in the current marketplace.

“You always have the naysayers,” Savino said, “but the funny thing is, what we’ve heard the most is, ‘Why [make] a chopper now? It died off five years ago.’

“We don’t believe that. We believe the chopper market in the $20,000 to $30,000 range has tapered off. But a chopper has never been made by a major manufacturer, and it’s never been made at a reasonable price. There is this younger generation that has a CBR600 or 1000 in their garage and wanted a weekend cruiser. Now we are giving them something to go after.”

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