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Reality TV has popularised the custom bike look. But it's not easy or cheap to achieve yourself, a fact Honda clearly hopes to capitalise on.

For its Fury eschews the more usual cruiser style to adopt a stripped-back persona that's eye-catching and effective.

You sit well down on this machine, the tank rearing up in front of you as it arcs over that mighty, 1.3-litre engine. Slot the key into its heart, fire it up and you can't believe it's legal, the raucous idle from those striking twin pipes an anti-social aural assault.

It's hard to believe it will handle okay, given the long wheelbase and the mating of a skinny front and fat rear tyre.

But Honda's done it again. The pull-back bars flare wide for easy control, the suspension actually works and the Fury disguises its 303kg weight well. A custom cruiser will never be nimble, but this one feels almost as wieldy at slow speeds as high, keen to throttle off into corners as the pipes pop and crackle, and pull vigorously out on a wave of torque as you unleash the might of this engine and the barking basso beat of its twin-lung choir.

You'll be just as happy cruising. With your butt skimming the tar, the high-mounted instruments shield you from the wind while fuel injection, light throttle action and a smooth transmission ease your way. Even the brakes work better than the usual cruiser fare - with ABS hovering in the wings.

The only spoiler is the fuel-tank's puny 12.8-litre volume that mandates stops long before the unexpectedly comfy seat demands them.

Its restricted capacity is part of the overall look, with a laughably skinny pillion pad, the colour-matched frame tubes lifting the steering head to an exaggerated height, the way negative space emphasises the engine's size and the radiator tucks neatly between the frame rails.

But this is a Honda and nothing's done clumsily. So the radiator plumbing is well hidden, as is the rear shock which delivers adjustable rebound damping and spring pre-load. And that fat rear tyre does work in tandem with the slim front, so the bike turns in when you ask it to.

The Fury may not be the bugger-the-money, strip-a-Harley cruiser we're used to. But it costs less and it goes, stops and handles straight out of the box while sounding every bit as bad and rad as it looks.

HONDA FURY VT1300CXA
We like
Looks and sounds like an outlaw but goes, stops and handles like a Honda

We don't like
Honda name lacks bad-boy aura; forget carrying a passenger; tiny tank limits range

Price
$25,999

Performance
42.5kW at 4250rpm, 107Nm at 2250rpm

Powertrain
1312cc liquid-cooled 52-degree V-twin, five-speed transmission, shaft drive

Vital stats
2575mm long, 900mm seat height, 303kg wet weight, 12.8-litre fuel tank