Choppers to Newquay - A lads weekend

We take two "available from a dealer near you" choppers for a cruise down South

Choppers, cruisers, customs. Whatever you want to call them everyone who rides one seems to be going through an age-related crisis and has hit the bank account to buy anything and everything Harley related. With a few years until I'm of a distinguised age my mission was to prove that you can be youthful on a cruiser.

The spec-list was simple, long forks, low to the ground, minimalist flair, big engines and a spread eagle riding position. Apart from Victory Motorcycles most other manufactures have very little in the way of hard customs to offer.

We settled on the Victory Vegas 8 Ball, a 1731cc American bread cruiser. And from the Japanese corner, the Honda Fury - Japans 1312cc V-twin proper custom chopper, in fact it was the only bike of this extreme style we could find available to buy through an official UK motorcycle dealership.

After a trip to the respective dealers, we collected the thumping loud and shiny V-twins and pretty much from the off the bikes were getting stares and smiles from everyone around. At one point a chap took a picture of the Fury whilst we sat at some traffic lights.

We rumbled down the A route to Cornwall collecting the smiles, waves and stares that we had come to expect on this type of bike. I can honestly say you enter into a kind of exclusive biking fraternity when you sling your leg over something so different. Normal bikers don’t nod at you, BMW riders still don’t nod at you, but instead you get a huge appreciation from the no biking public, it’s really weird.

On our first petrol stop no less than three people walked up to chat about the bikes and as we left, three different people were taking pictures of us. Interestingly none of them had heard of a Victory, they thought it was some kind of Harley-Davidson. And know one had a clue that the Honda was a Honda because there are very few badges to say so, a good move from Honda there we think.

We had a 300 mile run to get to Newquay where were staying at the Carn Marth hotel, a five minutes walk from Fisterall beach and from the town centre. To be honest, the run was pretty uneventful. Things slow down when you cruise, we averaged 80mph, all the way in tight formation. We were stopping for fuel every 100-115 miles because the Fury petrol light comes on at 100 miles with a reserve to get you to 130 which, is when the Victory’s light comes on.We had a real sense of 'brotherhood' riding these bikes and not do dissimilar to the cult film Easy Rider we found ourselves smiling, gassing, a cruising side by side on many occasions, owning the road man!

Victory 8 Ball vs Honda Fury

We arrived at the hotel, showered and headed into town for some beers. Newquay is billed as the UK’s Ibiza and to be honest it was warm enough. Both of us had been here where we were in our teens and nothing had changed, little oiks throwing up, men dressed in Borat ‘mankinis’ and millions upon millions of sexy nurses and policewomen. Anyway we got amongst it and by 1am we were in Led Bellies watching a rock metal band crank out some classic covers.

The following day we headed out to ride some of the more twisty local roads. The suspension on both the Victory and the Honda are firm but they both cope with the roads well, Overall they turned out to be quite comfortable for a 100 miles or so.

Constantly swapping bikes you quickly come accustomed to the pros and cons of each. Overall there were very few cons. You could say they don’t really go around corners, but that’s what you expect of this type of bike.

The Victory Vegas 8 Ball felt more genuine, more American, it felt hardcore and this was a feeling supported by the loud steady bopping noise emitted from the stage-one slashcut pipes. The footpegs are closer to the ride than on the Fury and the slashcut pipes are lower so it’s very easy to get them scrapping round the bends. The Victory was also considerably quicker than the Honda and you could really feel the train like pull from the 97hp and 113ft-lb torque, which is a tad over the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R although with considerably less horsepower.

Where the Honda really comes into its own is in the looks department, the Fury has the appearance of stunning made-to-order custom, the smallest hint of the Honda brand is the logo on one of the engine covers. Other than that you would never know it was from the Japanese manufacturer.

One benefit you do take from the heritage is that everything works smooth and perfectly. It has a butter smooth gearbox and a throttle response that is perfectly delivered through the shaft drive. It was also more comfortable than the Victory with a longer leg and arm reach and it was the bike that each of us fought for. It felt polished and slick and whilst it looked like something that had been made by an American chopper god, it has that Honda reliability.

After a night in the Carn Marth bar overlooking fisterall beach we had breakfast and headed home. We were fortunate enough to be passing the Glastonbury kick out and as everyone headed home from four nights drinking and camping we figured that this was probably the most dangerous stretch of road to be on in the entire country

The point behind this trip was to demonstrate that there are bikes out there that are cool, practical to use and that at the age of 30, owning one won’t get you put in the village stocks and mocked by your mates. Both of these bikes can be bought from a considerable UK dealer network and come with all the usual dealer facilities. Whilst they are custom choppers they are far from being suited to “old gits”. They feel quick, they are cover the miles, and they look cool. If you're not fussed about going round corners quickly then why not get one?

Thanks to P&H motorcycles for the loan of the Victory, and to MotoDen Honda for the Honda Fury along with the awsome sounding and if we are honest, essential D&D aftermarket pipes. The Carn Marth hotel is brilliantly situated in the heart of Newquay and  is a perfect top notch place to stay.

Watch this space for a full individual in-depth review of each bike.

The trip in numbers

Total duration – 3 days
Total miles per bike – 750
Fuel for two bikes - £140
Accommodation - £40-£80
Cans of Red Bull drunk – 15
Pints of beer consumed – 25+
Number of times pegs scrapped – 100+
Number of times Fury’s car-like horn pushed – 12
Number of times pointed at by member of the public – 9
Number of times approached by strangers – 6
Number of times asked “who the hell are Victory” – 5