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To be fair, it wasn't really hiding - in fact it got its dealer launch over the weekend, but it's not the sort of thing we're big on attending. But then we found ourselves at Fowlers in Bristol today and there were four of them!

First impressions ... errrr ... brave move by Honda but frankly I'm unimpressed. Didn't think the build quality was up to much - very much below expectations for Honda - cosmetically it seemed like a parody of a proper chopper and there were more things to point at and wince than to congratulate them on.

To be honest, if someone had told me it was made by a Chinese manufacturer rather than at an American plant of a Japanese maker, I wouldn't have been surprised. Welding looked scruffy in places, the yokes seemed weedy for a 250cc cruiser and there were too many angles working against each other for my tastes.

Didn't like the quality of the castings - wheels or kickstand - didn't like the plastic mudguards, didn't like the dash, didn't like the height of the back end, which I sincerely hope was kicked so high to accommodate a rider and pillion, at which point it would have settled down to something a lot more sensible.

But I especially didn't like the price tag: £12k plus for a 1300cc factory chopper? MCN, in their infinite wisdom, have suggested it's a rival for the Rocker C and as such is relatively cheap, but having now seen one, they're so wide of the mark that they should hang their heads in shame. It's got too much of the finish of the now defunct plain Rocker – rough finished where it should be smooth or polished – and it doesn't hold a candle to the Rocker's finish - metal or paint. It doesn't stand close comparison to the new Wide Glide which is cheaper, bigger, better looking, will have a higher residual value and is the real deal.

Its nearest rival, I'd suggest, is the plain finish 1737cc 8-Ball Vegas, which is a better bike in every respect on face value, and is three quarters of the price.

It's reckoned that Honda will only be bringing 300 of them into the country initially, and it might find a market on a degree of exclusivity, but only among the clinically insane unless it gives a good account of itself on the road. Sitting on it, the steering is certainly very neutral for such a radical headstock, and there's a chance it's going to deliver on the road, but we're not aware of any dealer demonstrators being made available. We'll have to see if Honda will let us play with a press fleet demonstrator after that critique, if they've got one: we're more than willing to put one through its paces, and I'm still prepared to be wooed by its sophistication and style, but it had better be brilliant to make up for its apparent shortcomings.

To be honest, I'd far rather play with their DN-01 production concept bike with its auto gearbox and radical styling, but while that's a V-twin, it's from one of Honda's Japanese plants and so doesn't qualify for the magazine.

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