Thanks to a simple sweepstakes entry, in June I became the owner of a 2011 Victory Vision Tour. This $23,999 mega luxury tourer is the top of the line bike for the Victory line. For those unfamiliar with Victory, they are a division of Polaris, the company that makes snowmobiles and jet-skis.
Victory is a true American motorcycle, with company headquartered in Minnesota and the bikes built in Iowa. Some may consider that there is only one real American motorcycle manufacturer but clearly, there are two. Before someone yells at me in the replies, I am talking of companies larger then Boss Hogg or any of the other boutique makers.
Having been given a choice of any of the Victory line I went straight for the top. This has both advantages and disadvantages as I have noticed over the past several months. The biggest advantage is for long range riding as this bike is a true tourer.
When on the open road, with the monster 106 cubic inch (1731cc) V-Twin loping along in sixth gear, and the radio blaring or from the built in 3.5mm line-in coming from your phone or MP3 player of choice, you won’t care about the nine hundred-plus pounds of motorcycle beneath you. The ride is stable even though it’s pretty top heavy. The acceleration is decent, as it should be from 95 horsepower and 106lb ft of torque. The world is yours and you want to plan a two week trip cross country to prove it.
It’s after you park the beast that the size, height, weight and general bulkiness of the mega tourer starts to show itself. For us short people, I am 5’7”, it’s difficult to climb onto and not feel silly. Without the optional reverse gear, it becomes a chore to pull it out of the garage on a slippery concrete floor. This isn’t a bike that lends itself to short trips, unlike my two previous bikes, a ‘07 Suzuki Boulevard and a ‘93 Suzuki GS500E. When you want to go down the street on the Vision you have to think things through and plan it out in advance.
This is truer when you are someone who always rides with his gear. In my case that would he helmet, jacket and gloves. It’s an event to just go down the street with the Vision and it’s something that hasn’t helped me put more miles onto the bike. Well that and the weird late summer weather we having here in the Northeast, that’s mostly rain.
Things change once you get onto it and sit down however. The giant front fairing with its electric windshield is ready to sit low like a sport bike or up high, blocking everything from touching you. The switch for the grip heater and the seat heater controls are close, promising a comfortable ride. Once you take off, nothing seems to matter. The fairing, the gauges, the controls, they all disappear and all you see is the road in front.
I put 1200 miles on my Victory in two months, which included a 375 mile daytrip to fix friend’s computer. My goal was to have three thousand miles on it before the end of the summer but unfortunately this will not happen. I am very lucky to have won this bike, but those undecided about getting a bike in this class, such as the Honda Gold Wing or Harley Electra Glide Classic, should really think about what it is they want from a motorcycle before committing as a regrettable decision maybe a costly one.