Two Wheel Tuesday – 2011 Victory Vision Tour review

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Two Wheel Tuesday – 2011 Victory Vision Tour review


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.

By |2011-10-04T11:00:05+00:00October 4th, 2011|Reviews, Two-Wheel Tuesday|34 Comments

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34 Comments

  1. Smells_Homeless October 4, 2011 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Do I like the styling of that bike? I can't decide for myself, so I'm looking for guidance.

    • SSurfer321 October 4, 2011 at 11:27 am - Reply

      It's more like a butterface. Every other angle looks great to me.
      /fulldisclosure I am in no way knowledgeable of motorcycles and my opinion need not carry much weight

    • MrHowser October 4, 2011 at 11:35 am - Reply

      I think it's a fantastic looking bike. It's daring and different, and all the Harley-clowns I know hate it, which is a point in its favor. It took some getting used to at first, but it's definitely grown on me.

    • JeepyJayhawk October 4, 2011 at 11:36 am - Reply

      I'll throw a vote in the "Yes, it looks like something should from beyond year 2000…"

    • Tanshanomi October 4, 2011 at 11:39 am - Reply

      Yes, you like it; I'm with the rest of these guys. It's the rare edgy, conspicuously modern motorcycle that doesn't look like a transforming robot. The Vision Tour is a bit out there, but it still looks like a motorcycle.

      • Smells_Homeless October 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm - Reply

        Pshew, I'm glad we could clear that up. 😉 Also, I totally feel Wayne's pain on the whole "giant bike, must plan ahead" thing. When I have to turn my VTX1800 around, I often look for the tugboats that are going to help me.

        • wmoyer October 4, 2011 at 1:30 pm - Reply

          I didn't have that issue on even my Boulevard. It was thin enough to just pull out of the garage and turn around in the yard. It also weighed 300 pounds less. I really need to learn how to post pictures on here. I have a picture of the Boulevard here for comparisons sake.

          • mdharrell October 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm

            Here's the format:
            <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5136/5586925630_703e776e4b.jpg&quot; width="400">
            Adjust the width as needed, but generally less than 500.

          • wmoyer October 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm

            <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-WmYQRJogFpw/Th3iOZTuHQI/AAAAAAAAFPM/3r1VPHQSC3U/s1024/DSC_0680.JPG&quot; width=400>
            Ignore the fat man in the picture but for comparisons sake think how that bike now looks small and compact as compared to my new one. That looks like a nice quick ride around the town bike. I didn't have to climb over it. I didn't have to plan how to get it out of the garage. It just went from point a to point b. Of course it didnt have a radio, bags, body work, abs, storage or any of the other features. Still I think this is the better around town bike.
            Of course I say this while i plan a 300+ mile day this weekend where the Victory will absolutely shine.

          • Smells_Homeless October 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm

            I won't be posting a similar pic (I don't need these wackos to know what I look like!) but replace that Boulevard with a Honda 750 ACE in Blue and Gray and I have exactly the same pic. I had a giant rock and roll mane, but still the same.

          • wmoyer October 4, 2011 at 2:24 pm

            Normally I wouldn't post a picture of myself but that one was one of the publicity shots that Victory used when i won the bike. So it's already out on the internet.
            Oh and good choice on the 750 ACE. Both it and the Boulevard suffered from one big design flaw. A lack of a sixth gear. When you were up to highway speed boy could you use that.

          • Smells_Homeless October 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm

            You are so right about the ACE. A very pretty bike just a bit down on power. Once, I was jamming through WV on I70 and tried to pass a semi going uphill. I didn't make it, hence, the VTX.

          • dead_elvis October 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm
      • pj134 October 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm - Reply

        Modern is the bastard child of design! Royal Enfields are far too wacky these days! TWO TIRES, A FRAME AND AN ENGINE DAMMIT. Gas tanks are for the weak.

        • wmoyer October 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm - Reply

          I was looking at an Enfield at a local dealership a few weeks ago. Somehow they do honestly just look right. They look like a classic but have the reliability of a fine Chinese made bike.

          • pj134 October 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm

            I hear they prefer to keep internal fluids external.

          • sporty88 October 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm

            Royal Enfield – keeping up the tradition of bikes marking their territory.

          • pj134 October 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

            Real men oil slick themselves.

  2. wmoyer October 4, 2011 at 11:46 am - Reply

    The design is a take or leave it thing. For an American bike it really stands out. It has drawn more attention then any other bike of its type. No one knows what it is either which is both cool and frustrating. Because of that design some assume that it's a foreign bike because it doesn't look like a Harley.
    Victory makes a Harley look like now called the Cross Country tourer. The bike has a couple features mine doesn't like the ability to move the passenger floorboard up and own two inches which is something I need on mine. It has has more storage. Which Polaris measures in this odd gallons setup. Mine has 29 gallons the Cross Country Tour has 41 gallons of storage.
    When it comes down to it though I am riding a unique bike. I am part of an owners group so I know other VIsion's exist but I have yet to see one in traffic. Oh and I have described that styling as Art Deco. But the best description I heard was Buck Rodgers styling.

    • Tanshanomi October 4, 2011 at 1:07 pm - Reply

      By the way, very nice opening photo there.

      • wmoyer October 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm - Reply

        Thank you. My photography skills have always been lacking and I've been working on improving them. My son asked to go for a ride on the Victory and I knew I could use his help in setting that shot up. So far it hasn't had any photoshop work done except to wipe out the license plate. It's one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken.

  3. mdharrell October 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    "…with company headquartered in Minnesota…."
    Hey, Medina is only about thirty miles away from HMV headquarters in Burnsville!
    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5133/5512867456_cfc3733b03.jpg&quot; width="300">
    …regrettably about thirty years away, too.

    • wmoyer October 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      It's the grandpappy of the Corbin Sparrow

  4. Lotte October 4, 2011 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Just went through the Victory website; if I won that sweepstake, I'd probably have taken a Hammer S based purely on looks. Now I don't know too much about motorcycles, but I imagine it's the car-equivalent of me taking out a 2500 Sierra Sierra having only driven a midsize car and a minivan. It was terrifying only at first, but then you comprehend the size and realize how awesome it is.

    • wmoyer October 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      Here was the logic of taking the Vision tour. It had to do with two things. One is that my son likes to ride pillion. So a true touring bike would give him and I the perfect place to take long trips. We both get heated seats (yes the back seats heated to). He gets two speakers behind him and I get two in front of me. It seemed like a better father/son thing.
      Of course it also came down to this "You can have anyone from the $12,000 base model to the top of the line $23,900". Well that's a no brainer give me the biggest baddest thing you got! Then I did the math for the sales tax. Which at 6% of that price is painful. Next was the knowledge that I have a 1099 coming at the end of the year that I have to pay income tax on for it as well. My free bike is going to cost me, I'm guessing, five to six grand.
      Now all Victories use the same engine. Well two tunes of one engine but stay with me. A 1731cc air cooled V-twin. That's from the bottom of the line all the way to the top. Since you break the 1000cc rule for bike insurance can you guess what that costs? For me that's $650 a year with more then a decade of clean driving/riding.
      Oh yeah it requires 91 octane to. When you have a 6 gallon tank that's good for 40 mpg it adds up there to.
      Of course I own this. I have the title and the certificate of origin. I am one lucky mofo. I plan on riding the wheels off of it. It's sort of like complaining about taxes on a lottery. Except I don't have the big pile of money to make smaller. I have an asset I am paying against.

      • Lotte October 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm - Reply

        Yeah, it's hard to ignore the top of the line when you're given the choice, and really with the Hammer you can get at best a cushion on the rear fender (never mind speakers!) so I see why you'd want it. But I'm single, and young. But it's not like a large bike can't dance, eh?
        [youtube TqRvqw4YXtY&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqRvqw4YXtY&feature=related youtube]
        At any rate, you lucky —-

        • wmoyer October 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm - Reply

          What those guys can do on a full dresser is just scary. If I remember right there is a group of Japanese motorcycle cops that can even embarrass this group.
          What it mostly means is that I need to take the advanced motorcycle safety foundation class with my bike. They will teach me how to handle it in some extreme circumstances and get the most out of it.

        • B72 October 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm - Reply

          That was impressive. Both the riding and the ability to remember how to navigate the cone maze. It looked to me like he was repeating some sections. I assume it's easier to follow in person.

        • Kamil_K October 4, 2011 at 8:01 pm - Reply

          I can say with a certain amount of certainty that I would not be able to do that on my mountain

  5. Jeff_Glucker October 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Great story Wayne

  6. guest October 4, 2011 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    you should ask motus if theyll let you test ride one of their bikes, and trade it for a new one of theirs if they like it more
    they would jump at a chance because of the publicity

    • wmoyer October 5, 2011 at 6:45 am - Reply

      They are going to be in my area next week. I will go and take a test ride of this. Of course I won't replace my Victory with it but I am now very curious to see what these are like. Sport Tourer's tend to have higher seats which can be an issue for those of us short of inseam.

  7. rocketrodeo October 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    The measure of any touring bike is how you feel after a 1000 mile day. I see some real ergonomic shortcomings there for that kind of duty, especially the focus of weight on the lower back. Personally, I need my feet directly underneath me and a slight forward lean even for a 500 mile day.

    • fodder650 October 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      I haven't done an iron butt day with it yet. Just the 350 mile day and another 300 miler planned. I have a gel seat pad to use but I haven't put it on the bike. Really the stock seat's that good. On my Suzuki I was only able to do an hour on the stock seat before my tail bone screamed. Which is the reason I bought the gel pad in the first place.

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