News and Stories from the Road
The First-Ever Victory Vision Demo Event
By Michael Dapper
The public life of the new Victory Visions began at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 14, 2007, when the first demo riders flipped up their kickstands and hit the road in southern Minnesota.
The first stop on the Victory Vision Demo Tour was staged at Elko (MN) Speedway, just south of the Twin Cities metro area. The first group of riders who sat through a product briefing, then got to ride the new Victory Visions, looked like a meeting of the Twin Cities Victory Riders. (Look for their initial impressions at the group's excellent website: www.tcvr.us.)
After viewing a short video and hearing the ground rules of the demo ride, the riders strapped up and climbed on. They rode a big loop in the country, experiencing a mix of freeway running and county roads. If there was a complaint about the route, it was that it was too short; everybody wanted to ride longer, of course.
When they returned to the Speedway, the riders filled out questionnaires, received Victory Vision brochures and T-shirts, and got to have their photos taken on a bike for retrieval from a demo tour website.
This was the first time a group of consumers - not motorcycle editors nor sales reps from dealerships - got to ride Victory Visions with the company's blessing (ahem).
No doubt you'll be reading plenty of demo riders' comments at various sites online, but it's safe to say the overall response to the bikes was excellent. People love the ergonomics - especially the extended floorboards that let you move your feet and legs - and the comfortable seat. The handling - both low-speed and on the move - was praised at length, as was the layout of the controls. Riders were advised, though, to focus on riding and not get distracted by the radio, windshield and cruise control switches during the ride.
Riders seemed pleased by the power and 6th-gear overdrive, especially riders coming off pre-2002 Victorys that had pre-Freedom engines. Several riders were impressed that there was no need to downshift to accelerate hard and pass traffic while in 6th.
Gripes? Oddly enough (to me, at least), some riders didn't like the mirrors. They felt that their hands, as reflected in the mirrors, obstructed their view. I've ridden 800-plus miles on these bikes and have never touched - nor been bothered by - the mirrors.
Some riders missed the heel peg on the shifter. This was deleted to open up the rear portion of the left floorboard, but you can bet a heel-toe shifter will be available as an accessory.
The power did not overwhelm some riders, and that disappointed them. But keep in mind, it's an emissions-legal 106-ci engine. Sure, that's larger than a Freedom 92/5 or 100/6, but even a 92-incher with a Stage 1 Kit will sound and seem more aggressive and responsive than a legal 106. Plus, this new 106 is a slightly quieter engine with the exhaust outlets well behind the rider and partially blocked by rear body structure; they are not loud, don't sound like hot rod pipes.
Since the riders weren't packing any cargo, the capacity of the side compartments and the Tour's trunk didn't really come into play.
Passengers we spoke with felt very comfortable on the well-cushioned seat and liked the position of the footrests. One woman said her rear didn't really fit against the curved base of the seatback, so she didn't sink into the seat as she would have liked.
My advice to all riders is: sign up for a Victory Vision demo and go experience it - regardless of whether you believe you would ever be in the market for such a bike. It's new, interesting and well worth the effort to sign up and show up. You'll come away with something to talk about and a free Victory Vision T-shirt.
For those of you who don't live anywhere near the first five demo ride sites that have been announced, be patient. Don't ask me why, but Victory did not announce the entire demo ride tour at once; there are several more sites where rides will be available, especially the West.
Mike Dapper also writes the Victory Riders Assoc. Blog and co-authored the book, The Victory Motorcycle: The Making of a New American Motorcycle