News and Stories from the Road
The Victory Vision: First (Unauthorized) Ride
by Mike Schultz, Arizona Victory
Part 1: The Score
In early February 2007, a few weeks after the unveiling of the Victory Vision in New York City at the IMS show, Kara from Victory Corporate sent me an e-mail asking if I would TRANSPORT a Victory Vision to Las Vegas for a Dealer Sales conference. Other than the non-running prototype on display at the show, Victory had remained secretive about their new flagship Tourer. It wasn't due to ship until next fall and Victory wanted tight control over the release of info. I then received a call from Victory District Salesmanager, Paul Johnson asking if we could bring some other bikes such as a Victory Vegas and King Pin along with a Harley Fatboy so they could do some comparisons, I replied, "No problem." Little did we or Victory know what was in store for us...
We then received a new Vision in the crate which our Service Dept. quickly unpacked and discovered it contained no keys, no documentation and no operator manual on the bike. I was then informed by Chris in our Service Dept that they sent us a non-running Vision. I was a little surprised by that so I simply walked over, pulled the dipstick and it was full of fresh clean oil. I looked around laughing and told the guys Victory does not know how to make anything that doesn't work.
"Victory does not know how to make anything that doesn't work."After about an hour of trying to figure out how to open this thing I decided it was time to call my buddy Al at Al's Lock Smith in Tucson. They were swamped but if I could take the bike to their shop they could get 'er done.
They made us a key and Tim hauled it back to the shop where we figured out how to open her up once we could began unlocking the different compartments and removing panels so we could see what we had. Well, the bike's computer was disconnected, all the its connectors were unplugged, and the battery was disconnected. Excitement grew as we connected everything, filled it full of fuel, checked air pressures, charged the battery and then hit the starter button. I then looked around at the employee's and Customers who had gathered and were helping, and triumphantly announced, "We're riding to Las Vegas boys! Mount up!"
We then called 50 of our closest friends and said come ride this baby before we head off. Even on short notice we had 20 customers show up and take the Vision for a little spin. I called Dave at our Phoenix store to tell him we were on the way to get him with a little surprise. He thought it was a hooker for Vegas. Stupid Dave. I then informed Jake he would ride it to our Phoenix store first, which surprised him, until he realized my motive was to send him out on the pre-production prototype with 0.0 miles on the odometer and it was his job to shake it down. I reminded him, he was younger and if he hit the ground it would not hurt as much. Jake then began complaining we were going to get in trouble, I said half joking, "Look, if we wreck it we can call it in stolen. What else can we do?"
This then started the deposit frenzy which was simply amazing to me since I had no clue as to the cost of the bike or options that were going to be available. Several of the customers who gave us deposits had just bought new bikes, and several were less than a few months old. They were simply that impressed with the Vision. After riding it they realized that this is the touring bike they had been waiting for, one that is nimble, light, turns easily and has gobs of performance and best of all is American-Made.
Part 2: The Ride