News and Stories from the Road
Cutting through the hype...
Taking the Victory Vision for a ride.
by Miles-Kevin Baron and Lisa J Case
As co-author of www.Vision-Riders.com, I felt it was my duty to approach my first exposure to the Victory Vision with writing this article in mind. My other half Lisa assisted to provide hopefully a unique perspective from a passenger's point of view, from someone who is also a rider herself.
Our day started at 6:30am for the 85 mile ride to the demo location. The weather a brisk 50 degrees with a forecast of possible scattered showers. We geared up with our high-tech undies, full leathers, and rain gear close at hand. Me on my Victory 2002 V92C Classic Cruiser and Lisa on her 1981 Moto Guzzi Convert. I'd like to note here, that I have done a lot of work on my "Cruiser" to make it feel, and have many of the comforts of, a "Touring" bike. It has a custom seat, extended floorboards, over-sized windshield and a custom built electronics package that includes GPS, XM Radio and bike-to-bike or rider to passenger communications. Yes I even have a cup holder.
We arrived at the Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie, Washington just past 8:30. For those unfamiliar, Salish lodge is not really close to anything, nestled in the woods/foothills of the Cascade Mountains. There are small towns nearby, but they are not awake at 8:30am on a Saturday. Most people attending this demo had at least a 30 minute ride to get there, with many over an hour and a half or more. Now with a 15 minute movie, sign up process, picture taking and a 40 minute or so demo ride this experience is going to take one and a half to two hours not including the travel time to get there. The gathering location wasn't really at the Lodge, but rather at a nearby overflow parking lot for the Lodge. Arriving at such an event after a reasonably long cold damp ride to not even find a cup of coffee or donut, not to mention a restroom or at least a port-o-potty was a little disappointing. However, that was the only disappointment of the day. We had packed energy snacks and drinks, but many did not. Hopefully just an oversight of the day, but as I notice more demo rides not being at dealer locations, I thought it prudent to mention this and suggest showing up prepared. However, cudos to Victory for picking this spot for a demo ride. Fairly isolated but at the same time accessible, in some of the best and diverse riding country anywhere.
...we both commented that pictures... at least none we have seen so far... have done these bikes any justice.
As Lisa and I approached the bikes, we both commented that pictures... at least none we have seen so far... have done these bikes any justice. In person it does not look like the "space ship" most pictures make it out to be. It just looks like a very unique, well proportioned, sleekly designed, modern touring motorcycle. Unique indeed, but not as "Jetson's" as I expected. A closer inspection revealed a very close attention to detail in every aspect. Fit and finish seemed flawless. The trunk and saddlebags open and close with a positive, sturdy feeling mechanism much like the trunks or doors of a fine automobile. Even the little accessory glove box on the left of the dash had a very sturdy, positive mechanism.
I really liked Victory's approach to the accessories. The modular design does not leave an array of "blanks" for features that may not be on the bike. As example, the version without the GPS, does not have a "dummy plug" or cover where the GPS mount would be. There are also no "extra" controls for options that do not exist. The audio interface is a module added to the lower side of the left-side handlebar cluster. The intercom is a module that is added to the top of the left-side handlebar cluster. No accessory = no module, very clean. I don't know if the back of the dash has pre-cuts for punching out to install such accessories as the GPS and helmet accessory plug, but it was very nice to see a clean dash on the bikes that did not have those accessories.
I have heard comments about the Vision having "too much plastic," but with the bike already weighing over 800 lbs I'm not sure what else they could have used? Carbon Fiber? Fiberglass? Plastic was a good choice and it's obviously a very high quality plastic too. These bikes have been used for demo's around the country, and after being loaded and unloaded from the the truck numerous times, they acquired some "character" marks in the form of scrapes on a few fairings. I think if the parts were anything but plastic, those bruises would have been actual "damage" rather than just a sign of being ridden, moved and maybe a little abused as demo bikes. Somehow seeing a few scratches and scrapes gave me confidence that Victory wasn't hiding anything. I also like the upper and lower wind deflectors and their mounting. The deflectors are clear, and blend in to the lines of the bike. The lowers are mounted on very solid chrome hinges. They were easy to just move into position, and they stayed in place at speed. Due to the weather, for my ride I spread them out to try and keep as much wind off of us as possible.
Next I took a close look at the saddlebags, trunk and glove box. Plenty of room for everything and then some, but I can see where a little re-thinking of how I normally pack would go a long way. Small items that I now put in the saddlebags should go in the glove box. Tool kit, rain gear, first aid, snacks, and other items not needing immediate easy access would go in the saddlebags. Grab items like Lisa's purse, clothes for longer trips and the like would all go into the trunk. I could see for a really long trip the desire to have a trunk "top rack" but that would be a serious trip indeed.