One thing Victory’s products haven’t often been called is innovative. Sure, the Vegas was kinda different looking when it was introduced a few years back, and the Hammer was one of the first to bring super-fat rear ends to the showroom.
But the fact remains that although very talented people worked really hard in Minnesota, the brand’s appeal still wasn’t strong enough for Victory to be included in an average motorcyclist’s purchasing decision.
The new Vision has the potential to totally change that – being just about as innovative as innovations come.
Looking like something straight out of a Battlestar Galactica episode, it’s so visually different people sometimes wonder what exactly it is, often mistaking it for a funky-looking, well-equipped light-touring cruiser. Wrong.
You can call the Vision the world’s first real touring cruiser – a cruiser as seriously built for touring as a Honda Goldwing – very different than a cruiser that has been accessorized for touring like the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide.
Powering the Vision is Victory’s latest generation Freedom V-Twin, stroked from 100 to 106 cubic inches (1 731 cc). Claimed figures for horsepower and torque are 92 hp and 109 ft-lbs respectively, which are quite impressive for an air-and-oil-cooled V-Twin, and more than sufficient for a machine closing in on 400 kg.
Obviously, on any motorcycle claiming to have been developed for serious touring, one would expect to find all kinds of equipment and the Vision delivers with a long list of touring features.
There are three Tour models (defined by their rear trunk) and two Street (no trunk), with iPod and Satellite Radio-ready sound system and cruise control across the board. Go up to Comfort and Premium variants and you get electrically adjustable windshield, heated grips and seats, high intensity lights and, yes, extra chrome. GPS is optional.
On the road, the big V-Twin allows you to leave from a stop briskly and never have to be impatient while passing on the highway. Injection is spot-on and although vibes are well controlled, be prepared for one of the clunkiest trannys out there, especially in the first few gears.
Also expected in a capable touring machine is all-day riding comfort, and there the Vision also delivers. Excellent weather protection with only minimal wind buffeting, laid-back riding position with incredibly large floorboards allowing a lot of leg movement, plush seats and well sorted-out suspension all make for a motorcycle truly capable of comfortable long-distance riding.
What comes as a surprise on the Vision though, is how great the handling is. Stability is superb in a straight line as well as in long, fast sweepers, while steering is gracefully light for such a large and heavy bike.
Although a very low seat height allows average-sized riders to plant both feet firmly down at stops, low-speed maneuvers can be tricky and demand attention thanks to the heft of the bike. Combined triple disc braking is strong and predictable, but no ABS is offered. According to Victory, their own surveys show too few buyers are interested in the feature.
Victory obviously hopes the Vision will be a success, just as it would for any of its models. This one, however, is different because it could (and probably will) change motorcyclists’ perception of the Minnesota-company. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no doubt they’ve got a good product. Now let’s see what the buyers say.
FROM THE CMG NMBG
One of the more radically styled new models of 2007; the Vision is Victory's new touring bike and comes in two versions (with several variations) – the Street and Tour.
The bike is powered by a fuel-injected and stroked version of Victory’s air/oil-cooled "Freedom" V-twin, complete with six-speed transmission and belt drive. Claimed dry weight for the Street is 365 kg and 385 kg for the Tour. Comfort wise there’s four inches of saddle padding combined with a low 673 mm (26.5 inch) seat height.
Both versions have sound systems and 55.3 litre saddlebags, although the Tour comes with a 55.3 litre trunk too. Other options include an electrically adjustable windshield, heated seat and grips, high intensity lights and yes, extra chrome.The bikes will be on sale in the autumn of 2007 with an MSRP of $23,369.00 for the Street and $24,599.00 for the Tour. The Tour Comfort will cost an additional $500.00 (power windshield and heated seat/grips), where as the Premium (high intensity lights and extra chrome) will set you back an additional $1,500.00.