Motorcycle Victory Tour
The futuristically styled Victory Vision Tour has attracted its own following since its launch in 2007 and, whether you love it or hate it, there is no denying it has road presence aplenty. The gorgeous, russet red paintwork on this very limited edition 10th Anniversary model, which harkens back to the first Victory to roll off the production line, has been enhanced with all the bells and whistles, as well as premium chrome, exclusive badging, billet wheels and sprocket, a custom stitched seat and backrest, and chromed, fluted exhaust tips.
Underneath all that brightwork lays a very good motorcycle, driven by Victory’s powerful, fuel-injected 106 ci (1731cc) Freedom 106/6 V-Twin engine that puts out a claimed 97 horsepower and 109 ft/lbs of torque. The air-cooled engine’s pleasant rumbling is that right balance between feeling the motor working without being annoyingly intrusive, and the Vision does not disappoint when it is time to get on the gas and go.
Two-up, the motorcycle has plenty of power; the huge torque output is perfect for overtaking without needing to cog down. The six-speed transmission is easy to use, and although there is no heel part to the shifter, which I personally found lacking, nevertheless the gears mesh easily and once you’re in top, there is enough torque to remain there most of the time.
A left-hand reverse lever is mounted where the starter motor enters the top of the transmission case; once engaged, pressing the starter button gets the bike moving backwards. On flat surfaces, I opted to use the conventional leg-waddle, as reverse is a little too low-geared, making backing up unnecessarily slow. However, if you find yourself parked heading down a slight slope, reverse is easy to use and useful.
The Vision is equipped with a six-gallon fuel tank that gives excellent range, although to fill the tank completely, the machine needs to be leaned over onto its kickstand; standing the bike upright will leave you riding away with about one and a half gallons unfilled.
All the usual luxury amenities are there to cosset the distance junkie. There are heated handgrips and seats with individual controls for the driver and passenger, and an electronic cruise control saves your right wrist. The premium quality sound system with radio, CD player, CB radio, Sirius satellite, iPod hookup, and an intercom between you and your passenger, all vie to keep you connected en route, and a GPS will guide you to your destination.
Rider ergonomics are superb. The controls fall easily to hand and the angled floorboards are long, comfortable and roomy. The hand-stitched rider seat is more Barcalounger than motorcycle perch, however the passenger suffers somewhat, as the backrest/trunk has little to no lumbar support. The rear trunk does, however, allow the passenger to lean back and feel secure on the ride.
The copious fairing spreads out in front of the rider, but despite the intimidating size, it has been nicely thought out. Integral bumpers protect the bike in case of a slow speed tip-over and a power windshield allows you to quickly find the optimum wind protection position. Large integrated mirrors also help direct windblast away from the rider’s hands. The white-faced instruments are a pleasure to use, as they are clear and easy to read. The too-bright blue mph light is a little distracting, and seems unnecessary, but after a while I found that I visually tuned it out.
Despite the sheer enormity of the machine and its obvious cruiser roots, the Vision’s handling is excellent; the weight of machine, plus two riders and luggage, easily exceeds a half-ton. Keep in mind that although the Vision Tour is visually long, its wheelbase is an inch shorter than a Gold Wing’s. The conventional telescopic forks have a generous five inches of travel and, with the progressively linked air-adjustable rear shock, the Vision offers a firm, yet luxurious, ride.
This is a machine principally created to cover significant distances in comfort, but riders who like to push a machine have clearly had a strong hand in the Vision’s design. If you come across some twisties on your route, you will be able to enjoy them. Taking into account the 26.5-inch seat height, I was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of ground clearance available; spirited cornering-even when two-up-never once produced those stomach-churning graunching noises from the undercarriage. This enabled me to explore the standard equipment Dunlop Elite 3 touring tires. Grip at the relatively fat 18-inch front tire was exemplary, and my confidence in the front-end was rewarded with positive steering and stable, neutral handling.
Braking on the Vision is equally reassuring. Victory’s integrated braking system brings the 882-pound (claimed, dry) machine down efficiently as the dual disc, six-piston front calipers work with a rear single disc grabbed by a two-piston caliper. If you only use the foot pedal, some front brake is activated as well, for a more controlled, balanced stop.
The side bags are part of the Vision’s good looks, but for a luxury touring machine, they are woefully small. It is almost amusing to swing open such a vast door only to find that most of the opening is faux; in reality only a smallish area is reserved for luggage space. The Vision Tour’s trunk, however, makes up for some of that inadequacy, as its gaping mouth will easily swallow a couple of full-face helmets, with room to spare.
The luxurious 10th Anniversary Victory Vision Tour satisfies both the rider and passenger, as it is capable of crossing the country with ease and elegance (but ship most of your luggage ahead), and yet, it will also effortlessly handle any challenge a pilot with speed, rather than comfort, has on his mind.