No miss­ing the Victory Vi­sion

The Advertiser - Motoring - - Motor Cycles - MARK HINCH­LIFFE SMALLTORQUE

TAKE a chain­saw to a 1950s Cadil­lac, carve it down the mid­dle and you get what looks like a Victory Vi­sion. This be­he­moth is a clas­sic piece of au­to­erot­ica with flow­ing lines of chrome and glossy paint com­ing to dew-drop point ends.

It shouts: ‘‘Look at me!’’ All road users seem to obey.

Victory has been around in the US for 11 years; a rel­a­tive new­comer com­pared with main com­peti­tor Har­ley-David­son which is into its sec­ond cen­tury.

This is the main prob­lem Victory has – a lack of tra­di­tion and all that goes with it such as loy­alty and mar­ket aware­ness.

To help de­velop its aware­ness, Victory, which has been in Aus­tralia about a year, has lent Cars­guide its top-of-the-range, full-dresser Victory Vi­sion Tour with in­te­grated top box and pan­niers.

The ob­jec­tive is to see if liv­ing with a Victory is the same as liv­ing with a Har­ley.

Both are born in Wis­con­sin in Mid­west Amer­ica where the roads are long, straight and flat.

This is heavy-metal motorcycling at its ex­treme with a host of kit – al­most as much as a Har­ley Ul­tra with which it most closely com­pares. Both come with ABS, stereo and cruise con­trol, but the Vi­sion adds a few crea­ture fea­tures such as twostage seat warm­ers, an iPod con­nec­tor and a power wind­shield, ad­justable from a han­dle­bar switch.

It is a mas­sive bike, but no big­ger than an Ul­tra. It is slightly lighter, but still al­most 400kg.

With the bulk low in the frame, both bikes feel quite light and ma­noeu­vrable even at walk­ing speeds.

The Vi­sion Tour comes with mas­sive looking in­te­grated pan­niers, al­though they are more about style than func­tion, with 30 per cent of the in­ter­nal space un­us­able. The rear top box is hu­mungous. It could do with car­pet­ing or some­thing to stop things rat­tling, but it means 127 litres of lock­able stor­age is avail­able.

When you hop on, it al­most feels like you are in a con­vert­ible. The cen­tre con­sole looks like one out of a mod­ern Volvo, while the in­stru- ments which are way, way out in front look like a 1950s Cadil­lac.

Around town, it is comfortable and ma­noeu­vrable, but hot.

Har­ley has de­vel­oped an idle cutout fea­ture for its rear cylin­der to re­duce heat. The Vi­sion does not have this and it re­ally roasts the right leg, es­pe­cially in sum­mer traf­fic. On the high­way, it set­tles into a groove and the heat dis­si­pates.

The gear­box not only sounds clunky but feels it.

How­ever, it is a pos­i­tive shifter with no ‘‘an­gel gears’’ and an easyto-find neu­tral. Where it de­parts from the Har­ley is in its looks, which at­tract more at­ten­tion than any­thing I have rid­den.

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