No missing the Victory Vision
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.