The 2010 Victory Vision Tour model is a breathtaking machine to behold. Possibly the most futuristic looking bike on the road, it has lines that are both super modern yet reminiscent of the aero designs of cars from the 1940s. The looks appeal to me and have since the day I saw the first Victory Vision in a motorcycle magazine – and my initial impression from sitting on the bike in a showroom was equally as positive. Victory focuses on the comparison between the Vision and the HD Ultra-Classic. However, the Vision deserves comparison against other bikes, including the venerable Honda Gold Wing. While it may be a “chrome touring” machine, based on looks alone I would choose the Vision over the Gold Wing and comparing equal bikes with equal features, the Vision comes out ahead there as well. However, I’m not going to linger on this comparison and instead will focus on what makes the Vision so darn good.
I’ll admit that I am a gadget guy and the first thing I noticed on the Victory Vision Tour is that it really delivers in this department. The radio is very well integrated into the bike and the controls for the audio system are by far more straightforward and easy to use compared to those on my current ride, a 2000 Honda Valkyrie Interstate (which are notoriously hard to use) and even more straightforward than the Harley audio system controls. The buttons for the audio are separated into controls for some functions that are easy to use with the left thumb as well as a number of large buttons on the gas tank shroud. These thumb controls include volume up and down, tune up and down as well as providing a mute and source button. The main buttons on the gas tank shroud are six presets, a power button and a menu button. Hitting menu accesses a number of different options including the option to configure what the tune up and down button does. For around town trips, it can be set to scroll through the preset stations and for longer trips it can be configured to tune and with an extended hold scan up or down through the FM and AM frequencies. Very smart design.
On top of this, the auxiliary input is in the small storage bin just to the left of the main tank and has enough room to store an MP3 player and a cell phone, even a chunky one like mine. There is a dealer added upgrade that converts the aux input into an iPod input and the LCD screen on the gas tank shroud will show the track titles when this is installed.
The speakers on the Victory Vision are stellar compared to both my anemic and ten year old speakers on my Valkyrie Interstate as well as the Gold Wing and Harley. At 60mph, with my three-quarter, snell approved helmet on, the music sounded great, even with the electronically adjustable windshield at its lowest setting. There were actual bass sounds emanating from the speakers! I was seriously impressed because the compromise of riding almost always means losing out on parts of the music.
Another very useful feature is the cruise control. The buttons are located within easy reach of the right thumb and the whole package works just like a car cruise control works. For long trips, especially with the excellent transmission, this is a great feature and it works as well as the Harley version and much better than the Gold Wing’s cruise control; not to mention my old technology throttle lock.
Two other unnecessary but incredibly useful gadget type features were integrated into the LED readout situated between the primary gauges. The first was a very large gear indicator read out. I’ll admit that I’m pretty bad about forgetting what gear I am in while in city traffic so this was a big thing for me and actually added to the ease of riding this bike for the first time. With 6 gears at my disposal and being used to needed a few RPM’s to get motivated, the reminder I was in 3rd gear at 60mph was handy. The second indicator built into this area was a temperature gauge. For a rider like myself who braves both the twenties and thirties of winter and the 100+ temperatures of the Texas summer, knowing the temperature is vital and is something that I still lack on my current ride. There simply isn’t an easy place to install an ambient temperature gauge on my bike easily. It is also a very good feature to have on an air cooled bike so you can be aware of idling in traffic for too long in the warmer months.
Other gadgets include a dealer installed and well integrated Garmin GPS unit and ABS. The Garmin was not installed so I cannot speak to exactly how well it works or if directions are redirected through the audio system even if you are listening to a different source but the reviews on the unit itself are all very popular. The bike I rode was equipped with ABS and all Victory Vision Tour models are equipped with linked braking. The ABS, thankfully was never tried out on the ride around south Houston but the linked braking was actually a very nice feature. When the rear brake is applied, one half of the front brakes is applied as well, making normal stops accomplished with very little addition of the front brake. One thing of note: all Victory Vision models come with stainless steel brake lines. I wonder why any bike doesn’t come with these standard.
Finally, the Vision has a number of features that truly make this a bike that can handle all the “seasons” that Houston, Tx has to offer. The first is the aforementioned electronic windshield. At its lowest setting, it is really more of an aesthetic piece that probably helps smooth the air but you still feel a lot of it. At its highest setting, I was looking right through the virtually distortion free plastic, even with my 6 foot, 2 inch frame. The difference in air movement was pretty extreme and impressive. The Vision I was testing also had air wings on the side fairings that can be moved to direct airflow to the rider’s legs (and the engine to help cool it down when moving) as well as closed to all the better prevent the winter’s cold from biting at the shins. There are heated grips and both driver and passenger seats available as well.
The Victory Vision was an absolute dream to ride. The riding position is nice and low and the controls set a bit forward, just as they should be on a cruiser. The running boards are very large and even without highway pegs, multiple foot angles were possible to keep knees from getting sore after a long ride. The fuel injected engine started very eagerly, even being the first ride of the day and settled into a nice idle very quickly. The V-Twin that Victory puts in this bike is a 106 cubic inches (1731cc’s for those who need to compare quickly to their current metric bike) and puts out 109 foot pounds of torque and is rated at 92 horsepower. (Quick side note: Thank you Victory for publishing horsepower figures unlike most motorcycle manufacturers, both foreign and domestic.) This engine is a gem. It is so smooth but still has just enough primary imbalance at idle to let you know it is a V-Twin. There won’t be any nickel tests like on the Horizontal-6 on my Valkyrie but you aren’t getting a violent massage at idle either. It also won’t set off any car alarms or make the fuzz notice you as the exhaust note is very quiet. The other Victory bikes all had louder exhausts so I expect this was a designed in feature of the bike because of its designation as a touring machine. It would be the first thing I would change if and when I buy one of these machines.
The engine needs just a little gas to get the bike underway and the gearing on the bike is definitely more akin to the gearing on my Honda than a Harley; enough different that the Victory representative mentioned this during the safety meeting so the Harley riders didn’t short shift and lug the engines. The engine moves and never was there a want for power. As mentioned, I did find myself cruising at 60mph in 3rd a couple times because I’m so used to riding around in 5th gear at 3000 or so RPM’s. The sensation of 65mph on the freeway in 6th was very interesting. The engine was just above the torque peak of 2000 rpm’s and yet it kept going happily burbling along with an instant mileage (another thing visible on the LCD between the gauges) of 50 miles per gallon. Yet another reason why I want a Victory Vision as my 6-carb’ed Valkyrie with only 5 forward gears is lucky to get past 30 miles per gallon.
The suspension is another huge positive on this bike. One of the roads that we took is notoriously bad with pot holes and probably more repairs than original road, yet the Victory Vision soaked them all up. It was such a dramatic difference from what I am used to it makes me wonder if there is something wrong with the 10 year old suspension on my bike. Victory says the rear mono shock is an air shock and is adjustable with an air pump but for one up and my large frame, it was set perfectly. Had my fiance’ been there, this alone would have sold her.
Only a Couple Small Issues
As it comes from the factory, there is only a couple small issues I had, most of which are easily solved with Victory branded accessories. The first issue is the only one that cannot be fixed and that is the storage space. The huge looking side panniers actually hold a very small amount of stuff, as well as having a couple little cubbies for small items. This is somewhat made up for by the very large trunk that can legitimately hold two full face helmets. It swallowed my three quarter helmet with plenty of room to spare. In fact, I could have put a couple days of clothes in the trunk, and then the helmet and it would have closed. I would like external helmet locks in case I was using the trunk for something other than helmets though. The other issue I had was that the intercom for driver and passenger was a dealer-added accessory rather than a factory installed setup and is included in a CB package which could prove useful. The explanation for this is that the typical rider prefers to have options for their communication and can choose a far less expensive, wireless aftermarket communication system such as the one available on the Victory accessory page. After some research, I found that the MSRP of the bike does not include the power windshield, which will add another $230 for the kit, plus possibly the cost of the windshield, depending on which one you choose. However, the short windshield which was on the bike I tested is only $150, which is quite fair for a windscreen.
Bike Tested: 2010 Victory Vision Tour ABS
MSRP: 24,699 for ABS model
Highs: Good Power, Good Fuel Economy, Smooth Ride, Excellent Control
Lows: Side pannier storage looks better than it is, Needs a louder Exhaust.
reference: 2010 Victory Vision Tour Motorcycle: Overview, Victory Motorcycles.