2011 Victory Touring Lineup - Hot Bike Baggers Magazine
As we touched upon last month, Victory Motorcycles unveiled its full 2011 lineup to the world press in the beautiful mountains of western Colorado. Our homebase for the three-day test ride was the Gateway Canyons Resort roughly 60 miles from Grand Junction. It was a great opportunity to throw a leg over all of Victory's newest bikes and get to put the machines through their paces on relatively deserted, well-maintained roads through postcard-perfect red-rock canyons and passes.
Although there was noteworthy news regarding the non-touring models we will give a rundown on the roughly 6 touring platforms. The exact number is difficult to state with Victory's new Cross Roads (CR) CORE Custom Program. The Cross Roads is the stripped down Victory touring bike that debuted last year with hard saddlebags and a bare-bones windshield. Now, customers have the option of getting a customized CR by working directly with their dealer on the options they want. The customer has 48 different combinations to tailor their new CR their own way. Options include paint choice, saddlebag style, highway bar configuration, and windshield. On the saddlebag front, in addition to the hard bags that were standard last year (and on the Cross Country (CC)), a rider can now choose the new soft saddlebags. The new Deluxe Soft Saddlebags have a more classic appearance with a formed interior to keep their shape and covered in grained vinyl and leather. For the highway bars, a rider can choose none, the stylized Forged Chrome Highway bar (standard on the CC), or the traditional tubular Chrome Highway Bar. It's up to the rider whether they want a windshield or not and a Mid-Height Windshield with dropdown sideburns to deflect wind from the rider is the standard option in the program; other heights are also available through the dealer. What's great about this program is the rider gets exactly what they want directly from the dealer that suits the style, preferences, and riding style of the new owner. It's more economical too, as you won't have a corner in your garage with takeoff parts you may not want or need.
Power Power Power
Every Victory motorcycle now comes with the 106ci 50-degree V-twin engine that's paired with a brand new, overdrive, Six-speed transmission. The Touring models receive the Stage 1 motor that pumps out 92hp and 109 lb-ft of torque. The motor has brand new engine cases to accept the newly designed transmission that increases oil changes to 5,000 miles; this equates to less maintenance.
As has become typical for Victory, they listened to its customers regarding the transmission. Past owners had mentioned the overdrive tranny had gear whine, particularly in 4th and 6th gears. To address this the engineers came up with an entirely new engine case to accept the new, beefier transmission with helical gearsets, and gear tooth geometry changes to reduce noise. Driveline lash was also reduced for a crisper feeling transmission by redesigning the engagement dogs on the gears. Additionally, the size of the transmission gears was increased as well as the shaft center distance; beefier bearings help keep everything spinning. Primary gear noise was also reduced with additional geometry changes.
Smooth transmission shifting was also addressed by redesigning the shift forks for increased stiffness and strength combined with a new profile on the shifter drum that reduces shift resistance. One of the most dramatic changes was the addition of a centrifugally operated Neutral Selection Assist mechanism that makes finding Neutral about as easy as thinking about it. Below approximately 9 mph the tranny cannot be shifted into Second gear, with Neutral being selected if the shift lever is clicked upwards. This prevents missed Neutrals while coming to a stop and reduces clutch wear. Smooth, rapid downshifting performance was also improved with the new transmission design. While it's nice to read about improvements it's even better when a rider can feel the difference and we're happy to report the new transmission addresses any past issues and works very well. An upside to the quieter transmission and primary was the ability for Victory to increase the exhaust rumble.
Rounding out the major powertrain improvements is a new 48-amp charging system with a shielded rotor design that's been redesigned to make more power at lower rpm. The voltage regulator has been upgraded to have less leak-current when parked as well as having better heat resistance.
On the chassis side of things there are new features that go across the entire lineup such as all black components: brake calipers and rotors, lower belt guards, floorboards, switch housings and cubes, audio control switch, and cruise control switch. All models now come with a gear indicator. A newly designed side-stand now incorporates a hook design for easier access. The floorboard shifter was redesigned and easily accepts the accessory heel shifter for those that like it. Model-specific upgrades will be covered in more detail below.
The CR is the most stripped down bike in the touring lineup, comparable to a H-D Road King in classic looks and amenities. As we previously mentioned the CORE Custom Program is the highlight of the CR model. It's a way to maximize options for true customization right from the dealer. In addition to getting what you want it's also the most economical way to get yourself on a true touring bike for less money. If you like soft saddlebags why buy a bike with hard bags only to have to shell out more cash for what you really want? Do you want tip-over protection? On the front or rear; both?
Other than the value savings of the program itself the CR comes in at significantly less money than the competition. You're not giving up anything either as the saddlebags are the largest in the industry, you get class leading power out of the 106/6 combination, plus cruise control comes as standard equipment.
To further increase the touring capabilities of the CR (and the CC) Victory unveiled a color-matched, quick-release trunk that will retrofit to all '10 Cross models as well. The docking hardware for the trunk come on the bike directly from the factory; so there is no need to buy another kit to add accessories like the trunk or a sissy bar. The Lock & Ride trunk goes on or off in seconds and can be locked into place to prevent theft. The weatherproof and spacious trunk has enough room for two full-face helmets, a padded passenger backrest, high-mounted LED taillight, power outlet, and dual audio speakers. We wonder if there is something coming down the line as far as audio for the CR, as there is no radio on this model. Something we really liked was the inclusion of a matched lock cylinder with every new CR or CC; when the time comes to get the trunk the ignition key can be used on the trunk as well. Each of the Cross models comes prewired for the trunk-it's a plug and play proposition, and very easy to install or remove.
A new VDO speedometer is a nice addition with its blue backlighting and feature-rich display. The analog-dialed speedo is able to switch units from MPH/KPH and includes a large LCD screen that displays a clock, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, tachometer, and a diagnostic readout, along with the usual suspects of warning lights for oil pressure, low fuel, Neutral, cruise control status, high-beam, and turn signals.
The CC is similar to the hard-bagged CR but comes standard with a fork-mounted fairing loaded with electronic and audio goodies. The standard radio is FM/AM ready with an optional satellite radio option, and an MP3/iPod interface in the saddlebag (different connection cables for different brands of players are offered through Victory). All of the audio functions are at your fingertips on the switch pod located under the left grip; the pod on the right side controls the factory standard cruise control. An LCD screen in the middle of the fairing relays information about the radio station or can bring up an MP3/iPod interface that allows searching of songs or settings without ever touching the iPod. Flanking the instrument cluster are newly designed speaker grilles that have larger honeycomb openings for cleaner and louder audio while riding.
Also included within the fairing are analog speedometer and tachometer with a fuel and volt gauges as well. Indicator lights appear above a second LCD screen that displays gear position, time, outside temperature, as well as trip meters, odometer, time travelled, and a variety of other neat data points.
As with the CR the CC comes ready to install the Lock & Ride trunk as well as an inverted frontend suspension with dual disc brakes. Extremely long (18 inches) floorboards allow almost any foot placement position from stretched all the way out to almost sportbike-like on the balls of your feet. As with the CR the rear suspension is air adjustable and extremely compliant over any road surface. As with all air-adjustable shocks the ride quality is better if you adjust the shock pressure to the weight of the rider and passenger/cargo to get the most from the machine. The Victory's are no exception and we could easily tell the difference in suspension feel by adjusting the pressure with the accessory hand, air pump. Lockable top-opening, hard saddlebags come standard and as with the soft bags they are easily removable to perform maintenance or cleaning duties. These saddlebags are huge and hold more than any other stock saddlebag we've ever come across.
With the addition of the two Cross models to the lineup, Victory decided to drop the Vision Street and the other offshoots of the Vision line (e.g., Premium) and focus on the Vision Tour. The Vision Tour is Victory's full-featured luxury-touring bike that eats up the miles like very few other motorcycles. The full front fairing attaches to the frame for increased stability and is filled with audio and instrumentation that is similar to the CC. The hard saddlebags flow with the rest of the machine and additional storage is found in the quite massive rear trunk as well as two storage compartments up front above the faux gastank (fuel is stored in two pannier-style tanks flanking the front of the cast frame/airbox assembly).
Amenities are abundant on the Vision from the electrically adjustable windscreen, independent adjustable heated seats for the rider and passenger, as well as heated grips. As with the Cross models cruise control is standard equipment. Perhaps the biggest news for the Vision Tour is the addition of standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) that works through a linked braking system that on moderate to heavy braking with rear brake pedal, a portion of the front calipers is activated hydraulically to enhance overall braking whereas a light braking with the rear brake pedal activates only the rear caliper. This has been used for many years on other brands and helps to keep the bike settled while increasing braking efficiency.
The Vision gets the long floorboards and newly designed shifter arm for increased leg room with an accessory heel shifter an option. A chromed tubular handlebar replaces the more rectangular version of the past; this helps with using bolt-on handlebar accessories for such things as GPS units or cellphone cradles.
Victory unleashed the 8-Ball series as the blackest and most affordable bikes they produce and this year the sinister-looking Vision 8-Ball returns to the lineup. The Vision 8-Ball shares many of the features of the Vision Tour such as the 106/6 combo and general bodywork style. However the 8-Ball comes without the trunk or the bells and whistles such as an audio system, ABS, or cruise control. What you do get is pure attitude with almost everything imaginable blacked out, from the motor, to the handlebars, to the wheels. In addition the seat height is an extremely low 24 1/2 inches with a nice seat pocket that cradles your body. A low windshield gives the Vision 8-Ball a clean and sporty look; higher windscreens are available separately. Passenger footpegs replace the floorboards for a sleeker look. The Vision 8-Ball is for the rider that wants a no extra frills touring bike; it's raw, mean, and low, yet still capable of making the long run.
Cory Ness Signature Series Cross Country
Once again the father and son Ness team, of Arlen and Cory respectively, have lent their design talents to two limited edition touring bikes (Zach Ness, Cory's son has a non-touring Signature Series model too). Cory had free reign to bling out the Cross Country and turn it into a traffic-stopping custom. The basis of the bike has all of the features of the standard CC but has tons of glistening chrome combined with a special Sunset Red paint scheme and Cory-designed graphics only found on Cory's Signature Series bike. Some of the many Ness accessories include chrome grips, mirrors, billet passenger pegs, chrome foot controls, oil line and engine covers, as well as a Ness radio display and custom billet wheels. The engine gets additional shine from Diamond-cut cylinders and heads. A numbered badge atop the transmission area has Cory's signature and edition number. A very comfortable suede-leather seat comes standard on Cory's bike although it does tend to retain moisture after a rainstorm.
This is the bike we put the most seat time on (Serial #1) and eventually rode this bike to Sturgis. We'll be bringing a full road test review of this machine in an upcoming issue. We also procured the optional trunk for the Ness CC and with its painted to match hue it looked as if the bike rolled out of the factory with it on.
Arlen Ness Signature Series Vision
Again for 2011 Arlen Ness chose the Vision Tour as his palette. The Ness Vision has all of the features of the Vision Tour with the addition of a killer blacked-out paint scheme highlighted with engraving throughout. In what Victory calls "Scrolled Ness" styling it can be found on the side panels, Ness billet wheels, engine covers, and the grip ends. As with Cory's bike Arlen went with a stitched leather seat.
Coming in at just shy of $28,000, Arlen's Vision is the most expensive bike in the Victory catalog but is significantly less expensive than custom Touring bikes from the competition.
Wrapping It Up
Although we just touched the surface regarding the newest Victory Touring models there is a lot more to come. We've already completed a multistate tour on the Cory Ness CC where we hit hail, rain, lightning, and narrowly averted a head-on with a crazy deer and a fully charging open-range cow. We took these new machines over some of the highest and technically challenging roads in the US as well as a nice and twisty 35-mile offroad excursion in the Rockies thanks to the wonders of GPS.
Although Victory has only been around for the better part of a decade, each year its offerings are better and stronger than the previous year. It's a pretty exciting time in Baggerland, the options are increasing all the time and companies like Victory are pushing the boundaries of how and what we love to do: ride.
|ENGINE TYPE||50-degree V-twin|
|BORE X STROKE||101x108 mm|
|VALVE TRAIN||Overhead camshafts with 4 valves per cylinder|
|FUEL SYSTEM||Electronic fuel injectionwith dual 45mm throttle body|
|CROSS MODELS||5.8 gallons|
|VISION MODELS||6 gallons|
|EXHAUST||Split dual exhaust with crossover|
|OIL CAPACITY||5.0 quarts|
|CHARGING SYSTEM||48 amps max output|
|PRIMARY DRIVE||Gear drive with torque compensator|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed overdrive, constant mesh|
|FINAL DRIVE||Carbon Fiber Reinforced Belt|
|CROSS MODELS||26.25 inches|
|VISION TOUR||26.5 inches|
|VISION 8-BALL||24.5 inches|
|RAKE/TRAIL||29.0 degrees/5.6 inches|
|CROSS ROADS||745 pounds|
|CROSS COUNTRY||765 pounds|
|NESS CC||765 pounds|
|VISION, NESS VISION||869 pounds|
|VISION 8-BALL||800 pounds|
|CROSS MODELS||43mm, inverted cartridge telescopic fork|
|VISION MODELS||46mm, conventional telescopic fork|
|SHOCK ABSORBER||Single, air adjustable|
|SWINGARM||Cast aluminum with constant rate linkage|
|VISION TOUR||Linked ABS|
|NESS VISION||Linked ABS|
|FRONT SYSTEM||Dual 300mm floatingrotor with 4-piston calipers|
|REAR SYSTEM||300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper|
|WHEELS & TIRES|
|FRONT||18 x 3.0 in|
|REAR||16 x 5.0 in|
|FRONT||130/70R18 Dunlop Elite 3|
|REAR||180/60R16 Dunlop Elite 3|
|CROSS ROADS||Solid Black, Solid Crimson|
|CROSS COUNTRY||Solid Black, Solid Imperial Blue Metallic,|
|Two Tone Pearl White and Vogue Silver|
|NESS CC||Sunset Red w/Ness graphics|
|VISION TOUR||Crimson and Black,Two Tone Vogue Silver and Black, Solid Pearl White|
|NESS VISION||Black w/Ness graphics|
|VISION 8-BALL||Solid Black|
|MSRP, BASE||(CA add $250)|