For most riders Victory motorcycles are not a new entity. It seems like they have always been around, but it's only been 10 years since Minnesota-based Polaris Industries took the plunge and unleashed the company's first motorcycles. At first, the company offered cruiser-type bikes based on a proprietary overhead cam motor. Over the years, the motor has evolved into the Next Generation Victory Freedom V-twin with a similar appearance and layout to the original V92C but technologically updated.
As the company grew, so did the offerings and the displacement of the motor. For 2009, Victory offers two families of touring bikes: one based on the Kingpin chassis and the other on the Vision platform. In all, there are five separate touring models (with subclasses in some models) that vary in fit, finish, and motor configuration. Returning for 2009 are the Kingpin Tour, Vision Street, Vision Tour, Arlen Ness Signature Series Vision, and the 10th Anniversary Vision.
Last summer we had a chance to check out the new models up close but didn't have an opportunity to ride them. We were looking forward to throwing a leg over the bikes and putting them through their paces and Victory obliged us this past Fall. We were treated to an amazing starting location in the oceanside town of Del Mar, California. After a brief yet thorough state of the Victory Union address by the people behind Victory motorcycles, it was time to put in some serious miles on the company's newest offerings. Although the original route called for 250-odd miles, after a few lapses of directional accuracy and photo shoots, the ride was easily 300-350 miles in duration.
Our ride route would take us to eastern San Diego county via freeways before ascending into the mountains and some serious twisty roads. My first ride of the day was a Kingpin Tour model decked out in a nice two-tone Blue Ice/Pearl White with Carbon stripe paintjob. This particular model comes standard from the factory with leather-esque covered hard plastic saddlebags and rear mounted trunk. While not the biggest saddlebags on the market, they provide enough room for a weekend getaway and they lock, which is a nice feature. The trunk, which is also lockable is cavernous enough to hold a full-face helmet with plenty of room to spare. A medium height plastic windshield provided just the right amount of air deflection without getting hot or causing wind buffeting. Also included on the Kingpin Tour is a set of fork-mounted wind deflectors. While the clear plastic deflectors and windshield are not quick-release, it's a simple operation to go naked if you so choose. Floorboards are standard fare for both the rider and passenger and provide ample room under the heel-toe shifter and brake pedal to stretch out on the open road. Another nice touch is the included passenger backrest that rests against the trunk. This model is a turnkey machine that has a lot of standard options right from the factory. You could easily pick it up, load it up, and hit the road with the missus. The only option that many touring riders want and is missing is cruise control. However, Victory pre-wired the bike for easy installation of the accessory cruise control option.