Skirting Malibu Lake then to Cornell Road we headed to Paramount Ranch. Back when westerns were popular the studios had to pay the union workers extra if they worked farther than 35 miles from Hollywood and these studio ranches were within that magic circle—only a few have survived. Gunfight at the OK Corral, Gunsmoke and Dr Quinn’s Medicine Woman are but a few of the hundreds of films and TV shows shot there. Hopping back on Mulholland Highway to Malibu Canyon Road and you’re soon back where you started, Malibu Pier.
The Victory Vision offers riders an endless array of options like FM, XM or an iPod, and an electrically controlled windshield that can be raised and lowered with the push of a thumb. A variety of possible leg positions are possible with the long, cleverly designed floorboards. I wonder if I should activate the heated seat and grips to stave off the evening’s chill. Having ridden all flavors of American touring motorcycles, only the Victory Vision offers such choices. Aerodynamically faultless and visually stunning it’s shocking how well a motorcycle this size actually handles. The torque and power of the Freedom 106 powerplant was truly appreciated riding some of the best twisty mountain roads in the United States. Completely at ease in the most sinuous twisties or 85 miles an hour the Victory Vision is exhilarating.
Road conditions are generally excellent with the biggest dangers coming from overzealous, speeding riders passing across double yellow lines or from skill-challenged riders going wide and crossing into your lane. Sand, decreasing radius blind turns, and occasionally bicyclists are other things to be aware of. Weekdays are best, as the weekends can be a bit tense with thousands of motorcyclists flocking to the area. Weekends also have a much higher police presence trying to keep everyone safe. Because of the quality of these roads there are a lot of racer types wearing full racesuits and piloting the latest and fastest in the sportbike world. It helps to keep an eye on your mirrors as bikes can sometimes come up really fast from behind.
Malibu, California boasts 27 miles of coastline and the further north you travel Pacific Coast Highway the more rural and empty the roads become. It is amazing how much solitude a rider can find within this metropolis of 11 million people. The Santa Monica Mountains that shade Malibu from the east are a rider’s playground with dozens of curvy, mountainous loops that can keep a rider focused if not exhilarated. Hiking trails and numerous mountain lookouts abound throughout the area. It’s a great place for an impromptu picnic or lunch after a nice spirited ride. Most of the mountain area is undeveloped and even the houses that are present tend to blend into the rustic surroundings or are off the road. To borrow from Arlo here, as a motorcyclist, “you can get anything you want,” in Malibu. B