Victory Refines its Pedigree
Since its debut, the 2008 model year Vision has proven to be a world-class touring motorcycle. Subtle changes have come to the Vision, but most of those were also true of much of the Victory lineup. The Freedom motor was increased from 100 cubic inches to 106 and last year the Six-speed true overdrive transmission and cases were treated to a revamp that decreased gear whine and overall noise as well as a cool inertia-based Neutral assist. Many of the changes to the Vision have been small. Vision owners are usually the best people to talk to about these bikes: they are fanatics about the machine; not the brand or marketing, but the motorcycle.
Since the introduction of the two, more traditionally styled Victory Cross models, the Vision comes in basically two flavors: the Vision Tour and the Ness version seen here that is a factory customized Vision Tour. Gone is the Vision Street (no trunk) and the stripped-down, blacked-out, budget-conscious, hot rod 8-Ball Vision. That probably makes lots of sense, as the Vision is best suited for the open road where the extra carrying capacity is welcomed, as well as the speakers in the trunk.
One thing that continues to impress about Victory Motorcycles is they do their homework and market research, make a decision, and they stick with it. The Victory team—from the engineers, to the designers, to the highest-ranking employees in the motorcycle division are the most accessible of any manufacturer. There is a passion within the company that starts with the no-nonsense approach to dealing with the press. There is an honesty that is refreshing and has endeared Victory to many moto-journalists. The now infamous, yearly press launch isn’t a long-winded presentation and a chaperoned ride. Victory gives a brief overview of what’s new for the year, then they throw journalists the keys to a brand new machine. The general goal the past few years is riding to Sturgis for the Black Hills Rally in August. But, Victory just wants, actually begs, us to ride their bikes—and hard. Or not, if you want to meander and stop a lot. They want the limits pushed, the performance felt, and if there are any, find the weaknesses as well. It’s up to each journo if they ride with a group of Victory folks, together, or head off to South America for a month. It’s refreshing and it evokes all of the senses, passion, and feeling of what motorcycling is all about: Freedom. If you’ve been to Sturgis the past few years then you know how many of your favorite magazine and web editors were on Victory Motorcycles.
In 2011 approximately 40 percent of the drivetrain was new, and with the Six-speed transmission receiving so many improvements it’s virtually a brand-new transmission. The goal was improved ridability and a more pleasant-sounding transmission, and it’s been achieved through improved manufacturing efficiency and quality assurance; the larger shaft bearings don’t hurt, either. In Fourth and Sixth gears in particular, gear whine has been reduced substantially and driveline lash has been reduced by 66 percent. Basically that means smoother power delivery for a better ride and less jerkiness. And then there was that “neutral assist” feature to make it easier for the rider to shift into neutral when stopped.
Victory has highlighted five areas (summarized below) they believe give their motorcycles an advantage over the competition.
The Victory Edge
Performance: To outperform every other bike on the road with the 106-cubic-inch, overhead cam, Freedom V-twin engine that is found in the entire lineup.
Comfort: Victory strives to make sure that every detail put into the bikes revolves around making the rider comfortable and confident.
Storage: To take a rider wherever the road takes them they equip the Touring line with ample storage and the ease of mind that you’ll always have what you need.
Reliability: Victory engineers built-to-last bikes with worry-free scheduled maintenance.
Styling: All Victory Motorcycles are designed with a modern edge and smooth, flowing lines, illustrating they don’t rely on the past for design.
While researching this article and perusing the Victory website looking for available options for the Ness Vision it became apparent that there are very few. The Ness Vision comes with cruise control, electrically height-adjustable windscreen, and an impressive audio system.