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TEXT AND PHOTOS: Sundeep Gajjar (Sunny)
Often companies try too hard to incorporate a design element that is off norms in a bid to get labelled as radical and trendsetting, sometimes creating a product which fails to appeal in the market despite being very good. Stark examples are the Yamaha MT01, the Suzuki BKing and the Ducati 999 which were not well received primarily because of the styling aspect.
The Vision is one such effort, but one which has succeeded in creating a new object of desire amongst the rich and the famous, and cross continental motorheads as well. It takes a lot of dare to style a bike this radical and force into its elements to look like a ‘V’. The styling is certainly futuristic and might be a hint of things to come in the future, today.
Living in India, you see machines like the Fireblade and R1 once in a blue moon. And then this behemoth comes along. Combining curves of a princess in distress on the shoulders of a bodywork and engine so massive that it will outclass the current breed of tanks on the roads of Iraq.
The first look at it was from upfront, and it had me literally searching for the rider behind its all encompassing frame and the painfully bright headlights which could have probably woken up the pale winter sun to compete for its throne.
It has enough techno-wizadry too: Electronically controlled windscreen and side fin deflectors for better airflow. Satellite Radio, GPS Navigation MP3 ability and more.
Frankly I hadn’t been consciously aware of the bike until I actually knew it was possible to see it in flesh in Delhi. Having ridden some of the good Japanese bikes like the Concours 14 and the Blackbird for considerable distances, my ultimate dream always has been a Goldwing, especially if I was riding it across a country with roads and infrastructure supporting it.
But this one actually has that exotic feeling to it. The one which you probably get when you own a MV or a Benelli. You know that the Japs are equals, if not better, and they cost less too. However this one will help your status go north, even if your wallet balance goes south. And you ask the owners and they will sing out in perfect harmony – it is a different experience to own something so exotic and less common.
People here might be forgiven to think that the bike is manufactured by Harley or a Japanese company. In fact the company is called Victory Motorcycles and it is an American company. The company is based in Minnesota, US and is just 10 years old, while the parent company, Polaris Industries, was founded in 1954. They are better known to make ATVs and Snowmobiles.
The Victory lineup was developed to be in direct competition with the big motorcycles produced by the All American bigwig – Harley Davidson. They wanted it to be the epitome of American motorcycles – larger and louder.
Larger the Victory maybe, but louder, I am not sure. At times I wasn’t even sure the bike was running on wheels because the massive extending bodywork used to curtain them. It used to come across almost as a hovercraft due to the lack of serious nasty noise work.
The Victory was introduced in February 2007 as additions to the 2008 line up, the Vision is a touring configuration. It comes in two versions, the Street, which includes a full fairing and hard saddle bags; and the Tour, which also has a hard trunk with a wide range of luxury electronics.
To most people in India, it was a shock when they saw the Victory running on dried river beds in Lansdowne. In fact I was circling around the Victory on my R1 when it was being ridden on the narrow roads to the small hill station in Uttranchal, India. The rider has to be appreciated for he has shown that no machine is incapable of handling the Indian roads if you know the way to handle them. One of the reason probably was the 5.1 inches of travel in the front telescopic suspension. And the 26” inches low seat height. The Victory indeed commands all the eyes on the road to stare at it. In fact I call it the ‘Mothership’ because it used to come at the end of the fleet in the trip generating gasps and other elements of pure bedazzlement from the onlookers. And we mere mortals used to take sigh of relief as all the poky crowd was drawn to it and away from us!
Engine Type: Victory Freedom™ V-Twin
Cooling System: Air and Oil-Cooled
Displacement: 106 ci / 1,731 cc
Bore and Stroke: 101 x 108 mm
Maximum Torque: 109 ft.-lbs.
Compression Ratio: 9.4:1
Fuel Injection: Closed Loop
Transmission: 6 Speed with True Overdrive
Final Drive: Carbon Reinforced Belt
Rake/Trail: 29 Degrees/5.4 inches
Front Tire Size: 130/70-18 radial
Rear Tire Size: 180/60-16 radial
Wheelbase: 65.7 inches
Width: 44.9 inches
Length: 103.5 inches (Street) / 104.9 inches (Tour)
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: Conventional telescopic fork / 5.1 in / 130 mm
Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Adjustable / 4.7 in / 120 mm
Front Brake Type: Dual 300mm floating rotor with 3-piston calipers
Rear Brake Type: 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper
Fuel Tank Capacity: 26 litres
Total Storage Volume: 3370 Cubic Inches (Street) / 6750 Cubic Inches (Tour)
Seat Height: 26.5 Inches
Dry Weight: 365 kg (Street) / 325 kg (Tour)
Colors: Black, Super Steel Gray, Midnight Cherry
Pricing Starting At: (Street) $18,999 US (Tour) $19,999 US
A 360 degrees spin can be seen here: Vision : 360 Spin : Touring
See the Victory Vision in action here: http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/5…-escapade.html