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News and Stories from the Road

A 10k Mile Review of the 2008 Victory Vision Motorcycle

by Chris (Varyder) Nelms

Well, I've made it to the 10,030 mile mark exactly 5 months after riding from the dealer on my Midnight Cherry Tour Premium. From my humble beginnings of putting together two Honda 350's to make one, a CB750 Custom with a Vetter Fairing to a used GL1200 GoldWing, I would like to share my experience to what I find is the perfect bike for me. From those early days I've always wanted ride the open road. Affordability and practicability kept me from it for many years. When I got my 1981 CB750 in 1984 brand new, I set my sights on getting a 1984 GoldWing, of course that finally materialized 24 years later. When riding I always pictured the bike for me was one that sat low in the saddle with the luxury ride of the Wing, with a sleek and narrow styling. Even on my GoldWing I had the seat lowered by 1┬Ż inches but I never could figure out how to move the controls forward so I could run like the American cruiser types. I had settled in my mind that day would never come and was going to upgrade to a newer Wing, then along comes the Vision. I put out my wish list on the wall at work for all to see months before I came gliding in on that cold November day.

Here's my 10K rider's review of the 2008 Victory Vision™ Midnight Cherry Tour Premium with the CB Radio/Communications option installed at the dealer. This was a pre-order that was turned down, but it was the exact model I had put a deposit on for the springtime, I just got it a little earlier than expected. I will try not to repeat what others have said in their reviews, but will try to point out my personal observations so if my review seems short on something, I'm sure you'll find your answer in someone else's review. So let's begin my review:

Comfort and Cockpit
I'll start with comfort, because when you want to put on the miles, looks and options really mean nothing if you can't do it in comfort. When I first sat on the Victory Vision I found that it was a natural feel that gave me good stance while my feet were planted firmly on the ground. There was no "push" against the legs and with the 26.5 inch seat height I had a good bend in the knees allowing for easy maneuvering of the bike when parking or backing. The seat is firm, yet has no pressure points that would make me shift around or want to stop to get off the bike. The seat is definitely designed for the long haul and I proved this on 730 mile trip to Orlando Florida only a month after purchase. The only thing that I want to change in the seat is to cover it with leather. The riding experience from vinyl to leather is well worth the cost. Understanding that leather would raise the price on a bike, I think this is a justifiable cost and should be available as an option. Vinyl gives me that sticky feeling on the hot days whereas this is greatly reduced with leather because of its breathing ability. The floorboards are roomy enough that the feet have nothing to "trip" over. They are nicely designed to allow coming off easily at stops but plenty of shuffle space when in the cruise mode. The foot controls are in a very natural position, almost like driving a car. There no hindrance in any movement and I can quickly get to the controls no matter where my feet are, unless I was standing on the seat, of course.

I find I have to be careful on the right side as the exhaust pipe is about an inch off the board where my heal will touch sometimes. The placements of the hand grips are at a very natural pull back for me. I do find the grips to be a little thin and will make my hands cramp, but with the cruise control there is plenty of opportunity to relax my hands. The controls are within easy reach of hands and fingers, and in spite of the switches not being lighted, I know where they all are by reflex. The scroll trigger for the trip data is an excellent addition and I find myself scrolling through and checking average fuel mileage or speed. I am accustomed to verifying my gas mileage using the trip meter so I validate the digital readout for the average gas mileage and find it to be on the money every time. The temperature gauge is usually in the ball park but can be about 2 to 5 degrees warmer. If the temp is below 30 degrees, the gauge will go all crazy and shows -9 or something close to it until the temp is risen to 32+. Not really an issue, because cold is cold so there should be a fix for it. The speedometer always seems to be right on the money as well as I has come through where the police put up the "Your Speed" readouts and it is exactly the same. I have heard this is unusual for a motorcycle as they can be a few miles off.

One consideration in comfort that we don't think of as such is the sweep of the "tank" and placement of gauges, dash and windshield. I feel as though I am sitting "in" the Vision the moment I get in the saddle. It is like getting into a cockpit and not straddling a machine. When I first sat on the Vision the gauges and front wheel seemed rather forward and would make riding awkward but once I rolled back on the throttle that was no longer an issue. The large easy to read gauges and other readouts are definitely a plus since a simple glance will give me the input I need and I go back to concentrating on the ride quickly. The only disappointment I find in the comfort is that I am not ready to stop when it is time to refuel. I've heard that the safety rule is to stop every hour to keep from zoning. On other bikes that I have ridden, this is a very true statement, but with the Vision, the riding experience keeps you alert and longing for that next mile.

Even when my wife has ridden she has commented that this bike is very comfortable and she likes the way it sits and feels. She has fallen asleep on the back even on short rides. She no longer asks, "when are we going to stop?" I have the taller windshield because the wind would hit the pillion with the stock windshield. I ride with it in the down positions unless it rains. I find it funny that she says when she rides, "will you roll up the window?" On the note of the window, I must talk about the pilot and pillions envelop as well, and find that the Vision has the best effect at 62 mph with the windshield in the up position when it is raining. This sounds a little crazy, but I find I should point it out because for some, not even rain stops them from riding. Even when it is not raining, the riders envelop makes the Vision the most comfortable ride since there is not a lot of buffeting.

Part 2: Styling, Reliability, Sound & Storage

Service Bulletins, Recall Notes, Technical News, more...

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 2013-01-23 10:15 AM
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