As with other victorys the vision makes a fair amount of drivetrain noise. There is mechanical driveline clatter, some intake honk and manly shifting noises. Our clutch also made a loud squeal when we powered away hard from a stop. The problem is that the vision's bodywork seems to capture these various rattles and thumps and project them toward the rider. Some riders may enjoy this mechanical connection to the bike, but for others it diminishes the luxury-vehicle appeal of a full-dresser. Some testers were bothered by it at highway speeds.
The vision has an entirely new chassis, and my first impression was that it is much longer than victory cruisers. Although it is quite long overall at 110 inches, the wheelbase is about the same as the kingpin at 65.7 inches and slightly shorter than the vegas series. However, the vision is extremely roomy, especially for the rider, but also for the passenger. There is plenty of space to shift forward and back. I definitely felt less constrained than on the gold wing. A broad, flat rider's saddle section encourages you to adjust your position, and the deep padding makes it a pleasure to sit on. It is one of the most comfortable bikes I have ever ridden.
The roominess extends beyond the saddle. The tapered floorboards are more than a foot long, giving you plenty of room to change your foot position. How much? Well, with my heels resting almost in front of the floorboards my knees were completely straight. With the balls of my feet on the rear of the floorboard my knees were bent back past vertical. That allows tremendous flexibility in the pressure points on your legs and butt, helping to extend the time you can comfortably keep riding. Passengers also get plenty of foot room, and there is an optional kit to raise their floorboards.
One feature worth mentioning here is that the projections around the floorboards serve not only as footrests but also as guards in a tip-over. Victory says if you slip and drop the bike at a stop or low speeds, these will prevent damage to the bags, fairing and so on. We didn't confirm this by throwing the bike down, but we know someone who did have cause to sing their praises.
Even though the vision doesn't have all the wind-management features of some other dressers, we didn't miss them. The fairing effectively diverts air from rider and passenger, and even with the electric windshield (standard on our Premium trim version) at the lowest point in its 3.5-inch travel, buffeting was minimal. There are small fold-out clearplastic wind diverters below the wings of the fairing; folding them in seems to reduce buffeting slightly, while unfolding them lessens the wind flow over your knee area. Overall the fairing did well to keep the wind and engine heat from the rider. At its lowest I (5 feet 10 inches) could easily see over the windshield, and at its upper limit it was an inch or so above my eye level. Victory offers one taller and two shorter shields. The ability to raise and lower the windshield while riding (similar to bmw's dresser) enhances both comfort and safety. The fairing, though, takes up plenty of real estate-its wings, which house the mirrors on their rear sides, are more than 45 inches wide.
Victory's usual counterbalancers smooth out virtually all vibration. However, the biggest difference in performance between this chassis and those on the cruisers is the suspension. Though the fork has the same 5.1 inches of travel, the rear suspension offers as much as 1.7 inches of additional travel as well as air adjustability. As a result the vision rides better than any other victory. Big or sharp bumps that would bounce you off the saddle of a Vegas low feel like mild undulations by comparison. The air adjustability means you can adapt to the weight of a passenger and/or luggage.
Of course, the suspension also contributes to the vision's steady, confident handling. The vision Tour we tested is a heavy bike at about 900 pounds (depending on options) full of fuel, but you don't feel that weight as much at low speed as you might expect. The vision Tour, which includes the 40-pound trunk, feels a bit ponderous below 20 mph, more so than the Electra glide or gold wing. I briefly rode a vision street, which doesn't have the standard trunk (it's an option), and removing that weight from high and rearward on the machines makes a noticeable difference at low speeds, up to about mph.
The Tour was easy enough to manage at creeping speeds, when clutch action and steering lock are paramount. Once you are moving above approximately 20 mph, though, the vision Tour handles quite nicely, steering predictably and tracking steadily whether straight or turning, fast or slow, smooth or bumpy.steering effort is modest, because victory resisted any temptation to use the 250-series rear tire that creates steering issues on some of its cruisers in favor of a 180/60-16 dunlop radial. Cornering clearance is much greater than that of any other victory and also better than the gold wing or Electra glide, even though the saddle is fairly low.
If the 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust...
If the 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust doesn't get you noticed, a "performance" version is available.
The fuel filler cap is hidden...
The fuel filler cap is hidden under the right front panel over the faux tank.
Acres of room on those foot-long...
Acres of room on those foot-long floorboards.