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Motorcycles: Out of Sight

Jeff Buchanan

Victory Motorcycles has introduced an impressive array of big American

cruisers over the past decade; the Hammer, Vegas, and Kingpin bikes each

displayed a fresh design and distinctive flair. Now, on the eve of its 10th

anniversary, Victory has again demonstrated its vision with the release of the

Vision, a futuristic-looking motorcycle that is available in touring or street

models.

The designers and engineers at Victory—which was launched in 1998 by

Minnesota’s Polaris Industries, a maker of snowmobiles and off-road quads—had

been toiling in secrecy for six years, experimenting with the technologies and

innovations that they would incorporate into the Vision.

Victory claims that

extensive market research preceded the project, and that the brand listened to

riders’ requests. “It became apparent that dynamic styling and comfort were

paramount, combined with power, handling, good brakes, and dependability,” says

Victory vice president Mark Blackwell.

The Vision Tour, which has a starting

price of $20,000, has all of those features. Underneath the flowing bodywork is

a sophisticated, forged aluminum, hollow-backbone chassis that draws air

directly into a stalwart Victory Freedom V-twin power plant. The air/oil-cooled,

106 cu in, 1,731 cc engine delivers 92 hp, a stump-pulling 109 ft lbs of torque,

and a ferocious growl—an essential hallmark for an American cruiser. The 6-speed transmission transfers power to the rear wheel through a carbon fiber reinforced

final belt drive. The innovative chassis design incorporates a forged subframe

that provides for the lowest seat height in the touring class—just 26.5 inches

off the ground.

Despite tipping the scales at 849 pounds, the Vision Tour is

surprisingly maneuverable, even at low speed, which usually is the bane of a

heavy cruiser. The Vision’s agility is attributed to its low center of gravity.

The linked brakes assist with stopping, and the rear suspension utilizes an

adjustable mono-tube air shock to offer a comfortable, compliant ride. Although

the Vision is classified as a touring bike, it invites fairly aggressive riding

because of lean-angle capabilities that are as ample as those of the Honda Gold

Wing and BMW LT.

An adjustable windscreen and side deflectors allow you to

tailor the wind flow. The Vision also is equipped with mounting points and

electrical connections to accommodate helmet-based communication devices, a CB

radio, a GPS system, and an iPod. The weatherproof, lockable rear and side

compartments provide 29.2 gallons of storage space. The Vision Tour is available

in Midnight Cherry, Super Steel Gray, or straight black.

Victory Motorcycles, www­.polarisindustries.com

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