Well, it has been a long cold winter, but spring has sprung! To kick off the spring riding season, I took a day off work and visited the Victory Demo Tour that stopped in Louisville, Kentucky at Yamaha of Louisville.
|My Favorite of the Day!|
I have attended many Harley Demo Days and sampled just about every Harley-Davidson, so I thought I would try a wide array of bikes to get a feel for the 2013 Victory line of motorcycles. I have heard many good things about these American made motorcycles, but have not had much opportunity to try them out yet, so this was a great chance to see what they had.
|Victory Demo Tour at Yamaha of Louisville|
|2013 Victory Vegas 8-Ball|
I started out with their most affordable bike, the Victory Vegas 8-Ball. At $12,499 this bobber style bike is equipped with the same 106 cubic inch (1,731 cc) displacement engine as all the other bikes. It doesn’t matter which bike you choose in the Victory line-up, you get the same engine and transmission in every bike. The Vegas 8-Ball fit my 5 foot 6 inch frame (29 inch inseam) from an ergonomics standpoint, the best of any of the Victory bikes. It has a very low seat height of 25.2 inches, making it easy to handle. The light (638 pounds) weight of this bike makes the power come alive and the acceleration is tremendous. To me, it rides, handles, and accelerates like the Harley-Davidson Street Bob ($12,999).
I tried the new 2013 Victory Boardwalk next. This classic styled bike at $15,499.00, is a beach cruiser style reminiscent of the Harley-Davison Softail Deluxe ($17,399.00). This bike was more comfortable with it’s large floorboards and very comfortable seat (25.9 inch seat height), but the wide forward reach to the beach bars, and the limited cornering clearance left me uncomfortably leaned forward, and grinding parts on the pavement at every tight turn. With those limitations said, the Boardwalk was just fun to ride, comfortable in every way except for the reach to the handle bars. I could see buying this bike and being very happy after replacing the handlebars. Taller, longer armed riders might be more comfortable with it the way it is.
|2013 Victory Cross Country|
The Victory Cross Country, $18,999.00, was next. A clear challenge to the best selling Harley-Davison Street Glide ($19,799.00). Victory has a winner with this bagger, with a low seat height of 26.3 inches, great handling, lot’s of storage, and all-day comfort! This would be my bike of choice if the Cross Country Tour model didn’t offer even more to tempt me away.
The Victory Cross country Tour, $22,499.00, was my favorite. Equivalent to the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited ($24,199.00) this bike offers most everything (no heel shifter) the H-D offers, but at a lower price and with some extras thrown in (like a heated seat). It was a cool, breezy day for the demo ride, and I was in absolute comfort on the Cross Country Tour. The bike comes standard with heated grips and heated seats. The wind protection on this bike was amazing. It is the only bike that I have ridden that I sat in an absolute pocket of still air, with absolutely no helmet buffeting at all. The comfort of this bike on a cool breezy day sold me on it. I do a lot of interstate riding, and I have no doubts that I could ride this bike all day long in comfort, and it has the same low seat height, 26.3 inches, as the regular Cross Country. I would need the H-D Electra Glide Ultra Limited lowered in order to gain the same flat-footed seating position. The engine pulse of the counter-balance Victory engine is pleasant and muted. It likes to rev and feels smoother at higher rpm’s. No need for quick shifts on these bikes, you can wind it up with no complaint from the engine, which adds to the fun. All in all, this was my favorite bike and one I would be very happy to own and ride.
|2013 Victory Vision Tour|
The last bike I tried, was the Victory Vision Tour, $20,999.00. There is no comparable bike to this model (although with a frame mounted fairing I guess you could compare it to a H-D Road Glide Ultra, $22,799.00), with what some call a design reminiscent of a space ship that leaves no room for indecisiveness, you either love it, or you hate it. I personally do not like the look of the bike, but I wanted to try it out to see how it compared to the CCT. The Vision has a Cadillac like ride, ultra-smooth, ultra-comfortable, easy, and confidence inspiring for a large bike. I really enjoyed the ultra-smooth ride. I have absolutely no doubt that you could ride this bike all day long and still be ready for more miles, but surprisingly the wind protection is not nearly as good as on the CCT, and the CCT has more storage capacity as well. No matter how good it rides, the design of the bike is so radical that it either appeals to you or it doesn’t. After riding it, I can certainly see why some, including the legendary Sonny Barger, have chosen this bike as their own.
Victory Motorcycles, in 15 years, has created an American made, air and oil cooled bike, that is beginning to draw some riders away from Harley-Davidson. Harley-Davidson is celebrating their 110th year anniversary this year, and without a doubt they are an American icon. Victory is appealing to riders who value modern automotive technology and reliability brought to motorcycles. Harley-Davidson has classic styling, a distinctive engine pulse, and of course, the classic Harley-Davidson sound. You just have to weigh what you feel is more important to you personally. I suggest you visit the demo tour and try a variety of bikes. Like me, you might be surprised by what bike you enjoy riding the most.
Both Victory and Harley-Davidson are great American made bikes and it is nice to have a choice. With Polaris buying Indian Motorcycles it will be really interesting to see where the American made motorcycle market goes from here!