Talk about turning heads! If you don't like attention, this bike is not for you. Like a custom out of the box, this is truly an original. While I purchased this bike about 2 months ago, I specifically waited to write this review to get a good feel of the bike to establish an objective opinion. First of all, I love this web site and reading others reviews. I probably read it weekly. However, I did not want to be one of those folks whom bought their bike that day, put 10 miles on it and portray their ride as flawless and the pedestal of which all bikes are judged. I get excited about my new purchases too, but I choose not to get crazy. Here it is; the bad, and, primarily the good:
Probably the best thing about the 8-ball is that it's a steal. I can't rationally argue with that price for the equipment and engineering that you receive. This is cutting edge technology as opposed to that other American bike maker. I would not be surprised if they up the MSRP for '06 and not change a thing on the bike. And by the way, if you are gawking at 13 grand then you better start looking for used Japanese bikes from the early '90's, because this is the entry price for quality American muscle.
ﾠ ﾠ I will not comment on dealers as they are all different and the quality of a shop is rooted in attitude. Mine happens to be absolutely fantastic but yours might blow. It's the same with any brand.
ﾠ ﾠ Performance out of the 92 ci (that's 1502 cc's for you Canadians, Brits, Ausis) is fantastic. Power is smooth and linear on the Freedom engine, and power drops off just when you were ready to shift anyway. In stock form it is powerful, however there are 2 problems. The bottom line is that the stock exhaust is unacceptable. Here you are riding this magnificent piece of American iron and you sound like a Vespa. Look, I am not one of those types that need to set off car alarms when I pass, but come on. I started my bike for the first time and I thought someone's coffee machine was percolating. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but I was a tad pissed. Secondly, the trademark Victory gear whine was the primary sound, not the exhaust. <br />Good news: All of this silliness was remedied with the Stage 1 kit. Now I scare the crap out of the neighbors at 8am on Sunday. I just don't think you should have to shell out an extra $500 to sound legit after paying 13k for a toy. Like I said, the bike is a steal but to me and Joe 6-pack 13 G's is a lot of scratch....for a toy.
ﾠ ﾠ As far as cruiser standards go, this is a GSX750 as compared to others. At about 640 lbs the Vegas is about 100 lbs lighter than comparable competition, and feels it. It is very light on its feet. Making U-turns on a 2 lane road is no problem. Try doing that on your Fat Boy. Seating on the 8-ball is decent. The padding is marginal but still supportive, and much better than your standard Vegas. Just don't plan on going across the state without stopping, unless you live in Rhode Island. There is room to spread out but for folks 6' and over spend 90 bucks and get the 2" extended controls, they are worth every cent.
ﾠ ﾠ Transmission is cable operated and nothing short of delightful; smooth and clean shifts every time. If you get a false neutral it is because you are too busy watching that babe check you out as you pass. don't feel bad, I am guilty as well.
One of my serious concerns when purchasing this motorcycle was the front 21" wheel. While it was one of the selling points for me due to its beauty, it was also a concern as I wanted to go on long distance jaunts and not want to chase it around the highway at 70+ mph. I am so happy to report that this bike is ROCK SOLID at anything under 85mph. The chassis is tight and controllable with no squeaks or rattles.
ﾠ ﾠ Styling, while subjective, is second to none among 1300+ cc cruisers. There is no mistaking this bike for anything else than a Victory. The ribbed tank and fenders are subtle but so very seductive, and the frenched taillight is incredible. Like I said, it is a custom out of the box. The trouble of it is trying to keep black clean. Good luck to you.
ﾠ ﾠ Overall, the Vegas 8-ball is a brilliant piece of American machinery of which your backside should be proud to reside. When you meet up with HOG riders they smile and give you a thumbs up. As they should.