Why I Ride a Victory Ness Vision - I have been riding for over 35 years both professionally and for recreation, almost all of those miles have been on Harley Davidsons of one type or another. In late 2009 I decided that I wanted a new bike. I naturally headed to the closest HD dealership where I had ...
Why I Ride a Victory Ness Vision - I have been riding for over 35 years both professionally and for recreation, almost all of those miles have been on Harley Davidsons of one type or another. In late 2009 I decided that I wanted a new bike. I naturally headed to the closest HD dealership where I had purchased many bikes in the past. I tried the HD touring line-up. They were good product, if not a little small in cockpit size for me. I have never owned a HD that didn't leave me stranded on the roadside with a major engine failure such as; valves hanging up, rocker assemblies disintegrating, con rods blasting free of the crankshaft or literally blowing up. I had become used to the challenges and engine rebuilds associated with owning a HD and become complacent I guess. I still thought I might purchase the 2009 CVO Screaming Eagle Road Glide however. They enjoyed the newer frame design which is a big step in ridability and safety, more on that later. In any case I began to look at other brands just for fun. I wanted a full touring bike this time around. I tried the BMW RT and LT, the Kawasaki Concours, looked at the Goldwing, Suzuki, Yamaha, and even the now extinct Buell. All were great bikes, but each left me wanting more. More usually meant larger sized cockpit, longer wheelbase and generally more comfort for the long hauls. The BMWs are great bikes, just a little restrictive for my frame. I found my knees locking up after only one hour of riding. The Goldwing is a superb bike and deserves honorable mention, but again, it forced me to have my legs in an uncomfortable riding position and unable to move them around much during the ride. What with having to open air vents on the dash for fresh air, it made me feel I was riding a car. The Far East brands were solidly built, but for me, were missing that special something that I had become accustomed to riding the big HD V twins for so many years. Fortunately for me I stumbled on to a local Victory dealership in the same mall as a HD store I was trying bikes out at. I had only seen a street & tour Vision once in Las Vegas on a fly and ride earlier in the year. They both looked strange to me, but were also handsome in a very unique way. I rode a Vision for one day and then the HD Road Glide the next. Night and day experiences. One felt a bit awkward with old design and other than style, left me wanting. Snap forward a few months as I walked into a Victory store in the Vancouver area. I was greeted by a young man who seemed to be in no hurry to sell me a bike. He asked about my riding experience and immediately offered a test ride on the demo tour Vision. He wanted to show me a thrilling local ride by leading me on a Hammer. I agreed and followed him around some great twisters for 30 minutes. He finally stopped and said, I cannot believe it, that Vision kept up with me no matter what I threw at it! I did not enlighten him on my professional riding experience, thinking it will make a great story for him as he sells Visions to others. He allowed me the courtesy to take the big Vision for a couple of hours on my own. At 170 KMH the bike was rock solid, even as I allowed my hands to hover just off the grips! My experience with all my HD FLH (touring) products was anything over 130 KMH I felt the dreaded slow wobble associated with the pre-2009 (new frame) models which always left me feeling that at those higher speeds there was imminent danger pending. The ride continued with many floorboard scrapping turns and sweepers at high speeds. I panic stopped and brought the beast down to a dead stop quickly without any fuss. By the time I returned the bike I knew that I had found what I was searching for. Wild styling aside, the handling, braking (linked), raw power, fair sized saddlebags, overall comfort and relative flick ability of the bike was in a class of its own. I quickly found out that for less than a couple of thousand dollars one could juice the motor (including labor) in the range of 25+ HP. I had always improved the stock motors on all my HDs over the years. Most started out at 70+ HP and ended up at 100+ HP. Great you say, well not so fast. To accomplish significant horsepower increases in a pushrod motor one needs to spend at least $5000.00 and usually quite a bit more for serious number increases. After which the suspension requires upgrades (Gold Cartridge, etc.) and then of course the brakes as well. Before you knew it you could easily reach $10,000.00 in improvements to have a powerful and balanced ride. I began to research the bike further and found that a Ness Signature version was available. It came with so many extras and was so unique, I thought, why not go all the way! I ordered a Ness Vision and had some extras added including motor work, chassis work, and suspension improvements, all for under $4000.00. Needless to say the bike is just what I was after; it is unique enough to stand out in a crowd of usually Harleys variation of FLH Glides, it will leave them in the dust, will out corner them with a flick of the wrist, and maybe most of all, will beckon me to ride on long after my riding buddies need to stop for the day. I have taken several 5000 K+ rides this year down to California, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and all over British Columbia. The bike is so comfortable that I just never seem to want to get off it, even after several 14+ hour days in hot weather. I have to admit I did have the saddle custom fitted for me by a saddle dealer in Washington State, but even so, the bike is simply head and shoulders ahead of my previous experiences in comfort and at so many other levels. The Ness Vision draws many compliments from folk on the road. I have become accustomed to travelers asking if they can take a photo of the bike. Recently in Montana, a group of HOG Club riders from Barcelona, Spain were stopped at a gas station in a small town where we pulled into. They were proudly wearing their HOG colours and appeared to be riding rental 2010 Electra Glides. No sooner did we stop that a crowd of the Spanish HOG members cluster around the Ness Vision asking if they could sit on the bike and have their photos taken. It was all a bit embarrassing since this went on for at least five minutes as each took turns admiring and photographing the bike, particularly so because one of my riding buddies had his beautiful new CVO Screaming Eagle Electra Glide parked right behind my ride and no one seemed to notice. I must state unequivocally that I remain a fan of the HD product. I may buy another one day, but not today. I think they are gorgeous bikes that have an established brand, accessory line and service/sales network that are tough to beat. One of the things that caused me pause before purchasing the Ness Vision was the dealer network. I understand that new dealers are coming on line monthly and I was very pleased to see on a recent week long trek that the Victory dealers actually outnumber the HD dealers where I travelled, albeit, they were often smaller and had far less glitzy showrooms. Having said all of that, I have found through research it appears that the Victory dealership locations may not be nearly as important to owners as their bikes enjoy a great track record for durability and quality control. In the end, I am very pleased with my new bike. It does everything I want it to do in a superior manner. Power, ridability, handling, wow factor, and importantly ride and comfort all play significant roles in why I choose a Victory Vision. I will have a difficult time identifying a touring replacement for this bike; it is absolutely great!