In a similar way, 98 other motorcyclists got an email from Victory Motorcycles presenting them with the right to own a piece of history. They, too, had won a lottery - to be able to purchase one of only 100 Victory Vision 10th Anniversary units produced to mark Victory motorcycle’s tenth model year (tenth year in production.) I say 98 riders because Victory motorcycles kept a bike for itself and master builder Arlen Ness got his mitts on one too. Playing fair and remaining a down-to-earth company, Victory itself pulled randomly from the list of units - no preferential treatment – and landed unit #67. The always-coveted #1 and #100 bikes went to good ol’ common folk riders just like you!
Being a member of the press, I got my ride without any banking transactions (whew!), but that didn't deflate my excitement to see the rest of the owners recently gathered at the VIP & VRA (Victory Rider Assoc.) parties held in Daytona Beach this year during Bike Week 2009. Along with some 20 Anniversary bikes, 45 owners of the limited-edition bike and nearly 500 attending Victory owners, MO’s EiC Kevin Duke and myself joined a few of the festivities.
At the invite-only dinner, Anniversary bike owners were wined, dined and presented with a tour of the Vision’s design conception by Greg Brew, the Director of Industrial Designs for all of Polaris Industries (Victory’s parent company). Putting faces to names you see in the VRA newsletter, Lead Industrial Designer for Victory, Mike Song and the legendary but humble, newly-crowned VP of Motorcycles Mark Blackwell, were also in attendance for questions, salutations and good old-fashioned beer drinking – this is Bike Week after all!
Swapping road stories over steaks with VRA members at the Daytona Beach Hilton, the community built around this limited motorcycle is tighter than your average PTA. Excited to share ownership experiences, we reveled in owners’ purchasing experiences, tales of “Double-Vision sightings” (there's at least two households that own two Visions!) and shared photo opportunities with customizer extraordinaire Arlen Ness and his further-customized Anniversary bike.
In addition to the exclusive club dinner, attending members of the VRA gathered at a ride-in luncheon on the famous Daytona Beach boardwalk. Victory riders from all over the nation gathered to create a never-seen-before (and perhaps never again) collection of Anniversary bikes, more than 5 million cubic centimeters of Victory history. The gathering glimmered like a sea of chrome and horsepower!
Above and beyond the Freedom 106ci power plant and the ahead-of-its-time styling of the Victory Vision Street and Tour, the limited-edition Anniversary bike includes everything Victory has to offer its owners all on one motorcycle. You’ll need a cross-country ride just to test all the goodies found on the loaded Vision. Highlights include a commemorative 1999 V92C Antares red-and-black paint scheme with a golden pinstripe, an electronically adjustable windscreen, a reverse gear, a CB, and a premium chrome package that might make you wonder if you need to stop at highway weight scales.
For incurable wandering souls, the included Tourtech dash-mounted and Bluetooth-enabled GPS is pre-populated with over 400 Victory dealerships across the country – what a good way to start building your t-shirt collection! All those incoming satellite signals will also help you enjoy your journey with uninterrupted toe-tapping beats provided by the integrated XM radio and surround system.
Being the individual you probably are, you’d rather play the music you want to hear. The Anniversary version of the Vision includes the proprietary Apple iPod/iPhone connecting dock. While the standard model Vision has a traditional MP3 mini-pin connector tucked in the fairing-mounted and locking glovebox, the Tenth bike is keen to hip trends thanks to designers that live on the bleeding edge of motorcycle production.
This particular connection allows for controlling access of the Apple product through the bike’s dash and finger controls. The associated in-dash LED displays track titles and album information like you might find in your auto’s CD player. Moto-touring and (insert favorite music) go hand-in-hand like chocolate and pretzels. Making their own blend of tasty goodness, you’ll be lucky to have floorboards big enough for the two-step! For owners not hip to the iPod/iPhone craze, Victory hasn’t forgotten you. The dock connection can easily be swapped out for a traditional mini-pin connection at your dealership.
Wait, There’s More
For those unfamiliar with the Victory Vision in any form (Street, Tour or Anniversary), just imagine a Honda ST1300 and a Vegas Jackpot having a wild night in Las Vegas. Toss in some old-school cruiser ideals with futures yet unseen, and you’ve got a collision of style only Victory can create. Victory’s Brew suggests, “It’s not an everyday motorcycle, it does take some time to get used to [the styling].” The wind-tunneling design mimics sportier touring rides while maintaining that all-important V-Twin heartbeat. In the Anniversary form, this bike is meant for the converted, tried and true Victory fans, and they obviously love it!
Sporting more plastic than anything else in Polaris’ catalog, the Vision is a V-Twin gem wrapped in an ultra-luxury jacket. Blinged out with illuminated and special red-letter badging and floating on top of Dunlop Elite 3 tires spooned on 18 x 3-inch and 16 x 5-inch hoops front to back. Hovering technologies are performed by a traditional 46mm telescopic fork up front with 5.1 inches of travel and the single air-adjustable rear cast mono-shock has 4.7 inches of travel. Included in the owner’s manual kit is a hand pump for adjustments.
Leading the way is an HID headlight system. While the included cruise control keeps the 6-speed overdrive and belt drive buzzing past the mile markers, three 300mm disc brakes keep the craft from unintentionally landing in someone else’s driveway. Two three-piston Victory-Branded Nissin calipers manage the pair of rotors up front while a single 2-piston caliper handles the rear disc.
The stock setting provided a cozy and compliant ride for the 900-ish pound overall weight. That’s a lot of bike to hustle around. Nothing but fun for a good rider saddled on a balanced machine. While not yet tapped out, the harmonic divinity I found while traveling around an indicated 85 mph made my heart smile. With the 6-speed overdrive purring, the wind and music whip up the most perfect perfume.
We’re already familiar with the Vision’s gearbox, stout from bottom to the top, parking lot to highway trot. When put to the test, the Vision Tour eats up the miles with grace. Muscling past the parading masses and loud pipe competitions, Florida’s open highways are where we found the true beauty of the Vision Tour’s belt drive and cast-aluminum framework.
Most controls – like cruise control, stereo, CB and GPS – are within easy reach; only the top-most switches for the heated grips and accessory headlights require a little stretch. Produced by a manufacturer with a constant eye on the future, one switch of the four was left unused for future use. Perhaps Victory has given us the ability to decide for ourselves. What else can the Anniversary Vision need? If Arlen can find something to add to his bike, surely you can too!
Lesser-published goodies included on the Anniversary edition include the tip-to-tail Victory DNA, soft-sided embroidered and removable luggage liners, fairing airflow guides, tail pack interior lighting, passenger-controllable push-to-talk buttons and volume controls, two-position grip warmers and tip-over bumpers.
In MO’s first ride report of the standard Vision Tour Joshua Placa commented that the “baby Boomer-dominated cruiser and luxo-cruiser market … tend[s] to like their creature comforts.” The designers didn’t forget them!
No matter how many counter balancers you add, vibes happen. And for Victory, the learning curve is still on the rise. While bodywork design is world class, the construction has some improving to do. After learning how difficult it was to produce the saddlebag lids, I hesitate to mention the creaky bodywork. Just part of the territory of building a futuristic and forward-looking design wrapped around a traditionally “vibranxious” V-Twin engine. The surprisingly small storage space isn’t compromised in any way, waterproofing is proved by beefy weather-stripping you can see in the photo gallery.
The MSRP on the Anniversary bike starts at $28,999, but it ends there too. Once the lottery-winning buyers were chosen, every single unit produced was sold in just seven minutes! I think Victory only leaves the bike on its website to rub it in. So when you see the 10th Anniversary Vision Tour on display this summer at your local rally, check it out. Take your picture on it, and if you notice the ass-groove in the saddle, it’s my fault, sorry.
Thanks to Victory for the honor to say I rode it!
If you weren’t one of the lucky few to buy a 10th Anniversary bike but still appreciate the brand, you’ll probably be excited to hear that the design crew is hard at work developing not only the CORE concept but also some super-secret stuff that the designers can’t tell us about. When poked, they smile even bigger smiles about the future. Better dig out the sunglasses!