Mike Chesney called Monday and asked if we would be interested in riding the Vision to Colorado picking up the bike in Park City Utah. This was the opportunity of a life time and I jumped on it and any hurdle that came my way to make it happen. I work for a rather large corporation, luckily my boss is a motorcyclist and knew and appreciated the opportunity I was being given and helped clear the way for me. Dee and I packed and were on a plane Thursday…the bike had to be delivered to a Colorado Dealer by Saturday. Simply we had one day to ride the bike to Colorado during the Sturgis migration…THAT was awesome!
The first task was getting our bags that we flew with packed into the Vision Streets saddle bags. My first thought was we would have to ship things back from Park City as all visual indications were we had too much stuff. I started with things I new we needed Rain gear, glasses, etc,, Very quickly though I found I did have enough space for the curling iron, toiletries and all the clothes she brought. The bags truly are deeper than they look and we had room to spare.
Our first stop was Heber City Utah to top off the tank as we received the Vision with only 3/8 of a tank. We spent a few minutes trying to figure out how to open the access lid to the filler cap. It’s actually easy as you take the key and click it to the unlock mark in the ignition. We simpletons were looking for a button. This was also the first encounter with the public as immediately two gentlemen stopped us to ask twenty questions about the bike, who makes it and where, and how appealing it was visually. We Victory owners already know these conversations drag into a 20 minute or greater delays on any trip. We eventually ended the conversation shook hands and made our way east.
We were greeted with a light rain going through the Wasatch mountain range, immediately BadnBlack flicks the heated seat controls as we climbed to elevation and the temperatures dropped into the low to mid 60’s. This is also where I learn of my first request of a design change from the Victory Engineers…..move the drivers heated seat control to where only the driver can reach it! This would later raise the roost as she would flick it on when the sun was beaming down on us and I would have to request again and again to have her shut it off which by then became a control point for her. Truly the heated seats work very well and bring a great deal of comfort when the temperatures drop. The bike was also equipped with heated grips however I did not use them as they were only in my control and there was never the need.
The instrumentation is easy to read and very intuitive. The menu controls is within easy reach on the left control (clutch side) and can be depressed by my index finger. You scroll through the menu with each bump of the button which gives you all the information you will ever need with two trip odometers, fuel used, mileage per gallon based I assume on my riding style, temperature, direction and so on. I can’t say spent a great deal of time learning all the ins and outs as that wasn’t what I was after.
The mirrors while great for seeing behind you also give you a great view of your fists in the wind. I would say it’s more of an annoyance than anything else you quickly learn to view just enough of the mirror you need to see what’s coming from behind. I can’t explain it any other way than your ability to tune out your wife’s or my wife’s tenth request to remove the trash when I am focused else where. If you’re married which I assume you are reading about the Vision and the demographic that finds this bike appealing to should be able to relate with.
Ergonomically the bike is set up almost perfectly for my stature with a few tweaks it will be perfect, ample leg room for my ride to stretch out my 34 inseam and the bars exactly where they need to be with out feeling stretched or cramped in either direction across the chest or from shoulder to hands. I can’t say I can easily reach all the controls on the premium package Vision I was riding when it comes to the paddles though. I am referencing the cruise controls on the right and the audio controls on the left. The first set of rocker switches is easy enough to get to, however the second and third rows in are not within reach of my small hands. It’s a lie actually as hands have nothing to do with the other body member …..
Our first stop was not for fuel but to let Bad (Dee) hit the head and grab a quick snack. I don’t drink coffee so a Full Throttle was in order and some beef jerky also know as a bikers breakfast. Dee and I have these cheap MP3 players with our personal selections of music and plugged one in to see if it would work which it did. A note to you the reader is that you will need to find and adjust the volume on your MP3 player and the bike stereo to find a perfect balance for those audiophiles that listen to music and ride. While we were finishing our breakfast we were past by some of the first of many brand x faithful who all pointed and\ waved as they passed us standing next to the Vision. They passed and we got our gear on and made our way back on to highway 40. The cruise control on this stretch of highway was a welcome amenity as we closed in on our next target Vernal Utah. Man we caught those other bikes in a hurry and jumped in the back of the pack. We were there for 20 minutes before they had to pull off to refuel as we continue on through Vernal and closed on the Colorado and Utah state line.
The remarkable thing about the Vision is that you can be simply thinking you’re cruising along on the highway and look down to realize you’re running at 90 mph. The bike doesn’t labor to get there and gives no indication as she glides along the highway to let you know your actual speed. I can see I will need to look down more often as Dee gets my attention by punching me in the side of my ribs to point out how fast we were going which now was 100 MPH and climbing! This wasn’t the first bruise I would get for the day either.
I would like to point out here that the windshield was up to its highest point and Dee is and has been completely sheltered from the wind generated by our …progress or speed, needless to say if she didn’t feel anything, neither did I. Victory did a fantastic job moving the wind around you as a rider or riders. I would like to mention though that being so isolated has its down falls as well as we continued through high noon and the sun at peak over our heads. We wear leather gloves and it is hear I notice that my hands are warm and typically since they are breathable gloves I would be comfortable with my hands on the controls of my Vegas. In the Vision your don’t get the wind rushing across your gloves at mid day and you have to reach out quite a ways to get them to cool off from the flowing air. So here is my second request to the Victory design team….I need a deflector to bounce air back into the cockpit. I thought I would never say it but I am!
Finally we hit the state line and pull over to get pictures of Dee and I which we do of every state line we break. There is another group there of riders heading to Sturgis and we get an opportunity to talk and answer questions. Needless to say you can break up those riders into two groups the traditionalist and the open minded rider. The traditionalist in this group stood back and said nothing as the other three stepped forward and asked 20 questions and were genuinely interested in the Vision. Again we talked for 20 minutes or more before shaking hands wishing each other well and continuing our separate rides. I love these encounters to share my experience and spread the word about Victory…..whoooaa that reads like I am a disciple for a religious group….ahhh I will leave it in as Victory has become a way of life for us. Before any Christians get bent we do attend church and I know the big guy takes care of us in all matters.
We continue on through Colorado and skies are beginning to thicken and darken as we move deeper and deeper into our home state. We stop to take photos in Maybell of the Vision in front of the Victory Hotel. This is where the V2V which is a relay ride across America stopped earlier this year and we found it a appropriate photo opportunity. Oneta came out to greet us and snap the shot. She was very enthusiastic and made us feel at home instantly. Its no wonder the VMC selected to make this a stop on the way! We made our well wishes and look forward to seeing her again as we continued east. I can’t say that the ride from Maybell to Craig to SteamBoat Springs is all that challenging but it did give us a opportunity to bank a few more corners and climb and drop in altitude. It was a blast riding the Vision as you bank her in a long sweeping turn. Its here though I notice and learn to appreciate that the windshield moves down or below my line of sight.
The banks and up and down nature of the road put the windshields edge which by the way is slightly beveled directly in my line of sight and distorted my vision, quickly remedied by lowering the windshield. Did I mention yet I love this bike! Thumbs up from a rider to all the designers and builders for a well thought out and executed vision.
Lunch finally in Steamboat Springs where again we stop and get an opportunity to share with the public a first hand account of the bike. Oneta pointed out Steamboat was having their annual Wine Festival….so potential riders and entusiasts were quick to stop and talk about the bike and listen to our account. I want to point out here that my local Harley friends always make fun of me as a Zima drinker vs their beer drinking ways. I always reply with the same that you could afford the Zima if you hadn’t spent your hard earned money on a Harley their clothes and the repairs… I am certain this part of the article will never make the main stream no matter how honest it is as the green eyed monster they display makes its way to the surface.
Lunch is done and again we wish all well and make our way west looking for the pass markers now that the road truly got interesting with tighter turns and higher climbs and drops. Fantastic is what I will say about the Vision no matter what you throw at her she glides and builds your confidence to do more. The roads out here in Colorado especially on hard corners tend to build a washboard surface with ripples in the pavement with all the traffic that pass over time and constant climate and temperature changes. Left unattended to they can really disrupt and shake a bike and in turn a rider’s confidence to negotiate the turn.
The Visions suspension truly glides over them leaving the rider with a new respect for the machine even though the surface is clearly rough. Regardless of how I planted the Vision in a turn she stayed planted and allowed me to carved the turn with my confidence being built more and more as each is passed. You can keep this bike banked and still feel the road underneath you pass isolated from the harshness of the surface but enough to tell you when the surface banks in a different camber. Truly I can’t put the experience in words you have to feel it first hand to appreciate it.
Now with Rabbit ears and Muddy pass behind us the highest climb of the day was just ahead. I thought for sure the best experience of the day would have to wait for another day as the skies now a very familiar black and it moderately raining we pulled over to dawn the rain gear on. Glad we brought them, we made a quick change into the rain gear at the base of Berthoud pass and allowed the oil to clear from the road. We didn’t have to wait long as we mounted back up and again Dee hit the seat warmers. I asked Dee what she thought about her experience as usually she pilots her own 8ball. She stated she loved the seat and her only future request was to have the tour pack on so she can lean back on it. She loved it to this point! We made our way about half way up when I had to put the windshield all the way down because of the accumulation of water on the glass and my inability to be comfortable to have water droplets in my line of vision. I tend to focus on the wrong thing, go figure I have no problem looking past a bug that just smacked the windshield but find myself affixed to water? I get a poke in the ribs which by now were sore from Dee requesting that I put the shield back up as she now is experiencing the winds….funny now we are arguing as I can’t see and she is having to deal with a little wind. Maybe it was a bit brisk however I was fine from where I was sitting….its here you also appreciate the positives of being isolated from the elements and my hats off to the Victory engineers. We continued with the windshield down and continued as if it were dry banking the Vision to each corner as we climbed and descended into the valley where would get onto I 70 into Denver. The vision didn’t waver in the rain and kept me dryer and warmer through the elements here in Colorado than I had ever been all the while continuing to build my confidence on rain filled roads and sharp corners of Berthoud pass.
The rest of our descent toward Denver and home was un-event full. Yes it rained, yes the windshield stayed down and we remained dry as the rain lightened up about Morrison and completely stopped by Littleton as we took 470.
We entered our subdivision and where we passed my Harley friends all doing their own thing, cutting grass, cleaning their cars working in the garage or sitting on the porch husbands and wives catching up on the weekends events. Mike who is a street glide owner had just brought home a new camping trailer and was cleaning and prepping it in front of his house. Needless to say we rolled in and the neighborhood came to a stand still as we rolled by toward our house.
Dee had another pit stop to make so that came first! I love marriage and the whole give and take, timing is everything. As soon as she was done we rolled back down and parked in front of Mikes house in front of his new trailer. I wish I had brought the camera as they all rolled out and gathered around the Vision.
You have to understand I live in a community of bikers and the only Victory’s in my immediate neck of the woods belong to Dee and I. I get the ribbing all the time so I expected some from those that were still here and not on the way to Sturgis, which is most, because they have younger families not because they didn’t want to be there its because they put family first. What surprised me from the neighbors was they all swung a leg, compared and had all positive comments about the layout and design from a true rider’s perspective. What amazed and stands out the most was when Wright said “I intended to but a new Street Glide however now was going to wait for a Vision” after seeing the Vision first hand and listening to our experience!
Finally this bike is full of contradictions….you see it and you think you know it and it completely surprises you with the unexpected. You can call it what ever you wish however from this rider’s experience I call it a complete well thought out and soon to be my ride! All that is left is to sleep if I can, wash it in the morning and deliver it to Grand Prix a local dealer in Colorado, which will be the hardest experience to do, turn over the key to a new rider and not keep this new secret all to myself. Letting the riding public continue to think the old preconceived notion of what a touring bike is and how it will handle based on what you see or in other words continue to be prejudice. Its great to be an American isn’t it!
See ya on the road! John & Dee