In 2006 the Spirit Lake factory confounded their competitors by releasing the Victory Vision, a full blow American tourer to rival anything on the market at the time.
Here we look back at this ground breaking touring bike and check out todays prices on the used market.
Back in 1998 Victory got their start, they had one plan and it was to prove that Americans could design and build the most creative, innovative and forward thinking motorcycles in the world.
All of their bikes were proudly produced in Spirit Lake, Iowa, cementing their American bloodline.
The idea was to firmly have a foot planted in the past, amongst the foundation that American manufacturers like Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycles had built in years gone by. However, the twist was to look to the future, change what was expected out of an American motorcycle and push the boundaries in every which way.
Since their inception Victory had produced big cruiser motorcycles such as the Vegas and the Hammer.
In 2005 Victory were ready to introduce a concept bike, an 800cc parallel twin with a huge bulbous front end that offered storage options.
This was certainly against the status quo of what was expected of American motorcycles at this point, but by 2007 that early concept had turned into the new Vision, a luxury touring bike worthy of challenging the Harley Bagger bikes.
It was offered in two versions, the Victory Vision Tour and the Vision Street.
Instead of an 800cc parallel twin, the new Victory Vision had the same big Freedom 106 V twin as used in the Vegas and Vegas Jackpot. This was quite a diversion from the original concept but it was a welcome one, as the Vision went on to become a legendary American tourer cemented in motorcycle history.
Let’s get into the details.
Victory Vision Review
The previous Victory motorcycles were factory custom cruisers to the extreme and they were backed by quality engineering and design.
Iconic motorcycle custom builders Cory and Arlen Ness had teamed with the company back in 2003 to produce the Ness Signature Series bikes based on the Vegas model initially. This partnership would continue for many years and would see the Ness Father and Son put their hands on several of Victory’s models to produce limited edition runs.
Victory could have sat on their laurels and enjoyed their success with their cruisers but instead they stepped into the world of touring motorcycles and did so with one giant leap.
Engine and Transmission
Usually the best place to start with any American motorcycle worth its salt is the V twin engine, and that is certainly applicable with the Vision.
Victory equipped the bike with the huge, thunderous 1,713cc/106-cubic-inch Freedom V twin. A powerplant that could produce 92 horsepower and a huge 147 Nm of torque. The idea was that it would be a smooth engine like all the best tourers with smooth power delivery and grunt in all the right places.
It was an air and oil cooled lump which gave it excellent temperature management abilities and cooling properties. The 6 speed transmission meant you had the 6th cruising gear for when you just wanted to sit back and clock up the miles under your wheels on the highway from state to state.
Perhaps the best thing about the Freedom 106 motor is the noise it makes, it likes to be heard. Think classic muscle cars that get your heart racing, this is one the instance where I would tell you to leave the reasonably quiet stock pipes alone and just listen to the roaring noise.
Below 3,500rpm it is mild mannered, well-behaved, calm and pleasant to just cruise along, after all that is what it is built for. However, nearing the peak horsepower and over 80mph it is an untamed stallion that wants to just keep going.
It won’t scare you with its acceleration or break your neck at peak speed but it just keeps going, with more than enough of everything to get you past cars at lights and on twisty roads.
This is an engine that will carry you, your partner and all your luggage including the kitchen sink and maybe towing a camping set up if you choose; there will be no noticeable change in performance or power. Surely, that is the mark of a brilliant big V twin?
The transmission is smooth, slick, even clutchless upshifts are possible if that is your thing.
There is a definite clunk to access each gear which reminds you that you are riding a very American built V twin, this isn’t a negative thing, but rather a reminder that you are mounted on top of raw power in its finest form.
The final belt drive is a bonus, keeping things low maintenance and it is carbon fiber reinforced for that reassurance of quality and longevity.
Chassis, Suspension, Brakes, Handling
So we know the engine was well built and up to the task, but what about the rest of the bike?
This is a touring machine built for long rides, there is no doubt about it that Victory went out of their way to ensure that long trips would be a breeze on the Vision.
Steering is very light which isn’t what you expect, the fairing is mounted to the forks (so the bars have no weight on them), this is great unless you are in high winds then it might feel like the steering is a bit too light.
In a straight line the Vision is as stable as a motorcycle can get, but it also surprises in the corners and bends, turning in and out easily with a lot more clearance than you would anticipate.
The engine performance obviously aids with the bikes manoeuvrability through bends, as the torque is spread for you to twist the throttle and it will straighten you back up.
Brakes are perfectly good enough to bring the heavy bike to a standstill and the anti-lock braking system is a big blessing as the rear brake is actually the stronger option.
One downside was that the tires the bike came with were pretty basic (Dunlop Elite III) and not really up to the task of tackling wet weather. They were made of hard compounds to endure the weight of the Vision and long distances but in poor conditions they were pretty poor themselves. This is something that riders can quite easily switch out though for personal preference.
Styling, Comfort and Features
Victory split the vision into two distinct versions the Street and Tour.
Both the Victory Vision Tour and Street have more in common than they don’t when it comes to features:
26.5″ seat height
Feet forward, bars stretch back, comfortable riding position
Ergonomic seats for rider and pillion
Adjustable windscreen and wind deflectors
Integrated tech system, GPS, Audio including MP3 support
Heated seats and heated grips
(not all of these were as standard, but all were optional extras and some like the reverse gear were added as the production years went on)
It is safe to say the Vision was an extremely comfortable machine, a motorcycle that riders would love to spend hours riding and exploring. The seat is enormous and offers excellent support for both rider and passenger, at the time it set a new standard for seat comfort as it was padded up to 4 inches.
Imagine a Lazy-E boy chair fitted with an engine, that is kind of like riding this Victory. Your legs are sprawled out in front, with floorboards for plenty of movement and adjustment as you ride along and the handlebars come back to meet you so there is little stretching that needs to be done.
There is one issue and that is that the size of the Vision, it may not be suited to riders of a smaller stature, not only is it really heavy but ergonomics wise it is very big and spacious.
The Vision was equipped with everything a good long distance touring motorcycle needed and more, there was no question about the features that Victory had employed to make the Vision the ultimate tourer.
As for the bikes styling and features, there is no question that the Victory Vision was ahead of its time, pushing the limits of tradition; it is more like a spaceship or a rocket than a traditional motorcycle, a serious head turner.
I would argue that the latest Honda Goldwing has taken a few pointers in terms of styling from the Vision. Some may question if the Victory was a Harley Davidson knock off or wannabe but it steered its own course and remains a one off.
Victory Vision Performance
The Vision inspires this kind of wild eyed fascination from just about everyone you encounter, and for that reason alone it has value. But there is also that engine, the feeling of luxury, and the promise of covering countless miles of road.Ride Apart’s Chris Cope
Chris noted that the controls and buttons for some of the electronic aids were in annoying positions, he was not a fan of the Dunlops and he couldn’t figure out how to make the mirror adjustments. On the whole though he wrote a love letter to the Vision impressed with the engine, the comfort, the final finish and overall impact it had just parked up on the side of the road.
I think this is a fair assessment of the motorcycle as a whole.
MCN also rated the Vision 5/5 stars with the Owner’s reliability rating also hitting 5/5 stars.
The Victory Vision range remained in production until Victory’s fall, when parent company Polaris shifted their focus on to Indian Motorcycles instead. The fact the model remained in production suggests it was a winner and the way the press and public still speak about the Vision cements this idea.
Victory Vision Specs list
Engine and Transmission
Engine – 4 stroke, 50 degree V twin, SOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, self adjusting cam chains and hydraulic lifters
Capacity – 1,731cc
Bore x Stroke – 101 x 108mm
Compression Ratio – 9.8:1
Cooling System – Air/oil cooled
Starting – Electric
Induction – Electronic fuel injection with 45mm throttle bodies
Transmission – 6 speed
Final Drive – Carbon fiber reinforced belt
Clutch – Wet, multi-plate
Max Power – 92 horsepower
Max Torque – 147 Nm
Top Speed – 130mph
Chassis and Dimensions
Front Suspension – 43mm inverted cartridge telescopic fork
Rear Suspension – Single mono-tube gas forged and cast aluminium
Front Brakes – 2 x 300mm floating rotor discs 3 piston caliper
Rear Brakes – Single 300mm floating rotor disc, 2 piston caliper
Dry Weight – 365kg/852lbs
Fuel Capacity – 22.7 liters
Victory Vision Variants
There were a few different variants of the Victory Vision aside from the two initial releases of the Vision Tour and Street.
Victory Vision Tour
Suited to long distance, regular, 2-up touring
a huge 6750 cubic inches of storage
Victory Vision Street
Suited to ocassional long distance, solo touring but with the option to carry a passenger
3750 cubic inches of storage space
Vision Street Premium
Same as base Street with upgraded Audio system, Power windshield, heated grips and seat, HID headlight, billet wheels, more chrome and cruise control all as standard.
Vision Tour Comfort
All Premium features included but individual heated seats and grips for rider and passenger
Vision Tour Premium
Inclusive of all the features included on the Street Premium
Vision Arlen Ness
There were several limited edition Arlen Ness Vision models that were customised from the original bikes.
Vision Tour 10th Anniversary Edition
Limited edition model that celebrated the birth of Victory motorcycles, with all the fancy trimmings of the Premium model and then some.
Based on the Street, the Vision 8-Ball was an aggressive, blacked out version of the bike with a lower seat.
Buying a Victory Vision
In the UK you will be looking to pay around £10,000-£13,000 depending on the condition, model, year and mileage. I wouldn’t be put off by a high mileage for a motorcycle like this though, it’s built to eat up mile after mile of highway.
In the US prices start at $6,000 and go up to around $14,000.
There are more options in the US for sale than in the UK and you stand a higher chance of picking up a limited edition model if that is something you are interested in.
Restoring a Victory Vision
There shouldn’t be many Vision’s in need of full restoration just yet as they aren’t quite old enough. Some may need a bit of work and tidying up however, and you can pick them up reasonably in the US particularly.
Once you are done fixing it up, you will be left with an extremely good touring bike at a better price than almost any other big tourer you can think of.
Parts are easier to find in the US than the UK, which means for the Brit’s prices are higher if you need specific parts. The best thing to do is make a list of everything you need and import them all in one go if possible.
It is possible to make a few dollars by fixing up a Vision, as the price range varies a fair bit.
Does the Vision make a good investment?
The Victory Vision is a motorcycle that changed the way that riders viewed touring cruisers. It is without a doubt one of the most innovative, futuristics V twins we have ever seen. If you compound this with the fact that Victory no longer exists as a company I would expect that the Vision is a good investment and at some point down the line will likely be worth a fair bit of money. After all, not much can beat an awesome American built touring motorcycle right?
If I was in the market for a luxury touring bike, and could physically manage the size and weight of the Vision, I would not hesitate.
These motorcycles were built to be ridden far and wide and to make a very public stand, that Victory Motorcycles were never going to conform to convention.