Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Victory demo ride

A few days ago, I received an email invitation to go for a spin on a new Victory at the local dealer as part of their annual demo ride day. Almost immediately, I called them and booked my ride on the 1731cc (106 cubic inches) Victory Jackpot. I would have preferred the Hammer, but that bike was already booked solid. Oh well, the Jackpot is a nearly identical bike.

Now, these giant, custom-style cruiser muscle bikes aren't exactly my style, but who am I to turn down an offer to ride a $22,000 motorcycle?

2010 Victory Jackpot

Here I am filling out the evaluation form after the ride.
Yes, it scored high points but I cannot afford one.

After the 30 minute ride, there were a couple of "no shows" for the next scheduled ride group, so I went again -- on the Victory Hammer!!

2010 Victory Hammer

These things have monstrous torque. They share the same fuel injected engine, and both have a fat, meaty 250 mm rear tire. The Hammer has a slightly steeper rake, more "sporty" suspension with upside down forks, and a smaller diameter front wheel. These are veritable hot rod muscle bikes, similar to 1960's American V8 muscle cars.
My overall impressions: the engines are very powerful and haul ass like a freight train. The fuel injection was really, really nice. The transmissions are very precise and extremely solid gearboxes. I half expected them to shift like an old John Deere tractor, but I was waay wrong. These were best working gearboxes I've ever had the opportunity to shift. The Hammer's front suspension was definitely a little firmer, and the seat may have been less comfortable than that of the Jackpot, otherwise, both bikes were very similar. Top speed must be pretty good on these bikes: cruising on the highway at 120 km/h and it was barely above an idle in 4th gear -- the tranny is a 6-speed (and 6th is a genuine overdrive gear). I imagine you'd proably be doing 140 km/h before you'd consider shifting into 6th.
To choose between the two, I prefer the look of the Hammer but the Jackpot was a little better to ride because I never noticed the front tire jittering in bumpy turns -- in this respect, the Jackpot's front tire felt better planted because the Hammer's forks were so stiff the tire felt like it wasn't making solid contact. What really blew me away: all Victory bikes come with a 5-year, unlimited mileage warranty !!!  Holy shite! No other bike manufacturer even comes close to that. I figure they must be good if they're willing to stand behind their product like that.
Hawt fookin' bikes, for sure. Will I buy one? Maybe if I win the lottery. If I were seriously in the market for a big low-rider cruiser though, I would definitely be considering a Victory. For now, my DR is a pile of fun and way more versatile.