Big Bagger Showdown

2011 Victory Vision and Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra
2011 Victory Vision and Harley-Davidson Road Glide UltraPhoto Credit: Motorcycle USA, Ray Gauger

Motorcycle USA has published their head-to-head comparison of the Victory Vision and the Harley Davidson Road Glide Ultra.

Visually, these could not–except for size–be two more different-looking motorcycles. The Road Glide is a blast from the past, showing of the signature Harley-Davidson style that has been little changed since the 1960’s. Some say that’s a bad thing, demonstrating a lack of willingness to push their designs forward from Peter Fonda’s Captain America hippie-era. The Victory Vision, on the other hands, looks as if it comes to us from 40 years in the future, rather than 40 years in the past. Some say that’s a bad thing, too, making the Victory an exceptionally execrable example of Arlen Ness-iness gone wild.

Underneath the looks, however, both of these bikes are designed to do one thing and do it well: eat up the day by effortlessly cruising the highway.

Both bikes have their admirers and detractors, of course, but what’s surprising in the MotoUSA test is that they both do it equally well.  It seems that which bike to prefer really comes down to a matter of taste.  their that closely matched.

Personally, if the day ever comes when I want to dip my toes in the cruiser well, the Road Glide will be my bike of choice.

Sadly, though, if I got rid of my FJR, my inner hooligan would incline me to look for something a little…faster. For instance, I certainly intend to personally test the new BMW K1600GT when it becomes available.

2010 Victory Motorcycles (Updated)

“It’s the mo-o-o-0st wonderful ti-i-i-i-ime of the year!”  It’s not Christmas, though.  It’s the 90 days between now and October, when all of the bike manufacturers begin showing off the new year’s models.  Old friends get a little facelift, and we get introduced to new models that make us drool…or think, “Seriously, what were they thinking?!”

Honda jumped the gun last week with a few bikes that I didn’t really care enough to post about, but today, Victory comes to the table with their whole lineup. As part of that lineup, Victory introduced two new bikes to its touring line, both of which are aimed directly at Harley Davidson customers.

2010 Victory Cross Country
2010 Victory Cross Country

The 2010 Victory Cross Country is the Street Glide analog, with full bags and a fairing with a funky modernistic design that sets it apart from the plain-vanilla bat-wing.  The Cross Roads is a Road King analog, with full bags but no windshield on the stock model.

Both bikes sport the air-cooled Freedom 106 cubic-inch (1731cc) V-Twin engine, and both have the maintenance-free belt drive, and sport a 6-speed transmission.  In addition, both of them use the CORE concept components I wrote about here a little while back.  Also, both the $17,999 Cross Country and $15,999 Cross Roads have 18″ long floorboards, so your feet will be comfy.

The remainder of Victory’s 2010 lineup seems pretty close to what we’ve seen for the last two years, although they’ve switched the….uh…aggressively styled Vision product line around a bit.

2010 Victory Cross Roads
2010 Victory Cross Roads

The two new models, though, seem to aimed at riders who want a big, American V-Twin (even bigger than the MoCo’s), and the same styling features of two of Harley’s most popular bikes, but with a modern twist.  It’s as if Harley Davidson got Arlen Ness to design their new bike lineup.

Now, when it comes to styling, the signature Ness style of flowing lines and tapering points certainly has it’s detractors as well as its fans.  But it seems to be working for Victory.

Even if their engine cylinders do look like kitchen blenders.

UPDATE: Another nice pic of the Cross Roads.

OK, <em>now</em> it looks like a Road King
OK, now it looks like a Road King

And that fairing on the Cross Country isn’t just for show:

On the driver-facing side of the fairing is MFD (multi-function display) instrumentation and the bike’s audio system. The MFD includes an analog speedometer and tachometer, fuel gauge and a battery charge meter. The wealth of data in a digital display panel includes: gear indicator, clock, ride time, odometer, two trip meters and fuel economy information such as current range for the available fuel and current MPG data. A driver scrolls through the data using a trigger switch mounted by the left hand grip. This switch also resets functions such as the trip meters, ride time and clock.

An AM/FM radio is standard on the Cross Country, and the bike can be equipped with an iPod or satellite radio that plays through the bike’s audio system. The audio display screen presents detailed information about the radio station currently playing, or the iPod track name, artist, satellite station and more.

The fairing also accommodates installation of switches controlling accessories such as heated handgrips. These are available from Pure Victory Gear, as are accessories needed to store an iPod in the right saddlebag and play it through the bike’s audio system.

An accessory GPS unit can be mounted on the left handlebar using an accessory ball joint mount, and audio information from the GPS can be fed through the bike’s audio system.

Very nice.