My Demo Days Experience.
I'm hesitant to post this review not because of anything that polaris, victory, the ***, or the bikes. As most of the guys here are aware, the hardest thing for a man to do is to swallow his pride and admit that he was wrong.
I've been a diehard H-D guy since the first time I threw a leg over a softail custom in 1993. I still remember that first bike, she was an orange on black softail custom and she felt like she'd been molded around my seating position that I adopt at home on my recliner or my couch. After spending time on sportsters and having loved them for their agility and power over the big twins, I tried to do a two up ride with my spouse that listed about 160 miles on a sporty. All I can say is that it didn't end well. We were both literally in agonizing pain and the group we rode with were majority vics with a triumph and 'wing thrown in for good measure. Keeping up was an exercise in futility.
I came here to the forum to educate myself. See, for me acknowledging that anything out there was better than a Harley that WAS NOT Japanese made was impossible. Harley was born in the u.s. it was made for american roads yadda yadda yadda you get the idea. I would've begrudgingly accepted a 'wing so long as it was a year/make/model that was made in marysville ohio. So, when I heard about Victory, I was skeptical.
I initially didn't know a lot about victory since I hadn't heard anything since the v92. They didn't look to me like anything that a Harley guy like me would want, the style was too space agey. So, after coming here, I watched the different models and even chalked up a lot of the opinions (please don't hate me) to japanese motorcycle riders that had never ridden a Harley just Hondas wanting an american made Honda.
So, I was watching the demo tour, and discovered that it was coming to my area yesterday as well as today (Polaris West, Katy Texas) and made a personal mission to see to it that I attended. I lucked out yesterday and got off of work early and showed up to survey the situation. Sure enough, every model is there, got the plans to the route and memorized it. My spouse was at work still so I didn't ride since I wanted her with me.
Fast forward to the day of this posting, and we got up reasonably early and went out to the demo days.
The dealership was very well equipped, they had beverages and catering was done by shipley donuts, subway, and of course, hooters was there with buffalo wings. Allstate was there as was the christian motorcyclist's assoc. and the dealer had a 50% off table.
Well, let's get to the steak-and-mashed-potatoes of what you came to read the test rides. I want to jump forward and let everything out, but I'll just tell it as it happened. Just as we got there, there was a return and load out within minutes. We went ahead and signed up and got a wristband that's similar to what they give minors at the bar to prevent them from drinking underage. With the long ride on my harley still fresh in my mind, I wanted to do comfort. Factoring in for myself and my spouse, we went out on the kingpin. Looking at the seat, I was expecting a bouncing brick similar as to what my h-d would have supplied. I saw the passenger pad and my spouse was giving me "the look". I shrugged and we loaded 2up on the 'pin. I've never ridden a floorboard equipped model, so it took a quick second to make the footing adjustment and off we went.
When we first took off, I fumbled a little bit to locate the shifter and brake pedal. Once I located them, I never forgot their location. I'm accustomed to using ape hangers, so the leverage that the flat bar gave was unexpected but I loved it. I went to stretch out a little bit and my wife (accustomed to a sissy bar) told me in that hissing voice "don't". We started out on a small road leading out of small town u.s.a. and once the building and trees were gone WHAM croswind. It caught the kingpin like a sail. It didn't take long to adjust just not used to compensating for this. We took a shot off of the country road and went onto an overpass going over the interstate and the get up and go going uphill was just amazing. We got over the hump and off we jumped to merge onto 75 mph interstate.
I was expecting the kingpin to be stressed to handle this. No problem whatsoever, I had such a good time in fifth gear that I completely forgot that the pin was a six speed. The time spent on the interstate was just enough for me to slopshift into sixth as we hit the off ramp. I was trying to lug the engine, to bog it down but the pin wasn't giving in. We took off to the edges of Katy for some sweeping country roads (varying in speed from 15-50 mph) and I was just trying to remember the videos from polaris talking about cornering clearance and power to remind myself that YES THE BIKE CAN DO IT.
There was only one complication that came up. As we headed back into Katy, we got stuck at the worlds LONGEST stoplight. My right pelvis got C R A M P and couldn't find a way to relieve it. We made it back to the dealership where we got into formation and did a 180 to the staging area.
Here's my thoughts on the kingpin:
It's a good solid bike. I didn't have anything negative that I can think of, and these are the changes that I would do to make it mine
2 up touring seat
While most of my riding is in town, I do like to hop on the highways and byways and I like having the comfort. We decided to skip one of the rotations to grab some grub and speak with some of the dealership staff. We also enjoyed the air conditioning of the building as well as looking at the other manufacturers there (triumph/suzuki)
Cross Roads Ride
When the next rotation came around, I had intially wanted to grab one with a backrest and floorboards for my spouse, sadly those were gone lightning quick so my choice came down to a hardball or a crossroads (the red unshielded one in the photo) I personally was impressed, I don't know if the gearing is different from the 'pin, but the xr (is that the appropriate abbreviation?) was torquuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy, running at speeds up to 80 mph with no shield was effortless. We entered into the same corners as above and it feels like I could pop that baby into a 50 degree angle turn. I was taking turns at speeds on that xr that my harley could NEVER touch. The ABS was outstanding, the seat was cushier than the seats in my f150. I wanted to try out the cruise control, but I didn't have enough time on the interstate.
The xr was just thought metamorphosed into life. There was no hesitation between what I wanted it to do and bringing it about. My spouse and I were at home. We returned to the dealer and thought about riding a vision, but it was too hard to get into the rotation. We sought out a polaris employee and spoke with him about accessories. We were treated professionally and we went escorted into the dealership. We were shown the full line of accessories for the xr, the fact that we could drop both of our leathers on top of each other, that the trunk could swallow two full face helmets, the saddlebag liners, ipod compatibility.
Here's what impressed me the most, my wife's comfort on a ride supercedes my own. If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. The polaris rep put her on a xc with the backrest (not the trunk, the actual sissybar) and once she was able to get herleg thrown over, she sat down and two words came out of her mouth that I've only heard her say once before "Momma Likey". Her big complaint with our h-d was that when she leaned backwards, the metal of the sissy bar dug into her back and hit right between 2 vertebrae, so not only did it slap her back, but left a bruise between the vertebrae. She put ALL of her weight on her back trying to touch metal and NOTHING.
We're DONE with the bar and shield. We've made our decision, with all the modifications.
Black Cross Roads, Hard bags, windshield, flat highway bars, passenger floorboards, cruise control. This is what we want.
Do I have any regrets today? Yes, I have a few. I didn't get to try the xc or the vision. I would've preferred to have had some more time on the bike. I don't have the money to get one for about 3 months. I also regret that I now owe the gunny $100.
Thank you victory for giving me an alternative. I'm sorry I didn't listen sooner. I'm looking forward to future rides rather than dreading them. I can comfortably bring my spouse and our stuff without having to stop every 75 miles.
To Harley Davidson: I trusted you for years. I stood by you simply because I didn't know any better. For you to have relied for so many years, on so much heritage and non existant words, without the proof in the pudding I'm amazed that you've lasted this long. You shall not receive after today a single penny from my pocket. The bike of yours that I purchased, will be on the market as soon as I get the ad up. That money from that bike, will go to a mfr that listens to it's customers. That is making waves, and that if you don't get up off your ass, will in the decades to come, bury you.
If there's any questions I can answer, let me know please. I don't know what I can tell you, I've gone into as much detail as I can. Thank you Victory, for everything. It was a wonderful experience and I'm happy to call you THE REAL american motorcycle.
Last edited by Asher1877; 04-28-2012 at 10:01 PM.