After about a year give or take lurking or posting here Pop has picked up a bunch of good info, ignored some silliness and come to a couple conclusions.
Vic is a victim of its own making. Regardless what riding background we hail from Victory has managed to attract an ownership base that pretty much covers all the bases.
Triumph and Beemwa can argue the same thing (and no, Honda and the others from that hemisphere can but it falls on deaf ears) but the fundamental dif is if you go Victory then you are buying a single platform machine. To paraphrase Henry Ford giving a tour of Spirit Lake, you can have any style you want as long as it's a heavyweight 106. So Vic has by design become a fairly homogenous brand that sells to riders of waay different concepts of what riding is and what a motorcycle is expected to provide.
Therein lies the rub. It is a given that Vics don't break so what's a griping human to do? Find a bitch and let it eat you up, that's what.
I don't typically need to know a Vic riders history to know his background when he complains.
Lack of comfort- rode Asian bikes
Too much plastic- rode American bikes
Transmission and/or engine noise- Asian and Euro
Fit and finish- American
The list goes on and I'm sure that there are exceptions to the rules but it's a common condition.
I guess the lesson learned for Pop is that if you come from an American riding sensibility, then do not approach the mediocre fit and finish with that American bolt on eye to curing it because the work to correct it is beyond the capability or level of commitment of most of us. Literally replacing plastic body components with custom fabbed metals is not in the cards. Practically, when you are in the buying mode, look at these items closely. Know thyself. There is a manufacturer that has sorted fit and finish and has plentiful options to improve and change it at your whim. It ain't Vic.
Asian riders are not going to find a solution to the hammer and anvil workings of the Vic trannie in a bottle of oil or modifying your shifting habits to compensate. V twin motors make noise and short of putting the mill in a soundproof room nothing is going to change that. Ride the beast, hear it's song. If it's too loud and you are fixated on eliminating it, that's easy. Buy something else.
These things that we mench about because they are different than what we are familiar with, they are not failings. They are characteristics. If the plastic melts or doesn't hold paint- fail. If the trannie spills geargutz all over the superslab when you bang 4th- fail. Otherwise, ride the snot out of it.
Because it behaves the way it does is not a fault. Because it behaves that way and we bought it and now can't put up with it behaving that way, that is our fault. Sell the thing, go back to what you are comfortable with... or enjoy the long list of things that Victory got right. I'm just saying, there was some compelling reason for going to a brand previously unconsidered. Has that reason evaporated?
I ride to forget about life for awhile. I don't ride to nitpick myself to death about what is wrong with this machine. But that's just Pop. Maybe unhappy riding has something going for it and I'm missing the point.
Always good to read a morning Popism.
But while agree with your conclusion, I have to take issue with a couple of points along the way.
1. Buffeting - Pop rides an XCT which has about the best wind management I've ever experienced on a motorcycle. Put Pop on my XR sans lowers and Laminar Lip and bet Pop has a different perspective as he experiences what it would be like to strap an unbalanced chainsaw to his head while trying to ride at highway speeds.
2. Comfort - To my ass, my XR is at least as comfortable as anything I've ever ridden and in general far more comfortable than most. The common complaint I hear is about tailbone discomfort. I had this issue on a Yamaha. I removed the cover from its seat, cut out the offending foam that was pressing against my tailbone and voila, it was an all day rider.
I can live with annoyances that I can fix, but therein lies the rub. For whatever reason, the aftermarket isn't too interested in providing solutions to our problems. Sure, there are plenty of places that will sell you chrome skull covers, but who the hell makes a nice aerodynamic shield for an XR? The Yamaha windscreen for my Warrior was a useless POS too, but Clearview had an exceptional bolt on windscreen that was small and effective. When I queried them about a similar product for the XR, they said they weren't interested in producing anything for it. Perhaps because it would look a little different and put off people who want "the look."
All this said, without a few niggles, what the hell us would we talk about? My liver can only tolerate so many nights of solving all the world's problems.