I have quite a few friends who ride, and after a long time of wanting to ride, I decided last year to get up off my ass, learn the right way, and get into it myself. I started slow, on a 250 and learned the ropes with a close friend who turned out to be an excellent teacher. I shocked him by picking it all up with incredible ease, and soon began riding as often as I could.
About 2 or 3 weeks before I could get into the next MSF course, I was hitting every shop I could find, to sit on and determine what the best fitting bike for me was. I was all over the place man, sportbikes, cruisers, nakeds... you name it, I was "in love" with more than I can list. I just wanted to get a feel for some of them before I bought. I had planned
to buy after
completing my MSF training, but off in the corner of one shop I spotted a pre-owned GSXR600, and it was calling my name. It was very affordable, so I figured what the hell... I'm likely to drop or wreck my first bike (I'm a realist, not an optimist), and having so little invested in my 1st bike was a better idea than buying my dream bike, then screwing it up. So I bought it, and my buddy rode it to my house for me. I began riding all the time, logging hundreds of miles in the first 2 weeks I had her. In my state you can ride daytime with no passenger from passing the written exam, but need the full license to ride unrestricted.
I practiced in a HUGE empty parking lot, getting the basics down, and pushing myself each and every time. Then I was out on the road all day, every day doing the same.
I had a few close calls, even dropped her (slowly) in my garage doing something stupid. All a part of the learning process, and right there I was thankful for buying used.
Took my MSF course, was the top of the class, and got my license.
Each day on my Gixx was a dream come true, and I finally realized the freedom that riding had to offer, but as with all cool new hobbies, I was becoming obsessed. I spent all day and night researching bikes (for my serious purchase), and watching every vid on youtube that I could find. Still... I didn't know if I wanted a sportbike or a cruiser, each had things that appealed to me.
Then I realized that I loved my Gixx, so while I loved probably 10 other sportbikes, this one would suit my needs, so off to look at cruisers I went.
I hit every shop I could find, and while most of my friends ride Metrics, they didn't "do it" for me really... I knew I had to have a Harley. Big, loud and cool, Harley had it all.
I test rode a V-Rod Muscle and simply fell in lust with it. On the same ride, the salesman pulled out a Softail Night Train, and I rode that as well. I had no idea standard HD's were so anemic on power!!! I mean hell, they rumble, scream and vibrate everything around them, so I always thought they were powerful beasts... I was so wrong. But the Rod was pure sex man, just awesome.
So my mind was made up. I loved the look, the feel, and the power if you get up into the last 1500rpm on the tach... I checked with the accountant (wife), and cleared a $20k purchase and assumed about $3k in mods for immediate install. I was ready to go.
But the week I was set to go order my new Harley, I was back on the net... obsessively, and I know everyone here knows that feeling. That's when I came across Victory. Now I had heard the name before, seen some of the bikes in pictures, and always thought they were modern and sexy, but I had the mindset that if you owned a cruiser, it kinda had to be a Harley. But I'm not one to go off half-cocked, so I dug a bit deeper.
I liked what I saw, so I headed down to the local Victory dealer. I have to admit that I was disheartened by the fact that the only way you can buy a Victory is to visit your local lawnmower store, but I went in anyway.
There I saw a bad-ass bright orange Jackpot and realized how sexy these bikes really were in person. I ended up test riding a black Vegas standard that day, and my head was turned forever.
Intermission... go pee or something.......
First impressions were that yeah... cruisers are tremendously heavier than my sportbike, and it caused me some concern, especially for low speed maneuvering such as in a parking lot, or doing U-Turns. This played in my head a bit. It also took a lot more effort to turn the bike. Sportbikes take VERY little input to initiate any action. Think of comparing the steering of a Cadillac to the steering of a go-kart... it seemed that drastic. I first noticed these things on my Harley rides, so this of course is not a "Victory thing", but it is something you consider when making the jump into a cruiser.
I took it out for a quick 15 minute ride, and soon completely overcame my worry about the weight. Instead I was dealing with the oddity of swinging my feet forward onto the pegs from a stop (very alien to me), and a strange new sensation... wind belting you right in the chest. While the windscreen on a sportbike is minimal, it does do an effective job of creating some aerodynamic smoothness. You also tuck in at higher speeds eliminating most of the wind. But here, there's nothing at all stopping it, and it felt strange. Not bad per se, but certainly different.
Then I learned the difference between torque and horsepower. On a sportbike, it's mostly about hp, but on a cruiser torque is king. I was riding at about 45mph or so at what I believe must have been about 4000rpm and I decided to give the throttle a good hard hit.
HOLE. E. Chit.
I have no shame in admitting that my hands nearly lost their grip on the bars, and it scared the piss outta me.
Between the wind and the sheer raw power of the bike, I was nearly peeled off the damn bike. I slowed down, pulled over and shook off the adrenaline rush that the experience gave me. Then I pulled back onto the road... smiling like a small child with a new toy. I readied myself and I did it again. Man what a rush. I could not believe how this felt!!!! The Softail did NOT come close to this. The V-Rod's power comes on smoother, and ONLY in the last 1000rpm, so I never felt it hit like the Vegas did.
After that day I went into research overload to see what Victory might have that really called my name. There were plenty I 'liked', but nothing made my pants tight, so I kept looking. I came across this and another Victory forum, and I noticed Diamondrmp's name on them, and I knew him from an unrelated forum we hang at, so I asked him tons of stupid newbie questions. Of course, as you all know, he was so kind to go into great detail and confirm my warm feelings toward this brand, and i was another step closer. Diamond, if not for you, I might not have made the leap, so I thank you bro!!
Finally one night around 1am I came across a dealer's site and I found her. I found a VIP demo (so it sold as a new bike) in the 07 Hammer S. Sunset red and black... OMG I thought I had found a tricked out full custom by the looks of her, but she was a bone stock factory bike. The 250 tire, the rich red wheels, the massive Brembos, the solo seat look (imagine my delight when I found out about the seat under that cowl!!), and the sleekness in the overall design. This one not only called out to me, but it demanded that I stay awake all night thinking about it.
No other bike was in my thoughts now, and I made the appointment to go see the bike. This dealership was 1.5 hours away from me, and worth every minute of the drive. Knowing I would fall in lust I asked my buddy to come with me and bring his trailer. Being 31 degrees, probably not the best weather for a long ride
We got there and my jaw hit the floor. Bikes aren't supposed to be this sexy without a huge price tag attached. Being a demo, I was able to get it for just under $13k, so that was a far better investment than the $20k V-rod and my wife agreed
Took it out for a ten mile test ride, froze my ass off and nearly went into frostbite on my hands, but it was the perfect bike. I have never, and I do mean NEVER felt a transmission shift so smoothly. The handling was spot-on and IMO better than the Harley was. And while it is about an inch longer and within 5lbs of the V-Rod, I would swear that it was a smaller bike due to the way it handled. It also somehow feels slimmer, could just be the tank shape, I dunno. Regardless... once I rode the bike, my love for the Harley faded quickly. Then it hit me... I see V-Rods on the road in my area all the time, but I have never seen a Hammer S, and only rarely seen any Victory at all. I dig exclusivity, so this helped make the decision even easier.
Continued on next post (what's up with the character limits???????)