2012 Victory Vision Tour ABS Review
Polaris’ upstart Victory motorcycle division has been on a roll lately, with a plethora of new models designed for many different niches in the popular cruiser/touring market. The flagship Vision Tour is the largest model in the company’s lineup, and one of the largest motorcycles in production. Its big 106-cubic-inch (1,731cc) Freedom 106/6 V-Twin engine is rated at 92 horsepower and 109 ft-lb of torque. The four-valve-per-cylinder engine is fuel-injected, air/oil cooled and counter-balanced for minimal vibration.
Vision’s front bodywork provides excellent protection from cold, wind and rain, while the highly stylized rear bodywork makes a somewhat art-deco fashion statement that’s sure to garner attention. The Vision has roomy integrated side-storage compartments, a large tail trunk and a convenient small front storage compartment, for a total of more than 29 gallons of lockable cargo space. You can fit two helmets in the trunk and a riding jacket in each side when parked, or carry enough gear for a long weekend–or more. Fitted luggage is available as an accessory. However, access into the side compartments is limited by the shape of the openings. Information shown on the dash display includes speedometer, tachometer, battery voltage, fuel level, mpg and range, along with odometer, two tripmeters, gear indicator, and the usual indicator lights. An audio system is integrated with speakers mounted in the fairing and the front face of the trunk, which also incorporates a passenger backrest. An AM/FM/Weather band radio is standard, as is a 3.5mm MP3 jack, and Visions are wired to accommodate CB radio and helmet communicator systems. An iPod cord for the front storage compartment and satellite radio are available accessories. A large display screen shows audio mode, station selected, playlist, track, etc. and the audio system can be conveniently controlled by switches mounted by the left handgrip. Everything is easy to see day or night. A low 26.5-inch seat height accommodates most riders, and plush touring seats with 4 inch-thick cushions offer long-distance comfort. Fuel economy of around 40 mpg, along with a 6-gallon fuel capacity gives an extended range. Standard on the Vision Tour is an anti-lock braking system (ABS ) and large twin front disc brakes and a single rear disc promise strong stopping power. Air-adjustable rear suspension tailors ride height to load, and offers 4.7 inches of wheel travel. Riding Impressions When stopped, the Vision feels quite tall and heavy, but its fairly low center of gravity and stable chassis make it seem much lighter as soon as you get underway. Power from the big V-Twin is torquey, yet surprisingly smooth. There’s always plenty of power for passing and climbing hills. The hydraulically actuated clutch is easy to operate. The six-speed transmission has Neutral Selection Assist and helical-cut gears make it easy to shift and quiet, plus it has a true overdrive for relaxed highway cruising. At 80 mph in sixth the engine is only turning about 3,000 rpm. Suspension is quite plush, yet well controlled. The Vision is very stable at all speeds and tracks well through corners. It can lean more than most touring cruisers before anything scrapes, which allows for some spirited cornering. Cruise Control is standard, which makes long-hauls as effortless as possible and it works smoothly and accurately. Heated handlebar grips and seats with individual driver/passenger controls make rides in chilly weather much more comfortable. The Vision’s front bodywork provides excellent protection and comfort, which also enhances the sound of the audio system at highway speeds. Upper wind wings allow riders to control the volume and direction of airflow to the torso, and can be positioned for maximum protection or airflow. Large mirrors are widely spaced for an excellent view behind. Comfort is further enhanced by an electrically adjustable windscreen which effectively blocks the wind in its top position, without buffeting, and allows cooling airflow in the lower positions. Extended floorboards that let the driver position feet and legs as desired during long rides. The shifter leaves the rear of the left floorboard open for foot movement and an accessory bolt-on heel shifter is available. The linked brakes with ABS provide riders with strong, confidence-inspiring stopping power. Sensors on both wheels monitor wheel speed, and if they sense skidding or wheel lockup, the ABS provides instant, effective braking and intervention to slow the bike and help the rider maintain control for consistent, smooth braking. Color options include Sunset Red and Black; Imperial Blue and Super Steel Gray and Bronze Mist with Sandstone Metallic. Accessories include a trunk cargo rack, a trunk liner, passenger armrests, saddlebag liners, chrome accessories, and more. Comparison to Competitors Victory Vision Tour’s closest competitors would be Honda’s Gold Wing, Harley-Davidson’s Electra Glide or Glide Ultras, and Star’s Royal Star Venture S. The Vision is nearest to the Gold Wing in terms of size, but slightly less powerful than that model’s six-cylinder engine, yet more powerful than the other V-Twin competitors. Impressions in Terms of Rider Level This is a very large and heavy motorcycle, especially when loaded with a rider, passenger and luggage. Claimed dry weight is 869 pounds, and with a full tank it scales over 900 pounds. Therefore, it’s aimed at experienced riders who are strong enough to balance and maneuver a machine of this size and weight, particularly since this bike doesn’t have reverse (as the Gold Wing does). Summary of review and pricing Starting at $20,999, the Vision is less costly than the above-listed competitors. The Vision Tour is a big, comfortable, touring motorcycle that is at its best on the highway and for long-distance travel. It’s well suited to buyers to want a large touring motorcycle, but prefer the character of a V-Twin engine. Fit and finish, quality and attention to detail are excellent on this machine, and the Victory brand, starting its second decade, has earned a reputation for building reliable, robust motorcycles. Specifications Base Price $20,999 Model Year 2012 Manufacturer Victory Model Vision Tour Categories Touring Fuel Capacity 6.0 gal Engine SOHC V-Twin Transmission Manual, 6-speed