Victory Recalls 872 2014 models for crankcase Issue

Polaris Industries, Inc. (Polaris) is recalling certain model year 2014 Victory Cross Country, Cross Country Eight Ball, Hammer Eight Ball, High Ball, Jackpot, Judge, Ness Cross Country, Vegas Eight Ball, Vision, Boardwalk, and 2015 Victory Gunner motorcycles manufactured January 22, 2014, through April 25, 2014. The crankcase may have been machined incorrectly causing insufficient clearance between the crankshaft and crankcase, causing the engine to unexpectedly seize.

1 victory highball

The Highball is one model recalled.

Engine seizure may cause the operator to lose control of the motorcycle, increasing the risk of a crash.

Polaris will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and correct the crankcase clearance, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on May 1, 2014. Owners may contact Polaris customer service at 1-888-704-5290.

Dealers will stop sales and Owners are advised not to ride their motorcycle until the recall remedy has been performed.

2014 Triumph Thunderbird Commander and LT Ride Review

wild ones

by: Scott Cochran
photos by: Alessio Barbanti, Paul Barshon, Tom Riles & Freddie Kirn

March 6, 2014: Maybe I was surprised because Southern California wasn’t on my motorcycle riding radar. Yet here I am, just north of downtown San Diego on Highland Valley Road, tearing past orange groves and palm tree farms, grinding the floorboards on this 2014 Triumph Thunderbird Commander less than 15 minutes from urban lunacy.

This past February, while the rest of the country was caught up in the grip of the latest “polar vortex” yours truly joined a select group of moto-journalists for Triumph’s world press launch in balmy Southern California.

It was hard not to feel sorry for the rest of my motorcycle riding buddies on the East Coast.

We’d seen images of the new Thunderbird Commander and Thunderbird LT when the bikes were unveiled at EICMA in Italy in November and were anxious to throw a leg over each to see how the “on paper” improvements affected the real world riding experience.

Now those statistics were becoming real to me as I wound through the Anza-Borrego Desert and up and over Palomar Mountain, pausing to take in the view of Salton Sea, the largest lake in California.

Sitting in the pre-ride briefing, waiting on the presentation to start, I find myself pondering the history of this legacy marque.

both bikes

It’s easy for the American “biker” to overlook this brand, especially the segment that leans towards Milwaukee iron.

Part of the reason is Triumph abandoned the “lifestyle” buyer years ago and (for better or worse) concentrated its efforts on the “performance” market.

Blame it on economics, or stubborn British management, but either way the brand that “invented biker attitude” with Marlon Brando in the movie The Wild Ones has been relegated to the sidelines while others cashed in on the hard core biker lifestyle as it grew into the largest percentage of North American motorcycle sales.

Upstarts like Victory Motorcycles and newly revived Indian have made some headway in courting the Harley rider, Triumph hasn’t had much success in infiltrating that segment.

So in 2010, when Triumph tapped Harley-Davidson and Buell veteran, Greg Heichelbech, as its North American CEO, observers expected the day would come when the Brits would shift the styling of their cruisers to resemble the “lifestyle” market that exists in America today.

That day has arrived.

 

T_Symbol_Standard_BlackOnWhiteMany people forget that In World War I, Triumph produced more than 30,000 motorycles for the Allies, the majority of those being the Model H, also known as Type H, or the “Trusty Triumph.”  Powered by a 499cc air cooled single cylinder, It was the first Triumph which did not have pedals making it a “true” motorcycle.  It is also considered by many to be the first “modern” motorcycle.  

Standing in front of a room full of American motorcycle journalists, Simon Warburton, product manager for Triumph set the tone when he said, “We believe we have a credible alternative to Harley-Davidson.”

Greg Heichelbech CEO of Triumph America followed that up when he stood up and the first words out of his mouth was “Triumph’s Back! And we’re getting back to our roots and the things we did in the 50’s, 50’s and 70’s.”

Heichelbech went on to explain, “The Thunderbird was the bike that put Triumph on the map and helped us become the number one import brand in the 50’s and 60’s” (when “biker” became synonymous with the bad boy image)

But a lot has changed since the 1960’s, besides the size of the engine. The early Tbirds boasted a class leading 650 cc motor and a seat that, while comfortable for its time, would be considered torture today. And we won’t even talk about drum vs disc brakes. Yes a lot has changed and it’s not lost on the Brits as Warburton confided later. “We’re not trying to be Harley-Davidson, but we think this bike will appeal to those riders who want performance, laid back styling and aggressive handling.”

After a couple of hours saddle time on both bikes, I can safely say the engineers in Hinckley hit their bulls-eye.

T_Commander_static035

Rather than replace the previous iterations, the 2014 Commander and LT are new additions to the T-Bird family and are fitted with the upgraded power plant making these the largest parallel-twin (1699 cc/103 cu in) in the world, producing 93 horses and 146 fp of torque, enough to satisfy even the most aggressive of riders.

Momentum isn’t just for sports teams, and as Sir Issac taught us; The momentum of a moving object increases with its mass and its speed. The heavier the object and the faster it is moving, the greater its momentum and the harder it is to stop. Both models are heavy cruisers, but with the LT (which stands for “light tourer” weighing in just south of 750 lbs, add a couple riders and gear and you’ve got close to a half a ton of accelerated momentum. Both models come from the factory with ABS standard equipment. The front brakes are twin floating 310mm disc brakes with 4 piston calipers and the rear brakes are single 310mm disc with Brembo 2 piston floating calipers.

Thankfully, the ABS on the Commander model I rode performed flawlessly. Since this was a worldwide launch, the Triumph representative leading the group had been on this same route 10 or 12 times in the last two weeks. He knew it like the back of his hand. Ahead of me was Bruce Steever from MCN who has the chops to hang with most anyone on the track and is local and has ridden the area numerous times. Behind me is Mike Vaughn, former CEO of Triumph, also a sport bike guy and who lives (literally) on the route we were riding.

While I’m not the fastest on track days, (hell, who am I kidding…I don’t try to ride on the track!) this was not the best place to be as a flat land touring guru, trying desperately not to be the “slow guy.”

So the inevitable was bound to happen. I came in way too fast and overcooked some of the more tortuous turns on the Mesa Grande highway near Lake Henshaw and grabbed a little too much brake lever.
On any other non ABS model, the result would’ve been ugly. Lowside get off at best, high side flip over at worst. But thankfully the only drama was a few chirps from the tires as the modulators kicked in and I was able to slow enough to lean over and stay in my lane without laying the bike completely down.
Here’s as good a point as any to mention the lean angle of both bikes. With a seat height of just 27.5 inches, both the LT and Commander are low slung and easy to maneuver at low speeds and parking lot dances. However, that becomes disadvantageous out on the twisties as the floorboards touch down way too early.

T_Symbol_Standard_BlackOnWhiteMarlon Brando rode a 1950 Thunderbird 6T in the movie The Wild Ones and in 1955 Ford licensed the Thunderbird name from Triumph for a new luxury car eventualy producing 4.4 million units, which ended in 2005.

 

However, the slide rule society at Triumph knew this would be an issue so they mounted wear plates under the boards which absorb the road rash instead of damaging the more expensive chrome and painted parts. Still it’s a bit disconcerting the first few times they scrub and downright sphincter tightening when you’re fully leaned over, heading into the oncoming lane and having to choose whether to stand up and apply the brakes or keep leaning and hoping that you don’t bounce into oncoming traffic.

My takeaway from that is this; know your limitations and those of your bike. Luckily I didn’t trash the Commander or lose any skin, and I didn’t make the same mistake the next day on the LT.

SUSPENSION

Simon Warburton made a point to stress that besides providing smooth acceleration and braking, Triumph engineers were keen on improving the comfort and handling of these new Thunderbird’s. With an all new frame and swing-arm, designers included the engine as a stressed member, which reduces the flex in the chassis and gives it a more stable footprint.commander and details

While the rake and trail are slightly different on the two models, the handling characteristics are essentially the same. Although almost every journalist I spoke to agreed that the Commander is the “sportier” of the two. Chalk some of that up to the extra weight *(saddlebags, seat, luggage rack, wheels) and that big piece of Plexiglas out front on the LT and the rest to the slight difference is in how the new shocks affects the bikes.

Out on the rear, Triumph installed a pair of adjustable dual rate spring loaded shocks. Designed to offer a cushy ride on long trips, the 4.1 inches of travel easily soaked up the occasional broken asphalt potholes and all too often irregular bumps on our two lane travel through the So Cal desert. In the mountain twisties, I did find myself wishing for a slightly stouter setup. Thankfully there is a five position preload manual adjustment on each shock when you need a little something stiffer.

tshirt

The handlebars on the Commander provide for a more “forward” lean than on the LT. This works perfect without a windscreen. I dislike cruisers which place the rider in a more upright position and forces them to “hang on” to the grips when going sans windscreen. Very uncomfortable and dangerous.

On the Commander, that little tweak to the position of the bars made all the difference in comfort and stability from other “naked” cruisers.

SEAT OF THE PANTS

Then there is the seat. It’s usually the first thing we all want to change out when we buy a stock bike from the showroom floor. To paraphrase a famous politician (and take it entirely out of context,) when thinking of the seat on these new T-Birds “The butt stops here.” Ok, I hear the collective groan from the peanut gallery but I needed something witty to highlight how impressive this new seat is.

Consider that Triumph designers created a seat with three layers of different foam densities and a lumbar support (almost 4 inches total) and kept the seat height under 28 inches, I’d wager the seat isn’t going to be the first thing you’ll want to change. Granted, we only rode for a little more than an hour on our longest stretch in the saddle, so maybe I shouldn’t be bragging on the comfort just yet. However, by the time you read this we will have an LT in the office garage and will have spent 6 or 7 hours straight in the saddle. I’ll let you know if it performs as good as it looks.T_LT_details016

Both the Commander and the LT are available in two tone color schemes. The LT’s Caspian Blue/Crystal White paint is the best looking (in my humble opinion) and it also comes in Lava Red/Phantom Black. (Retail $16,999) The Commander comes in Crimson Sunset Red/Lava Red and Phantom Black/ Storm Grey. (Retail $15,699)

We’ll have a long term test on the LT in the next few months.

Triumph purists may decry the new direction the company has taken with these T-Birds, but they shouldn’t.

The brand isn’t abandoning its performance heritage, the Brits have simply created two cruiser models under $17k with modern performance yet comfortable and classic styling,

If anything, Triumph fans should be cheering. The Wild Ones are back!

(more static and detail photos in the photo gallery after the obligatory group picture.

That's the Salton Sea in the background.

That’s the Salton Sea in the background.

 

Victory Releases 2014 Lineup; Adds A Pair of Blacked Out Baggers; Shaves $1000 off High Ball

CC_Ness_PR_0210Victory motorcycles rolled out it’s 2014 lineup today with a 15th anniversary Cross Country Tour model,  two new blacked out baggers and a new Arlen Ness designed limited edition Cross Country.  In addition to these new models, Victory shaved a $1,000 off it’s hot rod bobber, The High Ball and added two-tone paint and pin striping details on the 2014 Boardwalk.  For full specs on each model, click here  2014_Specs

victory-lineup

 

 

 

2014-Pricing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victory Motorcycles & ‘The Gunny’ to Salute U.S. Military on Rolling Thunder Ride in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day Weekend

GunnyDaytona (1)MEDINA, MN (May 16, 2013) – Victory Motorcycles and actor, avid Victory rider and retired U.S. Marine R. Lee Ermey – best known as “The Gunny” – are taking part in Rolling Thunder XXVI, the Memorial Day weekend motorcycle ride honoring U.S. military personnel who have sacrificed all for the sake of our freedom. The annual Rolling Thunder demonstration will take place Sunday, May 26, in Washington, D.C.

The Gunny – best known for his role as a Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant in the film, “Full Metal Jacket” – is deeply involved in advocating for the rights of active and retired or discharged members of the U.S. armed forces. He will attend Rolling Thunder XXVI as an official representative of Victory Motorcycles, saluting U.S. military personnel and their families on behalf of Victory employees and the community of Victory riders.

“We enjoy the freedom to ride because of the service and sacrifice of our nation’s military personnel, and we’re honored to have the Gunny represent our brand at this Memorial Day weekend event,” said Steve Menneto, VP of Victory Motorcycles.

On the Saturday of Rolling Thunder XXVI weekend, motorcyclists will have the opportunity to ride with Gunny to support the U.S. military. Gunny will make appearances on Saturday, May 25, at four Washington, D.C., area Victory Motorcycle dealerships and riders can join him as he rides between dealerships. Visit the Victory Motorcycles Facebook page for details on where and how to ride with Gunny.

 

Own the Cover Bike

1-CaptureVictory motorcycles is going to auction off the 2013 Cross Country between March 21-28 on Ebay to benefit Operation Gratitude.   Unfortunately, a date with the beautiful Playboy model Raquel (shown in the photo) is not included.  Bummer.  But here’s a behind the scenes video to whet your appetite and get you revved up to bid!  More Info

 

 

 

 

Victory Motorcycles Puts the Nation’s Defenders First with New Military Priority Demo Program

MEDINA, MN (March 5, 2012) – Victory Motorcycles is introducing the Victory Military Priority Demo Program to invite active members of U.S. military branches and the U.S. Coast Guard to move to the front of Victory demo lines at major summer 2012 events. Active U.S. military and Coast Guard personnel who present their current military IDs at Victory demo registration will receive special wrist bands giving them priority access to the Victory demo fleet.

“We have long supported members of the military in numerous ways, and we view this as an opportunity for our customers and staff to thank military personnel for their service,” said Steve Menneto, Polaris VP, Motorcycles. “We have always respected and participated in the riding community’s support for the military, and we know our riders will gladly step aside to let our nation’s defenders move to the front of the demo line.”

The Victory Military Priority Demo Program, he said, is a simple “thank you” from the Victory Motorcycles demo team, Victory Riders and the riding community at large.

The Victory corporate demo ride team will provide demo rides and offer the Victory Military Priority Demo Program at the following 2012 events:

 

Daytona Bike Week Mar 9-17 Daytona Beach FL www.officialbikeweek.com
Myrtle Beach Bike Week May 11-20 Myrtle Beach, NC www.myrtlebeachbikeweek.com
Americade Jun 5-9 Lake George, NY www.americade.com
Laconia Motorcycle Week Jun 9-17 Laconia, NH www.laconiamcweek.com
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Aug 6-12 Sturgis, SD www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com
American Victory Rally Aug 17-19 Spirit lake, IA www.victorymotorcycles.com
Delmarva Bike Week Sept 13-16 Ocean City, MD www.delmarvabikeweek.com
Bikes Blues and BBQ Sept 26-29 Fayetteville, AR www.bikesbluesandbbq.org
Biketoberfest Oct 18-12 Daytona  Beach, FL www.officialbikeweek.com

For a listing of all Victory Motorcycle demo events including local dealer events, log on to:www.victorymotorcycles.com and click the “test ride” tab.

Victory Storm Sturgis

Victory Motorcycles is making its presence
felt at the 71st Annual Sturgis Rally in
2011. In addition to their unique, downtown Sturgis
location, Victory will have its largest ever test fleet
available for demo rides. As an official Sponsor of
the Sturgis Legendary Buffalo Chip, Victory will be
participating in Chip activities all week and donating
a bike to be given away at the end of the rally. Here’s what
Victory owners and other rally goers can look forward to:
• Demo Rides on all Victory models, August 6-12 9:00 -5:00, I-90,
Exit 30
• A Victory Owners Ride and Reception at the Buffalo Chip August 11
- 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. self-guided ride
- 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. reception
• A Chance to win a Free Klock Werks customized Victory Kingpin
(register @ buffalochip.com)
• A Unique Display of Victory Products at 1100 Main Street,
August 6-12 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
• VIP visits from Victory partners Arlen, Cory and Zack Ness, Roland
Sands, The Klock Werks team and Survivor TV Series star Rupert
Boneham
The historic bank building that Victory occupies at First and Main in
downtown Sturgis will showcase their latest models including the
early release 2012 High-Ball that was introduced in January. Rally
apparel and complete information on the entire line of Victory
Motorcycles will also be available.
Three 18-wheelers from Victory’s six-truck national demo fleet will
provide more than 30 bikes for free demo rides. The demo site is
located less than a mile from downtown Sturgis at Exit 30 on I-90.
Victory manufacturers more than 16 models – all powered by the
Freedom 106 engine with 6-speed transmission. Most models from the
value priced, blacked-out 8-Ball series to the Victory Vision Tour
will be available to ride from Saturday August 6th to Friday August
12th from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. Downtown hours for the Victory Store will
be Saturday, August 6th until Saturday, August 13th from 9 a.m. until
9 p.m.
A Victory Kingpin, customized by the pros at Klock Werks Kustom Cycle,
is being provided this year for the Buffalo Chip Bike Give-Away. The
lucky winner will be chosen from a group of finalists and awarded the
tricked out custom live on-stage Friday of Rally Week. As always,
Victory will host a ride-in during the Rally for Victory owners. “The number of Victory’s
grows every year and with our corporate headquarters so close to Sturgis, we view the Rally as
an annual event for our employees and customers,” states Steve Menneto, Victory GM. Victory’s
offices are located in neighboring Minnesota and manufacturing is in Iowa.
The 2011 Victory Owners Ride and Reception for will take place Thursday August 11 from
3:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. starting in Deadwood, and ending at the Buffalo Chip and will include
food and soft drinks. As an official sponsor of the legendary Buffalo Chip, Victory will provide
free Special Guest parking. Victory owners will also have access to the Buffalo Chip Events
Center with the 2011 Motorcycles as Art display and Chip Gardens on the evening of the Ride-
In. Victory is also a sponsor of the Buffalo Chip Legends Ride which will take place on August
8th. Celebrity’s may include Arlen, Cory and Zack Ness, Roland Sands and Rupert Boneham,
Survivor TV Series star as wel as many other motorcycling celebrities.
For more information, on Victory at Sturgis, including updated times and dates, go to
www.victoryatsturgis.com.
About Polaris
With annual 2010 sales of $1.99 billion, Polaris designs, engineers,
manufactures and markets off-road vehicles (ORVs), including
allterrain vehicles (ATVs), the Polaris RANGER(r) Side x Sides,
snowmobiles and Victory motorcycles for recreational and
utility use and has recently introduced a new on-road electric
powered neighborhood vehicle. Polaris is a recognized leader
in the snowmobile industry; and one of the largest manufacturers
of ORVs in the world. Victory motorcycles established in 1998 and
representing the first all-new American made motorcycle from a major
company in nearly 60 years, are rapidly making impressive in-roads
into the cruiser and touring motorcycle marketplace. Polaris also enhances
the riding experience with a complete line of Pure Polaris apparel, accessories and parts, available at
Polaris dealerships. Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PII,” and
the Company is included in the S&P MidCap 400 stock price index. Information about the complete line of Polaris
products, apparel and vehicle accessories are available from authorized Polaris dealers or anytime from the Polaris
homepage at www.polarisindustries.com.

Mark Blackwell Joins The Board Of Zero Motorcycles

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (May 10, 2011) – Zero Motorcycles, the global leader in the electric motorcycle industry, today announced that Mark Blackwell joined its Board of Directors. Mark was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000. Mark started racing while in his teens and was one of the very first American Motocross superstars. After his racing career, Mark has held positions of increasing responsibilities in the motorcycle industry, initially at Suzuki, then at Husqvarna, at Suzuki again and finally at Victory Motorcycles where he was Vice President & General Manager through a critical growth period for the brand. In addition to his new responsibilities with Zero, Mark remains an executive of Polaris Industries.

“I am delighted to join the Board of Zero Motorcycles. I have tracked the progress of the company from afar and been impressed with its growing product line and its increasingly well-established brand, channel, and supply chain. I look forward to helping the company grow in the coming years and advising its team of talented, industry-experienced executives,” said Mark Blackwell.

“My colleagues and I have known Mark for a while and we greatly value his industry insight, knowledge of motorcycles, and years of managerial expertise,” said Aflalo Guimaraes, Managing Director of The Invus Group, LLC and a Zero board member. “We are excited Mark has elected to join the Board of the company and we know his contributions and talents will make an enormous impact on our business moving forward. We look forward to a close and productive relationship with him.”

About Zero Motorcycles:
Zero Motorcycles is the next step in motorcycle evolution and represents the ultimate electric motorcycle technology. Unencumbered by conventional thinking about how they design, manufacture and sell high performance electric motorcycles, they are on a mission to turn heads and revolutionize their industry by combining the best aspects of a traditional motorcycle with today’s most advanced technology.

 

Lehman introduces the CrossBow!

Lehman Trikes announced today their newest addition to the Lehman Signature Series line up of custom trikes, the 2011 Lehman CrossBow SS. The CrossBow SS features a powerful cobalt blue and white muscle-car inspired custom paint scheme, standard reverse, and John Lehman signature billet wheels. All Lehman Signature Series trikes are limited edition and feature custom paint, wheels, and reverse.

The 2011 CrossBow SS is available through authorized Lehman Trike Dealers for Victory Motorcycles and carries an MSRP of $37,495.

For more information on the new 2011 Lehman Signature Series CrossBow and to locate a Lehman Trikes dealer, visit www.lehmantrikes.com or call 888-3WHEELS.


Victory Throttles into 2011

Riding through the slot canyons around Gateway, Colorado, with the headlight of a good friend occasionally blinking in my mirrors, I’m once again reminded that I belong to a small tribe, at least when compared the number of people there are in the world who don’t ride. Realizing how incredibly fortunate we are to experience the thrill of a new landscape from the saddle of a motorcycle, I down shift the big V-twin beneath me and dive into the next series of bends. Reacting to the change of pace, my buddy adjusts his speed, as I also realize that the Victory motorcycles we are riding belong to a relatively part of this tribe in the big picture of the motorcycle industry. This makes the large presence and awareness they have already established for themselves since their introduction in 1998 all the more remarkable.
[singlepic id=27 w=320 h=240 float=left]
Having arrived on the scene with their bikes being touted as “the new American motorcycle,” Victoryquickly began winning awards. Their 1999 V 92C took Cycle World’s “Cruiser of the Year,” with numerous awards to follow. Building on this success, “Fuel your passion” is now a new tag line at Victory to accompany the fifteen new models they have on offer in 2011. As we thunder alongside a breathtaking vista of deep river canyons and towering mountains, I’m having no trouble figuring out what it means.

Also, riding through some strange times in the motorcycle world with our current economy, it’s interesting to note the success Victory has been achieving in growing the brand. This is not so surprising, when you realize the Victory Motorcycle Company is headed by Mark Blackwell, the motorcyclist’s motorcyclist. There are few more qualified in our industry, and this is easily recognizable in the quality and versatility of the machinery and choice of machines he oversees. With the fat 250 tire models excluded, the have ridden put a premium on the ride experience, with great handling, braking and strong, useable power allied to superb fuel delivery. Realizing that while I’m not a fan of big tire bikes, many people are, and the Victory models certainly do a much better job than others I’ve ridden with this configuration. American Iron Horse has to be the worst offender, with Suzuki’s M109R coming a close second for honors in the most difficult to ride category.

With fifteen new models to potentially ride in one day, it seemed like a daunting prospect at first to give them a decent evaluation. But with all of the line up sharing the same basic 106 cubic inch, air-cooled V-twin engine, it actually wasn’t such a tough job. Starting with the one bike I know from the Victory line up, the Vision Tour, I learned this, the Cross Roads and the Cross Country actually have what is called the Stage 1 engine package. This gives the touring range engines milder camshafts and a lower maximum peak of 92 horsepower. With 109 lb-ft of torque, it’s man enough for the job, and I’ve made many a happy mile in the seat of a Vision in the past.

For 2011, Victory has made changes to the gearbox to quiet things down. Fourth and sixth gears have been worked over to reduce whine, and drive train lash has also been drastically reduced. After our day of testing, there was too much daylight and incredible scenery left for me to pack it in, so I jumped on a cruiser and headed out to shoot some photos. Paying particular attention to the gear whine, I was surprised how much noise there was and wondered why it wasn’t noticeable during the day. Well, I’ve never been the sharpest tool in the shed, so it took a while for the small, shriveled pea floating around inside the cerebral nut basket to register I was riding last year’s model. Enough said.

Visually there are few noticeable changes to the Vision Tour, which I personally think is one of the coolest looking motorcycles ever made, except new blacked out passenger handholds, redesigned muffler tips and new tubular handlebars. It does come standard with anti lock brakes this year though and will set you back $23,699. If you want something extra special, there is an Arlen Ness version, which is simply stunning to look at and retails for $27,999. As a top of the line luxury cruising motorcycle, the Vision Tour comes with all the bells and whistles, from capacious lockable storage to a fully integrated sound system and more. While I didn’t put any transcontinental type mileage on the new ’11, I did put enough miles on to remind myself why I enjoy this, comfortable, mile-eating motorcycle so much.

The Cross Country is a stylish bagger, with a large full handlebar mounted fairing that comes with a fully integrated audio system like the Vision, an MP3/iPod hook up and optional Satellite radio. It feels instantly lighter and more maneuverable than the Vision, but with a choice of hard bags or soft saddlebags, or the new accessory color-matched trunk you can make it perfect for long haul journeys. Comfortable and smooth, with a 4.8-gallon gas tank and cruise control, the Cross Country is going to easily live up to its name.

Braking is the same as the Vision, with a pair of 300mm dual discs up front using four piston calipers. A single 300mm disc is used in the rear, and unlike the Vision the system is not linked. Settling the bike well into corners, solid and predictable handling is certainly one of the Cross Country’s strong points. While it uses the same frame, forks differ from the Vision’s 46mm conventional units by using the same inverted 43mm units found on the Cross Roads. A single air assisted shock in the rear makes changes for passengers and luggage not only easy, but also as precise as you want to make it. Coming in a choice of three colors: Solid Black, Solid Imperial Blue Metallic and Two-Tone Pearl White and Vogue Silver. The base model is on showroom floors for $17,999. You can, of course, get a highly individualized Cory Ness version for $24,999, which comes with a host of Ness chrome and billet accessories, the cylinders diamond cut, a pair of beautiful sculptured billet wheels, custom suede seat and a Sun Set red custom paint job.

The Cross Roads itself comes standard with cruiser control and no fairing, although you can have the same lockable hard bags or soft saddlebag option as the Cross Country. Part of Victory’s Core Custom Program yhat allows the customer to choose their own color from a choice of Solid Crimson and Solid Black. They can also specify whether they would like the accessory windshield, different handlebars and either the soft or the hard saddlebags. There is the optional color matched lockable trunk from the Vision and Cross Country. This comes on and off the bike in seconds and requires no tools for this operation. Able to hold two full-face helmets with room to spare, it has two speakers for the passenger as well as a comfortable backrest. Added benefits are the high mount tail light, and if you want to accessorize it further, you can add a passenger arm rest kit and pick up a liner and a cargo rack for more luggage carrying capacity. It’s this attention to every detail that is so precise that really impresses me with the whole Victory experience. You can simply set the bike up exactly the way you want it before you ride it away from the dealership. Retail on this baby starts at $14,999 and there is a highly customized Cory Ness version for $24,999.

In the cruiser department, you have a mix of bikes centered on three models: The Vegas, the Kingpin and the Hammer. The Vegas Jackpot is one of the bikes that has a 250 series rear tire and a very skinny 90 profile, 21 inch front tire. Retailing for $18,999, it comes with a cool black and white paint job, with a glamour girl on the side panel. The bike is a real looker, but loses points from me for the rear tire and the very busy digital tachometer. Never settling at any one place, even when I tried to keep the throttle steady, it would need to go if I owned the bike. The engine is a peach though and with the same faultless fueling it has a little extra power thanks to the Freedom 106/6 Stage 2 engine, which gives a total of 97 hp and 113 ft-lb of torque. It also uses the newly revised six-speed transmission and a host of customizing options at time of purchase.

The Hammer and the Hammer S also feature this level of engine tune and the 250 series rear tire. Victory says they are “at the intersection of sporty styling and cruiser muscle” and with twin discs up front, an inverted fork and removable seat cowl, they certainly have some sporting attributes. A performance exhaust is available, as are lower controls, grips and covers. The standard Hammer retails for $17,999 with the S model coming in a little higher at $18,499. There is also the Hammer 8-Ball which is a more base line, blacked out version with less frills for $14,499.

The rest of the Vegas family of cruisers restored Mr. Happy to the saddle as they come with a 180 series rear tire and a cool custom looking skinny 90 series 21-inch tire up front. The best selling motorcycle of the Victory line up, and probably the best known, it’s a distinctive looking bike that works really well over a wide variety of road conditions. Wide pull back handlebars, low seat and custom quality paint give it the right look, and with the basic 8-Ball starting at $12,999, it’s the lowest priced Victory of the bunch. You can spend up to $18,999 for the Zach Ness version, and there are a number of accessories available like performance exhaust, windshields etc, at the time of purchase for all the Vegas line up if needed.

Last but not least, and one of the bikes I put the most miles on during our test, the Victory Kingpin. With the larger fenders, inverted fork and eighteen-inch wheels, it has a distinctly different look to the others in the range. With the best handling package and the same silky smooth engine response, it was my favorite to ride. The seating position is pure cruiser, but not at the expense of any comfort, as the floorboards were nicely placed and the wide bars sat me upright without feeling strained in either direction. Base model 8-Ball starts at $12,999 and the straight Kingpin, with a choice of Solid Crimson and Two Tone Imperial Blue and White, hits $14,999. Clean, quiet and efficient belt drive is used as with all the models here, and like all Victory motorcycles it’s an extremely tight, well thought out package in every respect.

Heading home from Colorado, it’s clear Victory is extremely serious about their motorcycles and how to keep building on their success. The amount of options available for someone purchasing a new machine are bordering on the overwhelming, although I’m sure very exciting as you set about making your new bike just the way you want it. What started out as a confusing prospect, turned into a simple distilled realization that it doesn’t matter which of the new Victory models you choose, you are clearly not going to be disappointed.