Even hurtling down the open road the Vision doesn't shed its big-cruiser feel entirely, not with that massive V-twin thundering away. But we're not talking the tiresome vibration rolling though your typical big twin. Victory has done a good job isolating the rider from all but some high-frequency remnants in the handlebar and floorboards. Even the mirrors are mostly clear at highway speeds. It's the engine's hearty power curve and thick exhaust note that keep it feeling classic. What's not at all cruiser-like is its stability at high speeds. None of that hinging in fast sweepers. No white-knuckling through turbulent truck wakes. Even well into triple digits the bike is completely settled.
And this allows me to stretch out on the Vision like some Cirque performer, finding one sweet spot, then another, ticking off miles so easily I forget fuel stops and only pull off when the warning light reminds me. My range from the 6-gallon tank varies wildly due to serious headwinds and some occasional heavy throttling. My average mpg for the trip will turn out to be 32 (low 27/high 38). I'm riding the Touring package, with the otherwise optional trunk, adjustable windshield and all the cool gadgets, including a Victory-branded TourTech GPS, which is incredibly useful and easy to operate. Even wearing mid-weight gloves I can use the touch screen, checking my motion stats, zooming in and out of maps or searching for the next gas station, restaurant or even the nearest Victory dealer.
The stereo is equally fun to mess with, but as expected, the sound at freeway speeds is lacking and only enjoyable if you already know the music that's playing (so your brain fills in the voids). A headset is the way to go. The look of the stereo controls and information window mounted on the faux tank is incredibly clean, as are all appointments in the cockpit, though info in the window is difficult to read when the sun hits it at certain times of day. One especially cool feature is the dedicated iPod adaptor, which routes the player's controls to the main stereo toggles and additionally charges the unit as you ride. Note: It doesn't work with non-Apple MP3 players.
There are both short and tall windshield options for the Vision, and either can be equipped with electronic adjustability, though it's a 30-second job to get off the bike and adjust it manually. I prefer the look of the short shield, but the protection of the tall one. Manually adjustable wings on the fairing widen the ergo bubble, or bring in some cooling air when it's hot.
When I wake up in Deadwood it's cold, foggy...and empty. No blinding chrome, no straight pipes, no stop-and-go to Mount Rushmore. It's like I've never been here before. As I load the bike I spend an extra 20 minutes talking Vision specs to the security guard and a half-dozen seniors who've collected around my Black Cherry spectacle. They're surprised at how much junk goes into my saddlebags-and so am I. We laugh that it's like a magician's hat trick in reverse.
The Vision's luggage not only holds as much or more as its competitors, but it's also exceptionally easy to use. Think of how it feels to close the door of a premium automobile. It's that nice, solid snick I'm talking about, a level of quality that's rare in this market. The top box is especially spacious and offers the benefit of opening fully even when you have crap on the rear seat. Additionally, we're told you can remove the trunk with eight bolts, taking it down to the scrappier look of the base Street model in a few minutes. This is a nice feature for someone with an on-and-off passenger, since the box does noticeably change the weight distribution and aerodynamic effect on the bike, making it slightly less settled in faster cornering and high-wind situations.