29yrs HD before going Vic, and as long as Vic is still leading in price, reliability, and power I will not go back. In HDs favor; fit and finish is nice after 110 years in the business, aftermarket parts are more available ( although Vic aftermarket tends to be quality stuff), there is instant acceptance of HD if you care about public image. Personally, I love that people who really know bikes tend to ask questions about my Vision.
Remember that the bike you buy now probably will not be your last, and a 2 year old Vicsteel frame ( king pin, hammer, Vegas, jackpot, etc) will be waaaayyyy better than just $1k cheaper than some Softail with less power. My 2010 Vision ABS was nearly $6k cheaper than the next closest HD in specs.
Plus, at the Victory dealer I didn't have to have some 20 something punk talk to me like he knew something about bikes while ignoring my questions, like happened at the HD shop where I was a family friend of the original owner. Its a small thing, but customer service is important to me even though I do most of my own wrenching.
Test ride and buy what you like, but trust me, if you really have the bug (and ride safe) it will not be your last bike.
Welcome & Goodluck,
As a fairly new owner of a Victory and first time buyer of a motorcycle period I too was scratching my head as to which bike to buy. I used to ride a Fraternity bro's bike all the time back in college which was a Kawasaki or Honda. Years later I had friends who tossed me the keys to their softtails but declined in fear of dropping it as I was rusty in my riding so I opted for their wife's sportster instead. I knew that one day I would love to own a bike and it would most likely be a HD. Fast Fwd 10 years and I finally reached the point where I was ready for my first bike. 90% of the guys I know who ride have HD's and many did nothing but talk up "Oh yeah, you need a HD Foot, there's nothing better!" I knew I wanted a cruiser as Crotch-rockets weren't for me and I really couldn't see me or a GF on one so I started looking into HD's. Never went and physically looked at them but only online and wondered which one would fit me. I knew I wanted something bigger than a sportster but which one? Mulled over it some and put it on the back burner. I knew that I wanted an American made motrocycle and considered looking into Indian bikes but not being in the know of anything motorcycle related I didn't know if they were still around or even American made anymore.
As I was headed south down I-75 in middle GA a guy on a Victory passed me very slowly and as I looked to see what he was riding I saw a thing of beauty. It was beautifully streamlined, UK blue with swept back pipes pointed downward, lots of Chrome and a little teenie passenger seat. Holy Crap! What the heck is that? Dang that thing looks awesome? Is it a HD? Needless to say I sped up to catch up with him to get another look. "It's a Victory.......Hmmm who is that? Never heard of them."
When I got home I went to the computer and started digging for information. I found "the VOG" and just started lurking around reading what the owners here had to say about them. I liked what I read, even though I was skeptical about a motorcycle that did not have the history and longevity of all the others. Are there still going to be here in 5 years? How reliable are they? I mean I haven't seen too many on the road. I do know that I don't want a HD cause the styling just doesn't do it for me. I know first hand of the problems that HD's have had from my friends that own em'.
Reading more and more here, daring to be different, and not listening to my HD buddies I decided to go with a Vegas. Being a first time bike owner I didn't even know if riding was going to be for me. I did not wanna drop big $$ on a bike and decide that motorcycling just wasn't my thing. I own a Correct Craft Ski boat and love the freedom of being on the water and being on a bike is probably the same thing just on land. After searching for quite a while I found a 03 Vegas on Cycle Trader at a HD dealer in Athens, GA. The price was so good on it I couldn't pass it up. Never even sat on a Victory till the day I brought it home. Heck, I didn't even have a license so had to take a HS bud who just bought a 2012 Road King to be my test pilot. Unfortunately, it was drizzling the day I went to look at it and when my bud test drove it he never got the chance to open it up. He did tell me that it handeled differently than his HD but he did like the ride. Okay, good enough for me and told the dealer lets do this deal and brought it home. The sun came out on the way home, dried up the rain and after we unloaded it I tossed my bud his lid and said "RUN IT!" He did, came back 15 mins later and said " DUDE!......You're going to love this bike!"
Since that time I have ridden allot, tricked up my ride and have NEVER regretted buying it. I usually ride with HD guys as I'm the only Vic owner around and people ask me about my ride more than theirs. Just about every where I go I have people comment on it and get asked if it's a HD cuz it's just a sweet looking ride. "Nope" I proudly say..."It's a Victory"......"They're made right here in the USA in Iowa!" I take allot of pride in that.
I've ridden it to work several times since then and had a coworker who saw it and fell in love with the Victory brand. After all the questions were answered to the best of my knowledge he got the fever and asked me to help him find one. Found one locally after a breif search and he purchased a 08 Jackpot just last week. He used to ride 25 years ago, doesn't have a license either as of yet so guess who got to drive it home. He too is excited to be a Victory owner and I haven't seen a grown man that giddy since the day I brought mine home.
I'm sure that the 03 I have now will not be my last motorcycle. I don't ever see me selling it as I know how pleased I have been with my Vegas but only time will tell. If that day should ever come to replacing it I know without a doubt that I won't have to look at anything else but a Victory.
I test-rode the Victory bikes in 2001. I was not overly impressed, at least not enough to want to buy one.
After the revamp in 2003, I rode the Vegas. I came away thinking Victory still had some work to do.
In late 2006 I rode the 2007 Hammer, Vegas, and Kingpin. I came away thinking that with the 100/6 Victory had nailed it.
Now, I had rented Harleys to try them out. Road King, Road Glide, Standard Softail, Fat Boy. I liked them all but none were particularly good at being a motorcycle... meaning the chassis, engine, comfort were "just OK" but with no wow factor. I rode the Yamaha Road Star & Stratoliner and the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 as well. The Stratoliner was on my short list, that's a nice bike.
Once I rode that 2007 Kingpin it was over. What a confidence inspiring chassis! What a glorious motor!
Put about 2500 miles on my new Kingpin, then I got on my old bike. I knew right then I should sell the old bike since I would never ride it. Not that there was anything WRONG with my 1500 Intruder... just that there was so much RIGHT with the Kingpin.
I wanted an American made bike,but not a Harley. Too many of them out there for me. The Pin allows me to be different, without giving up a domestic brand. Test ride both and let your body tell you which is right for you.
Both are great companies and build great bikes. when I am spending serious cash I went with what I thought was the best ride and quality ended up with a 2008 jackpot and just bought a Cross Country Tour. So for me it came down to what I feel is the best American bike and Victory won out. I am really looking forward to what Indian has in store as well. I would put them in the mix now.
Simple really. I bought the bike that I felt was me. 2009 Vegas 8 Ball. Great ride, good looking bike. I'm not a mechanic or mechanically inclined, so no HD for me.
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I rode H-D's for a long, long time. I wanted a change but I wanted an American bike. In 2010 I test rode a Victory XC. After that it was all over. The bike just feels better. The ride, the handling and the power. H-D still does a bit better on fit and finish but I have found the Victory brand to be far easier and cheaper to maintain and much more dependable. I like H-D, always have and always will but the Victory bike is better all around and I will stick with them as long as they keep putting out a great bike.
Second verse same as the first...but 1 small thing to add.
I have the same quirk in my bikes as I do my cars- I hate seeing the same thing in the parking lot next to me. It drives me nuts to pull up to a stop light and see the same thing there too. My wife has a white Murano and it's all we can do to not walk up to a wrong car in Walmart's parking lot on a Sunday since they are everywhere. You just don't see Victorys that often - makes me feel special. Also, I've never liked the way the tank and the seat fit together on an HD. They look like they are two different items bolted to the frame. On a Vic the seat and tank flow into each other like they thought about the complete design instead of bolting on components.
Sit on every bike in your price range even if you do/don't think you like it. The Yamaha 1300 looks good online but for me it doesn't fit. The bars are strange. And, if you are lucky, they will let you test ride.
One good thing for HD is the ability to have ABS on almost all of their bikes which is a nie confidence feature.
Another nice bike/bikes to consider, if you can find 'em, is the Triumph Thunderbird or Rocket III.
I rode my first HD about 30 years ago. A friend insisted I ride it. I did-- around the block. It sounded cool but too much vibration. Iwas riding a KZ-650 at the time.
Fast forward 30 years and several bikes. I have owned 3 Goldwings.
After a lengthy drought of no bike, I decided to acquire another about 18 months ago. Of course, I started shopping for a GW.
Again, a couple of friend suggest HD. While passing the local HD dealer, I decided to be fair and test ride one. I got to ride the owner's 2012 Ultraglide -- with every feature. A really, really nice bike. The first 2 miles were nice. Then I stopped at a light. Now, I remembered why I never owned an HD. I cut the ride short due to vibrating vision and rattling teeth. This isn't an HD bash as somepeople like that type of ride. To each his own.
I started shopping for a GW again when I saw an ad for a Vision. Read nice things about it hear on the VOG and found a dealer 70 miles away that was sponsoring a Demo Day that very weekend. I went, rode and bought one less than a month later.
I love my Vision.
VV - 2008
The OTHER American bike.
I "always wanted a Harley" also....even saw E K do a jump w/ one. But when I got into riding it was a budget thing...what POS i could own I rode. That was back in my starving musician days.
9 yrs later....When I re-started riding again it was a budget/skill level thing.
After 9.5 yrs of riding bikes from the far east I got the HD bug that I had suppressed since I was too unsafe a rider...lol.
I wasn't sure about a V-twin but almost bought a HD , while on layoff,lol, but better judgement took over. To this day I can't justify car payments for two wheels, and the ins,.
I was fortunate that a foreman on a job had a hardon for a HD but he had to unload an SC. What's a Victory?? I Thought back in 2006. I took a chance and bought a loaded SC w/ HD bags, Minn Fats shield, TC seat, and low loud pipes, (remember the megaphone on the SC??),,,and only 4k miles. All @ less than 1/2 the price of the new HD I was looking @ in Tpa,
Once I got used to the ergos ,,,it was so cool,,,,w/ a lil shield on it now it's like a Ducati cruiser...Brembos , Marzocchi forks,,,lol ,,,my avg speed is about 85 and still have plenty of tach.,
The only HD I really wanted was a street rod....and they killed that.....
My next Vic will be a Vision or a cross country,,,,,,now to find a divorce sale......lol