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Victory Vegas 8-Ball is a Visually Understated Overachiever
By Thomas (Tom) Farrington(Enthusiast), Jun. 23, 2011
First and foremost; I love the Victory Vegas in any of its versions as it is THE bike for ME.
As a newly licensed rider with just over a year of riding (test riding that is) under his belt, I have (test) ridden 41 models of cruisers from seven brands and have gone on three demo ride days from Vic. tory, two from Triumph, and one each from Star and Harley Davidson in just over a year’s time. When you don’t have a job to buy one; you hunt for test ride opportunities even if it’s a bit of a drive (in your car) to and from them.
Regarding the Victory Vegas 8-Ball: I rode this one the most out of all of the Vegas versions as it was available more often on all demo ride days. Being that I am 42 years old, married, have two young boys, and a lot of stress in my life; I wanted to take the recliner for a ride and relax on a leisurely ride to free my mind, soul, and spirit. For me; this bike does that and more.
The highly welcome surprise though is that this bike is superbly nimble and easy to lean and maneuver; which fits me to a T (for Tom by the way) as I also love to throw it around and toss it into a corner and find the curviest mountain or stream-side roads that Penn DOT has provided. (I live in eastern Pennsylvania). The condition of many of our roads is awful, but they have great views.
Here’s the irony in the matter: I am 6′-1 tall, 210 pounds soaking wet, and long legged with a 34 inseam; so I would benefit from the available forward foot controls mounting kit. Aside from that slight lack of stretch my legs out in front of me factory placement; I cannot find anything undesirable about this bike other than that I like as much chrome on a slick, curvy cruiser as the next guy; (and any model Vegas is just that) but that can be added too if you so desire. You can even see it on the bike if you use the customizing portion of the Victory website that shows part for part what your bike will look like.
What is absolutely fabulous about the bike is how you can practically slice and dissect the road as you ride due to the excellent handling that comes partly from a low, low seat height combined with a very low center of gravity and a 21 X 90mm tire up front that lets you put the bike exactly where you want (or need) to be in the lane at any given time with minimal effort on the bars or in your lean. However, even with the somewhat thin front tire; you still have a decent of contact with the pavement so as to safely and easily navigate potholes, cracks, gaps, and bridge crossing plates along with transitioning onto or off of a highway with real confidence.
While the thinner front tire and taller front wheel do give that amazing nimbleness as described; it also gives the wind a bit of authority over how easy it is to get blasted from side to side as the bike is so light that it is subject to gusts fairly much. I will gladly take that in stride though as I would never want to give up the handling and maneuverability traits that I listed, or the others that are yet to be discussed.
This is a fun as all get out bike to ride even as a beginner straddling a 106 cubic inch / 1,731 cc internal combustion engine transportation device with just two wheels. It is not intimidating at all to get on, center it up off the kick stand, and get it around the parking lot or driveway or even out on the interstate. It is a very inviting machine that has truly been uncommonly well thought out by technically competent and innovative designers who obviously listen to their professional test drivers and make those tweaks so that we don’t have to.
Ride quality combines the suspension systems of the front and rear, the tire and wheel sizes, multiple aspects of the seat such as its height, softness, width, if it rounded or not, etc. Add to the ride quality such as aspects as how much you sit in the bike or on the bike, wind blast from the front, vibration, noise from the engine or the pipes, the positioning of the triangle of your head, feet, and butt, the layout of the handlebars in height, width, angle, pull back, etc.
All aspects for me are dead on perfect as provided from the factory minus the need for those forward mounted foot controls due to these darn long legs of mine. If only I had been born with shorter legs so as to be tailor made for this bike. JUST KIDDING.
To break it down: the vibration from the engine is noticeable but in the ways that a V-twin of its size should be: visceral, strong, and that is almost gone at highway speed but with it still letting you know that it’s all there if needed or wanted. It will not shake you to death like its competitors. It has some shake to its character but not much.
There is also very little wind blast from the front as you really do sit nice, nice, nice and low in the saddle. That adds so much to the major cool factor of this ride too. You can go (the speed limit of course) and not get beaten up by the wind as happens on so many other bikes where it feels like you just came out of a wind tunnel test.
The front suspension absorbs a pretty good amount of the impacts from these awful PA roads. It is stable and predictable going into a turn and does not bottom out on larger bumps like deep potholes or that board on the way.
The rear suspension has less travel, but the hidden mono shock that Victory uses is sweet as pie with ice cream on top as the bumps are taken care of with enough room in most cases to lessen the worst of it. It is not a plush ride like a Vision and it is not designed or intended to be; so keep that in mind. If you want to feel the road via its bumps; this will let you do it; but only to a limited degree.
It is not at all like a certain brand and model that is just downright harsh to ride due to its awful suspension.
The handlebars have a terrific deeply pulled back short reach with spot-on width, height, and angle to make darn near anyone of any height or arm length or gender have a terrifically comfortable reach to and grip upon the bars at any time. It offers a very relaxed arm position that is so comfortable and non-fatiguing for hours of riding.
The factory pipes are decently loud yet meet required EPA limits and have a deep, manly tone that makes you say, Cool. as you nod approvingly.
One thing that is so well implemented is the location of the speedometer and all that it has within it which includes a digital tachometer, neutral indicator, and so on. You hardly have to look down as it is right between the bars at the top in full view. Just a quick glance is all that is necessary to get all the information needed.
The gear indicator is also very nice as it lets you know with certainty which one you’re in; especially neutral which is critical to safety.
Clutch and brake pulls are moderate and not too far in swing or hard to do. The transmission shifts into first gear with a great sounding and feeling thump while the other gears engage with a slightly softer sounding (yet just as manly) click.
What else is well done is the final belt drive as it is so much quicker than a shaft drive and does not have the lash that they often have. It does not whine or whistle either like some belt driven bikes I have ridden.
This bike has plenty of horsepower and torque to get it going in any gear with a large size rider or even two if you add the optional read / passenger seat. Being a cruiser, it is gear for serious low RPM acceleration and has tons of roll on passing ability in the higher gears. I was never lacking any power.
The transmission is smooth and the gears have enough of what I call miles per hour range that you can do much of your riding in third gear and not be redlining or straining the engine. Fourth gear does have quite an RPM reduction as does the overdrive sixth for highway running. I did not notice any lash or bucking or missing second.
The fit and finish of the metal and plastic works is top notch. The paint is deeply layered with excellent attention to detail in the uniformity of its depth, color consistency, and flowing shape that is one of the sleekest tanks in the business. It has customizable all over it. It has high factory quality written all over it too. That includes the turn signals and all other basic switches and controls.
While self-cancelling turn signals would be nice as that would make the mental game of the ride more fluid, the standard cancel it yourself signals are just fine. Again, this is not a luxury touring bike with all sorts of bells and whistles; it’s a stripped down cruiser made and meant for getting the job done with all the style and attitude you wish to throw from it.
One nice physical aspect of the tank is that it is not ridiculously wide like those on certain Triumph cruisers, and it carries the gas in a way that it feels as it most of its weight is not in the tank. It’s not top heavy so to say which helps it be so easy to lean and toss from side to side like I love.
Every time that I have had the privilege of test riding one of these, I have said out loud to myself, I could ride this bike all day. I said that many times during each ride it was that great and fun for me. For me, nothing else compares to this bike.
Nothing; not even a standard Vegas or a Kingpin; which are two sweet cruisers, and my second and third choices.
Even though I do not own one due being unemployed, when I ride this bike; all of my stress and discouragement and frustrations and depression goes away and I am literally mentally and emotionally free of all that wears me down. Riding this bike allows me to be able to look forward to one curve after the next with the wind gently cooling me off as my face smiles from the deep within me joy of being liberated for a while. I cannot express in words how wonderful a gift that is; but it is.
Thank you, Victory, for providing THE bike for me. Read Full Review
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