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Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

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    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    It seems to be testride season lately; I've gotten to take a little spin on several bikes in the last couple months. I'll put each one in a separate post below. I don't know if y'all have a good place for this sort of thing, but I've got about 50 similar testride write-ups I've done over the last 6 years or so, on all sorts of bikes. If there is, or if you want to make, a spot to put them, I'd be glad to post them up.

    PhilB

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    "A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper." -- Ludwig von Mises
    1993 Ducati Monster M900; 265,000 miles -- killed by minivan 30Oct17

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    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    June2014 – Another round on a H-D V-Rod

    Big truck at the H-D dealer in Rochester NH. I went hoping to check out the new Street 750 and Street 500, but they didn't have them yet. They had a lineup of the regular models, so I took a spin on the V-Rod for the fun of it.

    It seemed larger than before, heavier, slower to respond. Wider rear tire than before? Yep. The one I rode in 2010 had a 180/55 rear tire; this one had a 240/40 -- more than 2 inches wider. Big and meaty, and all stylish and stuff, but totally unnecessary and worse for vehicle dynamics. Form at the expense of function. This is why sportbikers make fun of Harleys; more about the show than the riding. (But at the exact same time, a lot of those same guys are fitting wider rear tires to their sportbikes for the same misguided reason and to the same bad effect, so glass houses and all that.)

    This one didn't seem to fuel as well down low as before; it hunted and lumped. I actually stalled it once from a stop; it needed some revs before it would move.

    The riding position, though was improved. Less of a reach to the handlebars and less of a reach to the forward foot controls. I'd still want to change to mid-controls, but at least the stock position wasn't as bad as before.

    Otherwise, pretty much the same plusses and minuses as it had last time:

    Apr2010 – Test ride: Harley-Davidson VRSC (V-Rod)

    This bike worked a lot better in a lot of ways than I expected, but the operative phrase that keeps coming up is “for a cruiser”. It’s fast, for a cruiser. It handles well, for a cruiser. Etc.

    One of the things that’s interesting, though, is how much better it is than the XR1200 in many ways. The engine, transmission, brakes, and suspension were all clearly of better design and quality.

    I rode the “Muscle” version, which is distinguished mainly by dual exhaust, one pipe on each side. I like the look of it better than the exhaust on the other versions.

    Engine: The V-Rod engine is a pretty nice piece of work. It’s too heavy for a real sportbike, but it works well in a bike where weight isn’t considered a problem. It was a little cold-blooded and took a few minutes to warm up and smooth out, but once warm it had good thrust everywhere, and yet a decent topend rush as well. It was happier in the top half of the rev range, although oddly enough it didn’t sound like it. At low revs it sounded better but ran a little rougher; higher up it ran better but sounded thrashy. Like the XR1200, it seemed a little unhappy bumbling along at part throttle, although it was not as pronounced in the V-Rod. Probably all this would smooth out more after it was broken in; this one only had 22 miles on it. It’s a good engine – for a cruiser.

    Transmission: This was a standout feature. The linkage from the forward foot controls is long, and at rest you could feel the flex in it, but it shifted *really* nicely, up and down and into neutral, moving or at rest. I was very impressed.

    Drivetrain: Clutch was fine. Belt drive is nice. All the lightness and efficiency of a chain, without the maintenance. I like belt drive.

    Brakes: I was pretty impressed with this as well. They’re not monobloc Brembos or anything, but they work well and predictably and strongly, with a better feeling of control and feedback than the XR1200. The salesguy that took me out (“Spud”) said they were ABS, which is nice. I didn’t test that feature, but it’s nice to know it’s there. Brakes are good – for a cruiser.

    Handling: The steering geometry is cruiser style; it felt very awkward at first and took several turns before I got the rhythm of it and figured out the right steering inputs. Once I got it, though, it wasn’t bad. The bike felt settled and stable. You certainly wouldn’t call it nimble, but it handled the sharper corners pretty well, and I didn’t have any problems with cornering clearance right away. It felt steady and smooth on the sweepers, again in a favorable contrast to the XR1200’s imprecise wallowy feel. So overall, handling rates high – for a cruiser.

    Ergonomics: Biggest drawback for me. Forward foot controls are just stupid. Unlike reviews I’ve read, I didn’t find the reach to the handlebars to be a problem; that was pretty comfortable. And the seat itself was OK, although with all your weight on your tailbone like that it’ll still get old pretty quick. I wouldn’t likely be happy with a 500-mile day on it. But the reach to the foot controls was very long; I always felt I was stretching a bit to reach the shifter and brake lever. And having your feet out there pretty much eliminates using your body English to help control the bike, and completely eliminates using your legs to help cushion big bumps/potholes/etc. Oddly, the passenger pegs are right below the rider’s seat on each side, and were much more comfortable and gave a much better sense of control of the bike. Put the foot controls there, and you’d have a better bike to actually ride.

    General impressions: The finish was good and the build quality seemed high. The controls were big and meaty in the Harley style, and had very nice feel. This is something Harley does well, and it does make for a nice riding experience. Self-canceling turn signals are cool. It is a pretty nice looking bike, and I liked the dual exhaust, although it did require a pretty “wide stance” once the pipes got warm. Even though it’s very low in seatheight, it’s not for the very short of leg.

    But the telling point was that afterwards, when I got back on my own bike and rode off, it felt like a million bucks (with the sole exception of the shifting action). So, overall, it was pretty darn good – for a cruiser. Probably Harley’s best engineered and most functional bike. But not on my short list, not by a long shot.
    PhilB

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    "A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper." -- Ludwig von Mises
    1993 Ducati Monster M900; 265,000 miles -- killed by minivan 30Oct17

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    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    August 2014 – A couple small Yamahas: FZ-09 and FZ-07

    Yamaha FZ-09 and FZ-07; big truck at Lowell bike night

    This was an opportunity to check these two bikes out; both have gotten good magazine reviews. The Yamaha truck limited it to two rides per person, even though it wasn’t very crowded. Little bummer, as I would also have liked to try out the Bolt, and to take a spin on the mighty V-Max.
    =====
    I rode the FZ-09 first. The new triple has generated a lot of interest, and this bike is very similar in size and general capability to my current bike (’93 Monster M900).

    The engine works fine; has the expected in-betweenness characteristics (more torquey than a four, but less than a twin; more topend than a twin but less than a four). Something about triples just doesn’t jibe with me, though. I’ve have yet to ride one that really felt nice to me. This one was hampered by its controls and maps. It was abrupt and jerky; did not transition well. The RBW setup seems not worked out; and counting on electronic post-conditioning to make it good. It has three ride modes: B, Sport, and A. The ride guys are aware of the FZ-09’s twitchiness and tell everyone to start out in B mode. I started in Standard, but tried all three during the loop -- B was smooth but emasculated, Sport medium, and A fastest but jerky and harsh.

    There seemed to also be a lot of driveline lash. The clutch was light and good; but the shifting a little notchy. The brakes were adequate. The handling was adequate. The suspension was OK in general, but quite jarring on the big bumps/pits.

    The styling is OK. Comfort decent, seat OK, riding position good. Fit and finish and general quality were decent; not spectacular.

    There’s a lot of “good enough” about this bike, which is I suppose to be expected at the price point. The overall impression, though, is that seemed not quite all put together, not tested and refined as well as I would hope.
    =====
    I took my second ride on an FZ-07. I liked this bike a *lot* better. Less gizmos, much more of a simple and honest bike.

    The parallel twin engine has pretty good character. It’s a little buzzy, but not unacceptably so. Throttle was smooth, transitions good. Less power than the FZ-09 obviously, but much more pleasant to operate and thus more actually useful. Clutch and shifting were easy, driveline tighter. It all worked like you’d expect a bike to work. A bit low on power -- plenty there for traffic and around town with proper use of the gears, but it would run kind of short on the highway or touring.

    Handling was more precise and firmer; better controlled on the medium to small bumps. Bigger bumps got it out of shape a bit quickly, though.

    As with the FZ-09, the styling, comfort, seat, fit and finish, and general quality were decent; not spectacular. The riding position was a bit more upright and a bit more forward; I thought that was an improvement.

    This bike is nicely analog; no digital gimmickry. It felt much more integrated, solid, of a piece.
    =====
    These are pretty low-end priced bikes, so the real advance here is not in capability, but in value. Both of these bikes, in overall capability, aren't a lot different from my old Monster, yet they are *much* cheaper. I paid about $10K in 1993; that was a lot of money for a bike then. That's about $15K in today's dollars. The FZ-09 and FZ-07 are roughly half of that, which is pretty impressive. Of the two, I'd much more be inclined toward recommending the FZ-07; it just works better. For a rider on a budget, it's a great choice.

    I guess I've been kind of spoiled by the fancy stuff, though.

    PhilB

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    "A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper." -- Ludwig von Mises
    1993 Ducati Monster M900; 265,000 miles -- killed by minivan 30Oct17

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    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    August 2014 – A spin on a Royal Enfield; Triumph 675 Street Triple again, and Tiger 800

    Open House at National Powersports in Pembroke

    First, I had never been there before, so this was valuable just for that. They sell new Triumphs and Royal Enfields, as well as a clean, well-lit warehouse with about 500 used bikes of all flavors. It looked like they were in generally good condition, and pretty reasonably priced. I was impressed. The open house was fun, too. They had coffee and carbohydrates for breakfast, then put out a British-themed table for lunch -- shepherd's pies, pasties, mash. Pretty tasty.

    The testrides were simply done. Sign up, get your ticket, they call the tickets in order, get on a bike that hasn't been picked yet when they call. If you really want a bike that someone else is on, pass and be the first ticket for the next ride. Lead and sweep took whichever two bikes were left and around the loop you go.
    =====
    First ride was on a Royal Enfield, in a military-stylee Olive Drab paintcoat. I’d been interested in checking these out for a while. This is the second-generation bike. Royal Enfield India had been building authentic original 1958 Bullets for about 50 years; a few years ago they decided to do an update and go to a unit-construction engine case and some other modernizations.

    This was an amusing little bike. It would make a fine and fun around-town runabout. The 500 single will keep up with traffic, but without much in reserve -- don't count on leaps of acceleration to get your a$$ out of trouble. Plan your passes carefully.

    The clutch was super light; the transmission nicely done. Brakes adequate to its performance but no more. Handling likewise. Light and easy to place, though. Suspension worked quite well in general, although big bumps/pits/pots would make it get squirrelly.

    The riding position is old-fashioned upright; just right for its style and mission.

    The one big minus is vibration. The big single makes the whole bike buzz. The footpegs isolate it OK, but the vibes buzz your hands and butt and knees and all. You're not going to want to be doing any 600-mile days, or really venturing very far from civilization. Supposedly, once the engine is properly broken in, the vibration goes down appreciably, but it's still never going to be smooth.

    It's a neat little bike for the price, and would make fun local transport if it holds together. The build quality and fit and finish seemed pretty good. But OTOH they had one of the new Continental GT models along as well (snazzy café racer style, 535cc engine) and it had some sort of nasty-sounding engine failure part way through the day. I'd guess that if you got one, you'd want to ride the heck out of it while it was under warranty, and if the bike survives, you got a good one.

    PhilB

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    "A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper." -- Ludwig von Mises
    1993 Ducati Monster M900; 265,000 miles -- killed by minivan 30Oct17

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    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Street Triple 675 -- really sweet, just like last time. The blue shift lights are new. You can set them where you want, which is a nice little feature.

    The intake makes a big whrrrzhzhzhzhzhzhzh sound like a vacuum cleaner. Triples still don't quite resonate with me, but this is such a good bike, I could forgive that. It's funny; I don't have a strong riding impression left. It's highly competent and well-balanced, does everything well, doesn't call attention to itself. If you're the type that likes the visceralness of a H-D, likes to be reminded that you're on a bike dammit, this isn't the bike for you. If, OTOH, you like the ride for itself and just want the bike to facilitate that ride really well, you could buy one of these and be very happy.

    Review from last time I rode one:
    Jun10 – The Triumph Truck; got a little spin on just about everything
    =====
    Street Triple – This is the bike I went for, the one that was actually on my bikes-to-test list. I got a red one; it looks quite nice in red. They need a BRG option, though; it would be great in that color.

    This bike was very impressive, definitely worthy of consideration. Especially if money is an important factor. My short list so far has assumed the ability to buy whatever I want the most. If I had to consider budget carefully, this bike would have to duke it out for the title with the Ducati HyperMotard 796.

    The engine is strong and smooth. It is, not surprisingly, not as torquey as a twin, but better than a four. The intake sound is kind of ugly – a whistle/whoosh/whirr that is a bit annoying, especially at lower speeds. At higher speeds, it gets less intrusive, and the exhaust note comes up to cover it better; said exhaust note is nicely done, also has nice burbles on the overrun.

    The clutch is light and positive, and shifting is quick and precise. Brake feel and power were good. Handling was very good. Agile, well controlled, yet also handled bumps and bad pavement well. Mind you, all of this is not at the level of an MV or highend Ducati, but for a bike that is intended to be realistic rather than exotic, it was very well done.

    The riding position is a little on the aggressive side. Not bad at all, not a full sportbike crouch, but more sporty than most standards – more so than the Speed Triple, for example. This gave it a good feel, and a nice clear forward view. Not as gonzo-IMAX as a HyperMotard, but somewhat similar. Comfortable enough, the seat was decent and the footpeg placement good and natural feeling.

    They’ve done a really good job on this bike.
    PhilB

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    "A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper." -- Ludwig von Mises
    1993 Ducati Monster M900; 265,000 miles -- killed by minivan 30Oct17

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    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Tiger 800 – This was the regular version, not the more-dirt-oriented (and taller) XC version. It was not too tall; I was on balls o' feet on both sides. It seems heavy, especially top-heavy. It's actually 40 lbs lighter than the BMW F800GS, but seems less wieldy, less balanced.

    The engine is your basic Triumph triple – big intake whrrrzhzhzhzhzhzhzh. Compared to the 675 in the Street Triple, the 800 (basically the same engine mechanically) was tuned for a more meaty midrange, and less topend. Clutch, shifting, drivetrain in general, brakes – all were well modulated and operated smoothly.

    Handling was a little ponderous, as I noted above with the impression of being top-heavy. This bike had streety tires, which helped with the road manners; I expect the more dirt-oriented tires on the XC would make it feel looser.

    This is probably a great world-traveler companion sort of bike. If I was going to do a real adventure ride, say from here to Peru, this is the class of bike I’d choose – plenty capable on the road, yet pretty good in the dirt and not nearly as huge and unmanageable as the big 1200-class adventure bikes.

    For whatever reasons, though, I felt more at ease on the Bimmer.

    PhilB

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    "A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper." -- Ludwig von Mises
    1993 Ducati Monster M900; 265,000 miles -- killed by minivan 30Oct17

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    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    I wanna hear about the Victory demos...

    And how is it we've yet to cross paths? Or have we, I wonder?

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    Lifer jasnmar's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    If you see a "extremely well loved" monster anywhere on 28, that'll be Phil.

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    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    August 2014 -- Victory Vegas 8-Ball and Cross Country

    Another big truck at Lowell bike night

    Low attendance on this one. When I came by at lunch hour, there were literally no other customers there. The truck staff was friendly and knowledgeable, and happy to let me try out as many as I liked. The Victory lineup is a sort of variations-on-a-theme. They have a dozen or so models, but they all use the same engine and basic mechanicals. There are three main flavors: cruiser, bagger, and big tourer.
    =====
    I tried a cruiser first. The Vegas 8-Ball is at the low end of their price range, but is still a big and expensive bike -- about $13K.

    The engine is what you’d expect from a direct competitor to Harley. A big twin (about 1700cc), full of torque and attitude. It feels stronger than the H-D twins, and revvier, although it actually redlines at about the same 5K rpm. Like the Harley, though, the loud grip adds noise before speed. You give it a good twist, and the exhaust responds immediately, but the bike takes a moment longer to get moving.

    The clutch was easy to use and to modulate. With the easy clutch and big torque, it’s not hard to start up in 2nd gear. The transmission has been refined since I last rode a Victory (a Hammer S in 2010); it’s less clonky and more responsive. It now has a funny interlock that prevents you from shifting to 2nd from neutral; you have to put it in 1st first, then you can shift up to 2nd. One odd bit is that the gear indicator on the dash goes to a dashed line whenever you pull in the clutch, so when you are shifting (or just coasting) it doesn’t tell you what gear you are in, or shifting from or to. Not sure what the point of that is.

    Braking, handling, and suspension were compromised by style. This is why I have little interest in cruisers in general; they aren’t very capable overall, and this is dictated by the fashions they follow. The tall skinny front tire compromises both handling and braking. The fat rear (and rearward weight bias) helps with the braking, but compromises handling further. The low stance and rear bias compromise suspension badly. The suspension action was actually quite good under easy cruising. It was pleasantly firm, yet not harsh; it communicated well and made placement of the big bike pretty easy. However, travel was very limited, and any big bump/pit/pothole literally bottomed out both ends and sent a shock up your spine. No good.

    Ergonomics were pretty good for a cruiser. The footpegs were forward, as is the style, but not so far forward that you had no mobility. If you needed to get your butt off the seat, you still couldn’t just use your legs, but you could use your arms to pull back, and pivot your butt up using your legs for leverage. Not ideal, but better than the Harleys, which place your feet so far forward that your legs are useless.

    This is a very long bike, and you sit far back and low. The speedometer up at the top triple looks like it’s a very long ways away, and the headlight beyond that looks like it’s in the next county.

    Fit, finish, and build quality are excellent. This is something Victory does very well. Lots of nice detail in the shapes of the parts. For example, the master cylinder for the front brake is shaped like a shield, and matches the shapes of the aircleaner cover on the right side of the engine, which matches the panel with the ignition switch on the left side of the engine.

    It’s probably a great choice if you want a cruiser. I just don’t see the sense in cruisers – why build a big fancy expensive bike that isn’t designed to actually be ridden much of anywhere?

    PhilB

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    "A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper." -- Ludwig von Mises
    1993 Ducati Monster M900; 265,000 miles -- killed by minivan 30Oct17

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    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    My second spin was on a bagger, the Cross Country. They apparently had one there with the performance upgrade goodies, but I wasn’t aware of that, so the one I rode had the standard setup. It did have a fancy cool paintjob with flames and all that.

    This model has a low and wide fairing, similar in shape to the fork-mounted H-D batwing fairings. It also had built-in hardbags, which I did not look very closely at. Bags are useful; I assume these would carry your stuff just fine. The right handlebar had a little extra thumb-operated control panel for the cruise control. I didn’t try it out; I don’t even like cruise control in cars, much less bikes. The left handlebar had a similar extra thumb-operated control panel for the radio, which was mounted in the center of the fairing, with a speaker in each batwing.

    The engine, clutch, and transmission were the same, and worked the same.

    This had a shorter and wider front wheel than the cruiser, which helped with the handling and braking. The suspension was tuned much more for riding. It wasn’t as communicative as the 8-Ball’s, and was more plush, but was firm enough to handle adequately. It didn’t bottom out on the bigger bumps, which was a big improvement, but it did sort of crash over them. If you’ve ever driven an old pickup, loaded, over a set of railroad tracks, it sort of felt like that. No real danger of loss of control, but a series of jolts and a sense of lots of things moving around as the fairings and bags and all of that jiggle around. Lots of commotion.

    The radio was kind of cool at first, and I liked that it had an automatic volume control that turned it down when you stopped, and raised it back up as you got moving, so you could always hear it fine without fiddling with the volume all the time. But pretty soon, the station hit an extended commercial break, and I became acutely aware that part of the joy of motorcycling for me is getting away from all that stuff. Radio off. No thanks.

    The riding position was definitely more upright and forward than the cruiser’s, with different placement of the handlebars and controls. The bagger has floorboards instead of pegs. It doesn’t have the heel-toe shifters like the Harleys, just one big lever that you toe up and down like a regular bike.

    The riding feel and experience was quite different between the two bikes. It’s interesting how well Victory can make them feel like such different bikes even though they are based on the same platform.

    This would make a decent traveling companion for light to medium touring in civilized areas. It’s kind of big and unwieldy around town (not as bad as the big tourers, but still); you’re not going to be doing much canyon carving, or exploring remote dirt roads or anything like that. But within its design scope, it works fine.

    =====

    But once again, when I got back on my own bike and rode off afterwards, it felt like a much more functional, useful, and fun bike. These, much like many of the Harleys, feel more like lifestyle accessories than serious bikes for riding. Thus not quite my cup of tea. (Which isn’t a surprise. I rode them for the experience and because the opportunity presented itself, not because I’d be likely to be in the market for bikes of this type.)

    PhilB

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    Last edited by PhilB; 08-27-14 at 07:07 PM.
    "A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper." -- Ludwig von Mises
    1993 Ducati Monster M900; 265,000 miles -- killed by minivan 30Oct17

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    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    I wanna hear about the Victory demos...

    And how is it we've yet to cross paths? Or have we, I wonder?
    Not sure. We only moved to Pittsfield about a month ago; before that we'd been in Northwood for a couple years. Before that, we lived in San Diego.

    What do you ride?

    PhilB

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    Last edited by PhilB; 08-27-14 at 04:20 PM.
    "A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper." -- Ludwig von Mises
    1993 Ducati Monster M900; 265,000 miles -- killed by minivan 30Oct17

  12. #12
    First name on the shit list.... SVRACER01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilB
    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    I wanna hear about the Victory demos...

    And how is it we've yet to cross paths? Or have we, I wonder?
    Not sure. We only moved to Pittsfield about a month ago; before that we'd been in Northwood for a couple years. Before that, we lived in San Diego.

    What do you ride?

    PhilB
    He rides the pine.

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  13. #13
    Lifer
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Phil. You should have gotten on one of the Victories with the "upgrades". I rode the Gunner. Which I think is like the Vegas you rode, but with a smaller diameter, but much wider front tire and more retro-esque styling. I rode the Cross Country first, then the Gunner. The Gunner was modified. The engine was night and day different. I could hear it and feel the power out of the thing. Throttle response was way mo' bettah. Overall it actually felt like a motorcycle. The CC I rode before it was very meh.

    For me, the CC suspension was remarkable. Very good ride, even when I "got on it" on the back part of their demo loop. And it soaked up the crappy pavement there too. But the engine was disappointing. The hopped up Gunner was the opposite; great engine and throttle (and noise!) mated to crappy suspension and handling. Also I scraped the pegs on the Gunner constantly.

    I wish I'd had a chance to ride the hopped up CC. I suspect their "stage one" upgrade kit/whatever is essential equipment for those engines. Shame they couldn't just set them up that way from the factory. Although the practice of "we can fix that, right this way to our helpful accessories salesman" tactic seems more and more common these days.

    From my eye, the fit and finish on the bikes was pretty good EXCEPT for the stereo and cruise control bits on the CC. IMO, cruise control is part of the package for those behemoth baggers and tourers. Cruising down the highway with cruise set just .. ehem .. cruising is the point. And I was disappointed to see how cheesy the cruise and audio controls were. Very lame. They looked like they were bolted on as an afterthought.

    You mentioned the cases. I love the bagger look. I suppose I kind of sort of emulate it with how I have my 'strom setup. If you can even do that. The Victory bags on the CC are a shining example of how their stuff is form over function. Those long swept back teardrop shapes yield a ton of wasted space. The plastic felt light and chinsy. I believe the HD stuff feels of better quality. Although the bags do have 1/4 turn quick release, which probably helps with servicing.

    I am with you on the stereo. Not for me. I'd rather have a helmet with bluetooth. (In fact, I do!) So a built in stereo has positively zero benefit for me. This is someplace Victory falls down in my opinion. They do not have a heavy tourer that does not come with that stuff. HD has the Road King. A coworker of mine has one and has a very nice bolt on "batwing" fairing. Perfect setup in my opinion. In the summer he can unclip it and stash it in the garage in about 30 seconds. Then when fall comes he gets wind protection that covers the hands. For situations in between he can slap on the factory police style screen. Very slick setup. Also the HD fit and finish is better. And more comfortable too. The Victories all put the controls way up front; cruiser forward control style. The floor boards are angled back. This sucks. The HD tourers and big baggers seem to be flatter and closer to under you. My father's old FLHS actually had a rather cramped rider triangle.. but it was monumentally comfortable. The Victory was much more form over function than even the HD tourers. This almost surprises me as I didn't think that was really possible.

    I need to ride a Road King like his in person at some point.

    The Victory demo team was the best demo staff I've seen so far. Most are more uptight and really beat you over the head with the "rules". I did the same Yamaha demo a few weeks ago and they threatened to expel a guy for swerving too much. They were the same way last year when I did the Yamaha Star demo. Meanwhile the Victory guys were laid back. The second loop was more like going for a rip with NESRians than a corporate demo.

    I should write up my own full reviews.

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  14. #14
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilB View Post
    Not sure. We only moved to Pittsfield about a month ago; before that we'd been in Northwood for a couple years. Before that, we lived in San Diego.

    What do you ride?

    PhilB
    My current street ride is whatever someone brings up to let me ride. Otherwise a Raptor 700, Arctic Cat 400, Arctic Cat Sno-Pro 900....

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  15. #15
    Old and Slow Sheppo's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post

    The Victory demo team was the best demo staff I've seen so far. Most are more uptight and really beat you over the head with the "rules". I did the same Yamaha demo a few weeks ago and they threatened to expel a guy for swerving too much. They were the same way last year when I did the Yamaha Star demo. Meanwhile the Victory guys were laid back. The second loop was more like going for a rip with NESRians than a corporate demo.
    I did a Victory Test ride a few years ago at an undisclosed location. Lets say it was so laid back we might have seen triple digits on a certain highway. Ugly as it is, the Vision is a perfect touring machine and the fairings on Victory's are designed to increase downforce as your speed increases. If I wasn't so cheap I probably would have bought one of those over my HD.

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  16. #16
    Senior Member Dave603's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    My current street ride is whatever someone brings up to let me ride. Otherwise a Raptor 700, Arctic Cat 400, Arctic Cat Sno-Pro 900....
    Jeez I should just give you the keys to my garage, I got 7 bikes that are just itching to be ridden.. this year. LOL

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  17. #17
    Lifer
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Downforce on a cruiser/tourer that will rarely see triple digits? Seems like a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Keep the wind and rain off me without introducing turbulence and buffeting. Done deal.

    I dunno man. I think you did it right. So much of that over the top styling on the Victories seems to come at the cost of function. Little things like how the cases work. All seem to be better thought out and executed on the HD. And the HD switch gear is superior. HD seems to have this touring bike thing down pretty well. And the classic/vintage styling appeals to me more than the futuristic teardrop thing. Win/win I say.

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  18. #18
    Wizard loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    I really want to test a Tiger 800. Also a Thunderbird, the Storm model in particular. I REALLY want to ride a Rocket III

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  19. #19
    Lifer
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    I had the Tiger 800 for four days in California. I threw 1400 miles at it. Call it an extended test ride. My opinion of it is quite similar to Phils. I suspect that I agree with him that the triple just doesn't do it for me. I think I'm just a V-twin kinda guy. Which is crazy because I expected to love it.

    More here.

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  20. #20
    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinned View Post
    I really want to test a Tiger 800. Also a Thunderbird, the Storm model in particular. I REALLY want to ride a Rocket III
    The Thunderbird is about the only bike in Triumph's line I haven't ridden. The Rocket III is about the only bike I've ridden in the last 10 years that I really didn't enjoy.

    PhilB

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  21. #21
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave603 View Post
    Jeez I should just give you the keys to my garage, I got 7 bikes that are just itching to be ridden.. this year. LOL
    I'm available! Wait. What?

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  22. #22
    Wizard loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    I had the Tiger 800 for four days in California. I threw 1400 miles at it. Call it an extended test ride. My opinion of it is quite similar to Phils. I suspect that I agree with him that the triple just doesn't do it for me. I think I'm just a V-twin kinda guy. Which is crazy because I expected to love it.

    More here.
    I'll have a read. I'm a big fan of the 1050 in my speed triple, but I haven't had any time on its little brother. I have plenty of seat time on I4's also, and about 15k on a big twin cruiser. The cruiser doesn't really count so much as it relates to what I'm looking for in my next bike; sporty cruiser or ADV bike that's good for 2 up.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilB View Post
    The Thunderbird is about the only bike in Triumph's line I haven't ridden. The Rocket III is about the only bike I've ridden in the last 10 years that I really didn't enjoy.

    PhilB
    What was it about the RIII you didn't like? Not a bike is ever really consider, but it's pretty freakin cool on paper.

    I'm most interested in the Tbird because I'm a damned Trumpet fanboy. My S3R is an amazing bike but the further I get into track riding, and now racing, has me looking at getting on to something that doesn't induce felony level traffic violations when I twist the wrist a bit. I'd also like to have something better suited for 2 up riding.

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    I went to MMI I know what Im doing here chief

  23. #23
    Lifer
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    It's all subjective YMMV stuff. The more I ride these V-twins, the more I think this is just my bag. Even the parallel twins just aren't right. I test rode the Super Tenere and was left feeling very 'meh'. Meanwhile a friend rode one and left with a downpayment down on the bike.

    For me, I think that leaves the 'stroms and the Multi.

    Maybe a 'Guzi. Maybe. After Scott chimed in on that other test ride thread, I'm tempted to drop by Seacoast and find out.

    I think these "adventure" things make fantastic bikes to travel on. No idea about 2-up, but for solo travels they are great. Although be warned that they handle and go better than you may think they should. Even my lowly little 650 gets faster and faster after each track day.

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  24. #24
    Senior Member MHenry600's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Phil, was the Street Triple you test rode the plain-jane Street Triple, or the "R" version? You talk about how nice it was to ride, but just trying to figure out if it had the adjustable suspenders on it or not.

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  25. #25
    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of demo/test rides -- H-D, Victory, Yamaha, Triumph, Royal Enfield

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinned View Post
    ... What was it about the RIII you didn't like? Not a bike is ever really consider, but it's pretty freakin cool on paper. ...
    Here's my review:
    Rocket III (touring) – I wanted to try this one, just for the experience.

    Yuck. It has good bump compliance. That’s pretty much the extent of my positive comments.

    It’s *massive*. Handling is ponderous. Shifting is smooth enough but still has the big clonk of big parts. Everything is heavy, overdone, massive. The fabled 140 ft-lbs of torque is lost in the weight of the bike. It doesn’t leap like the torque number says it should, because with gas and rider it’s a freaking half a ton of bike. Did I mention it’s massive? The engine seemed really rough and agricultural to me, unrefined and vibratory, not well balanced. This bike was pretty much the opposite of fun to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by MHenry600 View Post
    Phil, was the Street Triple you test rode the plain-jane Street Triple, or the "R" version? You talk about how nice it was to ride, but just trying to figure out if it had the adjustable suspenders on it or not.
    This one was the standard. I have not ridden a Street Triple R, although I did ride a Daytona R and the improved suspension leads me to believe that if I was to buy a Street Triple, I'd step up and get the R version.

    PhilB

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