Booked a Victory Vision demo ride - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 23 Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 3:50 pm Thread Starter
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Cool Booked a Victory Vision demo ride

The local Polaris dealer, V-Twins 101, in Camarillo CA, is having a demo day this weekend. I've scheduled a test ride and the salesman told me it's a good hour-long jaunt, all on roads I'm very familiar with.

Last Saturday, the co-pilot and I finally got around to stopping by the dealership to get a look at the new Vision. We saw one on the road the week before just a couple miles out of town and it piqued or interest.

I gotta admit, after seeing, sitting on, and touching the bike, it has me intrigued. The fit and finish seem to be top notch: Tight, even body panel joints, heavy gauge plastic and lustrous paint. Top shelf components for the brakes and cabling. The motor exudes build quality without being too flashy and chrome encrusted. The so-called tipover guards are heavy, chrome bosses under the rider floor boards and and saddle bag rails. The floorboards remind me of a big scooter like the Burgman or Silverwing. They are looong! So you can still kick the feet back under the knees for twisties and barcalounge on the long-and-lonelys. Controls are still quite far forward for my tastes (or what I'm used to).

Not having ridden yet, there are three nits I have to pick, two practical and one aesthetic:
  • No ABS. I really think it should be an option, especially because all its competitors offer it (even H-D fer cryin' out loud!).
  • Saddlebag storage is restricted compared to the LT. Maybe half? This could be managed by either a top-box rack or (cringe) a trailer. Or one could just learn to do with less. Hey, It works for backpacking! But we are talking luxury tourer.
  • Finally as far as aesthetics go, you either love it or hate it. I've posted my share of jabs at this funky critter since it was introduced, but the whole package seems to grow on you after repeated looking - memory reboot cycles. The only element that now tweaks my sensibilities is the single, circular headlight nacelle in the front. That thing that evokes the Bozo and Furby comparisons. If, instead, there were two side by side or spaced apart, I'm sure it would be more pleasing.

Of course none of this means squat if it handles like a drunken moose and especially if the co-pilot holds it in disdain after the ride. I'm entering with low expectations but it does seem to have a lot of the bases covered for its class.

BTW, the dealership claims that the Vision is their top seller and they have 8 on the floor, more in storage and a couple of demos on the lot. Someone had just traded in their GL1500 with 140,000 miles for one. The shop owner was on a test ride with one of the demo units, something he apparently does a lot of.

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The word motorcycle is a verb.

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post #2 of 23 Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 3:56 pm
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I don't know... that thing really asks you to overlook a serious case of the uglies..... a wart or two I can live with.. but really now....
Let us know how you like it though, I'm curious to hear!

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post #3 of 23 Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 4:00 pm
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I rode on last year on a demo. I liked it. I like the looks, power and all the stuff that came with it.

The reason I would not own one, would be no ABS. Enjoy the test ride and let us know. The 106 pulls great.

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post #4 of 23 Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 4:11 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [*
BTW, the dealership claims that the Vision is their top seller and they have 8 on the floor, more in storage and a couple of demos on the lot. Someone had just traded in their GL1500 with 140,000 miles for one. The shop owner was on a test ride with one of the demo units, something he apparently does a lot of.
I'm not sure how their selling on the west cost but their not selling here in Pa. I've heard some talk at the DC show that they may stop building them in a year or so. It seams they haven't caught on with the V Twin crowd. If you decide to purchase I would deal, deal, deal!
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post #5 of 23 Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 4:20 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMC1
I don't know... that thing really asked you to overlook a serious case of the uglies..... a wart or two I can live with.. but really now....
Let us know how you like it though, I'm curious to hear!
I'll report back.

Ah, though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the soul of a thing is where true beauty lies.

The R1200GS and B-King are ugly the Vision is just ... DIFFERENT. We shall see if it's also, in PC parlance, "differently-abled".

I am however of the opinion that the bike that trumps all in ugliness through and through - a true abomination of cobbled parts and pieces from beyond the grave - would have to be this curdled mass of plastic and metal:



The Vision is a paragon of poise and Picasso-esque sophistication by comparison.

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post #6 of 23 Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 4:55 pm
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[QUOTE=tkramer]I'll report back.



I am however of the opinion that the bike that trumps all in ugliness through and through - a true abomination of cobbled parts and pieces from beyond the grave - would have to be this curdled mass of plastic and metal:

True, but it had the best stock headlights of any motorcycle I've ever owned.
Nice Photo!
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post #7 of 23 Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 5:13 pm
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[QUOTE=nplenzick]
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkramer
I'll report back.



I am however of the opinion that the bike that trumps all in ugliness through and through - a true abomination of cobbled parts and pieces from beyond the grave - would have to be this curdled mass of plastic and metal:

True, but it had the best stock headlights of any motorcycle I've ever owned.
Nice Photo!

Yeah, but the front looks like a Sentinel from the Matrix.

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post #8 of 23 Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 5:15 pm
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I could live without the ABS but I looked at one at the International Motorcycle Show, and the saddlebags sure are small. Not half of an LT, but about 2/3. Looks to me like they are kind of poorly engineered. They could easily have been made bigger.

It'll be a shame if the bike is discontinued. I like everything else about it, including the looks.
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post #9 of 23 Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 5:41 pm
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Don't get a flat on that rear tire. No centerstand. Talked to the rep at the motorcycle show and asked him about it. Said his mechanic could get it off in 8 minutes. In the shop. Didn't see the problem.

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post #10 of 23 Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 10:08 am
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Puts a lot of heat on the legs. Watch out !!!

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post #11 of 23 Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 12:11 pm
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Big Iron= Big Weight

The main factor for me and I am not a small man is weight. close to 900 pounds dry is to much. I think any bike over 800 is too much. Add gas you and a pasenger will put even a 800 pounder over 1000 lbs.
I sold the Ultra and GW for a real nice 07 R1200RT which has all the comforts of LD touring while knocking off close to 250 pounds of dead weight.
I agree with the looks and ABS. You either hate it or love it and ABS is a must with that weight.

Thanks
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post #12 of 23 Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 12:35 pm
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I sat on the bike at the motorcycle show. It feels like you could ride it all day long in comfort. It just looks like a pig and I am sure compared to the LT has handling to match.
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post #13 of 23 Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 12:43 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkramer
[*]Saddlebag storage is restricted compared to the LT. Maybe half? This could be managed by either a top-box rack or (cringe) a trailer. Or one could just learn to do with less. Hey, It works for backpacking! But we are talking luxury tourer.
Before you mention trailer, take another look at the back end of that thing. I don't think you want to start cutting to rig up a hitch.

I agree that it does look like a quality built machine but any owner is going to really get attention. I think the styling is a bit to "Vegas" (maybe whorehouse is a better word) for my taste. That, of course is all a matter of opinion.

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post #14 of 23 Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 12:46 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkramer
I'll report back.

Ah, though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the soul of a thing is where true beauty lies.

The R1200GS and B-King are ugly the Vision is just ... DIFFERENT. We shall see if it's also, in PC parlance, "differently-abled".

I am however of the opinion that the bike that trumps all in ugliness through and through - a true abomination of cobbled parts and pieces from beyond the grave - would have to be this curdled mass of plastic and metal:



The Vision is a paragon of poise and Picasso-esque sophistication by comparison.
That bike is actually very comfortable and has great storage space. It has a better service history and lesser failure rate than an LT. It just needed about 15-20 more HP.

Bob Chapman
Virginia
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post #15 of 23 Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 12:53 pm
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I've seen a few on the road out west here. Most riders look like they jumped off the HD and onto the Vic. I see more all the time so they must be selling.

Coming back from CA to AZ last friday, I passed a guy on one, he was behind a truck, waiting for me to buzz by on the K12S before doing his pass.

I know the air is ruff behind the trucks...but, I could see the vic wobbling all over the place...not all over the lane, in-line but, well..wobbling!

Since I've never seen my bike behind a truck from a distance (since I'm ridin' it, heheh)...I dunno, maybe the LT does the same thing. It doesn't feel like it though.

Looks are too far out for me but...I...keep........looking at it...maybe intrigue is the right word afterall.
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post #16 of 23 Old Jan 28th, 2008, 7:03 pm Thread Starter
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Demo ride report - Victory Vision (very long)

The weather here has been a monsoon lately so the demo this past weekend was in possible doubt. But on Saturday morning the sun was out and the roads were dry, so I canceled my Sunday appointment and got over to the dealer that morning. I and my co-pilot signed the waivers and waited for the demo group to come in from the ride in progress. We were the only LT there. It was mostly Harleys, metric cruisers, one FJR and an earlier generation Wing (GL1500?).

There were at least 7-8 Visions available to demo in all levels of trim and option configurations. We chose a loaded black one with the premium package and some other bolt-on goodies, like lower wind deflectors and highway pegs, both completely superfluous in my opinion. It even had the factory intercom, but the 7-pin plugs wouldn't work with our Baehr cables. The route was 1 hour long for a distance of 35 miles with all types of terrain and conditions: Residential parkways, rural back roads, steep climb and descent, a canyon, sweeping riverside and a 4 lane state highway.

So, lets get on with the ride.

Motor

Startup is quick and sharp since the bike was already warm. At idle, the motor is super smooth, 180 degree timing on the firing instead of the mechanical humping motion of a hog at idle. Blipping the throttle does nothing to upset the smoothness.

Getting under way, the wet clutch and low C of G make slow speed maneuvers out of the parking lot effortless. Full-on throttle gives a nice induction roar (not as sweet as a Guzzi or Duc) and bike shudders and shakes before settling down to a buzz at 4000-4500 rpm where an up-shift is in order. Thats where the power peaks out on the graph, but you really don't want to stay there. It's very buzzy north of 3500. I kept it in that range for the first half of the ride, because of twisties and hills and also because I'm used to the LT.

I finally got the hang of letting it run in the sweet spot, 2500 rpm, which can pull you along at 80 mph in 6th gear. Even 3000 rpm was slightly buzzy. The bike had 800 miles on the odometer, so it may smooth out after break-in. Power is adequate. The motor is really tuned more for torque and is very tractable in the twisties. Which leads me to:

Handling

Handling is impeccable for a bike of this size and class. All the roads we took were day-to-day familiar to me. I've ridden them dozens of times so I know what speeds I'm comfortable with according to three different bikes and a pillion on back. Keeping an eye on the speedo I could confidently carve turns at the same speeds I usually hit. I didn't have the opportunity to really push it since it was a very big group ride. It holds a line very precisely and neutrally. It is extremely well behaved and balanced with braking and speed changes in the curves.

Compared to the LT, it's an entirely different feel. First off, it's wheelbase is 1.7 inches longer and it feels longer. ( Barring rake and caster, I do believe that the Tele-lever front end of BMWs are what make them fell shorter than they are ). And the lower center of gravity means your head feels more like the pendulum weight than your feet. The LT feels like your skiing. Its left-right transitions fell snappy (relatively for such a porker) compared to the low-riding Vision where you just don't feel like you're dancing along. Again, checking my speedo, I'm moving at equivalent speeds. Maybe it's a combination of many things as well as a less peppy motor. I have no doubt that, given equal riders, the Vision could keep up with the LT in many twisty situations. But it lacks the roll-on kick out of the curves that an LT singing at 5000 rpm has. With the Victory you're more apt to pick a brisk pace and keep it steady through the curves with added throttle used mainly for keeping traction and chassis physics in check (what some might profess as good form anyways). I never dragged any metal parts.

Cruising along at super-legal highway speeds the Vision is rock steady: just a dream thrumming along. The LT has serious competition here. The cruise control works (mechanically) as well as the LTs. Brakes and suspension are top notch. The front floating disks feel good, not as inspiring as the servo-assisted chompers on the LT but entirely adequate. The rear is, I'm told, linked 60/40 with the front. I only used it in slow speed maneuvers and to set up a couple of turns. The forks are matched to the weight of the bike and might even have progressive springs. Front end dive never became an issue. The rear shock was quite stiff. It's pneumatic, so I'm sure they had it pressurized all the way in the potential case of some real heavyweight testers. If I were to test again, I'd make sure it was adjusted correctly.

Ergonomics

Reach to the handlebars is nearly identical to the LT, maybe an inch or two higher, but my elbows are at the same relaxed place. The saddle is very plush without being soft. It reminds me of a custom made saddle a'la Rocky Mayer. It doesn't afford much fore/aft adjustment but that's no big deal, because those floorboards are like aircraft carrier decks! With my toes perched on the back edge of the floorboards, I'm in a nearly identical riding position as the LT. From there forward there are unlimited combinations and positions to fall into. It's like a ballroom. You can dance the cha-cha at 75 mph! There were some cheezy chrome bolt-on highway pegs on the forward ends, but really, what was the point?

The stock windshield seemed a little short for me. It has about 4 or 5 inches of up-down range. At fully raised, I'm looking over it with more clearance than I usually use on the LT. I could have used another inch higher. Wind protection and buffeting was as good or slightly better than the LT: Better from the knees down, a little more buffeting at the helmet, but is was a very windy day. I didn't take the time play with the adjustable vanes under the mirrors. Speaking of the mirrors, that was one annoyance. The handlebar grips and controls are right in the line of sight, so I had to crane my neck over to get a good view behind. There are no mirror stem bosses on the switch pods so supplemental mirrors might not be an option. I didn't remember to ask if the bars were adjustable. That could resolve the issue.

The switch gear is a mixed bag. The left pod turn signal switch, high-beam, horn and electric windshield buttons are all high finish and where you would expect them to be, (there is some sort of turn signal cancellation in effect). The cruise control is on the right grip so it's not as easy to engage and set. It also consists of a total of 6 push buttons: On, Off, Set, Cancel, Accelerate, Decelerate. It pales in comparison to the elegance and simplicity of the BMW switch. Sound system controls are equally cluttered: no match for the simple disk pad on the LT.

Conclusion

Mentally, I was in strict evaluation mode while I was riding. So other than the freeway stretch, I can't say I was grinning the whole time. After pulling back into the dealer lot and getting off, I did grin. The first thing that popped into my mind in flashing neon letters was COMFORTABLE. I'm talkin' la-z-boy, Mexican hammock, shearling slippers comfortable. With no modifications whatsoever, a bone stock Victory Vision has to be the most comfortable motorcycle I've ever ridden. The combination of floor boards, excellent saddle, wind protection and friendly, competent handling really come together in a very attractive package. Other than the mirrors and possible fiddling with windshield sizes, I can't think of anything this bike would need to make it ergonomically ready for a long, extended trip. As for my pillion, she also found it more roomy and comfortable than the LT (Caveat: I haven't done the "extra 2 inches ghetto mod" with the trunk). She also sits a bit higher than me on the Vision so she had a better view of the scenery ahead. (She's level on the LT). She complained of the vibrations the first half of the ride, but after I got the revs under control she was much happier.

If the LT had the same floorboard space, it might be able to match the Vision. Let's face it, J-pegs, Mick-o-Pegs and the like are just temporary relief while rolling along, you can't use them full time. Add to that, the stock saddle on the LT (or any other bike I've ridden) is never going to add up without some custom work.

And now for the $20,000 question...Would I buy one?

Yes.

But.

I ride almost exclusively 2-up these days. We now have logged 20k miles on the LT and the honeymoon is by no means over. We're just having too much fun on it right now. If I were to get burned by some of the quality issues known to plague a few random samples of the "Legendary Motorcycles of Germany" [knock on wood], I would most certainly jump to the Vic. Or, if I got a wild hair and just wanted something different, again the Vision tops the list. But with this being the first model year, I would rather avoid being an early adopter and get a 09 or used 08 when they start to show in the market. There's also the next generation LT to anticipate.
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-----------------------------------------

The word motorcycle is a verb.

2005 K1200LT "Rolf"
2007 Moto Guzzi Norge

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post #17 of 23 Old Jan 28th, 2008, 7:54 pm
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A great demo report, Tiff. I really enjoyed your take on the Vic. BTW - did your demo bike have the trunk installed - whatta they call it? The 'whale tail' or sumpthin'? Just wonderin about that feature, which I guess must be an option??

thanks again for sharing your vision of the Vision!
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post #18 of 23 Old Jan 28th, 2008, 8:08 pm
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My local Victory dealer had been hounding me to test ride the Vision for a couple of months. I wanted to...but didn't have any desire to make them think I might trade in the LT for the Vision. Finally I dropped in and took their demo Vision for a ride. Swung by the house and picked up my wife for a two-up jaunt. She loved the comfort of the pillion seat...maybe moreso than the LT.

I liked the novelty (for me) big V-twin low end torque and power that the LT doesn't have. I felt the transmission was quite clunky. I don't think the bike I rode was tuned right. However once at speed and in 5th and 6th gears it was a sweet, smooth, stable ride. I agree...it is a very comfortable steed.

My dealer has had the same three units sitting on the floor for 6-8 months...no sales. At least here they aren't moving, and I've only see two on the road.
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post #19 of 23 Old Jan 29th, 2008, 12:03 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick
A great demo report, Tiff. I really enjoyed your take on the Vic. BTW - did your demo bike have the trunk installed - whatta they call it? The 'whale tail' or sumpthin'? Just wonderin about that feature, which I guess must be an option??

thanks again for sharing your vision of the Vision!
Glad you liked it. Having recently rented a Ultra Glide on Maui last month for a full day, I had that experience fresh in my memory. The Victory is no Harley, that's for sure! I think Victory achieved what they set out to accomplish. It could be said that they absolutely had to push for the outlandish styling in order to make their mark. Avoid being just another "me too" product like Triumph's latest Rocket III tourer .

The bike comes in two base configurations, Tour and Street, the difference being the trunk (and the 49 lbs associated with it). We tested the Tour model. They claim it only takes 10-15 minutes to remove or install the trunk from the Tour model to make it Street and back again. Based on experience with the LT trunk, I'm inclined to believe it. They also sell a nice cast metal rack with back rest for the Street version, something BMW could have made some money on with the LT (the Ft. Worth rack will have to do).

Folks who moan about the weight of the bike sort of miss the point of luxury tourers. It's the weight and wheel-base that gives it the smooth and steady ride, like a Cadillac Eldorado vs. Mini Cooper. They're both fun to drive, but I'd rather drive the Caddy on a long trip. The only reason I can see that we bitch so much about the weight of our LTs is because it's scary top heavy and a dog on the low end of the rev range. Both of these issues the Vision compensates for while keeping the same fuel capacity and range. Not bad.

-----------------------------------------

The word motorcycle is a verb.

2005 K1200LT "Rolf"
2007 Moto Guzzi Norge

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post #20 of 23 Old Jan 29th, 2008, 11:52 am
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Great evaluation - thanks! Would your pillion have enough room for all her luggage? I can get my wife into a week-long ride (hotels) on the LT.

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post #21 of 23 Old Jan 30th, 2008, 3:27 pm
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Ok I just donít get it.
Has no one really looked at the saddle bag capacity? For a Luxo touring rig for 20k The saddlebag capacity is incredibly small. I really like the bike except that one feature would keep me from buying it.
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post #22 of 23 Old Jan 30th, 2008, 7:47 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleRT
Ok I just donít get it.
Has no one really looked at the saddle bag capacity? For a Luxo touring rig for 20k The saddlebag capacity is incredibly small. I really like the bike except that one feature would keep me from buying it.
I have not tried one, no interest in the "whole package". However as SeattleRT mentioned the Victory saddle bags are very small. While waiting at my dealer, BMW / Ducati / Victory, I spent a bit of time checking it out. When you open the "huge" looking saddle bags there is only a small compartment with a lot of wasted odd shaped space. Another thing I noticed was the case only opens to a point, requiring what ever your going to put in be able to make through the opening then down into the compartment. You may need 2 narrower bags rather than one. Any how I found there to be more capacity and easier access on the LT.

Dave Oehler
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post #23 of 23 Old Feb 1st, 2008, 12:49 pm Thread Starter
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Payload capacity: Vision vs. LT

According to the spec sheets the LT has a total capacity of 120 liters. (How that takes into account the 6-disk changer, I know not). The Vision claims 29.2 gallons which converts to 110.5 liters, so it is short by ~10 liters. That could be made up with the available top case rack and a strap down bag, but the LT has that option, too.

However, considering the Vic's reliability reputation and better support network you can minimize or eliminate the desire to carry tools, spare parts, etc. Maybe not 10 liters worth (How much space does a final drive and quart of gear oil take up? ).

-----------------------------------------

The word motorcycle is a verb.

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