Victory’s 106/6 Freedom V-Twin provides plenty of usable power early in the rev range, registering just shy of 80 lb-ft at 1900 rpm on the dyno. All it takes is a good twist of the throttle to realize the four-valve, SOHC 50-degree V-Twin has a revvier nature than the Harley’s pushrod-operated mill. Even with the Twin Cam 103, the Harley doesn’t match up to the 92.17 lb-ft of torque the Victory Vision put out at 2700 rpm on the dyno. Topping the horsepower and torque charts helped the Victory Vision Tour win our 0-60 test by 0.06 seconds. Both bikes produced similar power curves during the 0-60 runs with the biggest gains in miles-per-hour coming in between one-two seconds. The Vision did top our scales, though, weighing in at a portly curb weight of 909 pounds with the Road Glide Ultra no featherweight itself at 875 pounds. The 34-pound weight difference is all up front as the rear of both bikes weighed an identical 490 pounds.
The Victory Vision’s counter-balanced engine is much more sedate at idle than the heavy dose of vibrations the Harley doles out, but vibes do creep in at higher rpm and the front fairing rattles as a result. The air/oil cooled engine also produces quite a bit of heat, most noticeably on the inside of the left leg. The Road Glide Ultra put out its own share of
For 2011, the Vision Tour got a major overhaul on its transmission, ABS is now a standard feature and on cold morning rides you will enjoy the addition of heated seats and grips.
heat, but has an Engine Idle Temperature Management System that automatically cuts fuel and fire from the rear cylinder at idle making it more bearable when stuck in LA freeway traffic. The Victory Vision Tour lost the mpg battle by 3.14 miles, 36.9 to 33.86. The 1731cc engine provides a broad spread of power but its throttle wasn’t as snappy as at it built revs a little slower, chugging a bit at times at low rpm. Our Vision test unit’s fuel delivery could have been a bit more refined.
The main improvement to the 2011 Vision is its transmission which now features helical gears in all but fifth. The lower gears are noticeably quieter and engage smoother. When you click the constant mesh transmission into its overdrive sixth, the engine drops about 500 rpm as it settles nicely into highway cruising mode. When we took the Vision to get dynoed, Speed Shop owner Mickey Cohen commented on the noticeable improvement to the Vision’s tranny.
But while the transmission is notably smoother than before, it was more difficult to modulate the Vision’s clutch because it engages later in the lever release and made low speed maneuvers challenging. The bike feels longer and top heavy at slow speeds, requiring a wider birth in tight maneuvering than the Road Glide Ultra. The Vision’s tank is placed high on the frame and its large six-gallon capacity adds to the top heavy feel. This is when the extra 34 forward-biased pounds become most noticeable. Get the Vision up to speed though and the bike tracks well and is very stable when leaned over. Its floorboards are situated high enough to allow for generous lean angles before hard parts scrape.
The 2011 Victory Vision Tour utilizes big dual 300mm floating rotors with 4-piston calipers on the front and a single 300mm rotor with twin-calipers on the back. It’s a linked braking system, back to front. We found the front brakes to be a bit soft and lacking a strong initial bit. You’re better off using the back on quick stops because the linked system will also engage the front. The Vision’s ABS, now a standard feature, helps out when you need it most though.
(R) The big dials, blue backlights and gear indicator make the Victory Vision’s cockpit very rider-friendly. (M) The Vision tracks true and steady in the twisty stuff. (R) The Victory Vision Tour has a low 26.5-inch seat height and plenty of storage space for long hauls.
In the saddle, there’s not much that differentiates the two. The seat on the Victory Vision Tour provides four inches of foam padding and lumbar support. The Road Glide Ultra meanwhile is equipped with the new Ultra Classic seat which has a narrower width than before, a deeper bucket and a great shape. Riding positions are almost identical in an upright position with rider’s arms comfortably below shoulder level.
The Vision offers more creature comforts – a windscreen that adjusts at a push of a button to go along with heated seats and grips. The Road Glide Ultra has a taller, more touring-friendly windscreen than the standard Road Glide but it isn’t adjustable at the push of a button. The Victory Vision Tour’s cockpit is rider-friendly with an easy-to-read analog speedo and tach and a big digital gear indicator. Blue backlights really highlight the gauges at night. The Road Glide Ultra features a cockpit-style instrument layout, with an analog speedo and tachometer mounted front-and center and smaller dials like a fuel gauge and oil pressure gauge on the perimeter. It also has an H-D Smart Security System, whereas the Victory comes with none. We love the huge topcases on both bikes and found the Vision’s push button system to be more convenient than the Harley’s latches. But the saddlebags on the Harley are much better because the width of Vision’s side compartments are a little shallow and more challenging to load.