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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
At Silenthill's behest, I have decided to account my observations of my recently purchased 2011 Victory Cross Roads. Early on I made a similar thread after my first long for-fun-only ride and that accounted my initial impressions of a bike not yet broken in completely. Now, nearly 3 months and 3000 miles later, I think I can write review that more adequately details the experience of ownership.

I'll break this down into sections, like a lot of reviews do. It'll bust up the WALL O' TEXT, and keep the related info together.

So let's start at the top, with what most folks want in a touring bike :D

COMFORT: A-
The Cross Roads (or "XR") stock seat is deeply dished and provides pretty impressive back support even without a driver's backrest. Even on the 100-mile ride from the dealership in Idaho Falls to my in-laws' in American Falls, I didn't get sore (note that I rode my Vulcan there, so when I bought the Vic, I was already a little sore). Now that the foam is nicely broken in and molded to my hindquarters, I can ride for hours between stops, even at the end of a long day in the saddle. I just don't get the saddle-fatigue like I did on the 900.

The passenger pillion, after a few rides, was more then adequate as judged by my wife. My XR came outfitted with a Victory "lock-n-ride" passenger backrest with attached luggage rack. Wife determined quickly that the backrest was too low after she tried to flip backward over it under rapid acceleration, but was otherwise acceptable.

The floorboards seem ridiculously long at first, almost like pointy clown shoes, but form over function quickly comes into play here. Being able to move my feet from an extreme-forward position to a mid position completely eliminated the need for highway pegs.

The motor, is a hard-mounted counterbalanced engine. Some vibes are to be expected. I never notice any. I can "see" some when my mirrors start to buzz a little at around 70 mph, but I never feel it. I also never really notice engine heat. If it's especially hot and I'm sitting in traffic, I'll notice some on my right leg. But it's honestly less noticeable than it was on the 9, since there's no cooling fan to blow 200-degree air directly onto my junk.

the 2011 and 2012 models came from the factory with cruise control. Now that I've had it, I can't go back.

The factory "mid-height" windshield is poorly named. I'm 5'9" with a 32-inch inseam, and the 'shield barely hits my chin. This results in some buffeting.
Severity depends on which helmet I'm wearing. In the half-helmet I can be pushing triple digits before my eyes start to rattle. In my full-face, I notice it pretty good at around 75-80. This can be reduced with lowers or the "tall" windshield, and purportedly eliminated with a combination of the two. it's really my only comfort-related gripe.

I honestly believe if this bike was any more comfortable (even if I made it that way myself), I would fall asleep on it and die.

POWERTRAIN: B
The "B" rating is not for lack of power. This thing pulls like a true beast. Against the other bikes in its class, I can only cite other reviews in which they were compared, but in those reviews was the hands-down favorite for grunt (except where Yammy's Roadstar 1900 was involved, admittedly). I'm hoping to take a stab at a friend's 2012 Softail in the near future, and will post back results when I have. He's a good sport, so I'm sure he'll be up for it. Compared to the 900...well, there is no comparison. On paper, it's twice the displacement, twice the power and torque, and only 150 lbs heavier. In the real world, this bike would fly away from a 900 like it was standing still. At half throttle, the XR outruns my wife's wide-open Shadow like it's not even trying. BUT...

while I have no true gripes with the motor, I always seem to want for a little more torque at the very bottom. The Freedom 106 wakes up at about 2800 RPM and gets downright scary around 4 grand, but up to that point it feels almost tame. I must say, this does make the power surprising easy to handle, since the bike won't try to kill you at low speed if you accidentally goose the throttle. Well, it won't try very hard, anyway. Mountain climbing, which I do at every opportunity, is a breeze with this motor. I've been at 6800 feet on ID-21 above Lowman, ID and the motor has never flagged once.

Additional power is fairly low-cost with a couple $0 mods like unplugging the O2 sensors and modding the airbox--these I may try--and there's always the pipes and fuel-controller combo. Cams and even overbore kits are available.

I must say, tho, the exhaust note is completely unremarkable. This bike begs for pipes.

For the transmission, the 6th gear is a dream come true. 80 mph is 3000 RPM and silky smooth. Bumping down to pass is necessary only if you like to make some racket and do it really fast. Bumping down two gears is necessary if you want to terrify yourself AND the person you're passing. For 2011, Victory boasted a redesigned transmission for the XR and Cross Country that offered a longer service interval. I'm not sure what they redesigned in it, but as far as transmissions go, this one's a bit on the noisy side. Shifts are direct and smooth, but LOUD, and the throw is a little long. The torque compensator is also very noisy, especially once it's warm, and is my only real complaint as far as powertrain noise. Coming from the 900, something would have to just sound like it's just freaking falling apart to bother me.

HANDLING A
Depsite its increased weight, the XR is just as easy to maneuver in a parking lot as the 900. In fact, the bike is considerably better-balanced, so I feel much more confident on it than I did on the 900. On the mountain twisties however...this bike is much better.

The XR is so much better planted, has a steeper lean angle despite being a bagger, and has such superior balance, it is in every way a superior canyon-carver. I just feel like I own the mountain on this bike. The Dunlop Elite IIIs they outfit from the factory seem pretty decent in the corners, altho the stopping power of the brakes (dual-disc up front) is much better than the tires' traction, and results in lockups feeling a little too easy. Which in turn results in me doing stupid crap like twisting out 2nd gear to blow through a yellow light that's almost red. I'm not sure that's the best solution to the problem.

STORAGE A+
The hard bags are lockable and weatherproof and each is large enough to hold a small toddler. And they're really weatherproof. Wife and I rode through a downpour for over two hours and 100 miles...and our stuff was still dry at the end. The luggage rack is wide enough to strap a small CRT television to and confidently secure it. I don't think you could improve on that as far as a bagger is concerned.

BUILD QUALITY/FIT & FINISH --
After 3 months I won't give this a hard rating. But I haven't broken anything on it, and everything still works right. As far as fit and finish, one can tell that this thing some some designer's baby for a long time before it was built. The only thing that looks tacked on is, as usual, the license plate mount. Par for the course in motorcycle building, seems like. However, the paint feels a little fragile, compared to what I've dealt with in the past. I don't have any scratches or swirl marks, but I guess it's not an uncommon problem if the paint is not maintained with great care.

EASE/COST OF MAINTENANCE B
Changing the oil in the XR literally takes about 10 minutes. Easiest bike I've ever done/seen/heard of. Nothing extra has to be removed or loosened, and normal tools can be used to reach the filter and drainplug. Checking/changing the air filter takes much longer and requires removal of the gas tank.

That makes me make this face: :mad:

All Victorys also take 20w-40 synthetic blend. Guess how many companies make that? I've found two. Victory and Castrol. Guess how many places in my town carry it?

Yeah. Zero. But the ease of doing the service goes a long way in my book.

AFTERMARKET: D
There's plenty out there for the other Vic models. But the Cross bikes are pretty new, and there's not a lot to choose from yet. And name-brand Vic stuff is damn near Harley price, so I haven't bought any goodies for mine yet.

DEALER SUPPORT: C-
3 dealers in southern ID, 2 in northern UT, only one dedicated to the brand (Tri-Cities Performance in Centerville, UT). Everywhere else the Vics are shuffled in with offerings from Japanese manufacturers. Action Motorsports in Idaho Falls is pretty dedicated to Vic for a multi-line dealer, but Carl's Cycles in Boise is more like, "Victory? Oh yeah, we sell those too." Victory dealers will sometimes tell you Polaris dealers that don't sell Victory can help you with service or part needs, but those Polaris dealers have thus far all informed me otherwise.

I'm not going to quote on Victory's unique styling. If I didn't like it, I woulda bought a Vaquero.

FINAL VERDICT: This bike is pretty much exactly right for me. The few small gripes I do have are easily ignored. I have a bike that I can throw enough stuff into the saddlebags for a 2-day trip for me and the wife (that's just the bags!), can blast down the slab effortlessly (when I run out of back-road options), is loaded with power but gets 45 mpg, has a 6-gallon tank, and is comfortable enough to sit on for 150 miles at a time. It does all the things I wanted my Vulcan to do, but does them without trying. And I'll tell you, there's no going back from here. If I ever trade up, the next bike's gonna hafta have a jet engine and laser cannons.
 

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Thank you, good sir. I do love the Cross Country Tour and I'm hoping to try one at a demo day here soon. It's nice to hear a comparison of your bike to the 900 so I have a good idea if what to expect. I think what really draws me to Victory is all the comments about how maneuverable they are. The other bike I keep looking at is the Concours 14 if that tells you what I might want out of a "next" bike.

Good write up. Thanks again.
 

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Awesome, enjoyable read! Thanks for taking the time to do a comprehensive review, I enjoy reading about other bikes(well. all bikes)...lol. Sounds like the Vic hits the mark! I must admit, I'm deffinitely becoming a fan. I'm even developing a liking for the "Jetson-like bike" they make...lol. That 106 motor sounds like a real gem....oh, and btw, extremely well wrtten!
Best regards, Silent.

On a side note, I seem to be on the Victory website A LOT....
Someone posted some video's a while back....comparing Vic engines to that other great Vtwin....although obviously biased, Polaris sure got their point across....at one point, they actually redesigned the engine to accept a quart LESS of oil, because they were running too COOL. GO FIGURE!...LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@Graybush-
I've never ridden a Connie, but those who have them seem to love them. Honestly, those sport-tourers scare me because I'm worried they'll ruin me for V-twin cruisers, and I just don't look the part for a sport-touring guy :D

@Silent
Thanks for the kudos! At first I thought the Victory Vision was pretty ridiculous, and often referred to it as the Starship. But the more I see them as I frequently visit Victory dealers, the more they grow on me. Not my style by a long way, but when you take the design in as a whole package, you really begin to appreciate it. And they are VERY well-loved by their owners and touted as a more-than-adequate alternative to the Goldwing.
 

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Luciferiad,

I've ridden a Connie (the older 1000cc model not the new 1400cc model). It's a unique ride, despite the low windshield there is NO buffeting AND excellent wind protection, thanks to a slight forward lean and a good fairing. Ample power, smooth as butter, vibration? What's that?

Despite all of that, it won't kill V-Twins for me. I can't stretch out like I can on my Vulcan, and it just doesn't have the personality and the 'cool' factor of a V-Twin. I'll keep a V-Twin for now at least!

Excellent review on the Vic. Like others I am really falling in love with them. FINALLY someone with big hard bags (what's with everyones hard bags being so small? Those massive vic bags look just fine). I've only say on the Vic's, never ridden one, but man, is that a comfortable ride. The Vision (Jetson bike as someone called it) is ugly on the outside, but gorgeous when you're in the saddle. If I won the lottery today, there'd be on in my driveway tonight for sure.

Thanks for the review! Don't be a stranger! We like Victory/Honda guys juust fine!
 

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Hey Big L,
Great write up!
I have seen your avitar on the Vic forums that I have been reading lately.

I tried to ride a XCT a few months back; but the dealer I was dealing with sux. Long story.

Anyway, I did get to ride the Vision Tour. What a machine!
It was like a lazer guided rocket couch!
My wife however; did not like the tour pack; as it was "buzzy"! I can only find a couple of complaints about the tourpacks on any of the forums though (might have been the lousy dealer doesn't know how to put one together). How is yours; any vibes reported on the passenger backrest?

I drove to another dealer today to sit on the XCT again. I think I am going to have to take a chance on the poor dealer network and get one in September!

Scott
 

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Hey Big L,
Great write up!
I have seen your avitar on the Vic forums that I have been reading lately.

I tried to ride a XCT a few months back; but the dealer I was dealing with sux. Long story.

Anyway, I did get to ride the Vision Tour. What a machine!
It was like a lazer guided rocket couch!
My wife however; did not like the tour pack; as it was "buzzy"! I can only find a couple of complaints about the tourpacks on any of the forums though (might have been the lousy dealer doesn't know how to put one together). How is yours; any vibes reported on the passenger backrest?

I drove to another dealer today to sit on the XCT again. I think I am going to have to take a chance on the poor dealer network and get one in September!

Scott
I predict we are going to see a surge in Victory sales and thus, dealer networks. Many Harley dealers in the area around me are starting to pick up Victory, which is a huge advantage because you already have a large well equipped dealership because of the Harley support. I think in the future we will see Harley-Victory dealerships just like we see Yamaha-Kawasak-Honda dealerships.

Vic's are exciting and a breath of fresh air. Younger generations don't get nostalgic about the old school designs. I LOVE the classic, big tire/big fender lotsa chrome look, but it's not nostalgia like it is for the older guys. Victory is ahead of the curve but they are gonna come out strong. Seems like their bikes are very reliable too, seem well built.
 

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I think in the future we will see Harley-Victory dealerships just like we see Yamaha-Kawasak-Honda dealerships.
I didn't know HD Motor co. would allow a dealer to sell other brands.
That would be great!

Scott
 

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I didn't know HD Motor co. would allow a dealer to sell other brands.
That would be great!

Scott
I bought my bike AND the wife's Honda from Big St.Charles Harley Davidson! They've got a full line of Vics and Metrics! Now they have a seperate building with an expanded line, and the metrics and vics in the old building (buildings are right next to each other), but for a long time they were all under the same roof! Surdyke in Fesus, MO sells Vic's, Harleys, and a handful of used metrics (probably trade ins)

Not sure how it works, maybe there is some division in there somewhere or something. My uncle once worked for a car dealership that sold both Ford and GM products and at the time, GM only allowed other GM cars to be sold at any dealerships. Well, that was fine, because the Ford dealership had a different name (technically). Same address, same employees, same lot, but it was technically two different companies to satisfy their agreement with GM. Maybe that's how they get away with it? My uncle even drew seperate paychecks, one for the General Motors stuff he sold, the other for Ford.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey Big L,
Great write up!
I have seen your avitar on the Vic forums that I have been reading lately.

I tried to ride a XCT a few months back; but the dealer I was dealing with sux. Long story.

Anyway, I did get to ride the Vision Tour. What a machine!
It was like a lazer guided rocket couch!
My wife however; did not like the tour pack; as it was "buzzy"! I can only find a couple of complaints about the tourpacks on any of the forums though (might have been the lousy dealer doesn't know how to put one together). How is yours; any vibes reported on the passenger backrest?

I drove to another dealer today to sit on the XCT again. I think I am going to have to take a chance on the poor dealer network and get one in September!

Scott
Everyone on both the forums we've been trolling knows dealers can suck and balk at test rides if you're not pre-approved for financing. I think it's pretty ridiculous; why would I want to go through the hassle of the paperwork if I don't even know if I want the bike?

When we brought the XR home from the dealer, wife did complain of some buzziness though the seat, but none through the backrest. She really doesn't like the low height of it, tho...it just doesn't make her feel secure. And the buzziness she felt through the seat was because both the tires and air-adjustable rear shock were really low. The shock, in fact, had no pressure in it at all. After making the necessary adjustments, she was much more comfortable. And when we returned to the dealer a week later, I groused about it, because they did a "pre-sale" inspection that specifically stated the tires had been checked (I took responsibility for the shock...they had no idea I was going to be loading it down). I didn't ask for or get any compensation...the only thing I wanted was to make the service manager aware his guys were skipping stuff. Other than that, I have to say my experience at the dealer was fantastic.

If you can hassle someone into letting your ride a XC or XCT, Scott, do it. I was sold on many of the Vic's options but still debating whether to go with a Vaquero or even a Boulevard C109T they had. The ride was the clincher.
 

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I don't really blame a dealer for not allowing test rides on a bike that is going to be sold as new. I think the break in period for a bike is more critical, and bikes are going to be more likely to get flogged on a test ride.
I do understand wanting to ride before you buy though.

I went to a HD demo ride and tested one of their full dressers. It was too tall, and would REQUIRE lowering to fit me.
So, I researched seat heights and found the Victory tourers have a 26.25" seat height (lowest in class).

Stopped by the dealer just to look, touch, and sit on one.
While I was there, I was told by the salesman that they were having demo days in two weeks. They would have a truck full of all the Vics and I could test ride what I wanted.
The day before the given date, I called their shop and asked if it was still on. The reply was in the affirmative.
The morning of the demo it was raining; but the storms were only going to last until around noon.
I called again to make sure it was not cancelled; I again was told to come on out.

I took off work at lunch and when I got there, there was no truck, no banners, no free coffee.
I asked about the Demo days, and was told it was something they were doing on their own.
I asked to ride the XCT and I was told it was on a test ride:(, I asked to ride the Vision Tour and was brought the waiver:).
While I was filling out the waiver, I had to listen to all of their high pressure sales BS.:(

The Vision is an AWESOME ride.:)

When I got back I asked about the XCT again, they said that it wasn't back yet.
The XCT is the model I am interested in so I waited. About 20 minutes later, when they figure out that I am not going to leave, they tell me that the people who are test riding the XCT are going to buy it.:(
I think they did not have one to ride that day, and were just making S*** up.:(

Then the sales manager tells me:
"If you are not ready to buy; you should not be asking for test rides":mad:

His sales people tell me on three occasions, that they are having demo days. I take off work to attend; and he has the nerve to talk down to me for wanting to ride a bike, at DEMO DAYS, that I am seriously interested in buying.:mad:

This is the kind of shady sales BS that give all dealers and salemen a bad name.
I will go with my gut on that shop; and never trust my bike or my money with them!

Scott
 

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Glad to hear that you got the buzziness worked out.

I am really starting to think the machine I rode was just not set-up correctly.


There is a used XCT with nearly 6k miles they want 20k for. It is located at a second location of the same dealership I had issues with.
I may consider buying used (for an hour or so at least:D), and see if I cant get that test ride after all.

Scott
 

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Great write up! An enjoyable read for sure. I also like the Victory's and wouldn't mind test riding the vegas jackpot. All victories have the same motor and transmission, so I have an idea of what to expect.
 

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A buddy I ride with has 2010 XC , I don't believe he's had any issues with it but he doesn't seem to be as big a fan of the seat, maybe it's just long ride comfort in general because he's about 6' 1.
He did just put some aftermarket slip -on mufflers on and they sound nice. As mentioned there aren't many options for Vic bagger exhaust. These are authoritative yet not obnoxious under hard acceleration , they sound good cruising too , you can tell there not stockers. He noticed a power gain I believe he had the dealer map it when they installed the slip - ons. There made by D&D , beware he ended up waiting a while past the promised delivery date though.
I'm waiting for Aug 30th to see if I win the 8 Ball at the local dealer , I've got a 1 in 105 chance , who knows :p
I have been looking hard at Victory and the thing I've noticed is there seems to be a unlimited supply of used HD's but Victory's are a bit more scarce.
Dealer support and aftermarket are week areas though.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Great write up! An enjoyable read for sure. I also like the Victory's and wouldn't mind test riding the vegas jackpot. All victories have the same motor and transmission, so I have an idea of what to expect.
Be aware there are some minor tuning differences between the models. For instance, the touring bikes offer 109 ft-lbs of torque, but the cruisers and sport-cruisers like the Hammer and Judge offer 113 ft-lbs of torque. 3% won't blow your mind, but I'm sure it has to do with the intended purpose of the bike.

Also, the Cross bikes, the Vision, the Kingpin, and now the Boardwalk are outfitted with torque compensators. These do a fine job of absorbing gear lash, but mine sure makes a lot of ruckus. Word on the street is they fixed the noise issue in the 2012 and newer bikes, tho.
 

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Great review. My wife and I are falling in love with Victories, however the price right now is out of our range, along with the comfort level of the larger engines. But maybe in a few years when we outgrow our 750 and 900 we will look at the 1700 victory's. My wife loves the 8-Ball, and I like the Cross Country, but I am on the fence whether or not the Vaquero would be better for me.
 

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I don't know. Personally, after reading EXTENSIVELY about the 17, seems like their is too much "tweaking" to be done. I was also VERY concerned about the recent catastrophic failure of the tranny on the 17....I think that Kawi might have missed the mark on the 1700. Now, that being said, it's just MY opinion, no disrespect intended to anyone. I have a gut feeling that the 17 is going to have reliability issues. I think they should have built their new platform around the vn2000 engine?
 

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I don't know. Personally, after reading EXTENSIVELY about the 17, seems like their is too much "tweaking" to be done. I was also VERY concerned about the recent catastrophic failure of the tranny on the 17....I think that Kawi might have missed the mark on the 1700. Now, that being said, it's just MY opinion, no disrespect intended to anyone. I have a gut feeling that the 17 is going to have reliability issues. I think they should have built their new platform around the vn2000 engine?
Yeah I've seen that, a couple of blown trannies on the 1700's. Only time will tell. I think we are a bit spoiled with the stupidly reliable 900's (except for a stator, but man, I'd rather have the stator be a yearly maintenance item than deal with some of the stuff some of these other bikes have had! Ever visit the forums for some other makes? Makes you proud to own a Vulcan)

I've only heard though, of two cases of catastrophic tranny failure with the 1700's. I'd like to know if that was a fluke, or the maintenance and riding style was to blame. I don't think the tranny's are weak. I have a sneaking suspicion that Kawasaki's 7500 mile / 1 year conventional oil change recommendation is leaving those transmissions out to dry, some people ignore it and stick to more frequent oil change intervals. I've also heard of failing to do the 600 mile oil change causing problems down the road as metal shavings bounce around and grind things up.

Nothing against those guys, maybe none of that's the case, but I wonder if they were used, bought from a weekend-rider previous owner who maintained them poorly? I just have a hard time thinking that there is a reason other than something unusual and specific to THOSE bikes that they had complete transmission failure with low miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I was not aware the VN1700 had transmission issues! A couple things clinched the Vic over the less-expensive Vaquero and Nomad for me:

1: The Vic boasted superior performance across the board on paper. I know that doesn't always mean everything in real-world use, but it seems like a lot of VN1700 owners feel a bit "meh" about their power. Not so for Victory riders, from what I've heard.

2: XR bags are big enough to put Nomad/Vaquero bags INSIDE of them. And probably still have room for more stuff.

3: I heard a lot of gripes about the VN1700's heat, fuel mileage, and ECM issues. It kinda scared me away.

Honestly, I feel like I dodged a bullet.

I never did agree with Kawi's service interval recommendation, either. My Vic uses functionally the same sort of engineering (multi-sump crankcase, wet clutch) but has a 5000 mile interval with semi-synthetic oil. 2010 and older bikes had a 2500-mile interval.

And I'd like to mention--I don't know how many people this might have affected since getting the break-in service done in the appropriate interval was mentioned--that 2 of my VN900 owning friends misread their service manual and didn't do their break-in oil changes till 1000 miles. They just didn't notice it said "KM" after.
 

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Yeah....exactly.
Heat, ecu, poor mileage, etc....
Some guys are happy after tweaking, but, as someone suggested....it just ain't right to tweak a 20,000 dollar bike....I mean, if it don't work right outta the box...(improving a machine is a different scenario)....I get scared away. I jut can't imagine spending all that dough, and immediately wrapping pipes....etc...Adding on is one thing, getting a brand new bike to WORK RIGHT is another.

Luci, is the throttle on the Vic sensored?...or mechanical.
 
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