I had a chance to ride a little this weekend...when I say a little I mean a little, no big miles, no full day rides, just a little...here and there...no more than about 20 miles at a pop.
The highlight was getting my VTX 1800N out and riding it today. After nearly 6 weeks, and over 6,000 miles, of riding either the Triumph Rocket III Touring or the Victory Vision Tour getting back on the VTX was a true joy. The Victory and the VTX are both V-Twins, but they are NOTHING alike. In some ways that is an obvious fact. The Vision is a touring bike; made obvious by the fairing, windshield, side bags, trunk, stereo system, etc. The VTX is a more stripped down cruiser; obvious by the lack of any of those things that make the Victory a touring bike. The Victory has a belt drive and a 106CI engine (1731cc) while the VTX has a shaft drive and a 110CI engine (1795cc). The Victory weighs in at a massive 850 pounds while the VTX is a nimble 804 (seriously, even though the difference is less than 50 pounds, the VTX "feels" a lot lighter when you're lifting it off the kickstand.)
So yes, there are some obvious differences in the way the two bikes look...but there's also some obvious differences in the way they ride. One of the first things I noticed was the brakes. Honda has really perfected the linked braking system. It is so nice to be able to lay on the brakes and just come to a stop without locking anything up or having the bike act like it can't slow down fast enough. Victory could take a page out of Honda's handbook if they're looking for ways to improve an already great bike.
Another thing I noticed right away was throttle response. Don't get me wrong, the Victory is a sweet ride, and it's got plenty of power; but, it's a touring bike, designed for comfort and/or long distance riding. The VTX just feels like it can't go fast enough. The smallest twist of the throttle results in torque that you just don't find in a lot of bikes. You don't just pull away from a red light, when it turns green, you push away from it, as if the bike can't get away from that stop fast enough. In addition, the response is the same at almost any speed; you twist the throttle and the engine screams "Yes, sir!" The cost of this powerful response is noticed at the gas pump. The Victory has been getting about 41 to 45 miles per gallon on average while the VTX will only get about 35 miles per gallon with the same driving habits.
With all that being said, it's a true blessing to have my choice of two great rides to choose from. Even with the differences, there are no complaints. :)
Tomorrow is another day, and another road.