The author rides a 2008 Victory Vision Tour

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mt Rainier National Park

Riding around Mt Rainier. 

Got a great recipe for a memorable trip in Washington State: Take a bluebird summer day, add in a Victory Vision with a full tank of gas, and season generously with Highways 12, 123, 401, and 7.

Mt Rainier National Park.  

To see this route on google maps, get directions from Randle to Packwood to Enumclaw and back to Randle. This loop takes about four hours not counting stops. If you have time spur roads must be explored to Paradise and Sunrise. Read more!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kalama River Road calls again

A hot summer day seemed like a perfect time to ride the river road again. Here are a few snapshots taken while dodging logging trucks flying down the road.

Read more!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May kicks off Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, an initiative supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). With spring well underway, riders are hitting the highways and byways, and this serves as a reminder to all drivers to be mindful that motorcycles are sharing the road. 

According to NHTSA, motorcyclists were 25 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a crash and five times more likely to be injured based on miles traveled in 2009. 

The risks are real. 

Motorcycle safety is a two-way street. Automobile drivers need to be vigilant to look for motorcycles, recognizing that motorcyclists have all the same rights and privileges. But, they can be harder to see, behave differently, and are far more vulnerable to road hazards and impacts. Simple things like always using your turn signal, even if you don't see another vehicle around, and scrupulously checking mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes can potentially avert disaster. 

Riders need to likewise be mindful that they are indeed at risk. Following the lessons from a safety course will go a long way to reduce those dangers. Situational awareness is key, as is simply staying visible. Generous following distances, bright-colored clothing and DOT-compliant helmet, and an aversion to car blind spots will make a difference. Let's all be careful out there.

(Reposted from Consumer Reports.) Read more!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Motorcycling Kalama River Road

Starting in Kalama, Washington, we find sixteen miles of scenic motorcycle road, following the beautiful Kalama river: Motorcyling closer and closer to Mt St Helens? Twists and turns in the 25-35 mph range with no guard rails? Is this a good idea?

Careful riding pays off. 

Okay, so the road is not the safest ride you could do but believe you me, this is must-see motorcycling. The scenery is spectacular as you have glimpses of whitewater and impossibly lush green valley everywhere. Do remember that keeping your eyes on the road is imperative. The road is paved but broken up in spots, with a bit of gravel here and there where repairs are in progress. The most hazardous turns are well marked, but expect vehicles backing up a drift boat and blocking the road as you come around a corner. 

Stop and rest and soak up the view 

At about the 16-mile mark a gate stops you from further progress up the road. This is a perfect place to get off the bike and take in the beauty of this river valley.

Read more!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Victory Vision gas tank adventure (followup)

scenic-motorcycle-route  It works!  

Filled up the motorcycle to the top and then took 'er for a spin through the countryside around Mt. St. Helens, Washington. No gas smell, and a close inspection after arriving home showed no leakage. Excellent! Now why do you suppose the shop replaced the gas tank but not the gas cap? Sigh.... Read more!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Victory Vision gas tank adventure II

scenic-motorcycle-route Not a happy thought knowing gas is dripping on your engine and pipes while you ride. This is a major issue (see previous blog post) So the company clearly had issues with this tank and cap, enough to address them in the manual. And I didn't really wanna end up like this guy ---> The only thing left to figure out was could I get a fix for the problem.  

Does the manufacturer have to tell you about a problem? 


If the item is a recall of course the company must notify owners and advise them to bring in their machines for a repair. But what if the item is a level below recall? Then the company usually waits until owners bring up a known problem, and will (sometimes) advise them that the item is a warranty repair. When I brought up my gas leak issue several times with my local Victory service guys I got several responses: First, I asked if there was a different gas cap that would solve the problem, and was told that yes there was but that it might or might not be a warranty item. No information was volunteered about a warranty repair. Next I was told that the company had determined that the leaks were caused by motorcyclists damaging the flange at the gas tank opening while refueling. Implication was if I wanted a fix, it was on me. 

Maybe I can live with it.... 

It was about a year until I brought up the problem again with Victory.  (I KNOW! How could I put off getting this fixed? Well, my work-around was to only add a couple gallons to the tank at a time, never filling it more than half-full. What a pain, but combined with carefully seating the cap on the tank it mitigated the problem most of the time. )

Finally a shop with a helpful service guy! 

Maybe over time the company changed the way it handled this issue. Maybe the shop I went to next was flat-out superior. Because the next time I brought up the issue was with a different shop, and I learned that the problem was common and entire gas tanks were being replaced and that it likely would be a warranty item. This guy took down my info and researched it and reported back that indeed it was covered under my warranty! They would replace the tank and I would only be on the hook for a $50 co-pay. What a relief, and I now have the new tank. Next blog post will detail my experience with the new tank and if it fixed the leak problem. Read more!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Victory Vision gas tank adventure

scenic-motorcycle-route       I absolutely love my 2008 Victory Vision. Would get another one in a heartbeat. That being said, there are a couple of problems I have had with the bike. One issue to report on my machine is the gas tank problem.

How much gas does the tank really hold? 

The gas tank capacity is 6.0 gallons. Filling to just below the fuel filler neck (as cautioned in the owners manual) gives you more like 5 gallons usable: Even running way past the empty mark on the fuel gauge have I rarely fit more than 5 gallons in it.

The problem comes riding after refueling.

Uh-oh, I smell fuel...! 

The distinct smell of gas appears as soon as you head away from the gas station, and a stronger smell every time you turn or change speeds. Not good! Inspecting the bike once arriving home showed that gas was slopping out from under the fuel cap and dripping down the bike.  

Is this a known problem? 

The owners manual had several cautions about this:

"Do not fill the fuel tank above the fuel filler insert" 

Check! Well, there may have been once or twice on a long ride where I filled it a bit too full, but not in recent years.

"Fuel may leak from an improperly sealed cap" 

Putting extra effort into making sure the cap was seated and tightly closed did seem to help sometimes, but not always.

"Do not allow gasoline to come in contact with a hot engine or exhaust system." 

Well, it was! Not a happy thought knowing gas is dripping on your engine and pipes while you ride. So the company clearly had issues with this tank and cap, enough to address them in the manual. The only thing left to figure out was could I get a fix for the problem. Watch for the rest of this story on a later post. Read more!

Friday, June 3, 2011

From vision to Vision


One more picture of the concept drawing for the Victory Vision without the trunk, followed by a photo of my Victory Vision, the vision realized.

Read more!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Victory Vision concept drawings circa 2007


The concept drawings for the Victory Vision, and the dream realized.

Read more!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spring is here

scenic-motorcycle-routeWhat a fantastic day to motorcycle in the Northwest. Must get out and enjoy it. Read more!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Early morning rising with a big moon setting


This week looks to be dry (but cold in the morning) so I'm planning a week of motorcycle commuting. I hit 31 degrees in the hollow this morning (BRRRR) but was greeted by the near-full moon, on it's way around the planet. Read more!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cool ride to work


Another day, another vroom vroom. This spring riding is tough. It was 34 degrees for much of the ride to work this morning, not warming up until crossing the Glenn Jackson bridge and entering Portland (see photo).

Thanks to the heated grips, this motorcycle rider only had one blue finger upon arriving at work. (No, it wasn't THAT finger...!). But the ride home made it all worth it...(see lower picture). Read more!

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