PHOTO: Joe Gresh
I would never treat a new bike like this. My metallic-tarmac Victory Cross Country Tour had all of 27 miles on her when we left Las Vegas for Sturgis, South Dakota. Since that time I’ve shown no consideration, given no quarter: the bike has been hammered.
The temperature rarely drops below 100 degrees, the pace is brisk-plus and 600 miles rolled by before I had a chance to check the oil level. It was fine, an amazing feat of oil control when you think about the size of the pistons pumping air through the wet-sump crankcase and the brand-newness of the rings.
I don’t know why this quality level still surprises me. Most modern motorcycles are pretty much perfect compared to the stuff I rode. Motorcycling used to be an oil-intensive affair. It was everywhere: strapped to your back, in non-resealable cans, dribbling onto your pants, under your fingernails. If perfection bothers you there’s always the vintage scene.
The road taken has been relentlessly twisty. We only rode about 10 miles of interstate. The other miles consisted of the horizon being tilted either right or left. Don’t miss Highway 95 in Utah. It’s worth a 500-mile detour. These big Victory touring rigs handle the tight stuff like 800-pound sport bikes. I’ve touched down a few times in super tight hairpin curves but otherwise nothing drags.
Our group consists of John Flores from RoadRunner, Greg Drevenstedt from Rider, Rusty Creed from Allstate insurance (the agents really do ride!) and me. Our fearless leader is Manny Pandya, Victory’s PR guru. Really, he’s more of a broken ATM machine as his wallet has become slimmer, buying gas and veggie sandwiches for the gang.
And what a nice gang it is. If you’ve ever thought it would be cool to go on a long tour with a bunch of moto-journalists, you would be right. These guys are into bikes big-time. The conversations over dinner are truly sick, and your real friends will seem just a wee bit duller afterwards.
Onwards to Sturgis, lads! I know I’m rambling here but there’s little time to compose. I’ll post another blog in a few days so click on the annoying Subscribe Now popup. I’m trying to impress the new boss.