Test Rider for a Day…

Sunday, 25th May 2014.

This would be the day when a few of us from U.O.M.O… errr SBM actually (SBM=Sobat Baik Malaya) that would test ride and review three Victory motorcycles from Victory Motorcycle Malaysia (http://www.victorymotorcycles.com.my) – Vision Tour Arlen Ness, Cross Country, and Judge models.

All three models share the same 106 cubic inches (approx. 1730 cc) 6-speed Freedom V-Twin engine.  While both the Vision Tour and Cross Country have a similar 106 ft-lbs of torque, the Judge has a slightly more punch at 110 ft-lbs.  Victory categorizes these bikes as Touring, Bagger and Cruisers respectively.  For more details on their specs, feel free to roam the internet 🙂

Back to this bike review ride.

The itinerary was already set (by the co-organizer HajiAzizi):-

7.30am RV at  Victory Showroom (Glenmarie), breakfast and briefing.

8.30am roll out with few stops for bike/rider swap.

Noon, meet up fellow bikers from Ipoh at Simpang Pulai – proceed to Cameron Highland.

2.00pm, return. By 7.00pm, we would already be back at the showroom.

ZoolMD and I had to park our bikes at the showroom – “sports bikes not allowed” on this trip 🙂

So, there we were, seven “test riders” (wannabes ???) – HajiAzizi, Kudir, Kuzizu, ZoolMD, IdrusK, Supandi and yours truly… Since there were only three motorcycles to be reviewed, HajiZizi, IndrusK and Supandi would use their bike as well on this day trip.  So, the other three bikes were BMW1200GSA (HajiAzizi), KTM990SMT (IdrusK) and Versys1000 (Supandi).

Five of the test-riders: L-R: HajiAZizi, ZoolMD, Kuzizu, Sabri (that would be me) & Kudir.

First leg – from the showroom to Tanjung Malim.  Kuzizu was already on the Cross Country when everyone else was still busy figuring out who would test what motorcycle on which stretch. 🙂  I had my eyes on the Judge.  And the Vision Tour was taken up by Kudir, with ZoolMD as his pillion.  The others were on their own bikes…

Me on the Judge:

This is my short review of this motorcycle which I rode from the showroom to Tanjong Malim.  From Tanjong Malim, Supandi took over from me while I rode his Versys1000.

First time on my part riding both the Judge and Versys!  Since my obligation is to review the Victory, I would do just that 🙂

My first ever experience on a 1.7litres Cruiser!

First off, the bike, categorized as “Cruiser” made me felt like riding a chopper from OCC.  And I really imagined myself as one of the Teutul riding one of their custom chopper.  However, I quickly discovered that the seating position and posture was rather uncomfortable for somebody my size (5’6″ with an average arm span).  I literally had to lean forward to hold the handle bar.  With the feet in a cruiser position – stretched forward – it took less than half an hour into the ride when I felt muscular pain on my shoulder and upper arms.  I couldn’t wait to reach the swap moment in Tanjong Malim!  Somewhere along the ride, I re-positioned my feet to the rear footrest with body slightly leaning forward – and what a relieve that was.  I actually felt more comfortable riding in that position.

Otherwise, the Judge was an awesome bike.  The v-twin’s 110 ft-lbs torque was really fantastic.  Instant power at my disposable in any of the 6-speed gear positions.  Vibration?  what vibration?  I was skeptical when HajiAzizi shared his earlier experience from test-riding the Victory.  But  despite the roaring exhaust derived from its unique American style chopper v-engine, quite surprisingly (a pleasant surprise), the vibration from this motorcycle was almost unnoticeable.  Negotiating corners and bends was “sap sap sui” (easy).  The bike could lean more than the footrest and side stand allowed.  Thus, scraping the tar would give the unsuspecting rider quite a rude surprise!  I had the spooky experience as I pushed it too far when exiting Subang to the NKVE.  What more, the Judge maneuverability was unexpected.  I perceived that with her wide rake angle, handling at corners and bends would be a jittery experience.  But I was proven wrong!  On the same token, swerving between traffic was “sap sap sui” as well!

My verdict on this motorcycle?  A rugged and versatile cruiser, errr…. more like an easy rider.  As I was told later by one of Victory’s staff, the handlebar could be easily swapped with their many accessories.   This would then solve the seating position issue.  My immediate thoughts on the Judge as I rolled out from the parking lot was “wow!”… Other than handlebar issue, the Judge had busted my perception of cruisers in general.  I could live with riding a cruiser now… 🙂

Would I buy this Judge?  Most probably not…. as Victory has a better offerings in the Hammer or Vegas model – at least for me as the seating position is just nice (granted I only sat on these two in the showroom, stationary :-)).  Again, the power plant for these Cruisers are exactly the same.  So for me, my money (if I ever decided to own a cruiser) would be on the Vegas or the Hammer…. la la la la la…..

At Simpang Pulai, we were greeted by many biker friends from Ipoh whom were already at the Petronas station as our convoy pulled in (Macx, Ostad Asyraf, Napie@KeraniCabuk to name a few whom I knew quite well).  The Simpang Pulai-Cameron roadway is a very popular “track” for bikers from all walks of life riding all sorts of bikes (from sports and street to cruisers and tourers as well as DP and scramblers).

I have not met Nordin@Loneblader (in blue) for many years till today!

I tried to get a hold of the Cross Country but again, Kuzizu was on it first.  From the look of it, this model was “good”.  But I wouldn’t know as I was denied from testing this motorcycle during the whole trip!  No complains really as I got to test ride another bike not originally in the “list”. 🙂

As we resumed the ride, with me given the Judge again, Superyan gestured a swap with his trusted ZX6R.  What a welcomed gesture… 🙂  I quickly put the Judge on her side stand and hopped onto Superyan’s ZX6R.  Me and the ZX6R against the twisted of Simpang Pulai-Cameron “track”.  What else could a guy ask for!  Thanks Yan!!!

I think the ZX6R do not need a special review as it is well known to be a nimble and quick bike on twisties.  I really enjoyed riding that bike that day.  And the truth be told, the bike offered more that I could handle since its been a very longgggg while that I do twisties as demanding as the Simpang Pulai-Cameron route.

Superyan’s ZX6R

Apart from Nordin, I also met another long lost biker friend (more than 10 years since we last met) when we arrived at the usual meeting point – the Green View Garden, along the roadway.

Prof. Fisal has change very little since I last met him

After a cup of coffee and a stick of barbecued sweetcorn, the group was ready for the return journey.  While I was eyeing the Cross Country,  it was again grabbed bu Kuzizu.  His rationale?  “I have put deposit on this model, need to get familiar with it” grrrrrrrr……  So, again, I was handed the key o the Judge.

But fate has it that on that day Ostad Asyraf rode a BMW F650GS belonging to his neighbor,  Wazi (yes, the racer…).  As I walk towards the Judge passing by Ostad Asyraf, I asked jokingly if he wanted to test the Judge.  Jokingly?  Well… I really wanted to try out the GS.  And when Ostad said “sure”,  I was already on the GS!  And the rest as they say “is history”!

All the way down to Simpang Pulai, I was really taken aback by the sheer excitement this GS had to offer.  Her twin 800cc power plant offers enough grunt and juice to make negotiating curves and corners and bends and coming out of turns “a piece of cake”.  Power delivery was smooth.  Braking was responsive.  Agility and maneuverability unbelievable!  What else can I say…?  This is a bike that would definitely be on top of my shopping list 🙂

Love at first ride…

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