All I can say is that I am no J.K. Rowling, and VicPD's decision to go with the Victory as their new service motorcycle is a subject I've been curious about for a while. Had to do some actual research and stuff.
that being said, any bonehead errors here are gonna be mine. My thanks to Sgt. Shiels for his help, and to his team for not only putting on the demo ride for us, but for their daily service to the community.
So, a few weeks ago, Ms. Evil Overlord and I braved the Colwood crawl to catch the VicPD motorcycle Unit Demo ride out at the Western Speedway. I had heard about the officers' skill with the new bikes and wanted to check it out in person. Totally worth the drive. The event was hosted by The Vancouver Island Safety Council. (Another big thank you to the VISC, and to Instructor Jeff Irwin for his kind permission to use his photos for this post). a wicked time was had by all.
(Officer Kenny Featherston)
Now I know what you're all thinking, and maybe his S.O. has made him view Titanic one too many times, But he really was flying for a brief moment, and let me assure you, the sight of one of these Victorys getting some air is a sight you will not soon forget. We were assured, however, that riding the cone courses one-handed is a great skills development technique. Forcing the rider to maintain their centre of balance over the bike. As easy as the unit made it look, I still haven't quite worked up the stones to try it on my own machine yet.
Something the picture can't get across is the constant grinding of the "highway bars" on the pavement. One of the main safety features on this machine is the maximum 34 degree tipover, protection for the operator's legs in the event gravity decides to suck. Sgt. Shiels also mentioned this as a factor when an officer has to leave the bike in a hurry with a drawn weapon, looked pretty cool when he did it.
Not the drawn weapon part, no gunplay at the Speedway today.
Unfortunately I was too busy drooling over all the heavy metal, and taking part in the general ooh and aah-age to film any video, but I did manage to dig up a video of VicPD putting a Victory through it's paces.
Now the last time I ran cones was during my Skills and Traffic training with VISC. That was on a 250 Titan. I assure you it did not look this smooth.
Now after watching these riders basically make a mockery of what most of us refer to as our riding skills, I was still curious about how the decision was made to purchase them over other options on the market. The previous ride of choice for the VicPD were the Honda ST1300's, and local vendors had bids on the contract, so it ruffled some feathers when the Victorys were chosen.
After hearing about the decision process, including servicing support, features of the bike, (like an auxiliary battery for equipment, more efficient controls, etc.) and the reliability and obvious performance of the machines, it became pretty apparent that the local constabulary were pretty Ham Dappy with their new steeds.
Other than the lack of a cup holder, a switch from the Dunlop Elite III tires to Avon Cobras, and the current request to Victory to rework the topbox and kickstand to allow officers to dismount the bike on the shoulder side of the road as opposed to the traffic side, everything seems hunky-dory in Victoria Police motorcycle land. If there's one thing I can appreciate, it's having the proper tools for the job, and it's nice to see that local gov't had the balls to make an unpopular choice, to pay attention, and provide the men and women on our streets with the tools they needed to perform their demanding and dangerous job.
A huge thank you to Sgt. Shiels and his officers for their time and approach-ability. every single one of them had a cluster of villagers around them and their machines after the ride. They were friendly and engaging to everyone involved, and I know they gave a huge thrill to some little Evil Overlords. Hell, it's been a long time since I was five, and it was a thrill for me. I grew up watching Chips, and it was pretty damn cool to meet these guys and gals and to hear their real life perspective on the machines, the skills and the job. I'm not a fanboy, but I sure wouldn't turn down a chance to see one of their practices out at the base, (Ahem, hint hint !!) where they get a little more intense, and a lot more off-road. From what I hear they're still not riding up stairs, just yet. Yet.
And now, for your viewing pleasure, Eric Estrada kicking ass, taking names and Celebrating !