Victory’s Director of Industrial Design, Greg Brew, gives a brief dissertation on the ten year history of Victory Motorcycles in a classroom at his alma mater, the Art Center College of Design.
The story on the wall said it all. On one end of the improvised eight-foot tall canvas, early pictures of Victory’s first motorcycle, the 1998 V92C, began the chronology, followed by concept drawings from 2000 that later birthed the Vegas. Next to it were sketches of the Visteon Concept in 2003, a bold venture which would become reality four years later with the release of the Victory Vision in 2007.
And if two-dimensional photographs weren’t enough, a road-ready 1999 V92C was squeezed in between Lead Industrial Designer Michael Song’s life-size fiberglass mockup of the Victory Vision and the soon-to-be released 10th Anniversary Vision Premium as the motorcycle manufacturer’s past confronted its future. Victory Motorcycles created this diorama for an intimate group of motojournalists recently at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design in celebration of its ten year anniversary as “The New American Motorcycle.”
The 2009 Vegas Jackpot, seen here in Lucky Lime with extreme graphics, is one of three bikes that received the new Freedom 106/6 engine.
Ten years. Over 50,000 bikes on the road. Not bad for a company that is better known for creating snowmobiles. But Victory can no longer be considered solely an offshoot of Polaris Industries. After ten years, it has made a name and reputation of its own.
“We basically woke up the American cruiser market out of its coma,” said Victory’s Song.
It hasn’t been easy redefining the American motorcycle. With success always comes failure. But Victory has carved out its niche by designing bikes that have their own character instead of simply trying to create another Harley-Davidson offshoot. It shook up the luxury-touring market last year with the release of its futuristic-looking Victory Vision Tour, and it’s power cruisers are a hit with younger guys who aren’t quite ready for what they consider to be an ‘old man’s bike.’ It has specifically targeted women riders as well, dropping seat heights and bringing controls back in attempt to revamp the rider’s triangle and accommodate motorcyclists of smaller stature.
So what has Victory team have in store for 2009? A new engine, a new model, and a high-end Vision. Want more? How about new colors, new wheels, and upgraded electronics. Still not enough? Then how about a Victory Vision Street styled by the legend himself, Arlen Ness, or maybe a Vegas Jackpot pimped out by his son, Cory? If that’s not enough to pique your curiosity, then wait until you see what custom builders Roland Sands and Zach Ness were able to do working within the Victory platform.
High on the list of Victory’s 2009 announcements is the release of its new 106/6 engine. But they already have a 106 in production, you say? This is not the same mill that’s in the Visions. The 106ci Freedom V-Twin has Stage 2 Cams that crank out a claimed 97 hp and 113 ft-lb of torque. These numbers are up a bit from the 106/6 that powers the Visions to the tune of a claimed 92 hp and 109 ft-lb of torque. With a 6mm-longer stroke than Victory’s standard 100/6 powerplant, the compression ratio on the latest mill has also bumped up to 9.4:1. The new engine is counterbalanced and uses a 4-valve overhead cam design and self-adjusting cam chain tensioner. Fuel delivery is provided by a closed loop fuel injection system. The new engine will power Victory’s muscle cruisers, the Hammer and Hammer S, as well as the Vegas Jackpot. Victory claims that the powerplant is calibrated to give these cruisers the best performance possible.
The other Kingpin and Vegas models will continue to use the Victory Freedom 100/6 V-Twin. The 1634cc engine got new fuel injectors and oxygen sensors last year to go along with its new Engine Control Module (ECM), so not much has been done to the powerplant this year. Improvements in ’09 include new gaskets, a new fuel pump and fuel tank, and a tilt sensor that shuts off the fuel pump in case the bike gets tipped over.
The Freedom 100/6 V-Twin is the mill of choice for the newest addition to the Victory entourage, the 2009 Kingpin Low. A lower 25.2-inch seat height and ‘scalloped’ side covers make the bike 1.5-inches narrower and give the newest Kingpin its ‘low’ designation. Two-inch pullback handlebars bring the hand controls in tighter and moving the floorboards two inches toward the rear complete the motorcycle’s ergonomic adjustments.
You could see the smiles on Victory reps’ faces when this female rider walked over to check out the ergos on the new 2009 Kingpin Low.
The ’09 Kingpin Low receives the full contingent of improvements that Victory introduced in all of its cruisers, like the new multiple LED taillight and a custom-inspired headlight. It also gets a set of Stingray cast wheels that are claimed to be 13.8 pounds lighter than previous wheels. Victory hollowed out the hub and spokes to pare the weight off the cast wheels. When the motorcycle was unveiled, a female journalist was one of the first to check out the new arrangement as Victory reps watched and smiled. The new kid on the block stickers for $16,399.
There are three other returning members to the Kingpin family – its patriarch, the 2009 Kingpin, the dark and sinister 2009 Kingpin 8-Ball, and the built-for-the-long haul 2009 Kingpin Tour. The ’09 Kingpin gets the updated Freedom 100/6 V-Twin and continues to feature big, swooping flared fenders and full floorboards. The two-tone Blue Ice/Pearl White with Carbon stripe model looked sharp at the unveiling. The 2009 Kingpin rings in at the same price as the Low version, $16,399.
The Kingpin 8-Ball has a blacked-out version of the Freedom 100ci engine, some blacked-out Stingrays, and a bevy of blacked-out components including the handlebars, mirrors, triple trees and belt guard. The angular design of the new multiple-LED taillight that Victory is using for all of its cruisers really stands out on the Kingpin 8-Ball. I saw one that Victory had put a set of its Black Turn Down Exhaust on and it increased the bike’s wickedness tenfold. Unfortunately, the pipes are not included in the $13,999 sticker price.
The Kingpin Tour gets a full ensemble of touring accoutrements. Victory equips the Tour with a top case, leather saddlebags, a windshield and lower deflectors, a touring passenger seat with backrest and passenger floorboards. The combined cargo capacity is a claimed 22.2 gallons. Out of the growing list of Pure Victory Gear Accessories, the Tour is a prime candidate for cruise control and heated handgrip upgrades. The touring package will cost you a couple grand over the Kingpin’s price, and has a MSRP of $18,399.
Like the Kingpins, Victory’s Vegas family consists of four models – the 2009 Vegas, Vegas Low, Vegas 8-Ball and the Vegas Jackpot. Victory mixes up the styling on the Vegas, opting for smaller, sportier fenders and a raised tip-to-tail spine that runs down the center of the scalloped fuel tank and both fenders. The 2009 Vegas has a tall 21-inch front Stingray wheel and a small removable passenger pillion. The custom-styled cruiser rolls off the showroom floor for $16,299.
The 2009 Vegas Low gets the same treatment as the Kingpin Low – a seat height that’s one inch lower than the standard Vegas, the narrower scalloped side covers, moved in footpegs and two-inch pullback handlebars. There’s no passenger pegs or seat, so the Low is built for rider’s who want to go it alone. One of the most poignant quips I heard during the intro was that 42% of Vegas Low sales are to women, so it appears Victory’s strategy of tailoring the bike to riders of different stature is paying off.
The 2009 Vegas 8-Ball gets the same blacked-out treatment as the Kingpin 8-Ball, only with the ergos and performance of the Vegas. The Vegas 8-Ball does differ a little as it runs with a five-speed transmission and doesn’t have the small removable passenger seat. With a sticker price much lower than the other Vegas at $13,799, it’s a great platform for customization. With the dough you save, maybe you can buy a set of the Black Turn Down Exhaust I’m so keen on.
And out of all the new Vegas models, the 2009 Vegas Jackpot is the one I want to ride the most. The ’09 Vegas Jackpot gets the new Freedom 106/6 engine, and a few horses to a pony that could already run should make for an exhilarating ride. The Vegas Jackpot rolls on a fat 250mm Dunlop Elite 3 rear tire tucked under the full rear fender. The motorcycle also has a new one-piece leather seat that mirrors the smooth lines of Victory’s Custom Cruiser. You might need to hit the jackpot if you want to sample the 2009 Vegas Jackpot though, as it is on the high-end of the Vegas price scale at $18,499.
It will be hammer time on the 2009 Hammer and Hammer S as both get the new 1731cc powerplant. Reigning in the power will be the duty of dual front discs with a 300mm floating rotor. The 2009 Hammer differs from other cruisers in the Victory stable by virtue of its sporty rear fender that’s cut high and doesn’t hug the rear fender so that everyone can get a good look at the hunk of rubber out back. The Hammer also has a more aggressive riding position than Victory’s other cruisers, and has a cool removable seat cowl with a small passenger pad underneath. The 2009 Hammer stickers for $17,499.
Victory cored out the hub and spokes on the X-Factor wheels, shaving a claimed 15.8 pounds in the process.
The 2009 Hammer S not only gets the new engine, but gets trick new wheels to boot. The blue X-Factor Wheels are claimed to be 15.8-pounds lighter than last year’s Hammer S wheels which Victory achieved by coring them out. The hollow spokes and hollow hub have a uniform wall thickness, and the spokes extend from the hub in an X-pattern. The blue wheels look hot on the Hammer S with its custom Boardwalk Blue paint and white racing stripes, giving it true muscle bike appeal. This sporting version of the Hammer S is ready to rumble for $18,499.
In honor of its 10th Anniversary, Victory has taken the Vision Tour and given it the royal treatment. The 10th Anniversary Victory Vision has striking Antares Red paint with Black Metallic accents and gold pinstripes to go along with special anniversary badging. It’s got a load of chromed out parts that aren’t on the standard Vision Tour and a host of tech goodies like Tourtech GPS and XM Radio. The Gatlin Exhaust Tips are another sweet feature and should help the motorcycle get the most out of its 1731cc V-Twin.
The 10th Anniversary Vision Tour also has reverse, a feature Victory decided to include after input from 2008 Vision owners. It is a small round unit located on the left side of the bike. While the motorcycle is in neutral, all you have to do is flip the lever and then use the starter button to get the bike to engage into reverse. An ‘R’ will appear in the gear selection window. Pushing over 800 pounds of motorcycle around is never easy, so reverse will come in handy on the big luxo-tourer.
Only 100 of the 10th Anniversary Victory Vision Tour’s will be made. The bidding war begins on Aug.1, and buyers of the anniversary model earn a ticket to a VIP owner’s party during the 2009 Daytona Bike Week. Interested parties should get their $28,999 ready.
Victory is celebrating a decade in business by offering a limited edition 10th Anniversary Victory Vision with a striking Antares Red paint job with Black Metallic accents and gold pinstriping.
Victory continues to make its presence known in the luxury-touring class as the Victory Vision Street and Tour return in 2009 and are available in new colors like Blue Ice and Black. The Vision’s continue to utilize the original version of the Freedom 106/6 that is tuned specifically for them and have a linked braking system. The 2009 versions are reverse-ready, but it does not come standard. The list of accessories for the models continues to grow, and both the Street and Tour come in premium versions, with heated grips and seats and an electronically-adjustable windshield. The base price for the 2009 Victory Vision Street is $18,999 while the 2009 Victory Vision Tour lists for $19,999.
And if you like the looks of the Vision Street, then you’ve got to check out the 2009 Arlen Ness Signature Series Victory Vision. The model is based on Ness’ own custom Vision and features custom paint designed by the man himself, has a metal plate listing the bike’s number (production numbers are very limited), and has little personal features like the Arlen Ness logo on the air filter cover. A host of parts were blacked-out, including the center console, dashboard, and side covers. The seat is one inch lower than the stock version and the front windshield has been swapped out for a Custom Ness short windscreen.
Cory Ness, on the other hand, chose to throw his spin on the Vegas Jackpot. The 2009 Cory Ness Signature Series Vegas Jackpot has incredible Pearl White paint and Metallic Purple with pinstripe graphics that was created by Cory. The razor-sharp pattern of the Landshark billet wheels tie perfectly into the motorcycle’s design. It also features Ness Fly Bars, Ness handgrips, mirrors, engine covers, foot controls and hand levers. The Victory Ness Signature Series motorcycles are both priced at $24,499.
During the course of our tour, Victory Motorcycles listed the ability to attract a younger demographic as one of its keys to success. What could be a better way to get riders interested in your motorcycles than by giving two of the hottest young custom builders in the biz a couple of Victory motorcycles to work their magic on? Roland Sands and Zach Ness were both enlisted by Victory to build a one-off custom using the Victory platform. Zach Ness put his spin on the Jackpot, changing up the look of the front end by using a unique fork with diamond-cut boot seals, throwing on custom wheels and raising the bars with a set of mini-apes. Roland Sands used the Vegas 8-Ball and gave it a racing pedigree. Trick pipes with a race plate, RSD vintage bars, a thin sheet-metal seat pan, and a small, round air filter head the list of custom touches. The slotted heat shields complement the drilled pattern on the wheels, air filter, and bar ends. There’s no word whether Victory intends on releasing the motorcycles as limited production models, but it does demonstrate as to how far you can individualize a bike working within the Victory platform.
With ten years under its belt, Victory is already charting its course for the next ten. Its plan involves continuing to introduce innovative new products. It also involves expanding beyond North America and the U.K. If Victory continues to tap into demographics like the women’s market and to cater to the next generation of motorcycle buyers, then there’s no reason we won’t see a 20th year celebration.
“We’re a lot less about retro and a lot more about more modern,” said Gary Gray, Victory’s Product Manager.
Fifty-thousand riders agree that Victory is on the right track.
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