Custom bike builder extraordinaire, Arlen Ness, lends his styling chops to Victory for the eighth consecutive year. For 2011, he used a Victory Vision for his customizing palette.
Victory continues to stake its claim as “The New American Motorcycle” with the introduction of the 15 motorcycles in its 2011 model line. The Medina, Minnesota-based company has been busy the last year searching for new avenues to attract buyers in a challenging marketplace. To do this, it’s been blacking-out components, beefing up engines, tweeking transmissions, changing up exhaust notes, and have made ABS standard on some models along with adding another Ness to its stable of in-house custom bike builders. Victory has also been working hard to empower riders with more customizing options. To think that the big news for Victory in 2002 was the introduction of its Freedom 92 CI V-Twin Engine, it’s amazing to see how far the company has come along since. So without tipping our cards further, let’s take a deeper look into the 2011 Victory Motorcycle lineup.
High on the newsworthy list for 2011 is the American motorcycle manufacturer’s decision to use the Victory Freedom 106/6 V-Twin in every model now. The Freedom 100/6 V-Twin has gone the way of the dinosaurs and in its stead are two versions of the latest powerplant. The first, called the Freedom 106/6 Stage 2 V-Twin, has a special Stage 2 cam package that boosts its power numbers to a claimed 97 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque. All of Victory’s cruiser models will come with the Freedom 106/6 Stage 2 V-Twin, a list comprised of the Vegas Jackpot, Hammer, Hammer S, Vegas, Kingpin, all three 8-Ball cruisers, and the Zach Ness Signature Series Vegas 8-Ball. The Freedom 106/6 Stage 1 V-Twin puts out a claimed 92 hp and 109 lb-ft of torque and will power Victory’s 2011 touring motorcycles, including the Cross Country, Cross Roads, Victory Vision Tour, and Arlen and Cory Ness’ Signature Series.
Since every Victory Motorcycle is going to be running with the Freedom 106/6 V-Twin, the American cruiser motorcycle maker went in and updated its transmission as well. Specific changes weren’t yet listed, but the modifications aim to reduce driveline lash, which Victory claims has been cut by 66%, reduce gear whine, especially in 4th and 6th gear, and to make it easier for riders to shift into neutral at a stop courtesy of a “Neutral Assist.” It’s also said to “improve ridability and deliver a more appealing-sounding transmission,” a claim we’ll soon test first-hand at the upcoming Victory Motorcycles 2011 press launch next month.
Victory’s Cross Roads CORE Custom Program allows riders to customize their motorcycle before they ride it away from the dealer. They get to pick which style of saddlebags, highway bars, windshield and color they want and get to see it on the motorcycle at the dealer before making their final decision.
Victory R&D has also designed a new trunk for the Victory Cross Country and Cross Roads. The Lock & Ride Trunk reportedly installs easily without tools by lining up the trunk mounting legs with the mounting points at the rear of the bike and snapping down the locking arm. The trunk comes with a power cord that connects to the bike’s electrical system to operate the taillight mounted on the trunk lid, the dual audio speakers mounted on each side of the passenger backrest and the power outlet for accessories concealed neatly inside the trunk. The system comes with a locking pin as an added layer of security. The trunk is claimed to be roomy enough for two full-face helmets and the area that faces the front of the bike has a padded passenger backrest.
The Victory Vision, including the Arlen Ness Signature Series version, now comes with ABS standard. The system features sensors on each wheel that will engage if it registers variations in wheel speed, wheel lock or slippage. Victory has switched to new tubular handlebars on the Vision, and has removed the dampers from the side storage compartment covers to make them easier to open. The exhaust tips have also been redesigned and now look more like the ones on the Victory Cross Country.
Victory 8-Ball models, a list that includes the Vegas 8-Ball, Kingpin 8-Ball, Hammer 8-Ball and Victory Vision 8-Ball, are all now equipped with the new 6-speed transmission opposed to the five-speed gearbox used in years past. The 8-Ball cruisers come with a “Bullet” headlight and black, ceramic-coated exhaust shields and mufflers claimed to emit a deeper, fuller exhaust note. Its Darth Vader treatment comes in the form of blacked-out handlebars, wheels, belt guards, frames, tanks and fenders, sidestands and engine treatment. The Victory Vision 8-Ball varies slightly as it is equipped with the Freedom 106/6 Stage 1 V-Twin and has chrome exhausts. Unlike the other Visions, it does not include ABS as a standard feature and has passenger pegs instead of floorboards.
Zach Ness is the third generation of custom bike builders in the Ness family to put his name on a factory-custom motorcycle from Victory.
Other big news in the Victory camp is the enlisting of Zach Ness’ services to build a limited-edition factory-custom motorcycle, giving Victory the distinction of having three generations of the custom bike building Ness family all creating limited-production bikes for them. Zach first built a one-off Kingpin in 2008, a cool custom version featuring a unique fork with diamond-cut boot seals, custom wheels, and mini-apehanger handlebars. For the 2011 model, Zach opted to use the Vegas 8-Ball as his canvas. The Zach Ness Signature Series Vegas 8-Ball has the chassis and drivetrain of the Vegas 8-Ball but is distinguished by black suede paint, a custom stitched leather seat and custom graphics designed by Zach. It also has plenty of Ness accessories, like the Ness handlebar crossbar, custom billet wheels, mirrors, oil line cover, engine covers, and Ness “Holeshot” billet handgrips and footpegs. It also has a new speedo based on the one used on the Cross Roads which features blue backlighting, indicator lights on the gauge face and a large multi-function LCD. In the same vein as the Arlen and Cory Ness Victory Signature motorcycles, the Zach Ness Victory Vegas 8-Ball will be a limited-edition with a number plate on the engine along with a reproduction of Zach’s signature.
Victory expanded its touring platform last year with the introduction of the Cross Roads and the Cross Country. While both are capable touring mounts, the Cross Roads is the more barebones of the two, so Victory devised its Cross Roads CORE Custom Program which allows riders to select the features they want most and to see them bolted-on before they make their final decision. It allows them to select the bike color (Solid Crimson or Solid Black), saddlebag style (hard with 21 gallons of cargo capacity or soft with 17.4 gallons of storage space) and highway bar style (Forged Chrome or more traditional Tube Chrome), and to add a windshield. In all there are 48 different possible combinations and Victory dealers will stock these components so that riders can pick out the ones they like best and see them on the bike before taking it home. Additionally, they can opt for the new color-matched Lock & Ride Trunk for even more storage space and comfier passenger accommodations.
The 2011 Cross Roads features the new Freedom 106/6 Stage 1 V-Twin mounted in a two-piece, sand-cast hollow aluminum frame. Suspension duties are handled by an inverted fork and an air-adjustable rear suspension with a claimed 4.7 in. of travel. The latest Cross Roads will have a slightly different look thanks to small model-wide changes, like converting the brake calipers, rotors, lower belt guards and floorboards to all-black. Victory has switched up the floorboard shifter, doing away with the heel shifter to leave more open space for riders to move their feet around. Victory also opted to make cruise control a standard feature on the 2011 Cross Roads.
The 2011 Cross Country, whose primary difference between the Cross Roads is a fork-mounted front fairing, receives the same Freedom 106/6 Stage 1 powerplant with the claimed 92 hp/109 lb-ft torque output and the new six-
speed transmission as the Cross Country. It also receives the new floorboard shifter. Dynamically, the 2011 Cross Country remains the same, which means its stock saddlebags are some of the biggest in its class, it handles extremely well for a touring bike, and has great range thanks to its 5.8-gallon fuel tank. Riders looking to make it a full-on two-up tourer can add the Lock & Ride Trunk, as passengers are certain to enjoy the creature comfort of its padded passenger backrest. Owners can go the whole nine-yards and order the passenger armrest kit and trunk cargo rack offered in Victory’s accessories list. No MSRP are listed yet, but we anticipate they’ll be in the ballpark of last year which saw the Cross Country priced at $17,999 while the Cross Roads sold for $15,999.
Those desiring an even more exclusive Cross Country will want to take a look at the one customized by Cory Ness. It starts with a Sunset Red paint job with graphics designed by Cory and then gets a heavy dose of the chrome treatment – Ness grips, custom mirrors, billet passenger pegs, chrome shift and brake pegs, engine covers and even extends to its Ness radio display. The Cory Ness Signature Series Victory Cross Country has customized highway bars and billet wheels, too, and riders will appreciate the little details like its custom suede leather seat. The Cross Country was already one of the best-looking baggers out there. Team that with Cory Ness’ keen eye for styling and the limited edition Cross Country is a bike guaranteed to garner its fair share of attention.
Victory’s avant-garde luxury-touring motorcycle, the Vision Tour, is back for another run. Its list of new features initially reads the same as above – new tranny and Freedom 106/6 Stage 1 engine, new floorboard shifters. But ABS is now no longer a feature and comes standard, Victory has changed out the bars for new chromed tubular handlebars whose
Victory’s luxury-touring motorcycle, the Vision Tour, will only benefit from the revamped six-speed transmission and Freedom 106/6 Stage 1 V-Twin. It also has new chromed tubular handlebars and floorboard shifter.
shape is more compatible with a wider range of aftermarket items, its exhaust tips have been redesigned and it has a new side stand. Then there are details like switching the passenger handholds to black-textured models instead of the painted ones used on prior Vision Tour models and the removal of the side storage compartment dampers to make it easier to open and close the bags.
Stylistically, the 2011 Victory Vision Tour still features the distinctive side bodywork that integrates cleanly into the full front fairing, sweeping hard saddlebags and a big topcase for a combined 29 gallons of storage capacity. It continues to feature a low, 26.5-in. seat height and touring amenities like an electronically adjustable windshield, heated seats and grips come standard. In addition to its factory ABS, it also has a front-to-rear linked braking system to accompany its dual front discs. It’s available in three color options for 2011, Crimson and Black, Solid Pearl White, and a two-tone Vogue Silver and Black. And while its color schemes were listed, its price wasn’t yet available.
The Vision Tour also serves as the palette Arlen Ness chose to customize for Victory. Arlen has been lending his styling expertise to Victory for eight years running, and this year’s blacked-out Victory Vision is sure to turn heads. Its bodywork and trim panels have been blacked-out which will make the shine of the engine’s diamond-cut cylinders stand out even more. The big touring motorcycle is chock full of what Victory calls “Scroll Ness” styling, from its side panels, engine covers, hand grip ends to its billet wheels. Similar to Zach’s bike, the Arlen Ness Signature Series Victory Vision has a plethora of Ness accessories too, including chrome billet grips, billet shift and brake pegs, oil line cover, and has a Ness windshield graphic. Numbered and signed, the limited edition tourer is the next best thing to having an Arlen Ness original, and a hell-of-a-lot cheaper, too, though it will still cost in the $25-30K range.
The 2011 Vegas Jackpot is Victory’s own factory-custom motorcycle with a distinctive raised spine that runs down the middle of its fenders and fuel tank. It has a tall 21-inch Anvil billet wheel leading the way with a meaty chunk of rubber anchoring the backside. The Vegas Jackpot is injected with all the model-wide features of Victory’s cruiser line – the Freedom 106/6 Stage 2 powerplant, new 6-speed transmission with overdrive, a different exhaust note and a new speedo. Colors include Pearl White and Black with extreme graphics, the “Lucky Lady” graphics package, Black and Indy Red with extreme graphics, and Solid Black. The Vegas Jackpot is the last of the Victorys with the Jackpot nomenclature because Victory did not carry over the standard Jackpot.
Victory offers four blacked-out factory versions of its motorcycles this year, like the 2011 Victory Vegas 8-Ball.
Victory’s power cruisers, the 2011 Hammer and Hammer S, are back with the new model-wide cruiser updates. They differ from the conventional, classic cruisers by their bobbed front fender, a rear fender that sits high above the 250mm rear tire and a small cowl on the rear hump behind the rider that detaches and becomes a small pillion seat. Its front end features an inverted fork set at a modest rake angle and is equipped with big, dual disc brakes. The Hammer S has blacked-out components, including its exhausts, fork, and handlebars to go along with custom-painted wheels and a Suede Black and Red paint job with white racing stripes.
On the other end of the spectrum to Victory’s Hammer models is the 2011 Kingpin. A classic-styled cruiser with big, swooping fenders and floorboards, the Kingpin has a low 26.5-inch seat height to go along with more upright ergonomics courtesy of lower controls that have been moved back two inches. A new engine, transmission, and exhaust note promise to keep it from being a staid riding experience, though, and the heel-toe shifter has been swapped out for the new shifter design. Solid Crimson or two-tone Pearl White and Sandstone Metallic are your color options, and a full list of Victory accessories like a windshield, touring seats, trunk, heated grips or a Tri-Pro Stage 1 Performance Exhaust can give buyers more freedom of expression.
Last but not least in the 2011 Victory Motorcycle lineup is the Vegas, the best-selling Victory model. Its raised spine that runs the bike’s length down the back of the fenders and tank is a time-honored Victory Vegas styling cue. The split-tail, sculpted fuel tank remains a key selling point, and its low 25.2-inch seat height and two-inch pullback handlebars leave riders comfortably upright but ready at any moment to unleash the power of its Freedom 106/6 engine. Tall up front and wide in the back, the Victory Vegas has the smooth, flowing lines that have attracted buyers since 2003.