2013 Victory Cross Country Tour

Motorcycle USA has taken the 2013 Victory Cross Country Tour for a ride. They seem to like it. Especially the storage. There’s a lot of it, as Victory claims it has a total of 41.1 gallons of storage space. But that’s not all it has.

The amount of storage will spoil a rider, as will the heated grips, heated seats, standard cruise control, and big rider floorboards. Victory elected to use a toe-only shifter so riders can move their feet around and alter pressure points on the backside and lower back on longer rides. Though we rode solo, the 2013 Victory Cross Country tour has passenger floorboards that are three-way adjustable and can be tipped at a 10-degree angle. Passengers also have the luxury of their own controls for the heated seat.

2013 Victory Cross Country Tour

Also, if you buy this instead of the Victory Vision, other bikers won’t point and laugh at you while you ride down the road.

2012 Victory Highball First Ride

Motorcycle USA’s Bryan Harley has gotten his hands on Victory Motorcycles’ newest take on the Dark Custom craze, the 2012 Highball.

His take on the engine:

The torquey low end is matched throughout the powerband and distribution is even throughout. There’s excellent response from the EFI with every release of the clutch cable and Victory’s Freedom 106 V-Twin in its Stage 2 state of tune is one of the bike’s strongest features. It doesn’t sign off early on the top end and the tranny can withstand winding out each gear before banging it up to the next. Gearing down, there’s a generous amount of engine braking.

2012 Victory High-Ball
2012 Victory High-Ball

Handling:

The straight roads around Daytona Beach had us clamoring to find a corner to test the High-Ball’s handling, but on the few turns we did find the High-Ball impressed us with its neutral turn in and stability when leaned over. Our primary grievance was its limited cornering clearance.

Well, it’s a cruiser. Cornering clearance will never be a strong suit.

The looks:

Victory has done an admirable job of injecting the High-Ball with vintage styling cues, from the way the white paint accentuates the recessed tank to the way the whitewalls make the chunkiness of the tires stand out. Spoked wheels stay true to the theme of the bike while its slim swingarm keeps the tail end open so you can enjoy an uncluttered view of the whitewalls. The few glimmers of white makes the blacked-out treatment of the engine, frame, bars, pipes, headlight bucket, triple trees, fender struts and cylinder head covers stand out that much more.

And, don’t forget the black mini-ape-hangers.

Overall, the new Victory seems like a neat addition to the Dark Custom world, with a powerful 106ci mill, smooth handling, and a price that won’t completely break the bank at $13,499.

Big Bagger Showdown

2011 Victory Vision and Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra
2011 Victory Vision and Harley-Davidson Road Glide UltraPhoto Credit: Motorcycle USA, Ray Gauger

Motorcycle USA has published their head-to-head comparison of the Victory Vision and the Harley Davidson Road Glide Ultra.

Visually, these could not–except for size–be two more different-looking motorcycles. The Road Glide is a blast from the past, showing of the signature Harley-Davidson style that has been little changed since the 1960’s. Some say that’s a bad thing, demonstrating a lack of willingness to push their designs forward from Peter Fonda’s Captain America hippie-era. The Victory Vision, on the other hands, looks as if it comes to us from 40 years in the future, rather than 40 years in the past. Some say that’s a bad thing, too, making the Victory an exceptionally execrable example of Arlen Ness-iness gone wild.

Underneath the looks, however, both of these bikes are designed to do one thing and do it well: eat up the day by effortlessly cruising the highway.

Both bikes have their admirers and detractors, of course, but what’s surprising in the MotoUSA test is that they both do it equally well.  It seems that which bike to prefer really comes down to a matter of taste.  their that closely matched.

Personally, if the day ever comes when I want to dip my toes in the cruiser well, the Road Glide will be my bike of choice.

Sadly, though, if I got rid of my FJR, my inner hooligan would incline me to look for something a little…faster. For instance, I certainly intend to personally test the new BMW K1600GT when it becomes available.

The “Other American Motorcycle Company” is doing well

Polaris has released their 4th quarter numbers, and It looks like it’s champagne time at their headquarters. Unlike Harley-Davidson, which reported yet another loss in the 4th quarter, Polaris has moved firmly into the black.

Net income for the fourth quarter 2010 was a record $54.5 million, an increase of 24 percent over the same period in 2009. Record sales of $618.4 million for the fourth quarter 2010 increased 31 percent over 2009 fourth quarter sales of $471.8 million.

For the full year ended December 31, 2010, Polaris reported record net income of $147.1 million, or a record $4.28 per diluted share, compared to $101.0 million, or $3.05 per diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2009. This represents a 40 percent increase on a per diluted share basis and a 46 percent increase in net income.

Polaris, of course, makes much more than motorcycles, but Victory certainly did its part in 2010, moving 81,624 motorcycles compared to 52,811 in 2009. That’s a 55% increase in sales, and was the largest sales increase of any of Polaris’ product lines.

Congratulations to Victory, and Polaris, who are showing real strength when most other manufacturers are still scrambling to cut losses.

A Big Upgrade for Victory

2011 Arlen Ness Signature Victory Vision
2011 Arlen Ness Signature Victory Vision

Victory Motorcycles–the other American motorcycle company–has announced their 2011 model line, and the big news is that they’ve dropped the smaller V-Twin, and now provide every bike in their line-up with the big 106ci V-Twin, as well as a new 6-speed transmission.

Riders also have a choice of bikes sporting Stage 1 or Stage 2 factory tunes as well.  Stage 1 engines put out 92HP and 109 ft-lbs of torque, while the Stage 2 tune provides 97HP and 113ft-lbs of torque. In  general, the bigger, touring models will have the Stage 1 engine, while the smaller (relatively) bikes will have the Stage 2 cams, making their street cruisers pretty…uh…rockety.

All of the bikes will also sport the upgraded cockpit instrumentation found on last year’s Cross Roads, and the service interval has been increased to 5,000 miles.

Check out Victory’s web site for the details.

2010 Victory Vegas LE Review – Motorcycle.com

Pete Brissette of Motorcycle.com got to spend a week on Bike #1 of 100 brand new 2010 Victory Vegas LEs.  He loved it.

2010 Victory Vegas LE
2010 Victory Vegas LE

First off, The Vegas LE dumps the standard 100ci V-twin for the more powerful Stage 2 106ci mill, which provides a generous 97 hp at 5000 rpm and 113 ft-lb at a lowly 2750 rpm.  That’s 12 horsies more than the 100ci powerplant, and 10 ft-lb more, too.  Victory claims that putting the 106 into the Vegas makes it the fastest Victory yet.

As you can see, the styling is updated a bit, too, dumping a lot of chrome and replacing it with black powder-coated trim.  It looks like it has just enough, but not too much Arlen-Nessiness in the design.  And, frankly, it doesn’t take a lot for there to be too much Arlen-Nessiness.  He can go a little overboard with al the swoopy curves and what-not.  The Vegas LE, though, looks to be about right in the design department, right down to the blacked-out, curved pipes.

In fact, my real quibble with Victory’s motorcycles is the shape of the jugs.  They just look like somebody stuck two blenders on top of the engine.  Technically, however, the air/oil-cooled, four-valves-per-cylinder, SOHC V-Twin is a thing of beauty.

Brissette concludes:

The Vegas LE possesses lots of powerful, low-end grunt by virtue of the most potent standard engine Victory has made to date. Yet the LE is largely a standard Vegas model and so enjoys the better handling and steering provided by the standard Vegas’ 180-section rear tire versus the chubby 250 found on the Jackpot model.

So, it has the big power of the Jackpot mated with the standard Vegas’ good handling. The LE is the perfect blend.

I can’t argue with that.

Sadly, Victory is only making 100 of these, and I suspect they’ll all be gone quickly.

A Victory for Power Freaks

Victory Motorcycles has announced a new, high-powered version of the Vegas.  The new bike has a set of Stage 2 cams to pump up the output of its 106ci V-Twin.  The special edition Vegas will sport 97HP and 113 lb-ft of torque.  Victory will only be producing 100 of them, however, and pricing them at $15,999.  Oh, and you have to order it before the end of February, for March delivery.

Victory Vegas LE
Victory Vegas LE

2010 Victory Motorcycles (Updated)

“It’s the mo-o-o-0st wonderful ti-i-i-i-ime of the year!”  It’s not Christmas, though.  It’s the 90 days between now and October, when all of the bike manufacturers begin showing off the new year’s models.  Old friends get a little facelift, and we get introduced to new models that make us drool…or think, “Seriously, what were they thinking?!”

Honda jumped the gun last week with a few bikes that I didn’t really care enough to post about, but today, Victory comes to the table with their whole lineup. As part of that lineup, Victory introduced two new bikes to its touring line, both of which are aimed directly at Harley Davidson customers.

2010 Victory Cross Country
2010 Victory Cross Country

The 2010 Victory Cross Country is the Street Glide analog, with full bags and a fairing with a funky modernistic design that sets it apart from the plain-vanilla bat-wing.  The Cross Roads is a Road King analog, with full bags but no windshield on the stock model.

Both bikes sport the air-cooled Freedom 106 cubic-inch (1731cc) V-Twin engine, and both have the maintenance-free belt drive, and sport a 6-speed transmission.  In addition, both of them use the CORE concept components I wrote about here a little while back.  Also, both the $17,999 Cross Country and $15,999 Cross Roads have 18″ long floorboards, so your feet will be comfy.

The remainder of Victory’s 2010 lineup seems pretty close to what we’ve seen for the last two years, although they’ve switched the….uh…aggressively styled Vision product line around a bit.

2010 Victory Cross Roads
2010 Victory Cross Roads

The two new models, though, seem to aimed at riders who want a big, American V-Twin (even bigger than the MoCo’s), and the same styling features of two of Harley’s most popular bikes, but with a modern twist.  It’s as if Harley Davidson got Arlen Ness to design their new bike lineup.

Now, when it comes to styling, the signature Ness style of flowing lines and tapering points certainly has it’s detractors as well as its fans.  But it seems to be working for Victory.

Even if their engine cylinders do look like kitchen blenders.

UPDATE: Another nice pic of the Cross Roads.

OK, <em>now</em> it looks like a Road King
OK, now it looks like a Road King

And that fairing on the Cross Country isn’t just for show:

On the driver-facing side of the fairing is MFD (multi-function display) instrumentation and the bike’s audio system. The MFD includes an analog speedometer and tachometer, fuel gauge and a battery charge meter. The wealth of data in a digital display panel includes: gear indicator, clock, ride time, odometer, two trip meters and fuel economy information such as current range for the available fuel and current MPG data. A driver scrolls through the data using a trigger switch mounted by the left hand grip. This switch also resets functions such as the trip meters, ride time and clock.

An AM/FM radio is standard on the Cross Country, and the bike can be equipped with an iPod or satellite radio that plays through the bike’s audio system. The audio display screen presents detailed information about the radio station currently playing, or the iPod track name, artist, satellite station and more.

The fairing also accommodates installation of switches controlling accessories such as heated handgrips. These are available from Pure Victory Gear, as are accessories needed to store an iPod in the right saddlebag and play it through the bike’s audio system.

An accessory GPS unit can be mounted on the left handlebar using an accessory ball joint mount, and audio information from the GPS can be fed through the bike’s audio system.

Very nice.