Tag Archives: Victory Motorcycles

2015 Victory Magnum

A 100 watt stereo! Damn! Not 50 or 75, but 100 motorcycle shaking watts. That’s a lot of wattage in your cottage. It’s hard for me to imagine that 100 W stereo provides manufacturers with leverage to sell their motorcycles. Okay, before I sell my next motorcycle, it’s going put a really big stereo system on it. It would appear that I know absolutely nothing about marketing motorcycles.

The Magnum is powered by Victory’s 106 freedom engine. This engine is pretty much distributed through their whole line of motorcycles. It’s an air/oil cooled 50 ° V twin with a displacement just north of 1700 cc. There are four valves per cylinder to keep the gases flowing freely through the cylinders. Single overhead cam configuration is used to put the valves in play. The cam shaft is driven by a chain, no pushrods in this engine. The engine holds 5 quarts of oil and has a wet sump design.

The engine is fuel injected with 45 mm dual throttle bodies. The engine is also nicely chromed up so you better leave the dealer with some chrome polish. There’s also a counterbalancing device spinning around inside the engine. So if you’re looking for the Harley-Davidson or Moto Guzzi engine experience, you’re out of luck.

There’s an oil cooler neatly tucked away on the two forward frame down tubes. The oil cooler is also hidden by some painted plastic shroud that adds to the aesthetic qualities of the motorcycle.

I once had a Victory motorcycle owner look me in the eye and tell me that the Freedom 106 engine does not produce any heat. I thought to myself, “This is a wonderful story and maybe they shouldn’t legalize drugs.” We really need to bring back the dinosaurs to thin the gene pool a little bit. I’m sorry, but some people have just got to go! The engine produces approximately 87 HP at 5200 RPM and 95 foot-pounds of torque at 3100 RPM. Oh yeah, for the record, the Freedom 106 engine does produce heat! They all do. Get over it.

The engine is coupled with a six-speed no-hassle gearbox. No battle to find neutral or problems missing a shift. I do have one complaint. Where in hell is the toe-heal-shifter? What’s the deal here? Haven’t motorcycle manufacturers figured out that when you install floorboards on a motorcycle it is just natural to put on a toe- heal- shifter arrangement. The exhaust plumbing is neatly routed to both sides of the rear wheel and provides you with an opportunity to polish a lot more chrome.

This motorcycle comes with two disk brakes in the front and one in the rear. All three brake rotors are 300 mm. The front calipers have four pistons and the rear calipers have two pistons. The brake should provide plenty of force to reduce the momentum of this 760 pound motorcycle. The model I drove had ABS, which is an option. I didn’t feel any pulsing through the foot or hand control, so I guess Victory has that nailed. In 2016, the EU will require all newly manufactured motorcycles to have ABS on them. I’m going to guess that American manufacturers will follow suit and make ABS standard on their motorcycles.

The factory custom paint is stunning. The design or the presentation of the motorcycle gives you some sort of modern Art Deco interpretation. No dull curves just a lot of straight lines. The seat is around 26 inches off the ground giving the inseam challenged access to a nice bagger. Wheelbase is around 67 inches to make sure this motorcycle will run in a straight line at high speeds. The motorcycle looks large from ground level, but it pretty much falls in line with the other cruisers out there.

I hope Victory didn’t reduce the travel and the rear shock absorber to lower the back end of the motorcycle. I’m a firm believer the more travel on the shock absorber, the better the ride. But I’m going to guess Victory has done something to reconfigure the frame geometry so the comfortable ride is not lost. The rear wheel is only 16 inches so that should help in slamming the backend.

The front wheel on the other hand is 21 inches. I have no idea what the craze is with these big front wheels. I’m going have to do some research to figure out how it affects the steering geometry. But it seems to be the craze. I guess the guys who created those plastic tricycles that were referred to as “Big Wheels” when I was a kid were way ahead of their time.

The bags are cavernous so we can pretty much bring all your worldly possessions with you. The release button to open the bags is simple to use. The bags are also lockable. I guess the one problem that I have with Victory’s big configuration is the lack of metal to protect them. I don’t see any possible way of connecting some sort of guards that wraparound the bags to protect them from scuffs and scrapes. Call me paranoid, but both my Harley-Davidson’s have bag guards wrapped around the rear bags.

I rode the model with the mini ape hanger bars. Not really a big fan of ape hangers, but they were mini ape hangers, so I was going to give them a try. I guess my problem with ape hanger bars is I don’t feel I have enough control over the motorcycle. As I started out on the demo ride, I thought to myself this was a bad idea. But as the motorcycle moved down the road, I got more accustomed to manipulating the steering through the mini ape hangers. Would these be my bars of choice? Nope!

The lights are LEDs all-round the motorcycle. I’m a big fan of LED lights. I own a 2014 Harley Davidson Ultra Limited equipped with a LED head and passing lights. At night it doesn’t just light up the roadway, it lights entire landscape. I hope in the future other manufacturers step-up to the plate and add LED lighting systems to their motorcycles.

Riding this motorcycle is way cool. Everyone will be looking at the paint job on this motorcycle. So if you need to get noticed, this is the motorcycle for you. You’ve got a nice rumble coming from the exhaust pipes. Plenty of get up and go so you can leave the stop lights like a “Boss.” The motorcycle has pretty good clearance on the floorboards and feels balanced when turning. So when the need arises, you can push this motorcycle through the turns like Valentio Rossi. Don’t try dragging your knee though, that’s not going to go well for you.

If you buy this motorcycle, you’d have largest front wheel on a production motorcycle. The brakes have a good feel to them all way through their actuation. Turning the throttle provides a nice analog feel from the engine. The seat is comfy and should fend off butt pain on long rides. Crank the stereo and you could be a roving DJ as you travel down boulevard. You would be “The Man” or “The Woman” on this motorcycle. That’s a fact, jack!

The only real complaint I have about Victory baggers and touring motorcycles is they seem plasticized. So you’re probably asking what the hell is plasticized. We’ll let me give you another example. I have a 2008 Honda Goldwing which is completely covered in plastic. Sometimes I wonder if there’s a metal frame under all that plastic. Or has Honda somehow figured out how to embed titanium in plastic. Call me old-fashioned, but I guess I just got to see some metal tubing somewhere on the motorcycle.

Oh, sorry one other compliant. Where in the hell is the FOB? Who wants to put a key in and turn it on a $23,000 motorcycle? Not me, call me a lazy American! Harley Davidson, Indian and Ducati have FOBs. What’s the deal, Victory? At this point in my life, I have been FOB-o-tized. That’s right FOB-o-tized, no damn turn keys for me jack! You can get carpal tunnel from that key turning stuff.

The big question is would I own a 2015 Victory Magnum if my wife would let me? The answer is” Hell Yeah.”

2014 Victory Gunner

The Victory gunner is not a brand-new motorcycle built from the ground up. Basically it’s a fraternal twin from the Victory Judge. Many of the Victory motorcycles share a lot of parts in common with each other. So, technically this isn’t that big of a deal. Many of the other manufacturers do the same thing so I hope your heart is broken.

Pretty nice red sea!
Pretty nice red seat!

One of the strengths of the victory line is the freedom 106 engine. This engine is a four stroke 50° V- twin displacing 106 cubic inches or 1731 cc. The valve train is a single overhead camshaft with four valves per cylinder incorporating self-adjusting cam chains and hydraulic lifters. It’s no secret that Polaris knows how to build bulletproof engines. So what you end up with is a bulletproof V -twin engine that will probably go on forever. There are a lot of rumors floating around that Victory intends to start water cooling their engines

The engine! Where's the chrome?
The engine! Where’s the chrome?

The engine is cooled by a combination of air and lubricating oil. The engine holds approximately 5 quarts of oil that is continually removing the unwanted and power robbing heat from the engine. Between the two down tubes on the frame is a neat little oil cooler to reject the heat from the engine. Fuel enters into cylinders through electronic fuel injection system with dual 45 mm throttle bodies. A lot of people complain about large volume V- twin engines that are air cooled. They say that they are uncomfortable to ride due to the heat generated from the engine. I’ve been on plenty of Victory motorcycles and I’ve never noticed any extensive heat leaving the heads or exhaust pipes of this engine.

I also hear people complain about the vibration from V-twin engines. Well, the Freedom 106 has got to be one of the smoothest V-twin engines that I’ve had between my legs. The Freedom 106 incorporates a counter-balancing system to fight off the onslaught of vibration produced by two big pistons and a heavy flywheel in motion. Don’t waste your time looking for pushrods to operate the valves either. Nope, they’re not used. The valves rely on a chain drive system to participate in the internal combustion dance.

From my ride experience, it was easy to determine that the peak horsepower and torque are produced somewhere around 2900 RPMs. This engine gives you the opportunity to be a little sloppy with your gear choices. Although this motor produces peak power in the lower rpm, it does have some incentive for momentum at the higher rpm. Whatever plans Victory/Polaris have for this engine, I sure hope they don’t screw it up. Sometimes the manufacturers have a golden product and they get confused and turn it into a bronze product.

Pulling in the clutch lever in and tapping the gear shifter down one produces that all familiar clunk telling you that it’s in gear. The clutch is not hydraulically assisted, but the lever pull is still light and won’t be a problem in heavy traffic. The gearbox is a six speed ordeal with a wet multi-plate clutch. Also incorporated into the transmission is a gear drive with a torque compensator. Power is delivered to the rear wheel by a carbon fiber reinforced belt. Yep, no shaft -drive!

The first thing that catches your eye on this motorcycle is the casted aluminum rims. This 24-spoke configuration is extremely visually pleasing. As far as I can remember, I’ve never seen a configuration like this before on a motorcycle. I would also imagine that casting these rims is a lot of work due to the design of the rim. Either way they look “damn cool.” Both tires are Dunlop’s 16 x 3.5” which fit nicely on the fancy rims.

The front forks have a diameter of 43 mm with 5.125 inches of travel. The rear shock is a single, mono-tube gas with about 3 inches of travel. Also the rear shock has the ability to adjust the preload. This will come in handy when you decide to do two up riding or mount a bunch of bags on the back and sides of the motorcycle. The motorcycle generates a gravitational pull of 649 pounds, which is relatively light in the cruiser world.

The seat is only 25 inches off the ground making it very effective for those who are inseam challenged. The model that I rode had a very fancy red leather seat, for one person only. So I’ve no idea what the official seat looks like or feels like. From axle to axle the motorcycle is approximately 65 inches. The actual length for the motorcycle is somewhere around 94 inches. So you better make sure you have room in your garage before you buy one.

The front disc brake is a single 300 mm rotor coupled with a four piston caliper. The rear disc brake is also a 300 mm rotor but, it’s coupled with a two piston caliper. The motorcycle did not have ABS or linked brakes. I don’t know if ABS is an option for this motorcycle. The brakes do their job well, but I’m a big fan of two disk brakes in the front. I’m sure Victory is also a big fan of two disk brakes in the front, but they have to worry about the cost of manufacturing the motorcycle.

Riding this motorcycle falls in line with any other Victory model. Everything just works! No surprises. It corners well even when pushed hard through the turns. No wobbles, shimmies or anything that might cause your heart to skip a beat. The transmission is your friend keeping you on top of power delivery to the rear wheel. The engine is on a dedicated mission to put a smile on your face. I do have one complaint. Add a few extra dollars to the cost of the motorcycle and add second front disk brake. Just a thought!

I sure hope they don’t f**k this up.

Polaris motorcycle sales of Victories and Indians took a backward slide after the introduction of Harley-Davidson’s brand-new 2014 motorcycles. According to Forbes magazine, Polaris’s motorcycle sales took a 7% slide. Ouch! This is probably not what the Board of Directors at Polaris were expecting. According to what I read in the Wall Street Journal, one of the board members told the CEO of Polaris industries “you better not f**k this up.” I wonder where a slide in sales falls with relationship to f**king this up.

The CEO of Polaris industries said ”that the introduction of the Indian motorcycles is like having a baby you have to nurture it and help it grow for the future.” I got a feeling he’s going to be breast-feeding that “baby” for a long time. I’ve ridden all three Indian models several times and they are very nice motorcycles. I believe they‘re a really competitive products in a very crowded market segment. So, I’m thinking something biblical is going to need to happen to increase Indian motorcycle sales.

To make things worse I had to drive to Indiana and Wisconsin to demo the Indian motorcycles. Not a single Indian dealer in the state of Illinois. Indian has deal on their website that they’ll pay for an airline ticket to get to a dealer. Am I the only one who sees a problem with this? I believe I mentioned this previously in another blog, I’m somewhat confused why Polaris did not put a strong dealer network in place before they released the Indian motorcycles.

I spoke with one of the Victory dealers that is near me. With a big frown on his face he tells me “Polaris wants him to double the floor space that he currently has in order to sell Indian motorcycles.” Then a smile appears on his face while he’s looking around his store and he tells me “if I double the space, I could turn this into a pretty nice restaurant.” Okay, I guess selling motorcycles must not be the greatest gig in the universe.

Harley-Davidson on the other hand has pumped out 71,000 new motorcycles since the introduction of the Project Rushmore in August of 2013. These sold units correlate in to a 9% increase in sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. I guess the Project Rushmore was the ticket to sell motorcycles. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Coolcycledude get off your Harley-Davidson soapbox.”

First off I don’t own a soapbox, second I think I would buy an Indian motorcycle if I didn’t have to travel to another state and the wife lets me. I’m just concerned that the Three Stooges are in charge of the destiny of what I consider some really cool motorcycles. I sure hope they don’t f**k this up.

 

2013 Victory Boardwalk

I got a chance to ride the Victory’s 2013 Boardwalk motorcycle. First things first I have a “Harley-Davidson Brain” but you can’t beat the quality of Victory motorcycles. So I am a fan of most of the Victory motorcycles that are manufactured. I have said this many times if they didn’t make Harley-Davidson motorcycles my ass would be sitting on a Victory motorcycle. I think that the Freedom 106 engine is pretty much bulletproof. But I do have some reservations about their big touring motorcycle. I think I’ll stop here.

Okay, not a big fan of a solid white paint job on a motorcycle. I’m sure the color is not called white it’s probably got some weird name like “Desert White” or “Midnight White.” It sure looked like regular old white to me. I have a Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe with a white and dark blue paint job, although I have on several occasions thought about the logic behind the paint scheme for this motorcycle. Oh, now I remember, I like to wash it a lot.

So it’s not that I don’t like white, it’s I just don’t see an application for solid white paint on a motorcycle. Maybe, the paint was on sale from the manufacturer. From a psychology point of view, the color white projects purity, cleanliness, and neutrality. Are these the traits you want your motorcycle to project?  I didn’t think so!

Nice powerful engine on this motorcycle. The Boardwalk is equipped with Victory’s Freedom 106 engine.  I don’t know much about the Polaris Corporation, but I do know that when they put together an engine, you can’t beat it. The 106 is a 50 degree V-twin with four valves per cylinder. So it’s not going to have any problems breathing. The engine has a wet sump configuration.  Not a big fan of a wet sump without water cooled cylinders. But the upside is this baby holds 5 quarts of oil. That should be enough so the oil can do its primary job. Plus there’s a big oil cooler in the front of the engine near the bottom of the frame. Engine cooling relies on air and oil. A very nice six speed gearbox is incorporated into the engine to make use of the available torque.

Like the adjustable brake lever on the throttle side of the handle bars. Not something that you readily see on cruiser motorcycles. Really a nice touch if you’re one of those people who makes use of the adjustment on the levers. Otherwise, pretty much the same old standard controls on the handlebars. The mirrors are placed nicely and provide a good size picture of what’s going on behind you.

During my demo ride I did encounter some sort of weird feedback on the clutch lever when the motorcycle is in the fifth or sixth gears. During the last bit travel on the clutch lever it would bounce in your hand. I’m pretty sure that that’s not a manufacturer’s defect, probably some sort of a wear problem due to the beatings these demo bikes take.

This motorcycle has tons of chrome. The lower casings on the engine and the frame are not chrome, but pretty much everything else is. I don’t know if I like the Art Deco style turn signals. I prefer a larger turn signal that would leave a larger impression in someone’s brain so they don’t run me over. The handlebars seemed very comfortable to me. I heard other people at the demo ride complaining about them. Victory refers to them as ”beach bars” referencing a trend in older motorcycles.

All of the tactical information such as speed, rpm, gear position and all the other stuff that I can’t remember right now are displayed on the unit. Yep, this is what’s called “real-time” writing. All of this info is being displayed on a single gauge mounted near the center of the handlebars. In the beginning I wasn’t feeling this display set up. But the information is delivered in a format which has grown on me, so I guess I’m feeling it now.

This motorcycle gets up and goes! That’s really the best way to describe it. I think the maximum horsepower and torque occur somewhere around 3200 RPMs. The motorcycle’s gravitational pull on the earth is right around 700 pounds with all the necessary fluids to operate it. So that’s pretty much in the ballpark of its competitors. I’m not completely sure since I don’t have any factual or hard data, but I think it can out run the majority of its competitors.

My favorite personality trait of this motorcycle is the chromed laced wheels. I’m starting to see a trend which causes me a lot of pain. Manufacturers are moving more and more towards either casted or machined rims. Call me old-fashioned, out of date and one foot in the grave, but I like those chrome laced wheels. I feel that the laced wheels are part of the DNA of a true cruiser motorcycle.

If you’re interested in purchasing a cruiser motorcycle I definitely would stop off at a Victory dealer and ask for a test ride. With that said I would also check out the Harley-Davidson, Honda, Triumph, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Indian, BMW, Ducati and Moto Guzzi dealers. It’s important to find out what really moves as opposed to what you have been programmed to think will move you.

 

 

Victory for Polaris!

I got a chance to ride Victory’s 8-Ball motorcycle. I was pretty surprised on the overall experience. A matter of fact, I was really surprised. As soon as I hit the start button I knew this motorcycle was for real. I had my doubts that Polaris glued some motorcycle together as fast as they could to try to give Harley-Davidson a run for their money. But it would seem a lot of thought went into building this motorcycle.

I do have one concern and that is the name of the motorcycle. Always thought ”8-Ball” referred to some sort of leisure drug. I myself did not participate in leisure drugs as a wee lad, but I did consume plenty of alcohol to make up the difference. So I would have a better understanding of the term “8-Ball” I fired up Google and found this urban dictionary site. Typed in ”8-Ball” and whammo! I got these two definitions. One eighth of an ounce of cocaine or an Old English 800 malt liquor. Not a single reference to anything to do with motorcycle.

Well I have never attended a school for marketing and I probably would never be hired to market a product. That’s assuming that the company is interested in selling the product. So in reality my opinion means exactly zero. So I’m going to assume that Polaris spent a lot of money determining that ”8-Ball” was a good name for a motorcycle.

Enough talk about marketing a product. I think the major focus or probably were the most R&D was spent was in the engine. This baby has a 50° V twin with four valves per cylinder. Lighter springs, smaller valves, it’s all about moving air through the engine. The brochure says that the engine produces 97 HP at 113 foot-pounds of torque. I could’ve gone on the Internet and did a little research but my wife is continually telling me I have trust issues so I’m going to go with what’s in the brochure.

During my ride I decided to see if this power was actually available. And I can say it definitely was available. So much so that I broke the rear wheel loose on three occasions during my ride. So I decided to quit testing my available power theory before I crashed this motorcycle. Also there was no delay or notification that the power was going to be delivered to the rear wheel. It just happened and you better be ready for it. Not that it was uncontrollable but it definitely was a surprise.

I do have one complaint about the engine and it’s the noise the valve train made. The engine has a single overhead cam that is driven by a chain, no pushrods moving the valves. This may be nitpicking and I’m sure I’m going to catch hell for saying this but I heard a distinct whining from the top of the engine. A matter of fact it reminded me a lot of my 2002 Suzuki 750 GSXR motorcycle. Now this whining wasn’t so deafening that it destroyed the whole experience but it was unexpected for of the twin.

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I own a 2005 Honda VTX 1800 with a very similar valve train system. The only real difference is that the Honda has three valves per cylinder and the Victory has four. The Honda doesn’t produce a whining sound probably because of extra mass of the cylinders because they’re water-cooled. Either way the whining wasn’t the end of the world just seemed a little weird for a V twin.

The victory engine which is called “Freedom 106” is air and oil cooled. I don’t know this for a fact but I’m pretty sure that oil is being sprayed inside of the engine and use as a cooling medium. One thing I’m a little bit leery of is air cooled engines that are wet sump. The oil comes in contact with the majority of the hot surfaces and is always pulling heat away. Getting this hot oil out of the engine seems like a top priority to me. But I’m pretty sure that the engine has been tested over and over again for reliability. Also it holds I believe 5 quarts of oil and it has an oil cooler.

Riding this motorcycle was a lot of fun it was very comfortable all the controls were well positioned and accessible. The seat was about a 25 inches off the ground which is probably good for somebody with short legs. The speedometer had an analog display for speed. Also there was a small rectangle digital display that indicated RPM and gear position. There’s whole bunch of warning indicators on the inner circle of the speedometer. Speedometer looked pretty good on the bike and easy to view while you’re riding the motorcycle.

Plenty of usable power through all six speeds of the transmission. Transmission shifted like a charm neutral was always easy to find. I know sometimes when I get on a new motorcycle I have to play “find neutral”, of course this could also be a lack of foot eye coordination on my part. The motorcycle was very stable at approximately 65 MPH and easy to push through the corners at a relatively high speed. Both the front in the rear brakes responded very well during usage.

Okay, the only complaint I have about this motorcycle is that my hands went numb. Now this hasn’t happened in a long time to me. I could attribute this to a poor circulatory system, but my hands have not fallen asleep on any other motorcycle that I’ve ridden lately. So I’m going with it’s not me. This is usually easily corrected by either changing the position of the handlebars or putting some material in the handlebars to dampen the effects of the vibration.

Well I guess I would call this a “Victory for Polaris.” This baby ain’t too shabby. I’m pretty sure shabby is not a technical term.