Victory Motorcycles was build to fight Harley-Davidson. But it lost the war
Victory Motorcycles was founded in 1998. It was a glorius 4th July in Spirit Lake, northern Iowa, United States when the V92C went out of the production line.
Parented by the ATVs and snowmobiles builder Polaris, Victory Motorcycles was the company’s debut on the motorcycles market. After realising the success Harley-Davidson was enjoying, Polaris decided to start building an all-American heavy bike. Soon after an entirely new and innovative bike was created, the V92C.
The V92C – the first Victory Motorcycle
Symbolically born on the 4th of July Victory V92C emphases the classic American cruiser. This model was well received and even called the best cruiser on the market at the moment. It featured a large 1510cc air-cooled V-twin engine that could produce at its peak 55 HP (41Kw) at the wheel. The weight and power output made it a direct opponent for Harley’s Sportster.
Victory Motorcycles managed to build the engine with parts manufactured entirely in Minnesota and Iowa. The only parts from exterior were the Brembo braking system and GM fuel-injection. The highlights of the power unit were the large oil quantity that stood in the sump (unlike the Harley) and the easy to tune design.
The V92 SportCruiser and the Touring Cruiser were the next models derived from the V92C. The main changes were the high ground clearance, roomy ergonomics and improved engine. Victory Motorcycles introduced in 2001 a new generation engine that featured more power and torque compared to the original.
The Vegas Jackpot
Victory Motorcycles launched in 2003 the Vegas model – still part of Victory’s Custom Cruisers, with the same engine as the Touring Cruiser but with a new chassis design. The big change came with the 2006 Vegas model that received a six speed gearbox and the displacement raised to 1600cc. The 8 Ball model was also derived from the Vegas. Its main feature was the black theme instead of chrome.
The Muscle Cruiser and Best American Bike tittle were given for the company’s top-of-the-line Custom, The Vegas Jackpot. Painted in bold paint-scheme and fitted with a 250 rear tire made a name of extreme cruiser.
Meanwhile Victory Motorcycles signed a partnership with the custom legend Arlen Ness in 2004. Using many Ness aluminium accessories, custom seats and paint a few limited edition bikes were released.
After 10 years on the market, Victory Motorcycles released an Anniversary model. The Victory Vision was meant to prove itself on the touring segment. The whole lot was sold in just seven minutes. With luxury electronics, low seat height, a full fairing and hard trunk they were available in two versions both with 1740cc engine and 92 HP (69 KW).
In 2009 at the Bonneville Salt Flats a race prepared Victory Kingpin set a world lane speed record. Rider Gregor Moe set a record of 165.863 mph. In 2014 a Victory Hammer managed to hit a higher record – 173.321 mph.
Victory Motorcycles – from cruiser to bobber
The 2012 High Ball and the 2014 the Gunner models got all the classic bobber features. Apehanger handlebars and wire wheels combined with Victory’s powerful engines the details were fierce and full of attitude.
The Victory Motorcycles were not just powerful and heavy V-twins. In 2015 the Victory Magnum X-1 was introduced with a 200 watts sound system. Victory Magnum X-1 Stealth Edition came with ten speakers: two 6×9 woofers and two tweeters in the saddlebags, as well as two 5.25-inch mid-bass speakers, two 2.5-inch mid-ranges, and two more tweeters in the front fairing.
Then, in 2016, Victory Octane came out as a 2017 model. It was the baddest Victory motorcycle alive, with 104 horsepower. The motorcycle was a more extreme Indian Scout. Considering this model unveiling, nobody was thinking about an operation wind down.
Polaris announced on 9th January 2017 that Victory Motorcycles will no longer exist. It was the incapacity to gain a profitable market share the reason that made Polaris shut down its motorcycle brand. “This decision will improve the profitability of Polaris and our global motorcycle business, and will materially improve our competitive stance in the industry,” said Scott Wine. Which means that Polaris will focus on Indian Motorcycles from now on.
It was a news that shook the motorcycle world. Ironically, Victory Motorcycles wasn't killed by Harley-Davdison, the brand it was born to compete with. It was killed by Indian Motorcycles.