[dropcap]P[/dropcap]olaris has been hitting a lot of homeruns in the last few years with the RZR, the revival of Indian and the new Scout line (including a recently introduced entry-level Scout Sixty), the acquisition of Brammo’s electric motorcycle division, and now a couple of stunning concept bikes from Victory, which could be a precursor to a soon-to-be-released 2016 model.
The two new concepts from Victory include the “Ignition,” which was unveiled at EICMA in November, and the “Combustion,” which was recently unveiled in New York. The two bikes offer a whole new take on a what a modern muscle bike could be, according to some media types at the event. With Harley facing an aging demographic and currently experiencing some of its own growing pains, Victory may be perfectly positioned to take advantage of a gap in the market.
Both bikes are propelled by what the company is calling “production-intent” engines that will presumably power a new model to be announced sometime later this year. The engine, a 1,200cc liquid cooled 60-degree V-Twin design with four valves per cylinder, is supposed to deliver the kind of performance that will particularly appeal to enthusiast riders.
“This new engine platform offers the most versatility in American Motorcycling,” says Motorcycle Product Director Gary Gray. “Both concepts, Ignition and Combustion, are intended to show what this motor is capable of in very distinct, visual forms. While the bikes are very different, the powertrain is capable of delivering the performance required of the look in both cases.”
With heavy-hitters like Zach Ness and Urs Erbacher helping them define the image based around an unconventional water-cooled engine instead of the standard air-cooled designs that have powered the brand to this point, Victory seems to be making a statement that it wants to be a player in the muscle bike segment.
“Victory Motorcycles have taken a strong positioning as the Modern American Muscle brand,” says Steve Menneto, President of the Polaris Motorcycles Division. “We are excited about our path for this brand. Our latest work will complement the existing line-up of motorcycles powered by the award-winning Freedom 106 design.”
Erbacher’s concept – dubbed the “Victory Ignition Concept” was custom built around the first preproduction engine off of the line in Osceola, Wisconsin. It features an aggressive stance and frames the engine with a cast aluminum chassis, performance suspension and brakes with an aggressive Project 156-inspired paint scheme. “I’m proud not only of this build, but what it represents for the future of the Victory Motorcycles brand,” says the Swiss builder. “Getting full reigns to wrap the new engine in an interesting bike is a real highlight in my career, and from what I can see any production bike utilizing this powertrain will be a fantastic ride.”
The Combustion concept was built by Zach Ness of Arlen Ness Motorcycles in Dublin, California and revealed at the Unions Garage in Brooklyn, NY just prior to its public showing at the International Motorcycle Show in New York City last month.
“Our family has a long-standing relationship with Victory Motorcycles customizing many Victory production bikes in the past,” says Ness, third generation custom builder and grandson of the “Godfather of Customs,” Arlen Ness. “It’s always fun to look into the future – so to have the trust of Victory to create a more conceptual bike has been great. Also, as one of the first to ride this new engine it absolutely RIPS!”
Prior to the concept builds, Victory used a race bike as a test mule for it’s new engine. “Project 156 is a purpose built racer that took our engine design to one of the most challenging races on the planet – Pikes Peak. It was a proving ground like no other that set the bar very high for our team,” says Victory Motorcycles General Manager Rod Krois. “This engine platform, which uses designs from other Polaris products having sold over 200,000 engines, will deliver on the promise of modern American muscle that is in the DNA of every current and future product we sell. Victory will continue to aggressively plot a new course for itself and where an American motorcycle brand can go.”
As far as heavy-hitters go, Victory/Polaris could be batting in the clean-up position with this new combination of American muscle.