2005 Victory Motorcycle Preview

Victory Motorcycles maintains its momentum going into 2005 with three new models and one revision to an existing motorcycle on top of its existing machines.

The Victory Motorcycle division of Polaris Industries has rolled out two new models plus two updates of its existing motorcycle line for 2005. The company has expended its line on the upper end, with a bigger, more powerful machine, and at the bottom, with an exceptionally affordable example of its popular 1500 Vegas V-twin.

Topping the firm's 2005 announcements is the Hammer, a 1634cc, six-speed power cruiser. Responding to the trend towards ever-bigger V-twins, Victory bored out is four-valve 1507cc overhead-cam 50-degree V-twin—already the performance king among mid-teen V-twins—by 4mm to 101mm, creating an engine which could cruise at a lower rpm and still provide no-downshift passing power. The engine also new cam drive, oil pump drive and primary drive designed to reduce mechanical noise. The new six-speed transmission adds a "true" overdrive ratio to make the bike more relaxed on the highway. The sixth speed drops rpm by 13 percent compared to the 1:1 fifth-gear ratio. The crankcase has been narrowed to improve cornering clearance. The cylinders have been restyled too. Victory is calling it the Freedom 100/6 powertrain—from displacement in cubic inches (well, almost, it's actually 99.7 cubic inches) and number of speeds.

The biggest feature of the Hammer chassis—at least visually—is its monster 250mm rear tire, a Dunlop 250/40R18 tubeless radial on a 8.5-inch-wide cast wheel. The fat rear tire is sheltered by a sport-style rear fender with a sportbike-style passenger-seat cowl that blends the fender's flowing lines forward through the side panels and into the split-tail tank. The dual exhaust system is redesigned for the Hammer. Up front the Hammer wears a pair of upside-down 43mm fork legs and two floating 300mm rotors with 4-piston calipers. TheHammer offers lots of colors to choose from, and when it arrives in dealers next spring, basic black will cost you $16,499.

Price is the primary thrust of the new 8-Ball, which at $12,999, is priced the same as the original Victory, the V92C of 1998 and $2000 less than the Vegas, upon which it is closely based. The 8-Ball's blacked-out, Spartan style was created to reduce costs, but it also makes for a very tough-looking bike. The 8-Ball sports a solo seat, a subtle 8-Ball graphic on the front fender, the great lines of the Vegas, and the strong Victory 1507cc Freedom engine. We expect Victory to sell a ton of them, many simply because buyers simply love its looks.

For 2005, there will be two Ness Signature Series—the Vegas-based model of 2004 with new wheels and colors and stainless-steel cables, and a new Kingpin-based version of the limited-edition series. Both bikes get the full Ness treatment. The Ness Vegas, if you can get one, is $19,999, and the Ness Kingpin is $20,249.

Although Victory isn't designating it a new model, the Kinpin Deluxe might be considered as one. Basically, it's a Kingpin equipped with windshield, leather-covered hard bags, and a passenger backrest. The original Kingpin returns with self-canceling turn signals and new colors at $15,299. Also returning are the Vegas, which gets a new seat intended to be more comfortable, self-canceling signals, and the usual graphic upgrades. The Vegas starts at $14,999. The last model using Victory's original chassis, the Touring Cruiser, returns for 2005 with new colors at $15,199.

Victory's model line and its sales continue to grow, as more customers discover what they want in its increasing sophisticated and mature motorcycles. Parent corporation Polaris, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary, has to be pleased to be in the motorcycle business these days.