News, Events, Customs And Much More - Between The Lines

Perhaps acknowledging that the key to long-term success is carving your own niche rather than following the crowd, Victory has unveiled its latest two-wheeler, this one hewing clearly toward the custom end of the market.

With the clean foundation of the Vegas as a starting point, the new Victory Vegas Jackpot liberally sprinkles muscle-bound elements of the Hammer into the mix to create what Victory calls an "extreme custom." The company sees this as an emerging segment in the industry, one that caters more to lavish styling cues and enhanced motors. Victory feels the buyers in this segment are more "biker" and less "motorcyclist" than the performance cruiser enthusiasts who flocked to the Hammer.

There's still an air-cooled V-twin powerplant at the heart of it all, but it's been beefed up to 103 cubic inches and now sports a 6-speed tranny-the same Freedom 100/6 powertrain on the Hammer. But Victory is quick to point out the Jackpot's not just a Hammer with a Vegas front end-the new bike borrows the Vegas' chassis, 21-inch front tire and sculpted fuel tank, but also introduces a new rear frame section, swingarm, rear fender, seat and headlight. Still, there's no mistaking that 250mm rear tire, the same rubber you'll find crouching under the Hammer's chopped fender.

When it's released in the fall, the Jackpot will also offer goodies like a removable passenger seat, a brilliant HID/halogen headlight and wild color options with the Custom Order Program. The MSRP was not given, but we speculate it will be in the $15-20K range.

Victory also unveiled two new limited-edition Ness Signature Series models based on the Jackpot. The Cory Ness model sports Evil 7 custom hoops, while Arlen's rolls on Jagged Ness rims. Throw in radical paint and graphics, color-matched frames, custom seats and a batch of Ness chrome goodies and you've got a bike that doesn't just blend in with the masses.

Victory has seen fit to upgrade the rest of its 2006 model line as well-the Victory Kingpin, Kingpin Deluxe and Vegas also get the Freedom 100/6 powertrain and a slew of new accessories and colors; the Vegas 8-Ball beefs up its engine bay with the 100-cubic-inch V-twin and shaves a few inches off the crankcase for increased cornering clearance; and the Hammer rolls on with a few new accessories and graphic options added to the mix. The Touring Cruiser comes back relatively unchanged save for new colors and graphics, offering the same spacious lockable hard bags, high windshield and light bar.-Andrew Cherney

2006 Star Roadliner, Stratoliner Bring New Elegance And DetailThe new flagships of Yamaha's Star-brand cruisers take detail styling to new heights and offer a clean, classic, elegant design drawn from the aesthetic trends of the 1930s. Dubbed the Roadliner and, with touring gear, the Stratoliner (we would have reversed the names), the bikes are powered by a new 1854cc air-cooled, pushrod, fuel-injected V-twin that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Road Star's motor. Yamaha hints that it's also the most powerful of the big twins.

The single-shock frame is made from aluminum, both to cut weight and to enable some of the fabrication, which wouldn't have been possible with steel. Wheels are cast alloy (no wire-spoke option), with three discs to stop them.

However, what you will probably notice about the bike is how artfully all the components have been styled. This bike has so many graceful lines and shapes on the details-pieces like the shift lever, fender braces and swingarm shape-that it's worth just studying it. The depth and completeness of styling is what sets these bikes above the rumbling crowd.

Each variant is available in three trim levels. The basic model ($13,580 for the Roadliner and $15,180 for the Stratoliner), the blacked-out Midnight ($13,880 and $15,480), and the S, with more chrome and polish ($14,780 and $14,980 for the Roadliner and $16,580 for the Stratoliner).

However, if you are willing to buy sight-unseen, Yamaha has some special incentives for those who put a deposit on one of the 'Liners. If you'd rather try before you buy, Yamaha has a program to help dealers maintain demo bikes.-Art Friedman

'06 Holdovers
Not to be undone...well, actually, that's not true. Even though Honda has also unveiled its first 2006-model-year cruiser motorcycle models, the list includes 10 carryover models, basically '05 bikes adorned with minor cosmetic changes. With '06 VTX1300 models, Shadow Sabre and Spirit 1100s, Shadow Aero and Spirit 750s, the 600cc Shadow VLX and VLX Deluxe and the unchanged 250cc Rebel, there's no new bling in Honda's ring just yet, but we anticipate Team Red will announce additional '06 models (likely to include more carryovers) in the next few months. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Kawasaki decided to take Honda's lead, also announcing a short list of carryover models for the '06 model year. The usual suspects include the Vulcan 750 and Drifter 800 in an array of colors. No major changes or upgrades were announced, though we like to think Kawasaki has something up its sleeve to be revealed this autumn.

Screamin' Eagle Stripper
Joining the ever-expanding ranks of the V-Rod family is Harley's newest long and low tire-wrecker. You can't take the VRXSE Screamin Eagle V-Rod Destroyer on the road, however-this incarnation of the streetwise V-Rod is fast and nasty, and purpose-built to challenge the Christmas trees of dragstrips everywhere. Sprung from the same speed-addled minds that brought you the Vance & Hines World Champion Pro-Stock motorcycle, the Destroyer is a production race-ready rocket that's good to go out of the box (if you happen to be on a dragstrip, anyway). The big-bore 1300cc Screamin' Eagle Revolution motor churns out 170 ponies at the rear wheel along with 97 foot-pounds of torque for quick getaways and blistering runs. A custom paint job, dragrace-only wheels and slicks, a race-ready chassis, wheelie bar and on-board shift light make it the real deal. Poseurs need not apply. The MSRP is not yet available. Visit www.harley-davidson.com for more details.

Insurgent Custom
There isn't exactly a huge selection of riding rigs out in Iraq these days, but no one ever said U.S. troops aren't a resourceful bunch. Sergeant Mark Byars from Tennessee has been deployed in the war zone since last year, and told us via e-mail that he missed riding his Road King so much, he was able to, uh, persuade some local insurgents to let him borrow theirs. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to make it a long-term rental because shortly thereafter the beater was destroyed, but he says his short time on the bike was enough to rekindle a few fond memories of riding his hog. Luckily, he had the foresight to send us a picture of the mangled machine. Here's to ya, Byars, and we hope to see you back home safe and sound. -Andrew Cherney

Brand Re-Recognition
The Indian Motorcycle Company (whose rights were purchased six months ago; see details at www.motor-cyclecruiser.com) is getting ready to ride again. We're told it's in a pre-production phase right now, which will likely last 9-12 months. In the latest press release, the new owners say they've reestablished contact with many of the former parts suppliers for Indian, and are evaluating the viability of Indian's Powerplus engine (as relating to stricter CARB and EPA standards in the near future) before choosing future Indian models. 2003 and '04 bikes will likely be selected as a starting point for new designs, however. You can follow the progress of the new Indian at www.indian-motorcycle.com.

Born Again-In The U.S.A.
Cashing in on that intangible American character is always risky business, but yet another revived American motorcycle brand plans to try where others have failed. Movie star Branscombe Richmond (www.branscomberichmond.com) was in Sturgis, South Dakota, this past August to help with the national rollout of American Motorcycle 1902.

If you're wondering, American Motorcycle is one of the oldest vintage motorcycle brands in the U.S.A. It was first established in-you guessed it-1902, a year after Indian splashed into the market, and one year before Harley-Davidson was launched. The original American Motorcycle Co. ceased production in 1922.

It's not clear, however, just how many actual machines the latest incarnation of American Motorcycle plans to build-we could only find a few custom projects on its website, www.amc1902.com. Apparently, the vision for this new trademark is to re-introduce the brand and its logo through a limited number of special-edition custom V-twin heavyweight motorcycles and to develop a brand with related apparel, accessories and motorcycle lifestyle products that will appeal to both motorcycle enthusiasts and mainstream consumers alike.

What IS clear, however, is that American Motorcycle 1902 is involved in the creation of four fully customized American motorcycles being built for the upcoming The Ironhorsemen movie (to be released in '06) featuring Branscombe Richmond; the website features images of these bikes in their formative stages. The principals of American Motorcycle are Branscombe Richmond, Robert J. Page and Murray Smith, former CEO of Indian Motorcycles.

The Bikers' Court
If you've had it up to here with revenue-generating speed traps set by the Man (who hasn't?) and your DMV rap sheet has more points than a pincushion, you might want to look at legal solutions to the problem rather than cursing out the ticket-scribbling trooper who just nailed you. A press release from BikersLegal.com claims motorcyclists can join the service for a mere $99 per year ($149 for the family), and upon receiving a citation or moving violation on their bike, watercraft, snowmobile or auto, can have an attorney provided anywhere in the U.S. at no extra charge. Bikers Legal claims their attorneys get citations thrown out or reduced to a lesser violation with no additional points applied to your driving record nine out of 10 times.

Still, the idea of utilizing a service to fight all the legal mumbo-jumbo invariably associated with high-mileage jaunts sounds appealing to us (not that we'd ever break the law). Time is money, after all, and Johnny Law has enough of ours.

Perhaps believing riders tend to choose their life partners hastily, Bikers Legal also provides plan members with uncontested divorces at discount rates. Go figure. Contact Bikers Legal for full details at (877) 292-2329 or www.bikerslegal.com.

Department Of Corrections
In last issue's Breva 1100 test, we misquoted the price-the bike's correct price is $11,990, and the bike still comes with a two year warranty. Our apologies.

And Mark Zimmerman informs us that, "Contrary to what I said in August (Q&A;), someone has come up with an alternative fuel tank for the Suzuki LC1500 Intruder. For more info contact the G-man at www.GmanIndustries.com, if you want to ride farther, longer and faster. I know it sucks, but them's the breaks."

Cobra Calendar
September
Kentucky Super Show
Louisville, KY
Sept. 10-11
The Kentucky Super Show boasts two days of hot bikes, concerts and awesome rides through Kentucky's beautiful Bourbon Country, with Hot Bike and RC Components as sponsors. The whole thing goes down at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville. Click www.rccomponents.com/septevent.htm for more info.

Cherry's Jubilee
Monterey, CA
Sept. 15-19
You don't need much of a reason to hang at the Laguna Seca Raceway, but Cherry's Jubilee gives you a few anyway-hot laps, a hot rod show, a ride-in show, great music, terrific shopping and a parade. Visit www.road-shows.com or call (800) 200-4557for more vendor, sponsor or event information.

Street Vibrations
Reno, NV
Sept. 21-25
Street Vibrations Motorcycle Festival blends together music, metal and motorcycles with tours, parades, ride-in shows, stunt shows, retail vendors, big-name concerts and more. Flirt with Lady Luck during poker runs and special slot tournaments. Don't miss America's Finest Custom Bike Builder's Expo, flush with all the radical creations of the custom scene. Visit www.road-shows.com or call (800) 200-4557 for more info.

Bikers For Babies
Fort Myers, FL
Sept. 30-Oct. 2
This fifth annual three-day event benefits The March of Dimes, culminating in a 38-mile police escorted ride from Naples to Fort Myers. Events include a downtown bike show, a bed race and a pre-run party at Hooters. Register at HD Naples, 3645 Gateway Lane or see www.bikersforbabiesflorida.com for all the details.

October
American Heat Motorcycle and Hot Rod Weekend
Palm Springs, CA
Oct. 7-9
The desert resort cities of the Coachella Valley will rumble with stunt shows, live entertainment and retail vendors galore this weekend. Palm Springs will rock with motorcycle activities such as poker runs, car shows and bike shows. The event is open to all motorcycles and hot rods. Visit www.road-shows.com for more information or call (800) 200-4557.

Bridge City Bike Rally
Lake Havasu City, AZ
Oct. 14-16
This event is held at the home of the London Bridge-but leave the Queen Mum at home, because it will be rockin' with live entertainment, a ride-in show, a poker run and a Masquerade Parade. Vendors hawking all things motorcycle complete the package of this brand-new event. Download a registration form at www.road-shows.com or call (800) 200-4557.

Helping Hawgs
The recent launch of HawgNews.com (www.hawgnews.com) aims to provide users with a comprehensive database of Harley-Davidson and custom motorcycle parts, accessories and auxiliary products. Though still in its formative stages, the site already offers product and model reviews, as well as an events listing, featured bikes and links to related items.