Thunder Road Comparison of the 1999 Victory V92C

Victory's 1999 v-twin contribution

This article was originally published in the June 1999 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser.

Polaris’ Victory brand was the first new American company to produce a large-displacement street bike in more than half of a century. We were quite im­pres­sed after riding one of the first three dozen V92Cs produced from Minnesota, to New York City, and back to the West Coast for our December '98 issue. This test machine worked slightly better than that earlier model. Its blue paint scheme increased the amount of attention it received.Dean Groover

While other companies, such as Excelsior-Henderson, broadcast their intentions to enter the motor­cycle market with big-inch V-twins, Polaris tried to keep its plans secret. However, the Polaris Victory brand won the race to become the first new American company in more than half a century to enter the motorcycle market with a large-displacement street bike. It showed the V92C in the summer of 1997 and rolled out production versions less than a year later. It has now built more than 2000 V92Cs, including models that meet California's stringent emissions regulations.

When it arrived last year, its 1507cc made the V92C the biggest motor­cycle-company-built V-twin around, though Yamaha's Road Star has since eclipsed it. The Victory air/oil-cooled V-twin employs state-of-the-art components and design: single overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and electronic fuel injection. A counterbalancer quells the vibes from the 50-degree, single-crankpin design. A torque-compensator—basically a spring-loaded weight on the crankshaft—also helps to smooth out each power stroke. No retro-tech here. As power leaves the five-speed transmission, it gets to the rear wheel via a belt located on the right side.

A triangular swingarm with a single preload-adjustable damper just below the saddle supports the rear of the chassis, and a fork with uncovered but burly 45mm stanchions leads the way and announces Victory’s intention to build a rigid, steady-handling motorcycle. Both 16-inch cast wheels have one 11.8-inch brake disc. A four-piston caliper halts the front wheel and a less powerful two-piston design stops the rear.

Although the low-slung profile appears slimmer than the current crop of retro cruisers, the Victory is broad where it counts, with a 14-inch-wide saddle and full fenders. There is no hint of a rear fender rail. The tank holds a full five gallons. Instead of following current fashion and putting the instruments on top of the tank where they are away from your line of sight, the Victory designers sunk them into the seven-inch headlight. But don't be fooled into thinking the limited space means limited information. An analog tachometer is set inside the speedometer dial. The LCD readout other bikes generally use as a tripmeter and odometer exclusively, can be toggled to display the time, fuel level, charge/voltmeter, an engine-monitor function and inten­sity levels of the adjustable instrument lights and high-beam-warning light. Switches on the fronts of the handlebar switch housings select and adjust each function. All of this shows that even though it initially built a very traditional style of motor­cycle, Victory won't hesitate to break the rules and innovate.