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Polaris Announces They Will Wind Down Victory Motorcycles

Rider Magazine StaffJanuary 09, 2017
A few bikes from Victory Motorcycles' 2017 lineup, which includes cruisers, baggers, tourers and an electric bike.

A few bikes from Victory Motorcycles’ 2017 lineup, which includes cruisers, baggers, tourers and an electric bike.

In a surprise announcement this morning, Polaris Industries is going to discontinue the Victory Motorcycles brand effective immediately. According to the press release, “Polaris will assist dealers in liquidating existing inventories while continuing to supply parts for a period of 10 years, along with providing service and warranty coverage to Victory dealers and owners. Today’s announcement does not affect any other Polaris business units.”

While the announcement may come as a shock to many outside the industry, and even some of those within it, given the success of the Indian Motorcycle brand and the struggles the Victory brand has experienced in trying to gain a foothold in the market, the decision to discontinue Victory makes sense from a business point of view, as painful as that is.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, my team and the Polaris Board of Directors,” said Polaris Industries Chairman and CEO Scott Wine. “Over the past 18 years, we have invested not only resources, but our hearts and souls, into forging the Victory Motorcycles brand, and we are exceptionally proud of what our team has accomplished. Since inception, our teams have designed and produced nearly 60 Victory models that have been honored with 25 of the industry’s top awards. The experience, knowledge, infrastructure and capability we’ve built in those 18 years gave us the confidence to acquire and develop the Indian Motorcycle brand, so I would like to express my gratitude to everyone associated with Victory Motorcycles and celebrate your many contributions.”

30 comments

  1. This is sad news (actually, I’m shocked but I haven’t been paying attention to their sales figures or market share), both for the employees it will affect and for motorcycling. More brands = more better (excuse the bad grammar). It improves the breed and gives the consumer more options. I had the opportunity to ride a lot of the Victory motorcycles in the late ’90s and they were excellent machines with unique styling (Victory Vision, anybody?) and very enthusiastic employees at all levels of the company (i.e. within Polaris). Just from a pure-performance standpoint, they were better on the road than many of their H-D contemporaries (ride quality, handling, and power). I think this is a real shame and I can’t even fathom how they weren’t a sales success or why actual cruiser buyer’s didn’t find them more appealing.

    • I think that there will be very few, if any layoffs. The same employees built Victory and Indian motorcycles in the same facilities. I think what is likely is that there will be more Indian motorcycles built or Polaris will come up with something else.

      • I hope you’re right. But if you’ve ever been in even the “very few,” that’s not comforting.

        • I am sorry to report that I have read something that would seem to confirm that there are indeed going to be some layoffs. Yes, it was a long time ago, but I was one of those people who got let go. It eventually worked out for me but I know that’s not always the case.

  2. As a Victory owner this doesn’t come as a shock as Polaris put all of their eggs in the Indian “basket” and did nothing to promote the Victory brand. No new engine, models were variations on a recurring theme and the only new model to speak of was (I don’t care how much Polaris states the parts overlap was minimal) the Octane. I have a 2014 XC tuned by Lloydz Motorworks and with 120 foot pounds of torque and about the same in horsepower to the rear wheel, I’ll be riding mine and grinning for awhile. There is no cruiser that can compete with the power, acceleration and handling of this bike.

  3. Thank Goodness for Victory & Indian. I have been a Harley rider since 1973. I still am but Polaris has pushed Harley to do product development they might not have done. I.E. Rushmore, Milwaukee 8.I wish Indian/Polaris continued success. At bike rallies I am seeing lot’s of Indians but few Victory’s.

  4. I bought a Victory after watching/riding a buddies while he was overseas. I love the bike, but the support has left something to be desired. I had a clutch cable break right as I was starting a long trip. The clutch cable was about $150, but the overnight shipping charge from Polaris was $200. I had some troubles on the road, but the Victory dealer I contacted told me it would be a week before he could even look at the bike. Luckily, an independent dealer stepped in to save the day – along with great support from Lloydz over the phone. Polaris would be smart to require all the Indian dealers to continue to service Victory’s. If not, who will risk a long trip? My plan is to ride my bike until she wears out. I imagine the resale value on all the Victory’s are going to be zero anyway.

    • ” I had some troubles on the road, but the Victory dealer I contacted told me it would be a week before he could even look at the bike”

      Harley puts touring riders first in line for service, one of the reasons I tour on one.

  5. Sad to see this, but good luck to Polaris. They build great products – have looked at them several times. I do think this is a hard, but smart choice. The Indian name and the concept is strong and the current product looks better to a guy like me who has ridden Harleys for many years. The swept fenders and classic looks are working on me.

  6. As a 25 year BMW rider I’ve enjoyed riding all the Victory models when I worked sales at a local dealer. Hell of a great bike, sad to see that Polaris could not continue the brand. Harley is not the only choice in the heavy cruiser market.

  7. TRULY A SHAME ! Like Victory a lot and brothers I know that own them LOVE them . The biggest shame though is to the market . Being what it is (share holders concerns and short sighted bottom line mentality) I’m afraid 4 – 8 years from now (after Indian hits any tough patch) Polaris will pull the plug on Indian and we’ll be left with just H-D again (and if you don’t think H-D is right now discussing that strategy I got shares of Excelsior-Henderson to sell you) .

    Please rethink your long term market goals and keep a well made American motorcycle viable .

  8. I love my 2008 Victory CCT and had planned on getting another Victory on down the line. This is very sad news. I’ve test ridden the Indian and though it’s a good looking bike and has that name, it still doesn’t compare to the Victory line. What a loss!!!

  9. I feel badly for Don Canet and whole Victory Team that put such great bikes together for Pikes Peak. A real shame for some great bikes built!

    Sometimes, a company(Polaris) has to give a little to get a little.

  10. I have been in the market for a new bike for some time now, and just when I find the one I really like i.e., the Victory Cross Country Tour, Polaris pulls the plug on the brand. According to the brochure I received from Victory, right before Christmas, They seemed to be going places with the Gunner Drag Racing husband and wife team, the electric bike that ran in the Isle of Man TT, the guy that set a record for riding around the world in the shortest time on a specially built Victory Cross Country. Even though their advertising campaign sucked by showing bikes constantly burning up rear tires (there was even a record set for the longest burnout by a Victory motorcycle in Orlando, Fl.) they had some good looking bikes. On test rides I found the Victory Cross Country Tour to be very comfortable, now that has been thrown out the window because of a war between H-D and Indian that began in 1903. I only hope this war doesn’t turn into a slug match that causes both companies to start turning out bikes that aren’t worth the money. If that happens, I guess I’ll have to go back to Honda and ride an F6B or a Goldwing. God, I hope not.

  11. I feel bad for present Victory owners. I owned two until 6 months ago when I got a new Indian. Indian is only going to go up and be a real competitor to Harley. This move will boost Polaris not lower it. The Indian is so much better than Harley that I would never go back to Harley again. And like one of the previous posters said, if Victory/Indian had not come on the scene, Harley would still be putting out low power machines with no modern improvements. So for riders in general, all will be good.

    • I agree with you, Tim.

      I used to ride Honda, my next one will an Indian Chief Vintage, thanks to Polaris who has brought this brand to the next level in terms of style, refinement and quality. I hope they can save as many jobs as possible in the process.

  12. This sorta feels like when Harley shut down Buell in 2009. I thought that was tragic, but did score a great “closeout” deal on an 1125CR, which I still have and is a killer bike. I wouldn’t doubt a similar thing happens with residual Victory inventory. Could be a good opportunity…. Hmmm….

    In any case – it’s a very sad day for motorcycling anytime we lose a brand – particularly an American one. I wonder what’s to become of the electric ex-Brammo business..

  13. The Victory Vision, little changed since its debut, started out as a top touring and street bike. Riding one recently,it is still in that class. Long after the 10 years for parts has ended, Victory bike parts will still be found. Just look, for example, on Ebay and you can find lotsa parts for lotsa long discontinued models. The Vision’s lack of production and its qualities are like apples and oranges; each different from the other. As for me, I’m looking to buy a Vision new or used with low miles. Feel free to contact me if you’re a dealer or your own Vision is ready for a new owner. Richard Slatin, Slatin MotoGear (slatinmotogear.com)

  14. Have to agree with an earlier post , After the Indian purchase Victory has been pretty much ignored . Sad to hear but I’ll keep riding my 2011 Cross Country as long as I can . After that….time to rethink but I doubt it’ll be an Indian .

  15. What seemed to be poor dealer support which lead to poor customer support led to this downfall. I’ll send what happens with the Indian “fad”. I know a few that had jumped on the band wagon and after dealing with multiple issues including recalls and lack of customer service (your local Polaris dealer most likely doesn’t sell motorcycles). They have dumped their Polaris bikes and moved back to their core brands. Looked to be great bikes……. poor executed logistics is my perception.

  16. No Big Deal…Victory Motorcycles are under powered pieces of garbage…They would never have meausered up to Harley Davidson…The True American Motorcycle…………..

    • Fanboy, much? Spoken like somebody who obviously never rode a single one. Plus, learn to spell: it’s “measured.” Also, Harley-Davidson has a hyphen. Also, Indian started before H-D.

      Also, don’t be a dick. Some people lost their jobs because of this.

      • Mr. Lanning reminds me why I never want a Harley. The whole “If you ain’t got a Harley you ain’t got sh*t” philosophy (so if you have a Harley you do have sh*t?) always left me cold. I want a bike to ride, not park in front of a bar or tote on a trailer. I want something designed in this century, not a rolling piece of nostalgia. That’s why I have a Victory CC.

    • Michael – As opposed to H-D overpriced “pieces of garbage”? Show me where Victory and Indian both don’t have documentably superior air intake, air-oil cooling, drivetrain components, torque, horsepower etc., over any Hardly Davidson out of the crate (not to mention owner satisfaction, but you keep listening to the Harley sheeple who will all shave their heads, grow beards and ride what everyone else at the plant tells them to rides while they convince themselves their DIFFERENT).

      More power to Polaris for offering real alternatives. I’ve had five Harleys, nice and attractive models, but they’re uncomfortable, underperforming money pits if you wish to customize at all (unlike Victory). Be looking for a 600-700 lb. cruiser from Indian using the Vegas platform, hopefully. See you Harley sheeple in the rearview.

  17. I love the Victory Vision and will be watching for some steals and deals. I agree that there will, be parts long after the 10 year period of time. At my age, the bike will probably outlast me, I know my Goldwing will.

  18. I remember reading the cycle magazines of the late ’90’s. Victory development was being watched with much anticipation. Back then the righteous indignant were saying ” if America would build a good bike I’ll buy it “. Well, America did! Victory is a reliable enjoyable ride. I’ve owned an ’03 Vegas since new. Many miles with much enjoyment and few problems with reliability, clutch cable only. When I found myself back in the market this past year, however, I found myself drawn to the Indian and not the Victory. Sad to see Victory go. By the way, I never felt compelled to join ” the club ” even though one of my earlier rides was a ’53 Pan.

  19. Very sad news. My Victory is the best bike I have owned. I have never had a problem with it…a 2002 Touring Cruiser. Was planning on getting a Cross Country. Indian is a sentimental thing, why not do limited Victorys as a subsidiary of Indian?

    • Exactly. Both Harley and Indian are selling nostalgia. How about some bikes that aren’t rolling gingerbread houses? An Indian Cross Country, anyone?

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