If 2008 is any indication of what’s to come from the Victory Motorcycle Company, stick around, because it should be a really great ride from here. Adding to the excitement of the long-awaited premiere of the luxury-touring machines, the Vision Tour and the Vision Street, Victory has added two new models to its seven existing models, along with numerous engine, driveline, and braking improvements designed to make its entire line of motorcycles more powerful, responsive, and comfortable.
Enhancements across the board (excluding Vision models, see AR October 2007, page 44) include a redesigned engine with the goal of improving the Freedom 100/6’s performance, reliability, longevity, and fuel economy. A new Visteon ECU performs engine management. The controller utilizes a pair of oxygen sensors (one per cylinder) mounted in the exhaust pipes, dual 48mm throttle bodies, and new split-cone projected-tip injectors to precisely control the combustion cycle. Engine cooling has been improved by rerouting the oil flow through the engine with an emphasis on the area between the exhaust valves. A reshaped oil cooler mounted between the downtubes helps the engine run cooler.
In an effort to control noise from various areas of the motorcycle, Victory’s engineers redesigned the primary cover, cam profiles, compensator sprocket, clutch mechanism, charging system, transmission gear profiles, and the ratio of the overdrive transmission’s sixth gear. The ratio on the 2007 models was 0.864:1; this year it’s been reduced to 0.840:1, resulting in a 3 percent decrease in cruising rpm. The bottom line of this gearing change means quieter cruising speeds, better fuel efficiency, and less engine wear.
A new air box has been designed to fit covertly between the fuel tank and downtubes just above the oil cooler. Other new features include reduced-effort hydraulically operated clutches, optional heated grips and new handgrips and switch housing.
Improvements more visible to the eye include a new Victory braking system consisting of a single 300mm floating rotor and four-piston caliper on the front (Hammer and Hammer S models sport dual 300mm front floating rotors), and a single 300mm floating rotor and two-piston caliper on the rear. Other brake refinements include adjustable brake levers designed to better fit hands of all sizes, and a new front master cylinder and brake lines.
Adding to an already robust lineup, Victory has two new entries designed to broaden the reach of its brand. The Vegas Low traces its lineage back to 2003 when the first Vegas was introduced. The Low is designed to bring novice riders and those with short inseams the confidence needed to ride on the street. In a departure from its big brother, the Low’s seat height is now 1 inch lower due to redesigned rear suspension and a new seat, but more importantly, the side covers have been recontoured, giving the bike a narrower feel and further reducing the inseam needed to reach the ground. Other features of the ergonomic package are forward controls located 2.25 inches closer to the rider, a 2-inch pullback handlebar, and a solo seat.
A dark shadowy version of the Kingpin has found its way into the 2008 lineup. Almost identical to the original, the Kingpin 8-Ball varies by having one fewer gear in the transmission (five speeds, with a fifth-gear ratio of 1:1), and a solo seat. What really sets the two apart is the visuals. Instead of sporting bright colors and shiny chrome, the Kingpin 8-Ball looks as if it were designed by Darth Vader—black, very black.
Returning for 2008 is a pair of Ness Signature models based on the popular Vegas Jackpot. Although the father-and-son duo of Arlen and Cory Ness began with the same platform, the end result is two bikes that are very different visually. Each of the Ness models is decorated with beautiful touches. The 250mm fat-tired bikes will be produced in limited quantities with each one carrying a numbered stainless-steel badge and the signature of its creator.
For further information see your Victory dealer or visit www.polarisindustries.com.