On January 09th, 2017, Polaris Industries announced that it was immediately shutting down all operations of Victory Motorcycles in favor of the production of Indian motorcycles. The news was quite a shock for Victory enthusiasts as the brand had produced many great bikes after starting production in 1998. Victory produced over 60 models during its 19 operational years and nearly all the motorcycles produced by Victory were either middle-heavyweight cruisers or touring motorcycles. Consequently, the brand struggled to maintain its market and was unable to keep up with the giants of the motorcycle industry, especially Harley Davidson. To say that Harley catalyzed Victory’s closure would not be wrong. This is because Harley offered innovative motorcycles that appealed to a wide range of motorcyclists, while Victory’s classic cruisers with limited high-tech features appealed to a specific demographic only. Moreover, Harley’s historical legacy and cultural importance made it challenging for Victory to establish itself in the cruiser market. Other factors, such as rising costs, changing market trends, limited resources for Victory motorcycles, and Polaris’s decision to focus on and promote Indian motorcycles, led to the discontinuation of all Victory bikes.
But even with all these challenges, Victory has provided its fans with great cruisers and touring bikes. This article will look back at the ten high-performers released by the brand.
- Table of Contents
- 1. Victory Vegas
- 2. Victory Hammer
- 3. Victory High Ball
- 4. Victory Judge
- 5. Victory Vision
- 6. Victory Cross Country Tour
- 7. Victory Gunner
- 8. Victory Cross Roads
- 9. Victory Octane
- 10. Victory Magnum
- Other Notable Production Motorcycles from Victory
- 11. Victory V92C
- 12. Victory Hard Ball
- 13. Victory Boardwalk
- 14. Victory Kingpin
- 15. Victory Empulse TT
- 16. Takeaway
1. Victory Vegas
Photo Credit: @bennetts
The Victory Vegas was launched in 2003 after Victory dropped the production V92C, Victory’s first ever production cruiser. The Vegas was a high achiever and helped Victory stand out in its own right and proved all the critics wrong who claimed the brand to be replicating Harley Davidson motorcycles. The eye-catching styling cues of this custom motorcycle set it apart from other cruisers launched in 2003. Vegas is considered one of the best cruisers of its era and gave a tough competition to Harley Breakout, launched ten years after Vegas had already made its mark. The nimble stable chassis, torquey V-twin engine, customization potential, touring capability, and striking paint jobs, and affordable prices made the bike a huge success. Victory continued the production of Vegas until 2017 and also launched other Vegas lineups, including:
- Vegas 8 Ball in 2005
- Vegas Jackpot & Vegas 8-Ball Jackpot in 2006
- Vegas Low in 2008; discontinued in 2009
- Revised Vegas Jackpot Motorcycles in 2008; discontinued in 2010
- Vegas Jackpot in 2012
2. Victory Hammer
Photo Credit: @bennetts
The Hammer is one of the most celebrated cruisers in America as it gave the power cruiser segment its name. The Hammer ruled the showrooms of Victory dealerships for about 12 years. Best identified by its thick 250mm rear tire, freedom exhaust system, aggressive stance, blacked-out components, and Freedom 106/6 V-Twin engine, Hammer was a perfect combination of cruiser styling and agile sporty feel.
Victory Hammer earned the title Cruiser of the Year in 2012, its launch year.
The bike was discontinued in 2017 much to the dismay of Victory Hammer fans. Over the years, Victory launched the following Victory Hammer models:
- Victory Hammer in 2005
- Victory Hammer S in 2007; discontinued in 2012
- Victory Hammer 8-Ball in 2008
- Victory Hammer 8-Ball in 2010; discontinued in 2016
3. Victory High Ball
Photo Credit: @bikereview
Victory High Ball was launched in 2011 and was recognized by its unique ape-hanger handlebars. The tall handlebars provided an unusually comfortable ride even to short riders, making it an instant hit among cruiser enthusiasts of all sizes. Moreover, the bike featured matte finish that just added to its appeal. The most classy Victory High Ball featured a two-tone black paint and white wall tires. This model is still considered one of the most sought after motorcycles in the second hand market. Victory produced High Ball until 2017. It would not be wrong to conclude that High Ball owes its success to ape-hanger handlebars that managed to attract a wide range of riders.
4. Victory Judge
Photo Credit: @motorcycle.com
Victory Judge was launched in 2012 and was discontinued only because of the brand's shutting down. Contrary to expectations, Judge was not as huge a success as Victory Vegas or Gunner in the United States; however, the bike performed well in the European cruiser market. The Victory Judge had distinct muscle car inspired styling cues that looked catchy, but failed to attract a larger demographic. The notable features of the bike included wide handlebars and mid-mounted foot pegs that created a natural upright seating position, the bike had a reliable braking system, thick tires, Freedom 106/6 V-Twin engine, cruiser control, electronic fuel injection, factory performance Freedom exhaust, and a plush suspension setup were some of the highlights of Victory Judge. According to sales statistics, Victory Judge could not perform well in the United States due to economic factors and lack of innovation. Based on the data, Victory planned to drop the production of the bike, but the response from the European cruiser market and eventual acceptance of the bike in the American cruiser market compelled the brand to continue the production till 2017.
5. Victory Vision
Photo Credit: @motorcyclecruiser
Victory announced its stunning touring motorcycle, the Vision in 2007. The bike had thrilling looks, a revised Freedom 106/6 V-Twin engine and luxury travel accessories earned the bike Motorcycle of the Year award in 2008. The bike managed to outperform Harley Road Glide and Honda Gold Wing both on the showroom floor and on the roads. All the hype around the bike together with its performance, striking paint jobs, Ness custom styling, comfortable seats, and storage capacity. The bike was discontinued in 2017 and is all set to become a vintage touring motorcycle in the coming years.
6. Victory Cross Country Tour
Photo Credit: @ridermagazine
Victory launched the Cross Country Tour in 2010 in an attempt to enter the tourer market and the bike was an instant success. This bulky bike looked intimidating at first but won over the riders with its exceptional handling and stability. Cross Country Tour was equipped with factory installed fairing, hard saddlebags, and a top case or trunk that increased the storage capacity up to 41.1 gallons. Besides a comfortable touring design, adequate wind protection, the bike also featured an optional anti-lock braking system, cruise control, and an audio system to attract riders who prefer technological features on touring motorcycles. The Cross Country Tour was also powered by the 106/6 Freedom engine that generated the 92-95 hp of horsepower and 105-115 ft-lbs torque.
7. Victory Gunner
Photo Credit: @motorcycle
The Victory Gunner was launched in 2014 and was well-received by the cruiser enthusiast as it was a complete cruiser package. Its most prominent features include stripped down bobber styling, bold blacked out looks, 130mm thick front tire and a 150 mm rear tire. Wide handlebars further enhanced its aggressive styling. The Gunner was also powered by Freedom 106/6 engine and could produce impressive amounts of horsepower and torque; about 92-97 hp and 105-115 ft-lbs respectively. The bike was equipped with an electronic fuel injection system and an anti-lock braking system, catering to the needs of riders who prefer advanced technological features. The performance suspension and customizability of the bike added to its appeal and made it a huge success on the showroom floors. The production of Victory Gunner ceased due to the brand's closure in 2017; otherwise, the bike may have continued even after 2017 due to its high demand.
8. Victory Cross Roads
Photo Credit: @slcpowersports
Victory Cross Roads was launched in 2010 and immediately became the center of attention of riders who embarked on cross country trips frequently. Powered by a Freedom 106/6 V-twin engine, the Cross Roads offered exceptional highway performance and offering 21 gallon storage capacity, the Cross Roads set new standards of cruisers that could be transformed into touring motorcycles. Discontinued in 2014, the Victory Cross Roads continued to be one of the best touring motorcycles on the second-hand market.
9. Victory Octane
Photo Credit: @motorcyclespecs
Victory Octane was introduced in 2017 and was the last bike launched by the brand. For some, Victory Octane is considered to be one of the best cruisers launched in 2017 while for others it is an Indian Scout in Victory label as both bikes share a similar chassis and engine. Many motorcycle enthusiasts who preferred sports bikes or adventure bikes became interested in riding cruisers because of Octane. Out of all Victory cruisers, Octane was the first that gave a tough competition to the Harley Davidson Sportster model due to its unique sporty aesthetic, fast acceleration, nimble handling, and an aggressive stance. The V-twin liquid-cooled 1179 cc engine and wider torque curve were some other highlights of Octane. Plus, it could corner well thanks to its 32° lean angle. Since Octane was launched in the last production year, it is claimed that only 4,000 models were made globally. Hence, Octane can be considered a limited edition bike that is hard to find. It is only a matter of time until the bike achieves vintage status. Unlike other discontinued motorcycles, Victory Octane has retained its resale value exceptionally well. When launched, Octane cost about $10,499. According to Cycle Trader, a used Octane will cost you around $7,499 to $9,483 depending on the condition and color scheme.
10. Victory Magnum
Photo Credit: @motorcyclenews
Victory Magnum was launched in 2014. It is claimed that Victory Magnum is essentially the Victory Cross Country with a 533 mm front wheel. Victory Magnum is a custom bagger dressed with side saddlebags and a trunk that offers 21.3 gallon storage capacity. The metal flake paint jobs and heavy chrome accents distinguished Victory Magnum not just from touring motorcycles of other brands, but from Victory motorcycles as well. The bike performed extremely well for its size on twisties but was difficult to ride on slow speed turns. But the agile handling, stability, and maximal engine performance made ridders overlook the bike’s shortcomings.
Other Notable Production Motorcycles from Victory
11. Victory V92C
Photo Credit: @motorcyclecruiser
Launched in 1998, Victory V92C marked the beginning of the brand’s journey. Victory’s first production bike was available for purchase in 1998 but for many riders, the product was still just a prototype cruiser. According to the motorcycle community, V92C was just a test bike that would set the brand’s future direction.
The 1507 cc V-twin engine of V92C was the highlight of the bike then and was considered one of the largest production cruiser engines introduced in 2017. Thr belt drive along with an oil/air-cooled engine ensured simple maintenance requirements. Unfortunately, many riders were not happy with the build quality. The borrowed aesthetics from vintage motorcycles, aircraft, and antique cars failed to impress the riders. Resultantly, V92C could not perform well on the showroom floors. But today, V92C has many fans who would like to have this motorcycle added to this list. The production of V92C was discontinued after 2002.
12. Victory Hard Ball
Photo Credit: @cycletrader
Though a touring motorcycle, Victory Hard Ball was essentially a hybrid motorcycle sharing High Ball’s aggressive looks and Cross Roads performance. The motorcycle was equipped with all the features essential for comfortable long-distance highway rides and cross country trips. But it paled in comparison with Harley Davidson’s Road Glide and Street Glide. Resultanly, it did not perform well on the showroom floors contrary to the brands’ expectations. The bike was produced between 2012-2017.
13. Victory Boardwalk
Photo Credit: @ridermagazine
Victory Boardwalk was the cruiser version of Cross Roads launched in 2013 and discontinued in 2014. Through Boardwalk, Victory stepped into the heritage market. But with Harley Davidson Softail Heritage as competition, Boardwalk failed to grab riders’ attention and retain market share. Victory Boardwalk shared its aesthetics and mechanical features with Victory Vegas. It was a bike that offered a relaxing cruising experience without the need of high-tech features and other complex functions that were being installed in cruisers at the time of Boardwalk’s launch. Today Boardwalk is considered one of the best Victory had to offer by riders who prefer retro looks, 1731 cc engine, long lean frame with a plush saddle.
14. Victory Kingpin
Photo Credit: @americanmotorcycle
Victory Kingpin was launched in 2004 and was manufactured until 2012. Before the Boardwalk, Kingpin used to compete in America’s competitive middleweight cruiser market. The bike was a high-performer and offered a sporty ride with its inverted front suspension and a 130 mm wide front tire. Sharp handling, stable ride, manageable power, and big fenders are some of the strong points of Kingpin. The bike also demonstrated impressive touring ability once equipped with a windshield, luggage bags, and large floorboards. However, this gorgeous custom cruiser was considered an oddity due to its classic design cues mostly imbibed from Victory Vegas. Failing to meet rider’s styling preferences was one of the reasons why Kingpin was unable to shine brightly on the showroom floors. In addition, Kingpin was bereft of advanced technological features, such as anti-lock braking system(ABS), multiple ride modes, infotainment screens, traction control, keyless ignition, battery-run key fob, built-in security systems, electronic suspension, dual clutch transmission (DCT), and charging ports, LED lights, and different rider aids and failed to attract a wide range of motorcyclists. Today it is considered one of the best cruisers available on the used market due to its simple design, reliable performance, and classic styling cues.
15. Victory Empulse TT
Photo Credit: @ridermagazine
The Empulse motorcycle was initially produced by Brammo. When Polaris bought Brammo motorcycles, the bike’s production fell under Victory’s production camp. After Empulse motorcycles secured third and fourth places in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy tournament, Victory added the letter “T” twice to the bike’s name. The changes made to Empulse TT were limited to a paint job and narrower rear tire. Unlike Harley Davidson, Victory did not revamp the entire mechanical layout, engine, ergonomics, and styling of Empulse TT and hence failed to attract a wider audience. But as far as Empulse TT is concerned, we can hope to see its comeback in the future. According to many motorcycle manufacturing companies, electric motorcycles will rule the streets in the future as they are environmentally-friendly and can be powered by renewable sources of energy. Whether Empulse TT motorcycles will appear again on the market under the Indian motorcycle label is yet to be known.
Though discontinued, Victory motorcycles left a mark on the American cruiser market. Through each of its motorcycles, Victory introduced something new to the riders, promoting diversity and inclusivity in the motorcycle industry. Hence it is quite hard to determine which of these bikes is the best. If any of the Victory motorcycles mentioned above inspired you to ride or own them, make sure you check the online motorcycle-sharing platforms to find a Victory rental. Riders Share and Twisted Roads are reliable motorcycle rental platforms. In case you want to buy a used Victory, check online listings on CycleTrader and MotoHunt.