2009 Victory Launch

Text: Ken Freund • Photography: Victory

Minnesota-based Victory Motorcycle division of Polaris Industries continues to celebrate its 10th anniversary, a milestone few new startup manufacturers reach in this competitive field and these difficult times. Recently Victory Motorcycles offered the press a viewing of the 2009 model lineup, along with some customs, at the Art Center College for Design, which we covered in the December issue. "The New American Motorcycle" brand has since held a riding event near San Diego, California, where we could sample the entire lineup of bikes.

San Diego County is an excellent place for motorcycling almost year-round, with near-perfect weather, great scenery and wonderful mountain roads. This day also came with moderate temperatures, sunny skies and light traffic; so the gods of motorcycling were smiling on us during our model tryouts.

The full day's ride was divided into segments where we could ride each model, switching between bikes at pre-determined locations. Our first test bike was the Kingpin Pinball, a blacked-out machine that has the "smaller" 100-cubic-inch Freedom engine with a five-speed transmission, 130/70-18 and 180/55-18 tires, and starting at under $ 14K. Stripped down to the essentials, it's targeted for anyone wanting a brand-new V-twin that provides excellent cruiser performance on a budget. We like the way the bike looks, turns and runs, and it can be accessorized with saddlebags and a windscreen for touring duties. We'd prefer to have the six-speed gearbox and a more comfortable dual seat for extended rides, however.

Next up was the flashy Vegas Jackpot, what Victory calls a custom cruiser, and it comes with the more powerful 106-inch version of the Freedom engine with a six-speed transmission, starting at $ 18,499. Torque is plentiful and the machine accelerates with authority. The Jackpot's 21-inch front wheel, paired with a 250-width rear tire, looks very cool but resists turning, requiring the rider to hold the bike firmly in a turn. We like its appearance, but the standard Vegas, which gets the still-potent 100-inch engine, six-speed and 180-width rear rubber, turns and rides better and sells for $ 2,200 less.

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For the complete article of the riding impression(s) and technical specifications, please purchase the January/February 2009 back issue.