Driving report Victory V92C
Nouvelle Cruisin ??
With its V2 engine, the Victory Cruiser adheres to the basic recipe of American motorcycle construction – and yet tastes very different from the usual Harley burger.
In the middle of Main Street of Daytona Beach, the sanctuary of the annual biker vanity fair, these looks meet you – a mixture of admiration, amazement and curiosity.
On closer inspection, there are good reasons for the successful premiere of the V92C. On the one hand, behind the only ready-to-sell Harley alternative made in the USA is the Polaris group, which is globally successful in the field of snowmobiles, quads and jet skis. Furthermore, the Victory has technical details that are more or less a matter of course for modern motorcycles, but especially at Harley-Davidson but usually neither for a lot of extra money and certainly not for good words.
The V2 engine with a 50 degree cylinder angle, for example, offers big surprises regardless of its rustic appearance: air / oil cooling, one overhead camshaft per cylinder, four-valve technology, electronic fuel injection. When designing the crankshaft drive, the Polaris designers based themselves on traditional values. The pistons cover a distance of 102 millimeters between dead centers. This limits the maneuverability, but on the other hand ensures the torque that is so valued in cruiser engines. The rated output of the 1500 V-Twin is 73 hp at 5250 rpm. A very credible statement. The cruiser, which weighs at least 303 kilograms, is ready to drive, and the engine, fed by a well-coordinated English MBE injection, reacts cleanly and spontaneously to commands from the accelerator.
The V92C won’t stand a chance against a 100 hp Honda F 6 C in the acceleration duel at the traffic lights. Against the two-cylinder competition, regardless of whether it is the originals from Milwaukee, Japanese sumo bikes or Bavarian veal sausage cruisers, the Victory could live up to its name.
Couldn’t be for the transmission. Even very conscious gear changes are acknowledged with cracks and rumble. Even with very careful and time-consuming handling of teeth and claws, low-noise switching operations remain a pipe dream. On top of that, load change reactions can be clearly felt in the drive train, even though the Victory has a damping belt drive to the rear wheel.
Polaris technicians in charge have promised to address this issue by the US sales launch in April. Tender Europeans will be happy. American customers, tired of the convenience of silent automatic transmissions, may miss the acoustic accompaniment of gear changes.
On the other hand, the chassis of the Victory will meet with unanimous approval. With a conventional 45 mm Marzzocchi fork at the front and a centrally sprung triangular swing arm at the rear, it gives the six-pounder steamer a surprising degree of handiness. Comfort is not neglected either, not only with the suspension elements, but also with the seating position. Even tall people will find sufficient opportunities to develop on the V92C.
The braking system is not exactly a masterpiece of the Victory, but – measured by the American cruiser standard – can definitely be considered a sedative: At the front and rear, a 300-millimeter brake disc equipped with a Brembo four-piston caliper ensures decent deceleration values.
Ob the overall concept of the Victory can ensure decent sales figures? Matt Parks, General Manager of the Polaris Motorcycles Division, is certain that the new V2 machine at a price of around 13,000 US dollars will prevail against Japanese and European competition in America (see interview). German prospects have to be patient until the year 2000 – in the hope that they will then not have to be modest with light food – keyword: emission regulations.
Interview: Matt Parks, 36, General Manager of Victory – “Not primarily against Harley?
Matt Parks, 36, General Manager of Victory, Polaris’ new motorcycle division, on his product philosophy
Matt Parks, Polaris is a global company that had nothing to do with motorcycles. How did you come up with the idea to build one? Polaris is number one in snowmobiles worldwide. With our All Terrain Vehicles we are second and fourth in the jet ski area. Since the company has grown very quickly so far, it was clear: if we want to maintain our growth rate, we need a new product line. So we asked customers, our dealers and commissioned the management consultancy McKinsey with a study of what would bring the Polaris group forward. The result is before them. The first idea to start with off-road motorcycles was discarded, by the way, because there are already excellent products on this market that can only be thrown off at high prices. When did you start the Victory project? In May 1993 the decision was made to create a big one Build cruisers with your own American engine. The first prototypes ran in 1994. In February 1997, we presented the bike for the first time on television and had enthusiastic reactions. In April of this year sales will begin in the USA with 160 dealerships, 1999 in Canada and in 2000 overseas. With your V2 cruiser you are attacking an icon of the American industry – Harley-Davidson. Certainly not. We can’t go up against Harley. 90-year-old tradition and the incomparable image nobody can simply wipe away. Die-hard Harley riders also praise the good handling of our Victory, the brakes and the performance. When asked about a purchase, they gently wave it off. We are more geared towards bikers who already ride Japanese cruisers, BMWs or touring machines and offer them a modern cruiser that can do everything their bike can do – but comes from America. How do you assess their sales opportunities? Sell 5000 machines this calendar year. This number should grow rapidly, as is usual at Polaris. Do you want to offer other motorcycles in addition to the cruiser in the medium term? Yes, in four to six years we will be launching sports machines, touring bikes and standard bikes. Incidentally, the V2 engine is not a dogma for us.
Technical data – Victory V92C
Engine Oil / air-cooled two-cylinder 50-degree V four-stroke engine, transverse crankshaft, one overhead, chain-driven camshaft each, four valves per cylinder, wet sump lubrication, electronic MBE fuel injection, electric starter, 5.7 liter oil bore X stroke 97 x 102 mm displacement 1507 cm³ Compression ratio 8.5: 1 Rated output 73 HP (53 kW) at 5250 rpm Max. Torque 11.6 kpm (114 Nm) at 3200 rpm power transmission Primary drive via gears, mechanically operated wet clutch, five-speed gearbox, secondary drive via toothed belt Primary gear ratio 1.39 Chassis Double loop frame with screwed rear frame, conventional Marzocchi fork, 45 mm standpipe diameter, triangular swing arm with central Fox suspension , with adjustable spring base, one Brembo disc brake each, Ø 300 mm, with four-piston caliper, floating, front and rear, spring travel f / r 130/102 mm, rim size, front 3.00 x 17, rear 4.00 x 17, tire Dunlop 491 Elite II, front, MT 90 HB 17, rear 160 / 80 HB 16Dimensions and weightsWeight ready to drive 303 kgLength x width x height2388 x 749 x 1130 mmWheelbase 1608 mmSeat height 711 mmTank capacity 19 litersEquipment / PriceAvailable colors red, blueGuarantee one year with unlimited mileage
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