Endurance test interim report Victory Hammer S
The cruiser in the endurance test
Victory – the American company appeared out of nowhere in 1998 and produces cruisers. The models have also been available in Germany since 2009. The Hammer S is the first bike that has to prove itself in the tough MOTORRAD endurance test.
It is Monday, October 19, 2009 when the Victory Hammer S starts its first day of work as the editorial team‘s long-term test motorcycle with a mileage of 1229. After only 100 kilometers the following entry can be found in the logbook: “What a cool stove! If the technology lasts: buy! “
What sounds almost like an insider tip for buying stocks on the one hand is skepticism on the other. Because even these days, quite a few new developments have to struggle with teething problems, as the MOTORRAD endurance tests prove. And in contrast to the two-wheeled US competition, the manufacturer can currently only look back on 13 years of existence. Perhaps that is also the reason why the air-cooled 50-degree V-engine with its overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder is much more modern than the air-cooled Harley models. But does it hold up? Anyone who is used to slippery Japanese gears with short distances and noiseless finding of the gear pairs will bet their house against it. Entries such as “Betting, the gearbox will soon be flying around our ears” or “Finding idling practically impossible” and “Clutch a catastrophe” increased in the first few months. In fact, putting the engine into neutral with the engine warm before a traffic light is almost more difficult than predicting the lottery numbers. Victory has also recognized this and acted: From the year of construction 2011, a completely redesigned transmission with reduced gear noise, helical gears, modified bearings and a completely new housing works in all models. In addition, a locking mechanism ensures that you can no longer shift from first to second gear when stationary, but only to neutral.
Fleet manager Rainer Froberg points out another special feature of the machine by means of a warning that he has stuck on the tank so that it is clearly visible: “Warning! Drive off with the side stand folded out! ”Die-hard bikers know this condition from older bikes and the danger it poses. If the side stand is not folded in, the motorcycle can be levered out on the next bend, the risk of falling is enormous. On most modern bikes, a kill switch interrupts the ignition as soon as you click into first gear and the side stand is still down. Or a spring construction ensures that the stand snaps up immediately when the motorcycle is placed upright. With the Hammer S, Victory has solved the problem with a kind of rubber shoe around the base of the stand, which should automatically fold it in when moving in the direction of travel. In an accompanying letter it says: “This corresponds to Directive EEC 93/31 in the version of June 14, 1993.”
Und this is how the American muscle bike is busy collecting kilometers in its first few months and is also gaining fans in the editorial office. Because the built-in 250 mm slipper at the back is certainly not the first choice for fast rushing over the handling course, but it is a hit for posing. “With your bike you are the king of every biker meeting,” notes a colleague. Riders who have got used to the self-steering behavior of the wide rear tire rave about the surprisingly large lean angle and stability for bikes of this type. The 90 hp and 140 Newton meters of the drive earn nothing but praise across the board. “Pressure in all situations”, it says, or “only good vibrations”. Victory has also already reacted to the strong load change behavior complained about by some drivers: From model year 2011, measures were also incorporated into the series that drastically reduce the play in the drive train.
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Endurance test interim report Victory Hammer S
The cruiser in the endurance test
Rare tire combination on the Victory.
Hardly any alternatives:
With the 250/40-R18, Victory has opted for a rear tire size that currently only two manufacturers offer: Avon with the Cobra AV72 and Dunlop with the Elite 3, the first tires ex works. Other well-known manufacturers of custom bike tires such as Metzeler or Pirelli have alternatives with 260/40 or 240/40 dimensions, but no approvals are available. The Dunlop Elite set lasted around 10,000 kilometers on the Hammer, an Avon Cobra assembled for test purposes is currently still in use. In direct comparison, the Dunlop is more manageable and more stable than the Avon. When cornering, the Avon requires significantly more countersteering, and its tendency to pitch is much more pronounced than that of the Dunlop. Even when wet, the Dunlop has a nose in front of the Avon, which reacts very sneakily to bitumen and immediately smears it away.
Accessories put to the test
The Miller slip-on.
Nice option: By twisting the riser in conjunction with the original handlebar, you get a much more relieved sitting position, the upper body is bent a little further forward and more relaxed. Drag Bars (2): optically the most beautiful handlebars (342 euros), lower, slightly more cranked outwards and wider than the original, gives a better feel for the front wheel. Ness Ram Bars (1): the trio’s sportiest handlebars (154 euros) – wider than the series counterpart and the tallest of all three. He pulls the upper body forward as far as possible, but turning and maneuvering is made more difficult.
Nice gimmick ex works: The passenger seat cover can be removed in seconds. And just as quickly, it can be clicked into a special holder (Victory accessory, 181 euros) above the headlight. The cover quickly becomes a color-coordinated windshield that relieves the upper body of the wind pressure.
The 23 liter saddlebags (319 euros / pair) are simply inserted into the holder (148 euros) and can be secured against theft with a lock on the inside. The bags are made of artificial, weather-resistant leather, and quick-release fasteners are hidden behind the optical buckles. The mounted holder alone is chic and is also suitable for attaching tension belts or elastic bands.
That rocks a lot. With the shorter California slip-on dampers from Miller, the hammer not only looks awesome – compared to the standard dampers, the Miller system, at 6.2 kilograms, also saves five kilograms in weight. And an increase in output of four hp plus more torque from 2800 rpm. The sound is perfect. Compatible with residential areas, but full up to the middle speed range and very potent in upper speeds. The dampers are EG-ABE, well made and cost 970 euros.
Defects in the test
Involuntary look inside the engine.
The first driver to notice the noise described it as "loose nuts jumping back and forth in the engine". At the same time the battery quit its service. In search of the origin of the ticker, Victory technicians began to dismantle the engine under the supervision of MOTORRAD employees. Both case lids were unscrewed, but nothing suspicious was found. After the assembly, a colleague randomly helped: when the regulator was briefly disconnected to check the alternator output, the bright ticker suddenly disappeared. It was caused by the defective regulator, although there are no mechanical components in it that can produce such noises. Months later, the second controller also made noise and was then defective.
Interview with Torsten Zimmer
Torsten Room (46).
The motorcycle brand Victory, founded in 1998, belongs to the American company Polaris Industries. The group employs around 3800 people worldwide and is a. Market leader in snowmobiles and all terrain vehicles (ATV). In 2010 total sales of almost two billion US dollars were achieved. The Victory bikes, made in the USA, have been available in Germany since November 2009, and the Hammer S is the first bike to complete an independent 50,000 kilometer test. MOTORRAD spoke to Torsten Zimmer (46), Sales and Marketing Manager Victory Germany, about the future and direction of the brand and the group.
? Mr. Zimmer, two years have passed since the market launch. Are you satisfied with the result and the development in Germany??
! Absolutely, we delivered almost 200 motorcycles to end customers in the first year. This year we will improve the result significantly. Nevertheless, we don’t get euphoric and are working sustainably on increasing sales figures. Victory thus also receives the rating of exclusivity.
? Keyword exclusivity: How many machines were sold in 2010??
! Over 9000 pieces worldwide.
? Victory is now represented worldwide?
! Nearly. At the moment Victory is of course represented in countries and regions with strong motorcycles such as Australia, Asia, England, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Russia and Poland. This can be looked up exactly on the Group’s homepage at www.polarisindustries.com.
? How dense is the dealer network in Germany?
! We currently have 20 dealers in Germany, apart from a few spots we are represented nationwide. The dealers were deliberately almost handpicked. The maximum distance to the nearest dealer in Germany could be reduced to 100 kilometers by taking the topography into account. We are working on minimizing this, but we also have corresponding demands on the service partner on site.
? Harley-Davidson is your toughest rival, is that how you see it? What sets you apart from your US opponent??
! I don’t really see Harley as a rival. Harley-Davidson sells myth and 110 years of motorcycle history. This story cannot be caught up, we are aware of that. Someone who buys a Harley to become a member of the HOG and thus to be part of the HD family will find it difficult to convince them of a Victory. Our customers have been convinced by the modern design, the quality, the chassis, i.e. by our excellent technology. The output from the factory also plays a major role, as does the country of origin USA and the price. As soon as a biker embarked on a test ride with Victory, he always came back with a big grin and the corresponding willingness to buy. There are also some who treat themselves to a Victory despite a Harley. It’s just a matter of taste. What sets us apart from Harley is that we don’t pay too much for the name.
? Will there be a smaller displacement variant in the foreseeable future, which could, for example, power an inexpensive entry-level model?
! The Polaris group still has a lot in the drawer, we can look forward to a number of innovations.
? Okay, back to the model range. How successful is the Hammer S?
! Over 60 percent of our sales in Germany are Hammer and Hammer S. The performance of the bike is just right, including the 250 rear tire. The Hammer is the ideal custom production bike, unbeatable for this price. And when it comes to chassis and brakes, it’s unmatched in this class, as you’ve already been able to test for yourself.
? Some drivers accuse the V2 engine of a certain lack of character regardless of its performance. See the need for changes here?
! I don’t see at all. I think an air-cooled engine with 140 Nm and 90 hp in this appealing look is not that common on the market. The engine definitely has its own character and is not a copy of anything. In today’s age, functionality comes first. Our engineers have optimally solved the requirements of the management with the specially developed engine. The engine holds, despite this enormous power. That’s the better character, isn’t it?
? Speaking of character: In April of this year, Polaris Industries bought the US cult brand Indian Motorcycles. The 106 cubic Freedom Twin will soon also be used in the Indian models?
! We are in the process of relaunching the Indian brand, it will definitely be a motorcycle that lives up to the Indian name. There is still no official information about the engine of the individual vehicles. In any case, it won’t be the four-cylinder in-line engine from the Four.
? Many have tried the relaunch of Indian in the last 20 years ?? For example, is there a market for old school bikes in Germany??
! Yes, there is definitely a market for these bikes. How many would like an old school Harley? Now that Polaris has bought the story of Indian, it is precisely this customer base that is served. The Indian models will certainly be bikes where price and history will harmonize well.
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