Victory Motorcycles didn’t stick around for the longest of times, but it was fun while the ride lasted. This motorcycle manufacturer started with a bang in 1999 when its first production bike was released, the V92C.
The hopes for Victory Motorcycles were that it could compete with the likes of Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycles. However, dreams were shattered for Victory fans when the plug was pulled in 2017.
No longer would motorcycle lovers be able to get their hands on the latest Victory, disappointing the multitude of chapters around the country. We’re going to take a closer look at the short-lived but much-loved Victory Motorcycles.
Discover what was so great about the Victory factory, why it was a sad day when its doors closed, and what caused its downfall.
How Victory Motorcycles Got Started
Taking on a giant is no mean feat, and for every David who triumphs against the Goliath, hundreds try and fail. So, it was big news when a new motorcycle company decided it would take on the might of the one-and-only Harley-Davidson.
Behind Victory Motorcycles was the snowmobile and ATV manufacturer, Polaris. The rough-and-ready automotive manufacturer saw how big the slice of the motorcycle pie was going to Harley-Davidson, and it wanted a slice of the action.
Polaris wanted an all-American bike that could handle the long, tough highways of the United States. It was symbolically created on the 4th of July, and it couldn’t be more American if it tried.
The First Victory Motorcycle
The doors to the Victory factory opened in 1997 before producing the first motorcycle in 1999. That bike, as previously mentioned, was the V92C cruiser which came equipped with a 1,510 cc engine. This was the second-largest production engine in the world at the time, and not long after its release, a frenzy to build the biggest engines began.
Motorcycle manufacturers were tasked with building the most powerful engines they could fit into their frames. The powerful engine of the V92C offered 55 hp and there was no denying it belonged on the same road as the Harley Sportster. With an easy-to-tune design, Victory was injecting some fun into the motorcycle industry on its first attempt.
Inside The Victory Factory
With the goal of keeping things American, engineers at Victory were given a tough challenge. The first motorcycle off the production line was built using parts sourced entirely in Iowa and Minnesota.
The success of the V92C led to a sports cruiser and touring cruiser version of the motorcycle before Victory moved onto a new model. After gaining fans with the cruiser design, Victory Motorcycles brought the custom Vegas to the world. This new chassis design debuted in 2003, and in 2005, Victory had another bike to shout about, the Hammer, which was a muscle cruiser.
New versions of bikes began flying out of the Victory factory by the 2010s as the company looked to be doing well. Even by 2016, when the company was wound up there didn’t appear to be many signs of a struggle.
The Octane was released as a 2017 model and it should have gotten motorcycle fans excited. This new motorcycle by Victory came with a colossal 103 hp, and it was similar to the Indian Scout.
The V8 engine came with a capacity of 1.17 liters and a top speed of 115 mph. It looked like the Victory Octane was going to be the next big thing in the motorcycle industry, but the rug was pulled from underneath the manufacturer.
Where It All Went Wrong
Victory’s attempts to flood the market with its motorcycles ultimately didn’t pay off. Despite being blacked by the hugely successful Polaris, in 2017, a tough decision had to be made.
The Victory factory doors were shut for good by Polaris as the company was unable to establish the market share it predicted. It would appear that Harley Davidson is a giant of the motorcycle industry for a reason. No matter what Victory tried to do, it just couldn’t make a large enough dent in Harley’s share of the market.
Taking some of Harley’s share of the motorcycle market was the goal for Polaris but there was another issue too. Polaris noted that the lack of profitability Victory brought to the table meant it was no longer the business venture for them.
Dealers were to liquidate their assets, but parts for Victory motorcycles would remain available for another decade. There was no denying the build quality of Victory Motorcycles was there but there just wasn’t the interest from consumers.
At the end of the day, it’s easy to say you can take some of Harley’s market share, but it’s another thing to actually do it. Victory found that the proud history that Harley Davidson owners are investing in with their motorcycles couldn’t be replicated by a new face on the scene.
Despite their creative approach to building motorcycles, Polaris’ adventure in that industry was over. However, it wasn’t the company’s only dog in the fight, as Polaris also owns Indian Motorcycles.
Polaris decided to put all of its focus on Indian and kick Victory to the curb. Perhaps if Polaris had put its own name on the bikes, Victory Motorcycles might have fared better.
The third generation saw a clear decline in sales. Let’s take a look why.
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