Los Tiempos Van Cambiando – The Times They Are a-Changin’ for American V-Twins
It was a time not long ago that American-made V-twins were regarded merely as road-tractor lumps. Nothing special, barely able to get out of its own way and described as “detuned” by some of the nastiest detractors. There was a time when they would have been more-or-less correct, compared to the rest of the civilized world, but c’mon, Prince was still on the pop charts back then!
U.S. riders are longer content to buy bikes with one of two or three possible choices (cough HD, cough), and always in the “traditional American” style that showcases the beauty of the V-twin look giving it a form-over-function vibe.
Now, I’m not saying the new engines are actually ugly, but simply pointing out that aesthetics were not at the top of the list for the engineers — their energies went elsewhere. Victory joins H-D in the American-Made market, and the new competition is driving innovation, finally, into the realm of production-model, performance-oriented machines.
Continue reading for my take on the current American Market.
2016 Harley-Davidson V Rod Muscle
H-D established the look of their particular future a decade and a half ago, and it continues through today with the 2016 V-Rod Muscle. It’s no secret that both Victory and Indian fall under the Polaris umbrella, and never has the evidence of that shared parentage been so apparent as with the engine in the new Victory Octane.
2017 Victory Octane
Take a hard look at the Octane engine, and you will clearly see the 61-inch Indian Scout motor looking back at you. It makes sense, because tooling up for a completely new engine ain’t cheap, but many feel a little let down by the lack of new in the “new” Victory engine. Me, I’m a pragmatist, so I’m down with the program.
2016 Indian Scout
You may be asking yourself, “what about the Star Raider and big Indian mill?” Well, yeah, Star has the big 1,854 cc Raider engine, and Indian uses the Thunderstroke 111 with 1,811 cubes, but both of those, however powerful, fall within the “eye candy” category. However, we are considering only the water-cooled, Steampunk-looking V-twins here. That leaves us with the V-Rod, Scout and Octane. I would point out that these engines are blank canvases ready for performance-enhancing customization, even if it’s just a Stage Two to give you a little more oomph.
No Doubt about it sports fans, the race for dominance of the burgeoning American performance-bike market is on. Competition is a good thing, because no matter what, the buyers win. I expect the next few years to see more improvements from these two, and possibly some new entries into the sector from the American Big Four.