Video: Lee Johnston Talks About Isle Of Man TT Ride With Victory Motorcycles

Video: Lee Johnston Talks About Isle Of Man TT Ride With Victory Motorcycles

When Victory Motorcycles announced that it would be running two electric bikes at the Zero TT Challenge at the Isle of Man TT in June 2015, a lot of people were curious about the two riders it tapped to race for the team in the competition. One of those riders is Lee “General Lee” Johnston, who isn’t really a household name in the world of motorcycle racing the way folks like Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez are.

Despite his lack of top-class pedigree, Johnston is still a talented racer who has some impressive finishes in his resume, including a top 5 finish at the Isle of Man TT in 2014. This year, Johnston will return to the Isle of Man where he will suit up for Victory Motorcycles in the aforementioned Zero TT Challenge.

Apparently, Victory decided that I was important for us to get to know the General so it released a video introducing the General to legions of fans who will have their eyes trained on him and partner Wiliam Dunlop as they carry Victory’s flag into competition.

It’s worth noting that both Johnston and Lee will be piloting electric motorcycles that may or may not have been Brammo electric bikes in the past. If you’re a little confused about this arrangement, remember that both Victory Motorcycles and Brammo’s electric technology development are owned by Polaris Industries. It’s no coincidence that upon buying Brammo back in March 2015, Polaris immediately gave the keys to the proverbial Brammo EV kingdom to Victory Motorcycles, which is why we’re seeing the motorcycle brand compete in not one but two races in the coming months. Have we forgotten Project 156, everybody?

Details surrounding the bikethat Johnston and Dunlop will ride at the Isle of Man TT have yet to be revealed in full. What we do know is that the bike will make use of Brammo’s newly acquired technology to go with participation from world-class manufacturer Parker Hannifin, which provided the GVM PMAC motors and what Victory describes as "highly sophisticated electric controls” to maximize the bike’s peak power, power delivery, and overall durability.”

Seems like Lee Johnston’s going to have his hands full with this bike, huh?

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Video: Victory Motorcycles' Project 156 Part 2

Video: Victory Motorcycles’ Project 156 Part 2

Victory Motorcycles is slowly unveiling bits and pieces about its mysterious Project 156 race bike and like all good teases go, the American motorcycle company is now giving a quick glimpse at the bike’s new engine.

Details are still being kept under wraps, but judging from what the second video of the Project 156 series is showing us, this new engine is going to be a doozy. According to company engineers, the development of this liquid-cooled engine is being kept closely guarded because of its importance for the company’s plans for the future.

Turns out, this engine isn’t just being developed for the bike that will be competing at the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. That’s the primary objective, but the company hopes that it could serve as the future platform for engines that will be used in a new generation of motorcycles. Seems like an ambitious goal, but Victory seems to be firmly entrenched on that road these days.

Ambition aside, Victory Motorcycles really wants to make an impression at Pikes Peak. Doing so would mean taking the necessary steps to ensure that this all-new engine would be able to handle the rigors of riding to the top of the mountain without losing its core performance capabilities.

That’s the challenge the team is facing these days. But from the looks of things, it’s a challenge that’s being met head-on.

Continue reading to read more about Victory Motorcycles’ Project 156 race bike.

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Victory Motorcycles Unveils Isle Of Man Electric Race Bike

Victory Motorcycles Unveils Isle Of Man Electric Race Bike

Victory Motorcycles has been quite the busy bee these days. Mere days after showing a preview of its much-hyped Project 156 bike with Roland Sands Design for the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the Polaris-owned motorcycle brand has unveiled a different motorcycle it plans to race in a different competition.

It doesn’t come with a name - not yet anyway - but apparently, this electric bike will be Victory Motorcycles’ entry into the SES TT Zero Challenge at the 2015 Isle of Man TT.

In hindsight, Victory’s decision to enter the TT Zero Challenge shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering the recent wheeling and dealing its parent company, Polaris, went through back in March 2015 when it purchased Brammo’s electric bike and powertrain technology. The bike itself will likely use some of this newly acquired technology to go with participation from world-class manufacturer Parker Hannifin, which provided the GVM PMAC motors and what Victory describes as "highly sophisticated electric controls” to maximize the bike’s peak power, power delivery, and overall durability.

The set-up sounds impressive but it still isn’t a guarantee that Victory’s electric bike will win the event. But as far as statement-making purposes are concerned, Victory’s decision to enter the TT Zero Challenge was heard loud and clear.

Coinciding with the disclosure of the company’s planned participation in the race, Victory Motorcycles also announced that William Dunlop will take the saddle of one of the two electric motorcycles and will be joined on the other bike by Lee Johnston.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Victory Motorcycles performs in its maiden participation at the TT Zero Challenge. Expect it to have its hands full against a strong field that includes the Mugen Shinden Yon and the Sarolea SP7.

Continue reading to read more about Victory Motorcycles’ decision to enter the Isle of Man TT’s "TT Zero Challenge"

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Video: Victory Motorcycles' Project 156 Part 1

Video: Victory Motorcycles’ Project 156 Part 1

Victory Motorcycles teased us about Project 156 back in April 2015, a special undertaking it was doing with Roland Sands Design ahead of the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June 2015. Now that the event is drawing closer and closer, Victory and Roland Sands Design have begun development of Project 156 and the two are even chronicling the build process in a multi-part web series.

The first episode was just released and you can immediately tell by the dramatic narration that Roland Sands and Victory Motorcycles are building building a unique bike that can tackle the treacherous 12.42-mile course offered by Pikes Peak.

Specific details behind Project 156 have yet to be revealed, but the two sides did disclose a few important tidbits about the bike, including the use of a redesigned chassis, Ohlins suspension, and a prototype engine courtesy of Victory.

Roland Sands will be in charge of designing the bike, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because that’s really his strong suit in this partnership. I’ll admit that hearing him describe the bike as a “raw-exposed road-racing motorcycle” is already getting me a little excited about what his team and Victory have in store for us.

Once completed, Project 156 will take part in the Race to the Clouds where it will be ridden by moto-journalist Don Canet. For what its worth, the bike should be in good hands with Canet, who himself has a lot of experience going up Pikes Peak, including a stint aboard a Ducati Multistrada 1200 in 2014.

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Ducati Gets Top Nod On Pied Piper Rankings

Ducati Gets Top Nod On Pied Piper Rankings

Ducati Motorcycles once again took top honors in the Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI), one of the most important ranking systems assessing the state of the motorcycle industry in the US. Ducati’s reign atop the PSI index shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that the Italian motorcycle brand, together with Harley-Davidson, have remained in the Top 3 of the PSI rankings for the better part of the past decade.

The PSI rankings does have a different purpose than gauging consumer happiness of bike brands. What it does is measure “dealership treatment of motorcycle shoppers, with rankings by brand determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties ‘mystery shopping’ measurement and scoring to industry sales success.”

Based on the latest rankings - and the past decade’s rankings, for that matter - Ducati is still the top dog with Harley-Davidson not too far behind.

Speaking of Harley, the American bike manufacturer came in a close second to Ducati’s 116 score at 112, followed by Victory Motorcycles at 110 points, somewhat validating a Consumer Reports poll from April 2015 that identified Victory as the brand that scored the highest customer satisfaction in the US.

Comparing this year’s results to last year’s results, it’s worth noting that some brands parlayed exceptional performances to either rise and fall in the rankings in just a year’s time.

Triumph, which finished fourth in the latest rankings, was one of the big winners at 109 points, vaulting ahead of Can-Am, which fell to sixth place at 106 points, a point under 107 points, the number the PSI rankings determined as the “industry average.”
BMW was also a big winner, moving up from ninth place in last year’s rankings to fifth place with 108 points. More importantly, BMW moved ahead of the industry average, making it one of only five manufacturers to pull that of.

Everybody else, including Suzuki (103 points), MV Agusta (103), Kawasaki, (102), Honda (97), and Yamaha (96) all fell well bellow the industry average.

Continue reading to read more about Ducati retaining its number one ranking in the Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index.

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Video: Victory Motorcycles Bring Bike Back To Life After Being Encased In Eyes For Four Years

Video: Victory Motorcycles Bring Bike Back To Life After Being Encased In Eyes For Four Years

Back in 2011, Victory Motorcycles encased a 2002 V92 TC bike in a block of ice as an experiment of sorts to showcase just how tough and durable its bikes are. Fast forward to May 2015 and the bike was finally taken out of its icy box with the objective of bringing it back to life.

First of all, putting a bike inside a block of ice isn’t really the smartest thing when you’re trying to preserve it. But this experiment wasn’t an exercise in novelty; Victory Motorcycles really wanted to show how tough its models are. So the block of ice was sent to Stonetown Custom, where it proceeded to put in the work to resuscitate the bike back to working condition.

You would think that Stonetown Custom would have its hands full figuring out how to bring the bike back to life, but for the most part, the aftermarket company was met with little mechanical resistance after the bike was left outdoors to melt and rain. Once the actual work was done to put the pieces back in place, engineers from Stonetown Custom came away surprised to see that the frozen V92 TC only needed a new battery, new oil, fresh fuel, and a new air filter before it started working again.

To be fair, the V92 TC had a whole lot of miles on it as a test bike when Victory decided to encase it in ice for four years. It’s also been through the mechanical ringer a handful of times so it’s not like the parts that were replaced were still stock.

But the fact that the bike sprung to life as soon as work was done goes to show how tough Victory bikes really are.

Continue reading to read more about Victory’s ice-melting experiment with the V92 TC.

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Polaris Industries' Motorcycle Brands Post 1Q Sales Revenue Growth in the US

Polaris Industries’ Motorcycle Brands Post 1Q Sales Revenue Growth in the US

Polaris Industries is one of a handful of motorcycle companies that have released earnings reports from the first quarter of 2015, and just like BMW Motorrad, Polaris is throwing out words like “growth” and “record sales” in describing its 1Q 2015 sales performance.

According to the company, the three brands under its ownerships - Victory Motorcycles, Indian Motorcycles, and Slingshot - all combined to help Polaris increase its motorcycles sales revenue in the US to $137.4 million, in the first three months of 2015, a 74-percent improvement from the $78.9 million sales revenue the company earned in the same time period a year ago.

All three brands contributed significantly to the massive bump in sales, although according to Polaris, Victory and Indian Motorcycles each reported increasing their sales numbers by 40 percent compared to last year’s total. Slingshot, the ubiquitous builder of the three-wheeler bearing the same name, also did its part with retail sales “ahead of expectations.”

The sales numbers for all three brands were largely aided by certain additions to their respective product portfolios. Indian Motorcycles, in particular, leaned heavily on the arrival of the Chief Dark Horse while Victory motorcycles did the same with the market introduction of the Magnum X-1 bagger. Even Slingshot got in on the fun, adding a limited edition package for its three-wheeler to help boost the brand’s sales numbers.

Overall, Polaries Industries’ sales performance in the US is an encouraging sign that more and more American buyers are warming up to these Harley alternatives. The way they’re trending, it wouldn’t surprise me if more record sales numbers are in the horizon for Polaries and its three motorcycle brands.

Continue reading to read more about Polaris Industries’ sharp growth in US sales revenue.

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Video: Victory Stunt Team Does Mean Things To Their Magnum Baggers

Video: Victory Stunt Team Does Mean Things To Their Magnum Baggers

Anybody who knows anything about motorcycles knows that baggers aren’t usually associated with drifting and burning rubber. That’s not to say that these bikes can’t pull it off, but you’re going to have a far easier time working up the smoke with sports bikes or superbikes. That said, Tony Carbajal and Joe Vertical, two members of Victory Motorcycles’ Stunt Team, are known for eschewing conventional thinking just so they can accomplish the unconventional like say, burning rubber while riding baggers. The two stunt riders put that stunt on display recently with a pair of supercharged Victory Magnums at the JenningsGP track in Florida.

As expected, Carbajal and Vertical didn’t shy away from letting loose around the track, pushing their respective baggers to their absolute limit with one smoky burnout after another around the southern track. It’s impressive to watch, at least until the time that you begin to wonder whether or not Victory put in something extra on those two Magnums to make them run like all-conquering maniacs on the track.

Turns out, not only are these two Magnums supercharged, but they also received a handful of aftermarket goodies, including forced intake kits, sport tires and bigger pulleys that help improve improve the bike’s torque numbers at the rear wheel. These components are largely responsible for the bikes’ to perform those burnouts much easier than they should.

I’m not taking anything away from what Carbajal and Vertical did to burn the mess out of those rubber tires, but then again, they’re not actually riding standard Magnums either. It’s still fun to watch but if you’re thinking of replicating these burnouts on your Magnum baggers, there’s a pretty good chance that you won’t be able to get that much smoke out of your tires.

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Video: Victory Motorcycles Teases Project 156

Video: Victory Motorcycles Teases Project 156

Victory Motorcycles isn’t really the type to release attention-grabbing teaser photos, but on the rare occasions that it does, the American motorcycle manufacturer makes sure that it’s able to convey the right amount of “teasing” attached to these images.

The company’s release of the “Project 156: Race to the Clouds” teaser is a pretty good example of that.

Apparently, Victory Motorcycle’s got something big planned for the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb that’s scheduled on June 28, 2015 at Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Without outwardly announcing as much, Victory Motorcycle definitely left a strong hint of its plan in the teaser, which includes “Race to the Clouds” in a huge, red Speed Racer-type font. Just below that is an illustration of the Colorado Mountains, a clear indication that Victory Racing, the company’s racing division, is preparing something in time for Pikes Peak.

So what exactly is that “something”? That’s the part that’s unclear, although a silhouette of a sports bike on the teaser photo hints at a possible custom project that Victory could unveil at the highly recognized event. I’ve been staring at that silhouette for a couple of hours now and I still can’t make out exactly what model the company’s planning to show.

Considering that Victory is mostly known for its all-world cruisers, the fact that a sports bike is being shown in the image speaks volumes on how clueless I am about this mysterious machine. Then again, that’s probably what Victory was going for when it decided to release the photo.

It wants to get us all excited to see what this Project 156 is all about. On that note, I have to give Victory a lot of credit. Job well done on the teaser image, fellas.

I can’t, for the life of me, figure out what it is.

Continue reading to read more about Victory Motorcycle’s mysterious Project 156 teaser.

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Consumer Reports Poll Says Yamaha Most Reliable Brand, Victory Owners The Happiest

Consumer Reports Poll Says Yamaha Most Reliable Brand, Victory Owners The Happiest

Consumer Reports has released the results of a poll it took from motorcycle owners as part of the publication’s assessment on the value of different motorcycle brands as far as how their customers felt about the bikes they owned.

Japanese motorcycle brands took in top honors in reliability, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Of all the brands named in the survey, Japan’s four top brands - Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, and Kawasaki - were all head and shoulders above the rest of the field, beating out the likes of Victory and Harley-Davidson. On the bottom end of the reliability list are brands like Triumph, Ducati, BMW, and Can-Am.

Can-Am, in particular, finished dead last on the list, and I’m guessing that it’s recent issues may have played a big part in seeing their spot on this list.

Victory Motorcycles may have ended up in the middle of the pack in the reliability survey, but as far as making customers happy with their bikes, the American brand stood victorious with 80 percent of Victory owners saying that they wouldn’t mind buying a Victory model again. Turns out, having a fairly reliable motorcycle and having positive dealer interactions and good customer service are important elements in gaining the trust of your customers. Who knew!

Coming up second on that list was Harley-Davidson, which received a 72-percent approval rating, followed by Honda at 70 percent. Interestingly enough, these three brands were the only ones to get approval ratings north of 70 percent.

Consumer Reports also discovered that motorcycle riders preferred “comfort” of all the things they look for in a bike. Not surprisingly, Victory scored the highest rating in this category while Ducati, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Triumph taking up the rear in this particular category.

Other satisfaction categories, including styling, fun, acceleration, and handling saw across-the-board ratings, signifying that a customer’s taste in these areas vary depending on what their requirements for a bike are. The only manufacturer that fell flat on its face in the handling category is Can-Am, adding more fuel to the growing assumption that its three-wheelers aren’t worth the money you spend to buy them.

Continue reading to read more about the results of Consumer Reports’ motorcycle poll.

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Video: Victory Motorcycle Presents Virtual Ride to Sturgis

Video: Victory Motorcycle Presents Virtual Ride to Sturgis

There are times when even the most hardened of adults turn back into kids. There are a lot of reasons something like this could happen that could trigger that trip back to those times when life was all about enjoying the scenery and basking in the air of the cool spring breeze.

Some of us might not get that feeling as often as others do, but judging by this video, those who were given a chance to try out Victory Motorcycle’s new Oculus Right virtual motorcycle ride all came away with that feeling.

The Victory Virtual Ride was presented at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Chicago and from the looks of things, the ride ended up becoming as popular as the show itself. Developed specifically for Victory Motorcycles, this particular Oculus Right virtual motorcycle ride was tailored to generate the same riding characteristics of the Victory Gunner, right down to that ear-popping engine roar.

You only need to watch the video to find out how much of fun those who gave it a try had as they embarked on the virtual equivalent of riding to Sturgis, South Dakota. The expressions on the faces of those who tried it out are nothing short of priceless, which I presume is precisely what Victory Motorcycles was going for when it decided to showcase it at motor show.

Now if only there was a way for me to finagle my way to giving it a try too. I don’t know how to make that happen, but rest assured, I’ll stop at nothing to see that I get a chance to take it out for a spin.

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Victory Teases Magnum X-1 Ahead of Daytona Bike Week Launch

Victory Teases Magnum X-1 Ahead of Daytona Bike Week Launch

Victory Motorcycles is preparing a new model that it’s touting as a game-changer in the cruiser market. I’ve seen this kind of song and dance number before, but this bike looks like it’s the real deal. Real enough, at least, to deserve it’s own unveiling at the Daytona Bike Week on March 2015.

The model has been christened with the name Magnum X-1, an all-new trim of the Magnum bagger that was only introduced last July 2014. You would think that Victory would want to let its newest cruiser simmer for a little bit before jumping in with a new trim to the family, but it looks like the company is putting all its chips on the table with an X-1 model that will be loaded with accessories.

The unveiling is still a few weeks away, but from what I’ve heard, Victory is going all-out on the Magnum X-1 with a bevy of new goodies included into the bike, including a custom paint finish and a revamped audio system that will likely turn it into its own version of a mobile music turnstile on two wheels.

I’m not going to divulge the details until after the jump, but rest assured, Victory appears to be puling out all the stops to bring us the Magnum X-1. Judging by photos that have been released, the British motorcycle company just might be on to something here.

Click "Continue Reading" to learn more about Victory Motorcycle’s new Magnum X-1 bike.

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