Posts Tagged ‘Victory’

MotoVentures: A Day in the Dirt Photo Page

April 7, 2010

Not too long ago, I was invited out to Gary LaPlante’s MotoVentures compound for a day of off-road riding with the crew from Southern California Motorcycles. The excursion was a Christmas gift from owner Tom Hicks to the staff at his Triumph, Ducati, Victory and Polaris dealership.  (READ THE STORY HERE!)

It was fantastic day tearing up the trails at the 300-acre facility near Anza, Ca. — right up until I started crashing … over and over again. I got tired from the first two times hauling the WR450 out of a creek bed and a sand wash and it was all downhill (figuratively) from there. And, the So Cal Motorcycles crew looked like they had a blast. Coming off the bleak stink of dismal cycle sales in 2009, it was probably a nice little energy boost. 

One of the employees, service writer Trevor Dyck, brought along his film camera and shot some really nice analog pics of the day. I forgot how much I like the graininess and realistic feel of photos shot on film. Here’s a bunch of them from the trip. If you get a chance, check out Trevor’s other photos on his website http://trevordyck.com.

 

MotoVentures' Gary LaPlante — trials style. photo by Trevor Dyck

 

photo by Trevor Dyck

 

photo by Trevor Dyck

photo by Trevor Dyck

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Cycle World IMS New York: Meat the Press

January 22, 2010

While pretty much all the press attention during the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show stops is directed toward the motorcycles, it’s kinda cool to turn that focus around to the journalists themselves.

If you’ve never been a part of this roving crowd of camera snappers and flashers (CAMERA flashers) it’s often been described as a scrum al a rugby, and for good reason. As the media schedule skips from OEM announcement to OEM annoucement, the press follows in a tight bunch, each jockying for position and camera angles. It’s even crazier at the European shows (like EICMA) where it seems that a fist fight is only a shove or elbow away. This roving band of moto-journos tends to break up as the hours progressive until it’s the niche guys getting the niche news. Good times for sure.

At the opening of the New York IMS stop, show representative and extremely debonair motoguy, Robert Pandya, was directing the first few hours of the press event. At 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, the show floor was still chockablock with unopened wooden crates, union workers, cleaners, assemblers and other assorted workers. Forklifts whirred and honked their way through the crowds, impatiently navigating the crowds to deliver payloads of whatnot.

There were reps from blogs, magazines, radio shows and newspapers, a span of media representation ranging from Roadbike to All About Bikes magazine, from Popular Science to American Iron. Oh year, don’t forget the Motorcycle Radio Network and Rider. In other words, the show gets some pretty damn good press from a wide range of media. We like this.

“Move in here folks,” Pandya says while trying to start the show at the Cycle World booth. “We don’t want to play journalist shish-kabob.”

From here the group moves en masse to BMW to hear head media-man Roy Olliemuller tout the OEM’s 2009 sales numbers before introducing the BMW crew and the S1000RR. There were those forklifts again in the background (and almost in the foreground!)

Boom, off to Victory Motorcycles. Then the Suzuki Busa Beats 2010 launch. Next, Star and the Performance Machine Raider. Honda? You’re up. Harley-Davidson’s got a new bike. Let’s go see it. A Ducati fashion show AND the 2010 Multistrada 1200? Bellisimo! Hardcore Choppers. TapouT. Ducati freestyle stunt team. Phew. It’s a busy schedule.

Rider Impressions: The Victory Hammer S

July 15, 2009

In June I picked up a 2009 Victory Hammer S from Polaris headquarters in Medina, Minn. Now, after one month and nearly 1,000 miles, it’s time I return the bike.

As a fan of all things with two-wheels, I would’ve enjoyed keeping this head-turner in my garage alongside the SV1000S, Tomos Golden Bullet moped and forthcoming two-stroke Stella scooter. Having a muscle cruiser like the Hammer helped satisfy my different moods – whereas I enjoy long, quick-paced rides on the Suzuki, I equally enjoyed implementing the Victory for shorter, inter-city jaunts. If the SV1S, in triple black livery, is my B2 stealth bomber, the Hammer S, available only in a vibrant blue with white rally stripes, was my attention-grabbing Blue Angels C-130T Hercules “Fat Albert” – heavy, but powerful and impressively agile for its size.
VictoryHammerProfile2
The bike attracted attention and garnered questions wherever I went, whether at the filling station, neighborhood grocery store or local bike night. “Go ahead and park it right out front on the sidewalk,” the owner of my favorite restaurant, Eli’s in Minneapolis, said after grilling me on the bike’s specs and my impression of the ride.VictoryHammerOverdrive

“Nice Hammer!” a guy in a pickup truck shouted to me while we were stopped at a red light. “I just bought one! I love it!”

The Hammer S represented the fourth Victory extended ride the folks at Polaris have granted me. The first bike, the V92TC, was a bit unkempt; the first year Vegas was better, but still not tuned quite right (needed more breathing, found through the parts catalog); and the Vision I rode for a few months last summer was hugely impressive in handling and performance for its size.
VictoryHammerFrontBrake
What’d I like about the Hammer S? I had a list of highlights I quoted to everyone who asked: The 97hp, 113 ft. lbs. of torque offers a healthy dose of acceleration, the bike’s outfitted with a smooth running carbon fiber belt, the sixth gear “overdrive” transmits a fuel-saving engine speed of 2,400 rpm at 70mph, it maneuvers surprisingly well with the big 18-incher up front and 250/40R18 Dunlop rear, and braking was impressive (stainless steel lines, front dual 300mm floating rotors with 4-piston caliper and rear single 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper).VictoryHammerBelt

The list of things I didn’t like is much shorter: To garner the hardtail look, engineers placed the rear shock a bit too far forward, directly under the seat. It’s preload adjustable, but nevertheless transmitted some kidney-jarring bumps when traversing roadway irregularities.
VictoryHammerGauges

Victory Lays Down the Hammer … S

June 15, 2009

I picked up a 2009 Victory Hammer S from Polaris HQ today, June 15. I’ve noticed this particular bike is about Victory performance, and that my sportbike has tire envy.

2009 Victory Hammer S

2009 Victory Hammer S

After rolling 200 miles during the first few hours after pick-up, I do have a few qualms about riding position (see future posts). Of course, I’m traditionally more of a sportbike rider, so anything I ride foot-first seems a bit odd.

Still, this is the best of the four Victory I’ve ridden for an extended period of time. It accelerates impressively (for (more…)

New Polaris On-Road Division Raises Questions

May 18, 2009

What New Products Will It Announce For This Division?
What Role Will Mark Blackwell Really Play?

Joe Delmont

Joe Delmont

The announcement today by Polaris Industries, Medina, Minn., that it is launching an “on-road vehicle division” is interesting from several perspectives.

Perhaps the most intriguing question the move raises is this: What new products will the innovative Minnesota OEM produce to fit into this segment alongside its popular Victory motorcycles? The move looks to bring the company one step closer to the “adjacent” industry that company executives have been talking about for several years.

Former Polaris CEO Tom Tiller often talked about the company’s planned move into “adjacent” industries— ones that could use Polaris’ existing technology and/or sell to its existing customer base.

Tiller’s replacement, Scott Wine, told analysts in April that,  “We remain on-track to announce a second adjacency later this year,” adding, “long-term, we’ve scaled back a little bit of our research and development in Victory and shifted some of those resources and funding to the front end of our business”

And Polaris President Bennett Morgan responded to an analyst’s question with: “We believe we’ve got some nice innovation coming in this adjacency that we are not talking about as well. So, we’ve got lots of good stuff….”

Indeed, Polaris did move outside the powersports industry recently when it signed a strategic alliance with Bobcat to jointly develop Bobcat branded products that will be introduced next year.

So, here’s what you might look for from Polaris to include in its new On-Road Vehicle Portfolio alongside Victory perhaps as soon as next month:

  1. An electric vehicle, probably a SXS model with two-wheel drive, that can be used in gated communities and other neighborhood developments. There’s been a lot of talk about electric vehicles, but so far nobody’s come up with a practical, efficient and economical machine. Perhaps Polaris, a company that prides itself on its innovation, can be the one to do so.
  2. A scooter, probably one in the 150cc size. We know that Polaris has been sourcing one in China for close to a year, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them introduce one at the beginning of this scooter season.
  3. A sport bike to capture the strong youth market and its desire for speed and performance. This may be a bit of a stretch, but there are reasons to believe it could happen. First, speed and performance are features that Polaris offers on the snow side and in its radically hot RZR side-by-side vehicle. And a top Polaris executive who has been added to the on-road group, Mark Blackwell, has a record as a champion racer. Even though he’s guided the successful growth of Victory, Mark’s comfort level may be closer to the sport bike than to the cruiser. In its announcement, Polaris noted that Blackwell’s “deep knowledge of products and markets in the motorcycle industry will continue to be an invaluable asset to the Victory brand and all other on-road vehicles.” (My italics added.)

The one problem with each of these products, though, is this: Can Polaris teach its dealers to sell these products, ones that are radically different from the Victory and from Polaris’ off-road products?

Staffing Questions

As part of the new organization, Blackwell has been named vice president of motorcycles. Meanwhile, Mike Jonikas, vice president of sales and corporate marketing, has been named vice president of the On-Road Vehicle Division; he’ll be responsible for growing the division. In a related move, Steve Menneto has been named general manger of Victory Motorcycles.

The question here is: How much responsibility will Blackwell have? In the recent past, he’s worn several hats for Polaris, at one time running both the Victory and International operations simultaneously. Hmmm, perhaps the sport bike idea isn’t so far off after all.

We’ll find out soon how this all plays out. Guido Ebert, the senior editor at Dealernews magazine, has a meeting scheduled at Polaris this week. It will be very interesting to hear what he finds out. JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas
at 952/893-6876 or joe@powersportsupdate.com

Concepts, Concepts and More Concepts

December 3, 2008

Some concept bikes make it into production, some don’t. Here’s a run-down of some of the neat design studies unveiled during the past few years.

Confederate Renovatio
Confederate’s Renovatio (Rebirth) concept was designed with a liquid-cooled V-twin producing 150hp standard or 190hp supercharged.
conceptrenovatio1
Honda V4
Unveiled in October at INTERMOT, Honda’s V4 Concept is a design study made to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the OEM’s V4 four-stroke engine.
concepthondav4
Victory Vision 800
The Victory Vision 800 concept featured an 800cc 4-stroke liquid-cooled parallel twin mated to an automatic constant variable (CVT) transmission.
conceptvictoryvision8001
Yamaha Tesseract
Unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the Yamaha Tesseract is capable of leaning into turns and gets its power from both a V-Twin engine of undisclosed size along with an electric motor.
conceptyamahatesseract
Aprilia Mana X
An update to the Mana unveiled in 2006, the radical 839cc V-twin Aprilia Mana X, shown at EICMA 2008, is a 383-lb. bike producing 55hp at 8000rpm.
conceptapriliamanax
Bombardier Embrio
Powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, the Bombardier Embrio concept uses “outrigger wheels” until it hits 15mph, and then it becomes a gyroscopically balanced unicycle.
conceptbrp_embrio
The Gulak Uno
The Uno was invented by 18-year-old Canadian Ben J. Poss Gulak and shown at the 2008 National Motorcycle Show in Toronto. Like the BRP Embrio, the electric-powered vehicle also uses a gyroscope for balance. Like a Segway, to make it go forward, you lean forward. To slow it down, you lean backward. It has two wheels mounted side-by-side.
conceptuno
Chrysler Tomahawk
Chrysler’s former president, Wolfgang Bernhard, drove the Tomahawk on stage at the Detroit international auto show in 2003. This radical concept is powered by a V-10 engine sourced from the Viper.
concepttomahawk1
Derbi DH 2.0
Shown at EICMA last month, the Derbi DH 2.0 can be described as a motorized mountain bike. It has fuel in frame, an automatic transmission, and a 96cc single-cylinder four-stroke producing 8hp.
conceptderbidh201
Suzuki Crosscage
Suzuki’s Crosscage is a fuel-cell motorcycle featuring an air-cooled fuel system from and secondary lithium-ion battery. Look away from the traditional engine – the motor is inside the huge swinging arm/rear wheel assembly. The faux petrol tank covers the fuel cell, the hydrogen fuel tank is where the motor is normally and the battery and motor controller sit underneath.
conceptcrosscage
Husqvarna SMQ450
The Husqvarna SMQ450, powered by a 450cc liquid-cooled single, was shown for the first time at EICMA in November.
concepthusqvarnasmq450
Honda EVO-6
First shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the EVO-6 is powered by an 1800cc six-cylinder engine sourced from the Gold Wing.
concepthondaevo6
Yamaha Gen-Ryu
Also unveiled at the 39th Tokyo Motor Show was Yamaha’s Gen-Ryu, equipped with a 600cc engine and electric motor hybrid system.
conceptgen-ryu
BMW Lo Rider
The BMW Lo Rider allows the customer to adapt the entire character of the vehicle to individual taste, and take full pleasure in assembling the unit into anything from a cool cruiser to an aggressive muscle bike. The design elements that customers can individually combine include a raised or lowered exhaust system; a seat for one or two, or an aluminum perch seat; a headlamp unit in classic shape or in streetfighter style; a fuel tank with or without aluminum trim; four paint finishes for the fuel tank; three paint finishes for the engine casing; and front and rear wheel fenders finished either in black or chrome.
conceptbmwlorider
Aprilia FV2 1200
The year 2007 marked the 20th anniversary of Aprilia’s first GP win. The concept FV2 1200 served as a tribute to that anniversary, and offered a glimpse of the technical and stylistic attributes Aprilia planned to develop for future production bikes. It’s powered by a 1200cc, 90° V-twin engine and boasts a ride-by-wire control system integrating traction control, a latest generation ABS system and electronic suspension management. The bike’s dashboard incorporates a multifunctional instrument cluster that can be interfaced with a PC, making it possible to download telemetric data for personal performance evaluations, reconfigure the information shown on the matrix display, load new mappings from the internet, display itineraries, and integrate GPRS and GSM modules for mobile phone connectivity.
conceptapriliafv2
Vectrix Electric Superbike
Unveiled at EICMA 2007, the Vectrix Electric Superbike is powered by a 240v, 7.5KWh battery that drives an electric motor in the rear hub. The 449-lb. bike has a claimed top speed of 125mph and a single-charge range of around 70 miles.
conceptvectrixsportbike

EICMA Filled With Hot Models

November 26, 2008

I attended the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, earlier this month. Lots of eye candy … hot new and upcoming models were everywhere. Check ’em out:

dsc_01151 dsc_0118 dsc_0171 dsc_0190 dsc_0198 dsc_0205 dsc_0206 dsc_0211 dsc_0212 dsc_0226 dsc_0228 dsc_0248 dsc_0269 dsc_0278 dsc_0296 dsc_0298 astyle dellorto derbi dsc_0018 dsc_0026 dsc_0050 dsc_0052 dsc_0059 dsc_01181 dsc_0123 malaguti piaggio npa1 sym