In the market for a new bike this year? Definitely add the New American Motorcycle to the shopping list. Victory's 2011 models cover all the bases.
The Victory brass, aka the men in black, invited the two-wheeled press to Gateway, Colorado, to put the company's new models through the paces of the twisty Colorado roads. Gateway is about a 50-mile jaunt from Grand Junction, isolated among a remote stretch of the Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway. Upon entering Gateway, about a mile into town-if you'd call it that-is Gateway Canyons Resort (gatewaycanyons.com), which was founded by Discovery Channel pioneer John S. Hendricks. The resort is a full-service getaway that allows its patrons the true feeling of serenity with uncompromised customer service, amenities, dining, and activities. As for the stable of bikes available for the journos to ride, practically every model was on hand at the critics' beck and call. But three motorcycles stand out most for 2011, the brand-new, limited edition Cory Ness Cross Country the Zach Ness Vegas 8-Ball, and the Cross Roads, which has undergone some changes via Victory's introduction of its CORE Custom Program.
Across the board there are some significant points to be mentioned for 2011, first of all in the engine/drivetrain department. The entire fleet now comes standard with the 106/6 powertrain (106ci engine and updated six-speed transmission) whereas only certain models previously housed the 106. The 50-degree Freedom V-Twin features single overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder and 9.4:1 compression ratio. The newer transmission claims a boost in performance, but upon first ride, the most noticeable difference was how stealth Fourth and Sixth gears were (on certain '10 models, Sixth is really whiny). This is a welcomed change and something the Victory drivetrain engineers addressed via Victory owners' feedback. Bike owners spoke, Victory listened. To aid riders' search for Neutral, a Neutral Assist function has been added to the trans so that it's easier to find the gear when stopped, reducing clutch wear.
Also significant in the engine department is that all of the cruiser models have been updated with Stage 2 cams boasting a torque output of 113 lb-ft and 97 horses. The touring fleet however (Vision, Cross Roads, Cross Country), is definitely not lacking power with a standard torque output of 109 lb-ft and 92 hp. When asked why the touring bikes didn't receive the cam upgrade, Victory External Relations Manager Robert Pandya stated, "The Stage 1 has a smoother power delivery and a torque curve better for touring bikes."