A chrome cruiser al­ter­na­tive

Victory has ar­rived, pitch­ing a pre­mium bike to a niche mar­ket, writes CRAIG DUFF

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Bikes - Visit www.vic­to­ry­mo­tor­cy­cles.com.au

WHEN a new mo­tor­cy­cle brand was pre­par­ing to launch, it wasn’t a case of where, but where in El­iz­a­beth St. Mel­bourne’s mo­tor­cy­cle precinct is one of the first stops for bike shop­pers, and Victory Mo­tor­cy­cles’ manag­ing di­rec­tor Peter Alexan­der knew he had to be among them.

That was in Septem­ber. Victory has since ex­panded to Bris­bane, Mackay, New­cas­tle, Dar­win and Auck­land, but Alexan­der is care­ful to vet site and staff be­fore hang­ing out the Victory shin­gle.

‘‘It’s all about po­si­tion­ing and do­ing jus­tice to the brand,’’ Alexan­der says. ‘‘That ex­tends from where we site our stores to how they are fit­ted out.

‘‘The bikes speak for them­selves — they’re a pre­mium prod­uct and our re­search shows peo­ple are looking for a pre­mium bike with an in­di­vid­ual style.’’

Alexan­der com­mis­sioned ex­haus­tive mar­ket re­search be­fore launch­ing the brand here, and he’s in­tent on ce­ment­ing Victory as a pre­mium cruiser op­tion.

‘‘We’re not tak­ing aim di­rectly at Har­ley-David­son, though that’s the ob­vi­ous com­par­i­son,’’ Alexan­der says.

‘‘We’re af­ter rid­ers who want qual­ity, some­thing that’s rel­a­tively unique, and know what they want from their bikes.’’

If what you want is paint­work to sink in, enough chrome to dou­ble as a so­lar fur­nace, and you can af­ford $20,000 to $40,000, you’re on the path to Victory.

The com­pany sold 28 bikes in the first three months of this year, which Alexan­der says is re­al­is­tic.

‘‘We’re meet­ing our sales pro­jec­tions now and we couldn’t have cho­sen a worse time to launch a pre­mium prod­uct, so I’m en­cour­aged that we’ve read the mar­ket cor­rectly.’’

Mod­els range from the lowrid­ing Ve­gas, Ham­mer mus­cle bike and King­pin cruis­ers to the fu­tur­is­tic Vi­sion tour­ers. Arlen and Cory Ness have lent a hand with the de­sign work — you can even buy Ness Sig­na­ture bikes. Power is pro­vided by a 1634cc V-twin with 63kW and 144Nm, or a stroked 1730cc ver­sion good for 71kW and 148Nm.

Na­tional sales man­ager Peter Har­vey says per­son­al­is­ing the bike is a big part of the ex­pe­ri­ence, be it a chromed set of hand­grips, new ex­haust pipes or a tour­ing seat and sad­dle pan­niers.

‘‘We’re deal­ing with a mar­ket that is happy to in­vest in mak­ing their bike their own,’’ he says.

And the US par­ent cel­e­brates its 11th an­niver­sary to­mor­row — July 4 — prov­ing the bikes are re­li­able. Victory is part of the global Po­laris In­dus­tries ATV and snow­mo­bile em­pire.

New kid on the block: Victory’s El­iz­a­beth St store and (be­low) its Arlen Ness Sig­na­ture model.

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