GUN­NING FOR VIC­TORY

Up­dated Vic­tory Pro­ject 156 to race again as pro­duc­tion ver­sion of per­for­mance V-twin moves closer

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Andy Downes SE­NIOR REPORTER

Vic­tory will re­turn to the fa­mous Pikes Peak In­ter­na­tional Hill Climb in Colorado this year with a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the Pro­ject 156 rac­ing bike – adding fur­ther weight to spec­u­la­tion that a true Pro­ject 156 road bike will make it into pro­duc­tion.

The US firm are still re­fus­ing to of­fi­cially con­firm this, but in­sid­ers say some­thing much more rad­i­cal is un­der de­vel­op­ment, and could re­vealed later this year. The com­pany will also be re­turn­ing to the Isle of Man TT with their Vic­tory Em­pulse RR elec­tric bike, and rac­ing a new ver­sion of the bat­tery­pow­ered ma­chine at Pikes Peak. It’s all part of the plan in to turn Vic­tory into a much sportier brand, en­tirely fo­cussed on ‘Amer­i­can per­for­mance’, while sis­ter brand In­dian tar­gets the her­itage seg­ment of the mar­ket.

Pro­ject 156 was raced last year as a pro­to­type, and was the first hint of a new di­rec­tion for Vic­tory. At the time the spec­u­la­tion sug­gested a pro­duc­tion bike would fol­low closely there­after, and the of­fi­cial en­try into Pikes Peak on the cen­te­nary of the event’s first run adds fuel to that fire once again.

One in­sider said: “Pro­ject 156 is still im­por­tant to Vic­tory and not only does the com­pany want to win its class at Pikes Peak, but the in­ten­tion is still to cre­ate a pro­duc­tion bike with sim­i­lar lev­els of per­for­mance and looks for the road in the near fu­ture.”

The of­fi­cial Pikes Peak web­site was re­cently up­dated to con­firm Vic­tory’s en­tries for 2016, stat­ing: “Vic­tory Rac­ing will re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion in the mo­tor­cy­cle pro­gram for a se­cond con­sec­u­tive year with their Roland Sands De­signs cus­tom built Pro­ject 156 Pro­to­type bike that will be rid­den by 2014 Pikes Peak Heavy­weight Cham­pion Jeremy Toye. Vic­tory will also field an elec­tric pro­to­type mo­tor­cy­cle to be pi­loted by Cy­cle World’s Road Test Editor Don Canet in the Elec­tric Mo­tor­cy­cle Class.”

Vic­tory are en­joy­ing a large-scale in­vest­ment from par­ent firm Po­laris In­dus­tries as it re-works its range. With In­dian al­lowed to fight squarely against Har­ley-david­son, Vic­tory can forge a dif­fer­ent path un­der the ‘Mod­ern Amer­i­can Mus­cle’ mantra to chase younger, more per­for­mance ori­en­tated rid­ers.

But the first pro­duc­tion bike to emerge un­der this new era of Vic­tory was the rather muted 105bhp 1200cc Oc­tane cruiser which, while sportier than al­most ev­ery­thing else in the sec­tor, wasn’t any­where near as cut­ting edge as Euro­pean mar­kets had hoped.

What’s clear is that there’s a lot more power and torque locked away in­side the Oc­tane’s V-twin; it just needs Vic­tory to un­leash it all with a higher state of tune, while pack­ag­ing it in a chas­sis to suit.

Pro­ject 156, mean­while, uses a de­riv­a­tive of the same en­gine, but boast­ing an es­ti­mated 150bhp in race trim. The en­gine was de­signed and built by Vic­tory at the com­pany HQ in Min­nesota be­fore Roland Sands De­sign cre­ated a bike to house it in. Sands and his team used parts such as the swingarm and sus­pen­sion from a Du­cati 899 Panigale to speed up the de­vel­op­ment of the bike un­der such a tight time sched­ule, but it’s thought the racer will be sig­nif­i­cantly mod­i­fied for this year’s event now that Vic­tory have had more time to pre­pare it.

Speak­ing to MCN, Vic­tory head of new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment Gary Gray said: “We have talked be­fore about the free­dom the re­turn of the In­dian brand has given to Vic­tory to be some­thing dif­fer­ent and Pro­ject 156 is an ex­am­ple of that mod­ern per­for­mance. You will still see more from Vic­tory but we are not talk­ing about specifics of timescale on when any pro­duc­tion bikes might be seen but there is a lot more to come from Vic­tory Mo­tor­cy­cles.”

Alex Hul tgren, Di­rec­tor of Mar­ket­ing, added: “Vic­tory lives and breathes Mod­ern Amer­i­can Mus­cle by con­tin­u­ously push­ing our­selves through our per­for­mance and rac­ing ini­tia­tives, and since Pikes Peak is ar­guably the most chal­leng­ing race in Amer­ica, it’s ex­actly where we need to be.”

It could be ev­ery­thing Buell tried to be

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