Vic­tory Ve­gas 8-Ball

Should you roll the dice on this Amer­i­can cruiser?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Buying & Selling - By Jon Urry MCN GUEST TESTER

What we said then

“It’s Amer­i­can made, but un­like a Har­ley-david­son has a much more mod­ern level of per­for­mance, while still look­ing stylish. It might be miss­ing the Har­ley badge, but it has ev­ery­thing else, in­clud­ing an af­ford­able price tag.” MCN launch re­port, 2003

But what is it like now?

I vividly re­mem­ber the first time I rode a Vic­tory. It was a Ve­gas and I was re­ally im­pressed – my first words af­ter the ride were ‘it’s like a Har­ley that ac­tu­ally works!’ Which for me has al­ways been Vic­tory’s key sell­ing point.

Mod­ern Har­leys are a dif­fer­ent prospect, but back in the late 2000s Har­ley’s range was quite lim­ited for non-tra­di­tion­al­ists like my­self. There were a few high­lights such as the V-rod, but over­all they didn’t of­fer much to tempt rid­ers who wanted a bit of per­for­mance in their cruiser. Then Vic­tory ar­rived on the scene and filled this hole per­fectly. And it is this unique­ness that has al­ways made me warm to­wards Vic­tory, which was why I was sad when par­ent com­pany Po­laris an­nounced ear­lier this year that they were shut­ting their doors. But does a Ve­gas still im­press, con­sid­er­ing the new breed of mod­ern per­for­mance cruis­ers such as the Du­cati Di­avel, In­dian Scouts or even Har­ley V-rods?

Sit­ting on this Ve­gas 8-Ball (one of the many post-2010 Free­dom 106-en­gined Vic­tory vari­a­tions), I’m in­stantly im­pressed by the clean view. All you have in front is a sin­gle clock and a set of pulled-back bars. Hit the starter and the big 1731cc air-cooled V-twin rum­bles into life. A good solid clunk of the gear­box and you are away.

Rid­ing a Vic­tory takes a bit of get­ting used to as the skinny 21in front wheel and sur­pris­ingly pow­er­ful four-pis­ton brake caliper with no ABS means care is re­quired, es­pe­cially in the wet. But on a bike that has the Ve­gas’ turn of pace, I’d rather have too much than too lit­tle brak­ing. And the Ve­gas can shift, de­spite its 301kg weight.

Just like other cruiser man­u­fac­tur­ers, Vic­tory don’t quote power fig­ures, but we reckon it’s got about 89bhp with 110ftlb of torque, which is more than enough for enthusiastic cruis­ing. And the han­dling isn’t bad ei­ther.

Again, we are talk­ing a cruiser with a 2462mm wheelbase here, not a sports­bike, but you can en­joy the bends on a Ve­gas. Ground clear­ance is lim­ited, but the Vic­tory’s size and weight gives a wel­come feel­ing of se­cu­rity and you can’t help but grin. And that’s the key to the Ve­gas’ charm, it’s a fun bike to ride that looks and sounds like a cruiser, just with a bit more at­ti­tude.

Any ob­vi­ous faults?

The only ma­jor dis­ap­point­ment on this bike is the cor­ro­sion on the metal fix­tures and fit­tings, which is a Ve­gas Achilles’ Heel. On a bike as good look­ing as this I would have to get them all re-fin­ished, which wouldn’t be a big or ex­pen­sive job and would make an easy win­ter project. The paint flak­ing off the en­gine’s fins would be trick­ier to sort, but again, it’s do-able.

Or worth­while ex­tras?

This bike has a Stage 1 kit, which con­sists of a fruity ex­haust, per­for­mance air fil­ter and ECU re-map, and is worth ev­ery penny. Not only does the Ve­gas sound more spir­ited, it has a bit more poke. The pan­niers I can take or leave, but they are easy to re­move. The hor­ri­ble tool roll at­tached to the forks needs to be binned.

Should you buy one?

The Ve­gas 8-Ball is a cool mod­ern take on a cruiser that still has a nice raw edge to it. The styling is spot on and the en­gine and chas­sis are pleas­ingly per­for­mance-ori­en­tated. I just wish it was a bit cheaper in the used mar­ket.

Thanks to Krazy Horse for the loan of this Ve­gas 8-Ball. It is cur­rently for sale in their Bury St Ed­munds shop for £9850. Call them on 01284 749645 or go to www.krazy­horse.co.uk

Bin the tool roll and you’ve got one cool-look­ing and ca­pa­ble cus­tom Drive belt Check the belt for dam­age as re­plac­ing it is very ex­pen­sive. The belt should last around 30,000 miles, but it can be dam­aged by stones get­ting wedged in the sprocket.

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