A new direction for Victory Motorcycles – Victory Project 156
By Trevor Hedge
Victory Motorcycles continue to send signals about the future of the brand, a subject of much conjecture since parent company Polaris purchased, and reinvigorated, Indian Motorcycles.
Victory’s new direction is seemingly based on a more sporting and dynamic approach to muscle cruisers, while leaving Indian to take the heritage based traditionalist approach that American motorcycles are most famous for.
Victory’s first competitive road racing effort will get underway this week at the Isle of Man TT, with a Victory Motorcycles entry in the TT Zero Electric Motorcycle category.
While the Isle of Man TT is an event steeped in history and prestige staged in far away Europe, Victory’s next road racing endeavour will be much closer to their traditional home, the iconic Pikes Peak International Hill Climb late this month.
Victory enlisted the help of Roland Sands Designs to come up with a motorcycle to house the new liquid-cooled v-twin the company has been working on at Victory’s Minnesota research and development facility.
The collaborative effort is known as Victory Project 156. That number stemming from the 156 turns in the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb, also known as the Race to the Clouds. The prototype will feature the new liquid-cooled engine and be piloted by Cycle World Road Test Editor Don Canet.
“We have an intense focus at Victory Motorcycles to prove the performance of our vehicles,” said Rod Krois, Victory General Manager in the USA. “Competing as an American OEM at America’s race is an exciting opportunity. The grueling conditions at Pike’s Peak provide the perfect proving ground for our new Project 156 race engine.”
Victory have stated that this new liquid-cooled engine represents the future performance of the Victory brand. It features intake Twin 67mm throttles with downdraft runners for maximum power and torque as well as a performance valvetrain including titanium valves and designed for high rpm.
The Roland Sands Design team developed and built the chassis to cradle the Project 156 motor. “This truly has been an All-American effort,” said Roland Sands. “The Race to the Clouds is a legendary event and we couldn’t be more proud to partner with Victory on the endeavor. We’ve built lots of custom motorcycles, but building a purpose-built race bike for this project has been a unique experience that we’ll remember for a long time.”
The Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb, an annual automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pike’s Peak, Colorado, will take place on June 28, 2015. Having started in 1916, it is the second-oldest motorsport event in America after the Indianapolis 500. The track measures 20km over 156 turns, climbing 4,720 feet (1,440 m) from the start at Mile 7 on Pike’s Peak Highway, to the finish at 14,110 feet (4,300 m), on grades averaging 7 per cent.
“Ever since Victory and Roland Sands introduced me to this project I’ve been counting down the days to the event,” said Cycle World Road Test Editor Don Canet. “This will be my second time racing the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb. Now that I’ve had a taste of what it’s like I’m ready to get back and finish stronger in 2015.”
Victory have also put together a three-part video series documenting the creation of Project 156 which can be viewed below