We all weep for the death of Buell, but there are still other American motorcycle manufacturers with the muscle and know-how to make a sportbike, or at least a sporty bike. Moto-designer and master speculator Oberdan Bezzi thinks Victory should take a stab at putting their 106-inch “Freedom” V-Twin into a roadster chassis, and this would be the likely result. Looks good to us: that 50-degree, sohc, four-valve, air-cooled Twin looks nice hung in a minimalist twin-spar frame, and the inverted front end—festooned with racing Brembo four-piston radial-mount brake calipers—looks even better. The bodywork is reminiscent of the Fisher V-Twin sportbike, and why not? After all, Dan Fischer’s company may be the sole surviving American sportbike maker.
An email to a Victory insider quickly crushed any fleeting joy this illustration brought, although he did have some interesting things to say. “The CORE concept is the closest thing to a naked, café-racer or standard. If your readers would like to see that bike built, Victory would love to hear it.” Send email to Victory’s team here. (And copy MD: we like to hear your feedback too.)
Victory CORE concept
However, a sportbike or roadster from Victory seems pretty much out of the question: “As you know, the V 106/6 is built as a cruiser engine so it is heavy, built for torque, low-revving (compared to sportier poweplants) and features a very stiff crankcase to aid in rigidity – that’s a good thing, but a lower-revving Twin with a fairly heavy motor for a sportier bike would likely have a tepid reception from the consumer, no matter how cool it looked.” Why not design a new powerplant? “Building a new engine is a huge undertaking and very costly. Also, just look at the volumes in the market – what sells? How many Honda 919s do you see as you travel across the USA? Kawasaki Z1000s? Any standard bikes? “Classless” bikes sell to classy people for sure, but they are not volume players in the market.”
Still, it’s always fun to dream.
MD Readers Respond:
- I saw this victory roadster at http://www.motorcycledaily.com/20november09_victoryconcept.htm.
I’d rather see it in my garage. Better yet, I’d rather see it under me on Skyline Blvd. on my way to Alice’s restaurant.
Call me classy if you like but I currently ride my Suzuki SV1000 (twin sport/standard) 20:1 over my Victory V92C which washed as often as it gets ridden.I’m 48 years old and out here in the SF Bay Area the Bezzi Victory is your best bet to acquire the next generation of customers. If you don’t want to take my word for it then come on out and take a ride with me up to Alice’s, take a good look around at the people who will be buying motorcycles for the next 20-40 years and see your future. Dale
- To Victory – While reading Motorcycledaily at lunch, I saw the article regarding a victory non-cruiser. It is an interesting concept, yet one I see is full of with extreme risk for Victory.First, I’d like to give a quick bit of background on mysef, so you can determine where my perspectives come from. I am over 40, and have been a liscenced streetbike rider since I was 18.
I currently own 4 aircooled V-twins. None of them are cruisers; MotoGuzzi V11 Lemans, Ducati Monster, and (2) Ducati 900SS (1 street & 1 track). I enjoy a “sporty” ride, and take the speed to the track. I am not a squid. I enjoy the real world performance of a V-twin; great midrange torque where you spend most of your time on a streetbike anyway. I would be your target customer.
Second, I see the heart of the issue for Victory being centered around getting out of the cruiser market in a profitable manner. Even if the current 106/6 engine is adapted for sporting use, it will be a far distance from almost every naked/standard bike on the market today. I believe even Yamaha saw the rationale in not launching the warrior based MT-01 in the US. Without a new engine design, I see the potential output being something along the lines of the MotoGuzzi Griso. Regardless of the execution, I don’t see how even a good bike in this genre can be made to succeed. It is clear that the US market is not going to accept a bike that will in all probability be priced at, or above, current sportbikes while being heavy or not near the level of performance with at least a 1100monster (over priced as well in my opinion). Current motorcycle publications seem to be trying, rather successfully, to convince everyone that they need a 140hp super-naked bike. If the output from Victory cannot match those levels of performance, then the price has to be extremely attractive. Could Victory sell a $8000 naked bike that isn’t full of low end components? I really tried to like the Buells. In the end the bikes were great handling sportsters. There is nothing sporty about a sportster, no matter how it’s packaged. My ’93 900ss has passed many XBR 9/12′s at the track. If the bike is not perceived as progress, is it worth buying? Again using the Griso as an example, the sales will be few, and I’d bet that even if Moto Guzzi had 10X the distribution network, the sales would not be 10X higher. $14K pricetags make it hard to convert new buyers to the brand, and the V7 shows how a base/beginner bike would only appeal to old-timer Guzzi fans.
Lastly, with the demise of Buell, there is an opportunity to get a fresh engine design (H2O Rotax) with lots of sporting potential for minimal investment. Fix the ugly radiators, keep the price below any of the current SBK/super-naked bikes. Recent AMA racing has raised some eyebrows. I know many track friends that have begun to shift their opinion towards the defunct Buells from never to “hummm – but ugly”. I know I’ll take some heat on the motorcycledaily page if this is posted because I am not full of “Do it now, and I’ll buy one (they never do)” additude. I love the idea, but remain practical. John
- The CORE bike Victory is preferring looks like it has no rear suspension. I certainly would prefer the version you are touting for style and for the practical aspects. No sense emailing Victory if they’re hung up on the CORE concept only. Don
- I am writing a brief note to express my desire to see an American made V-Twin “sporty bike” become available to the general public. I have owned about 20 motorcycles over the past 25 years (two of them earlier generation Buell’s) and I find most modern sport bikes are complete overkill for the street, and most cruisers completely flustered on a twisty road. As the owner of a home made Ninja “Street Fighter” and a Yamaha Warrior, I often wish for a bike with the Ninja’s capable chassis, combined with the Warrior’s torque laden engine. And whenever I do find myself longing for a new bike, I know a few things I want it to have: A set of handlebars, and a modern V-Twin engine, that doesn’t need to be revved to 15K to make power. I also find myself wishing for something that doesn’t cost more then a car, and can out handle my truck when the road gets twisty.If Victory would make just make this bike, I wouldn’t be stuck wondering how to eliminate those side scoops if I buy a Buell CR on clearance, or where I would get it, or an Aprilia Tuono serviced… Regards, David
- I just seen a little bit about the Victory Roadster concept bike at Motorcycle Daily and let me tell you it must be built. Gene
- As seen on Motorcycle Daily 23 Nov 09 – BUILD IT! I’ll buy one! I need/want a V-Twin alternative that is NOT a cruiser
Thanks for listening R L
- Just my two cents in favor of the Core Concept or some roadster. I love roadster bikes. I am 49 and cannot have my feet too far forward. Hits my back too hard. Nice simple bikes like the Core Concept are a reason to live, and ride. That thing just screams, “Ride me!” When do I put down my deposit! Neilp.s. I love the 919 and saw one on CL the other day for a sweet deal!
- Hell yes, we’d like Victory to produce this bike! Many of us understand that cruisers are huge part of many bike makers’ portfolio, but PLEASE consider making a sport-touring Victory with a standard-style riding position.
Yes, many cruisers make decent sport-touring bikes, but I believe many riders would more likely consider purchasing a bike from Victory if the riding position didn’t put your heels in front of your knees.
Thank you, Victory, for continuing to offer exciting alternatives to mundane cruisers (now let’s take it to the next level!), and thank you, MotorcycleDaily.com, for keeping the community informed of the latest news. Paul
- Regarding the Victory Roadster/Core Concept mockups featured in Motorcycle Daily, I’d say please ignore the wacko stylists and give us something more practical. There is a market among experienced motorcyclists for a low-revving V-twin in a chassis that is not hindered by cruiser-width tire or chopper ground clearance. But please, please, make passenger comfort a priority. That torquey engine is perfect for relaxed two-up rides down a twisty road. So give it a wide, flat, heavily-padded passenger seat. Give it all the rear suspension travel it needs for ride and handling. Locate the passenger pegs far enough away from the seat for a 5’9″ passenger to ride in comfort. And tell the marketing people to shut up when they see the resulting seat height.Victory motorcycles have a beautiful sound, competitive performance, jewel-like detail, and they have earned a reputation for reliability. “Best motorcycle I have ever owned” is not an unusual Victory rider’s summation. But I don’t do cruisers, period. A standard with an emphasis on passenger comfort would be very tempting. Give us something with the passenger comfort of a V-Strom that doesn’t hurt your eyes. Joel
- In the Victory Roadster Concept article the question is posed “How many Honda 919s do you see as you travel across the USA? Kawasaki Z1000s? Any standard bikes?”Plenty of Suzuki Bandits, which I am sure fits the definition of a standard. Suzuki apparently has found the right balance of price/performance and comfort to make the Bandit a steady seller for them. Now as an owner of a 2001 Bandit, I may be a bit biased, but I think it’s still one of the best bangs for your buck on two wheels. Al
- As a motorcycle rider for over 40 years I currently own a H-D Ultra and a Buell Ulysses. With the demise of Buell, I have been looking for a replacement machine. H-D does not build a machine that I am looking for and I am getting tired of the perpetual problems that H-d seems to engineer into their products. I have been considering your Vision but the styling is taking some to get warmed up to, for me at least. This Roadster would be a great step in my direction. I really want a sport-touring machine similar to the BMW R1200 RT or the Honda ST1300. I like the Hp to weight ratio of the “sport” part of sport-touring models but I also like the more upright seating position of the touring side along with the amenities, cruise control, ABS brakes, electric windshield, communication system, etc. I would prefer to purchase an American made product but if the American companies do not want to build it then I will be forced to look overseas for my next machine.Please give this type of machine some serious consideration. I realize times are rough for the industry with the current economic situation but it is times like these that companies like yours need to take a new approach to the market to get guys like me interested in the marquee.
Thanks for listening! Ron
- As long as it carries more than 4.5 gals and has a hard bag option and is around $11,000, I’d take one in 2015. Just bought the last 09 Ulysses in the state and should have enough wear to justify a new bike by then.
I like torque, simplicity and light weight. Ergos seem to be pretty good. I’d love to see the Lightning legacy continued. This roadster might not sell but it would make Harleys CEO panic seem unjustified in letting Buell go. I’m sure this roadster will just continue on as a picture or appear as some Confederate clone like the lower picture. Randy
- Just wanted to give you some thoughts from a 34 year old, married, 12 year veteran of sport bike riding. The Roadster, as cool as it looks, wouldn’t be that popular if it’s heavy. Stripped down sport bikes are all about how light it is.The CORE on the other hand, is absolutely my perfect vision of a cruising bike. I’ve been mentally building what I think the ultimate cruiser would be for years now, and it looks like you nailed it. To entice sport bikers looking to settle down for a cool, custom, american made ride, it needs a few things: Big american V-twin; check. USD forks with the latest mono-block calipers; check. (You can never stop too fast to avoid an accident, plus they look really cool). I would like to see a quality rear suspension too. No big plastic covers, fenders, chrome, or extra crap. Or at least make those DOT required items easily detachable. So you have the sport bike brakes, suspension, and a big gnarly torquey v-twin lazy monster to motivate it. And I don’t have to join a social club and buy a matching outfit to ride it. Perfect. I’d buy one. Greg
- I am a potential customer for a “standard” style V-Twin.
I have previously owned a Yamaha TR-1 1,000 cc standard design, which remains one of my favourite bikes.
I do NOT like cruiser designs, as they mostly hurt my back, and the wind pressure against forward feet placement, makes staying in control at speed difficult for me.
I currently ride a Honda CB400 Super Four, the best selling bike in Japan (this is a Jap import).
This is my first four cylinder, but i can’t really come to terms with it, as I much prefer the instant torque of V-Twins, and having to use high revs stresses me.
The only prospective machine which looks likely for me is the Honda Shadow RS, but it’s a bit gutless for the weight.
Even a good single cylinder standard would be nice (I once had an XL 350 which was terrific on the road…).
A good heavy flywheel single, say 650cc, maybe water cooled with fuel injection and a couple of balance shafts…????
No, not a KLR, but something with good suspension, maybe with British looks (19″ front, 18″ rear wheels), good upright ride position…???
Whaddya think? Martin
- what a hoot! bring it on. after 12 years of riding cruisers i bought a ninja 650. what a blast! so give me those no-maintenance hydraulic valves and belt drive, the unique “feel” of a v-twin, and the ergos of a naked standard. i love the idea. steve
- If Victory had any ambition of conquering the European market, something like this would be needed, though they’d be better off talking to Rotax about any left-over Buell 1125 engines. There must be a warehouse full of the things somewhere! In the US, this would go down like a lead balloon. The CORE? Don’t think so. It shouts “I couldn’t afford a Confederate!” Michel
- Your comment quoted on Motorcycle Daily about the Core being the closet bike your company would produce to a naked or café style completely caught me off guard. I can understand a company wanting the public to identify with your unique style and design philosophy, but to not think you could build more than one style of engine seems like your days are numbered.Offering up an Oberdan Bezzi type design would signal that you want your company to move forward, expand and take part of the market share with the Harley-Davidson XR, Ducati Monster, Moto-Guzzi Griso, and Yamaha MT01 etc. Plus, if you made the lighter engine for a sportier line, it would also allow for entry level cruisers to be based around it. Warren
- First MD presents the CR&S Duu as an upcoming reality … then the very next day MD teases us with a Victory Roadster concept that will never happen. Are we stuck between two worlds? Switching between realities, while living in neither?
Let’s choose the world that is brave enough to ride the roadster, no matter the cost. Not all of us are suited for cruisers. Victory should build a bike for the standard human body. Michael
- I find the Core Concept very appealing and would consider purchasing if it came to fruition. Jack
- Man, I wish Victory would build a big dualsport with the smooth and powerful V-twin engine. It would kick BMWs ass. Michael
- While its cool looking, dressing that big lump of an engine up as a sport mount won’t fly anymore than Willie G’s disatorous V-Rod. If you’re going to create a useful sporty v-twin and tie it in with Americana, why not start with a smaller, lighter platform that could also be used to compete with the XR750? The engineering behind the 106 design is spot-on. They should make a 45 cubic inch version and sell it as an entry level platform in various configurations. If they want to assault Harley while they’re down, they could give them a real kick in the teeth by doing that.Most of the lawyers and accountants that run Harley don’t understand the history of dirt track racing and the connection the company and products have to it; they’re not smart enough to make full PR use of the greatest racing engine of all time (XR750) to benefit their company. They let Eric Buell take them in a direction they never should have gone in; took them a long time to figure that one out. In Harley’s case, they’ve lately come up with the XR1200; a bike that they should have been making all along while they were winning races on the dirt tracks of this country. Unfortunately, while a small number of executives at Harley remain supportive of dirt track racing, most of the bean counters have been trying to kill off the XR and any remaining ties to real racing. The whole Vance & Hines deal with their homemade V-Rod NHRA rule buster has done nothing to advance Pro-Stock bike or V-Rod sales.. few attending NHRA nationals care about the class. Mark
- Kawasaki Z1000′s, Honda 919′s; they ruin those bikes with way over styling. Look at those stupid exhaust pipes on the Kawi for starters and everything else. Gross!!! Now look at that drawing, how clean and simple the bike is yet it looks beautiful, functional and cool. No big flash, just fun. Who would not like to ride that around? That bike hits the nail on the head with looks, function, good brakes and I bet it could sound nice and beefy too. A little less torque with mid to top end cams and tuning, and it would be just fine. It does not have to be a sport bike just has to handle good and stop. Greg
- I saw the victory roadster on you website and although it looks good, why can’t they just build it into a sport-tourer. That would be the ultimate sport-tourer, more comfortable by making the rider sit on the bike instead of in the bike, bring the controls and foot pegs back, and with the low maintenance that victory require, and the huge power from the 106 it would be untouchable. They would have to remember to keep it simple and not go the kawasaki or the BMW way with their over the top technology. The only thing extra I could live with is ABS. I wouldn’t be disappointed if they made it an option. Angel
- Dirck, about the Victory Roadster story: I owned a Honda 919 for about a year. The disadvantages of naked sporty motorcycles was never more clear. The seating position put me up in the wind. In case nobody has noticed, most non-gridlock days on CA freeways run around 75-85mph. The 919 could get there in a few seconds. It had me holding the bars in a death-grip at any speed over 65mph. The optional fly-screen was worthless. It also had the worst seat in the history of motorcycling. High mufflers mean no luggage.The 919 had a no-character 4-cylinder engine that was a jewel of power and efficiency. But a quiet buzz isn’t endearing to naked bike customers. We want character like the Triumph triple or a Ducati twin. Moreover, naked ‘standards’ and sporty bikes don’t appeal to the young buyer. He (she) doesn’t remember the great days of naked motorcycles like the Triumph Bonneville and the original Honda CB750. Sportbike riders who can remember the delight of a visible engine are dying off fast. Some (like me) ride Harleys because speed is no longer in the equation at our age. It’s too bad, but true.
I want to see the Honda CB1100 available here soon. But I sense little interest from the market. Honda tried with the CB1000 “Big One”, the CB750 Nighthawk and the 919. Suzuki tried with several Bandit models. The Nighthawk sold in moderate numbers, the others didn’t. The lesson is clear: Sell what the market demands. Don’t try to dictate the market. Frank
- Y’know why Buell had to shut down? Not enough people bought their bikes.
Know why Yamaha didn’t bring the Road Star V-Twin based MT-01 to the States? They knew damn well that not near enough people would buy it. A sporty roadster with an American-style V-twin, air-cooled or otherwise is an answer to a question nobody is asking. Brett
- That’s a great looking bike, something I’d buy, except for the aircooled
engine. I hope you’ve learned from Buell. Motorcycledaily: you are forgetting all the “standard” bikes crisscrossing the US, such as the Versys and V-Strom. Those are the
modern standards. -ted