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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Thunder vs Lightning – Spotlight on Jeremy Toye on the Victory Project 156

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MINNEAPOLIS — June 8, 2016 Victory Motorcycles® will be motoring into the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) later this month with two very different motorcycles in an epic gas vs. electric battle dubbed “Thunder vs. Lightning.”

Victory Racing’s® gas-powered Project 156™ will be piloted by former Pikes Peak Champion Jeremy Toye while the electric Empulse® RR will be raced up the mountain by Cycle World’s Road Test Editor Don Canet. Canet piloted Project 156 last year.

Project 156 is a custom race bike built by Roland Sands Designs to serve as a test bed for a prototype engine Victory race technicians developed to analyze the limits of the powerplant that now propels the new Octane production motorcycle. Garnering what was learned from Project 156, the production version of the 1200cc Octane engine was born.

“Don placed well in qualifying last year but was unable to finish the run only a few miles from the top of the mountain due to fueling issue,” says Brian Wismann, Victory Racing Team Manager. “The issue has been addressed and the team this year looks forward to summiting Pikes Peak with Jeremy.”

Toye, a veteran roadracer who took home PPIHC Rookie of the Year and King of the Mountain awards in 2014, says he’s enthused about the opportunity to compete aboard Project 156: “This is a seriously quick bike. There are people out there who seem to be under the impression that Don’s electric Empulse RR is going to beat me up the mountain, but I’m thinking this thing is going to be a heavy hitter there and I’m excited to get on it. I just have to make sure the bike and I are fully synched up.”

Just like the Project 156 racer, the liquid-cooled 60-degree V-Twin in the Octane features short-stroke engine geometry to allow higher engine rpm and more horsepower, and produces a quick-revving engine response more like a sport-bike than any traditional American V-Twin.

As you can imagine, many of the parts in the two engines are shared, but some are purposely designed for racing and to push the limits on other components that are being tested for future production. A good example of this is the bottom-end of the motor. The crankcase, transmission, and bearings on the Project 156 development motor are the exact same as what’s on the Octane production motor, but to really push the limits race engineers had to increase the displacement of the motor with a slightly larger bore.

With a legacy born on one of the most challenging race courses in the world, the production Octane’s 104 hp and 76 ft. lbs. of torque is class leading. While Victory Motorcycles is not releasing performance numbers for the Project 156 engine, visitors to the mountain will see that it’s putting out world-class performance comparable to other motorcycles with similar engine designs, and they will certainly hear it thundering up the course.

For this year, Project 156’s engine cooling, lubrication system and fuel system have been massaged to better deal with the dramatic changes in the elevation of the course – particularly at lower RPM to further help Toye squirt out of the tight switchbacks.

“Project 156 continues to be a great platform to test and learn about our production Victory Octane engine,” says Brandon Kraemer, Product Manager for Victory Motorcycles. “Pikes Peak is an ideal testing ground for any naturally aspirated motor as it pushes engineers to optimize flow through the motor at every possible point to negate the thinning air. Ultimately, it’s one of the most rigorous races on the planet, so it’s a great place to push ourselves in the ongoing development of this engine.”

Are you on #TeamThunder or #TeamLightning? Fans of Victory Motorcycles are invited to visit the Victory Motorcycles website to cast their vote regarding which bike, Thunder or Lightning, will be fastest up the mountain and to register for a chance to win a Victory Octane or Victory Empulse TT. The motorcycle given away will be the bike that receives the most number of votes.

Scheduled for Sunday, June 26, The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Brought to you by Gran Turismo is expected to feature a field of approximately 100 competitors. Spectators are invited to join Victory Motorcycles 5 p.m.-10 p.m. June 24 in downtown Colorado Springs to celebrate 100 years of the Race to the Clouds at the 2016 PPIHC Fan Fest. See favorite competitors and enjoy entertainment, motorcycle exhibitions, vendor booths, food and refreshments.

Visit for more information about the event. Learn more about Victory Motorcycles at

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