– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Death of Victory Brand Frees Indian to Produce Higher Performance Models

Indian has built a race team around the new FTR750 flat tracker.

Polaris had been positioning Victory as the high-performance brand in its motorcycle division, leaving Indian to pursue more traditional designs. Indian, of course, has a history that includes high-performance motorcycles, including success in racing that goes back many, many decades. With the Victory brand now gone, Polaris is free to manufacture higher performance Indian models, as confirmed by Polaris Motorcycle President Steve Menneto in an interesting interview published on the Cycle News website earlier this week.

You should read the full interview, but here is, perhaps, the most interesting quote from Menneto:

Well, as we look at it now we have the opportunity to take Indian drag racing, to do Pike’s Peak, to go to the Isle of Man and to continue to expand our competition activities with what is now our single brand. We shouldn’t forget just how central race success has always been to Indian’s appeal to the customer. As we start our flat-track campaign, you’ve seen the quality of the bike and the quality of the team, and as we move forward you’ll see us continue to evolve the competition side of our brand with great bikes, and great riders. Indian will be very competitive as we enter those different sporting arenas, but only with the highest level of equipment, and personnel.

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. Kevin says:

    Gents, I bought an Indian because Polaris had the experience with building Victory bikes. It seems to me, Polaris took a logical step with building the big Indian’s first: hot segment with good profits. And I wanted an American built bike. Everyone and their brothers seem to own an HD. Let’s look at the big picture. Polaris is globalizing (bikes sales are stagnant in US), they have made the tuff decisions to cut out unprofitable brands (Victory), they have created the Scout line following the Chief intro…let’s see where they take a brand which needs to compete with the big money companies from Japan and elsewhere.

  2. StickyTires says:

    To my eye, nothing in Mr. Menneto’s statement directly points to the development of a new model for the general public to purchase. The bikes that Victory used on the drag circuit, at Pike’s Peak, and at the Isle of Man will now carry an Indian Badge. The ‘competition side’ of his brand refers to the race teams, not the public. This is a bunch of marketing fluff.

    • paquo says:

      yes but you gotta wonder if it backfires with absolutely no related product as people resent getting constantly played by this company

      • Michael Gaillour says:

        Indian/ Polaris is selling the race bike to the public. With a waiting time and full financial commitment, you can buy the bike the new Wrecking Crew is riding. I would guess, not with the same results;)

  3. stan says:

    The new front wheel and fender on the Jack Daniels bike is an indicator of seriousness at Indian. It probably took a renegade in the boardroom to do that. Result- the bike looks 1000% better. Indian: offer that front end treatment on production bikes!

  4. fast2win says:

    All the negativity. Look all you geniuses that don’t think Polaris is serious about building motorcycle’s your wrong. And let me tell you why. Victory never made money. Period. You can have all the good intentions of building all the new product you want. But if you not selling your bread and butter cruisers and baggers, how are you gonna get money from the polaris mothership. If victory was profitable they would have made other bikes. Indian on the other hand is profitable already, in 4 short years. now you can justify the money needed to build other bike’s. We will see some kick ass Indians soon. I bet we see a new engine within 6 months.

    • mickey says:

      What’s that old saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? For 18 years? Wasn’t Polaris footing the bill all 18 of those years?

      We might see a new engine in the next 6 months, but if history is any indication of what Polaris invests in, I’m guessing it will be in another foot forward cruiser.

      Old dogs and all….. another great old saying.

      Come on Polaris, surprise us.

    • VFRMarc says:

      Dear fast2win: I stopped reading after your “your”.

  5. Mack says:

    Steve. Stop talking, start doing.

  6. Auphliam says:

    Good interview with a very familiar ring to it. As a long time Victory owner, I’m inclined to dismiss most of that as typical Menneto BS. We’ve heard these lies for years from him since he arrived on the motorcycle scene at Polaris. Honestly, every time I hear/read that same old “There are absolutely no restrictions on what kind of motorcycle we can make…” line, I throw up a little in my mouth.

    The (not so) funny part is, he’s mastered the game. The moto media is more than willing to keep asking for, and consuming, the stuff he’s slinging. They keep asking the same questions, because that’s what we want in the industry. He keeps giving the same answers, not because he has any intention to actually follow through, but simply because he knows exactly what we want to hear.

    I guess time will tell if he is actually telling the truth. Personally I don’t think he’s capable. We’ll see. As somebody else posted, I’ll believe it when I see it.

  7. Carlos says:

    So why the snub on the new Harley Davidson Street Rod? I’ve been checking daily for 2 weeks on a ride report or at least a release report but haven’t seen a thing. I had rather read about a product I can buy today than some maybe “they will build it” if we write about it bike.

    • Bob says:

      My perspective is the polar opposite. I’d rather talk about bikes that they should build and probably won’t because I probably wouldn’t buy one even if they did.

  8. Dave says:

    Build me a Scout with the footpegs where they belong, underneath me. Keep the seat height at a reasonable height, give it an option for panniers.

  9. FNFAL says:

    That 1980 YZ swingarm never goes out of style 😉

  10. Frank says:

    Would they, could they, should they…if they feel there is a profitable enough market for it they would, could, should, and will build it.

  11. Mike Johnson says:

    From my point of view WEIGHT is the critical factor going forward as this determines so much what a motorcycle can do performance. What would a street legal version of this bike shown above weigh?

    Titanically heavy motorcycles no matter the horsepower is the wrong approach for me.

    What is too heavy? If the bike above weighs 333lbs with all fluids we have an eye-popping package, 375 lbs is still good but given the materials we have now as opposed to 1957 this should be feasible.
    The reported weight as above is UNDER 300 as it sits

    • mickey says:

      good luck with that. A 1973 Yamaha RD 350 twin 2 stroke with a single disc brake front, skinny little forks, skinny little shocks, skinny little swingarm, 3 gallon gas tank and a kick starter weighed 360 pounds.

    • Bob says:

      The Yamaha FZ-07 has a claimed wet weight of 398 pounds and it’s price point doesn’t allow a lot of exotic weight saving measures. I’d think Indian could keep the weight of an FT750 based street bike around the same weight as the Yamaha.

      • mickey says:

        I read his response as saying with the materials we have now 333 pounds should be feasable. 333 is a lot different than 398 when it comes to building a motorcycle. Still, I doubt that Indian would put out a 750 twin that weighed less than 450 pounds and still keep it even remotely comparable price wise to an FZ07.

        • SausageCreature says:

          Technically feasible and economically feasible are two very different things.

        • Bob says:

          I’d be thrilled to see it come in at 430 to 450 lbs wet, considering the Yamaha SCR 950 comes in at a whopping 547 lbs.

  12. Grover says:

    Blah,blah, blah. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  13. mechanicus says:

    The day Victory signed a contract with Ness their long-term viability was doomed. Their sharp-edged doofus clownish styling never appealed to the target audience.

    Also, as mentioned below, the failure of management to recognize this in time and adapt. Same w/HD and the VROD. Why in Hades did they take a great engine design and squander it with that chassis? Baffling! And to stubbornly continue to sink capital year after year. Corporate insanity.

    • yellowhammer says:

      Polaris, send Ness & Co on an extended cruise to Madagascar. Take the FTR750 motor, bring out 2 bikes: A CB1100/TriStreetTwin/HDDyna class all around street bike with big hp numbers and std ergos and a realistic 2-up seat with a round headlight. 2nd model, add a non-garish batwing handlebar mounted fairing with hard saddlebags and a rack. Make the styling smooth and rounded and classic and make the look integrated. You will never catch up with the orders.

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: Why in Hades did they take a great engine design and squander it with that chassis?

      A: pfft, God knows… err… Beelzebub.

    • RD350 says:

      I think you put your finger on it mechanicus. I always detested Arlen Ness’ style. The Victorys all seemed to come in that style, whether penned by Ness or not. If Indian is serious about appealing to enthusiasts, they need to abandon the garish and gaudy Ness vibe. They also need to build sporting bikes that are not based on a cruiser frame .. Scout or otherwise. We don’t want a cruiser based sportbike or tracker or scrambler! Harley keeps trying to market this formula .. and they keep failing. Indian, please don’t follow Harley’s lead .. on anything.

  14. Michael Haz says:

    “Indian will be very competitive as we enter those different sporting arenas, but only with the highest level of equipment, and personnel.”

    Uh, Steve, let’s you run all that past the Polaris board of directors first. They seem intent on making a profit, not wasting corporate money on low volume halo motorcycles.

  15. mickey says:

    They are now free to manufacture something high performance. The big question remains… Will they?

    • VLJ says:

      Whether it was Victory or Indian, they’ve always been free to manufacture high performance. Nothing’s changed.

      • mickey says:

        my point exactly. I was quoting the article. Well what was holding them back before?

      • Fast2win says:

        Not so. As they needed to be profitable first. Eric Buell learned it the hard way.

        • mickey says:

          One would think after the first decade of non profitability someone would have said “hey design engineers, something isn’t working, we need to try something new”.

          But Nooooooooo

  16. Random says:

    “Polaris is free to manufacture higher performance […] models”. Humm, didn’t I hear that before? Yes, it was when they bought the Indian rights.

  17. Dig Dirt says:

    Sitting on a Scout may change your mind. After riding dirt bikes for more than 40 years I wanted a street bike too. I sat on Hondas, Triumphs, and really wanted another Aprilia to go with my RXV. They all felt wide and I felt awkward on them. The spot for my wife to ride on was just a joke. Then I sat on a Scout. It feels like a feet forward dirt bike. Then I took it for a ride, it’s just like my RXV! It may be a cruiser to most people but not to me.

  18. Tom R says:

    I fear that the Scout’s motor will suffer the same fate as the V-Rod’s: a strong and flexible engine forever trapped in a chassis that does not do it justice.

    • Fast2win says:

      I fear nothing of the sort. They know what they have and I’m pretty sure they’re going to use it. Project 156 can easily become a better selling Indian that it would have ever been under a victory badge

  19. Jonathan says:

    if nothing else, look at the traffic generated on this thread. those are a lot of posts in a relatively small amount of time. take note Indian, you have a chance to do something special, and dont ‘Octane’ us again!!! do us proud, we are waiting…

  20. allworld says:

    Well time will tell.
    I truly would love to see performance motorcycles from Indian. Till then I have no real interest in their products or that of HD.

  21. RD350 says:

    One more item to chew on when considering the viability and possibility of future high performance Indians. Polaris owns SwissAuto who are well respected for their F1 & MotoGP engineering. Indian’s new Flat Track bike was developed by SwissAuto. While the race-only flat track motor is just that .. race only .. they now have the makings of a serious, modern V-Twin that can be used in a variety of segments. In other words, what they inevitably learn in racing will eventually trickle down to production models. Hopefully they will make something sporting (light-weight, high spec.) with all that racing technology. A “high-end” street tracker or scrambler would be a great start.

    • Fast2win says:

      The FTR750 could easily be developed into a roadrace engine. Add a couple hears and move the shifter lol.

  22. TunaPete says:

    I remain hopeful that Polaris/Indian might someday produce a motorcycle that will interest me. However, I am hard-pressed to take seriously any motorcycle company that would market this abomination. It looks like a little kid’s comic book caricature of a motorcycle.

  23. Fred M. says:

    As someone who has owned orphan motorcycles from at least three marques over the years, I have trouble looking for silver linings when a brand goes out of business. I never saw anything in Victory’s line-up that really appealed to me, but it’s not all about me; many others who had very positive feelings about the Victory brand and bikes. My condolences to them. I have to wonder if a management shake-up years ago could have prevented the failure of the brand.

    • Texinohio says:

      The failure of Victory was multi faceted. Indian was resurrected with the target of appealing to folks who either remembered them from their youth or were guys such as myself who’s granddad rode them in WWII. Victory was then to be targeted at the 40 and under crowd looking for an edgy “power cruiser” motorcycle. The second part of that plan didn’t happen.

      As a result Polaris is selling 6 to 1, Indians vs. Victorys.

      The automotive why to think of it is with Toyota ending the Scion brand.

  24. Provologna says:

    I’m thinking Indian needs to make a street legal version of their 52-degree V-twin flat track 750 motor. That is simply one of the all time best looking motors, period. It looks like you could just tuck it under your arm and walk away with it.

    Having owned and ridden a good number of singles, parallel twins, V-twins of every angle including flat/180-degree boxers, triples, fours, and sixes, a compact (for its era), counter-balanced 62-degree V-twin, liquid cooled, DOHC 4-valve was my all time favorite, by good margin (Yamaha Vision). That 550cc motor had class-leading torque, fun and entertaining exhaust note, decent top end (again, for its era), and was supremely smooth at all times.

    Yamaha sealed the Vision’s two model year fate by stuffing the motor in a failed performance-oriented package: shaft drive, fuel delivery problem, and single front disc brake.

    • Hot Dog says:

      First year model,’82, had a single disc and bad fueling. The next year,’83, they had dual discs and changed the throttle body throat to work efficiently. Unfortunately, the damage was done. I wanted one in 83 but bought the Venture instead.

      • atlantarandy says:

        Street legal mini lights, half the decibels, a thin front disc, and a place for a tag and my wallet would catch fire from opening so quickly.

      • Provologna says:

        I owned two ’82s and one ’83. As most Vision fans know, it’s motor was a V-Max motor cut in half vertically, but tuned hotter. To this day I suspect few bikes challenge the old V-Max in top gear roll on contests (only a 5-speed).

        I squeezed the snot out of my ’83 for 30k miles. It never missed a gear change.

        Honestly, an otherwise stock ’83 cleanly converted to naked ala ’82 (fairing totally removed) is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. The fuel delivery upgrade vs. ’82 is night and day, plus the ’83 makes more power and torque: 1/4 mile ET and terminal speed about identical (13 flat @ 100mph) even w/the full fairing’s extra 25 lbs. I’m a “Clyde” as we say in bicyling, and I practically never scraped anything (folding pegs would come up).

        I’d often ride with nylon saddlebags stuffed to the gills, tossed over the passenger seat. My friend riding behind me on Lucas Valley Road in Marin County said the bags skimmed over the pavement on some corners.

        Please return to your regular programming…….

    • My2cents says:

      I never thought I’d hear Yamaha Vision again. Water pump that easily damaged on a tip over and would you like that naked or with clothes borrowed from the Seca Turbo look. But it did make sense on paper and in Europe. For North America it would need to be a 750 back then. I miss that era at least the Japanese were going full on exploring new designs.

      • Tim C says:

        New designs that weren’t trying to out-Transformer each other or the result of whatever bath salts Honda has been getting into generally

        • Scott the Aussie says:

          MVX250 triple. 4cyl 250s. SRX250 & 600. RZ500. RG500. SDR200. TDR250.

          Great times.

  25. rider33 says:

    that makes a better case for the closing of Victory than at least I have seen: 18 years, only two of which were profitable and a loss of a hundred million dollars; that’s a lot for any public company to swallow. The Indian timing made it seem like they sold Victory down the river, the truth is more like they stuck it out longer than anyone likely could have expected. Given that they hung in there under those conditions for Victory and Indian out of the box has had a much stronger start I would fully expect them to now lean into that brand. That they recognize the long term plan for success on that is not to simply ape 50+ years old styles and chase aging segments is a good thing. I’ve got to believe Polaris owned a chunk of KTM a while back for a reason. Once the statute of limitations on the separation expires my guess is they just might get their toes dirty, the flat tracker points in that direction as well, ‘hell of a bike that..

  26. Scott says:

    We’re still Charlie Brown, and Indian/Polaris is Lucy holding the football…

  27. CrazyJoe says:

    Comparing the Scout to the Sportster. Harley wins. Comparing the indian flat tracker to the Ducati Scrambler. Indian wins. Would a 10000 dollar 750 compete with a 10000 dollar 1200 on the same floor I doub it.

    I imagine some people would complain about the radiator.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The Sportster winsbby which measure against the Scout? It out-performs the Sportster in every way. Though looks are subjective, I think the Scout is a much better looking bike as well.

      Besides, I think an Indian street tracker would compete against bikes like the Ducati Scrambler and Harley Street Rid more so than the Sportster.

      • CrazyJoe says:

        Yeah but do you want to look at?

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          The Scout is a much better looking bike to me, but I wouldn’t want to own either. So admittedly I am not a member of the right target market to judge a beauty contest between the two.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “I am not a member of the right target market to judge a beauty contest between the two.”

            no worries i’ll be the judge,

            FTR FTW…!!!

      • CrazyJoe says:

        In person the 1200 custom looks right. If you want to go to the after market you have more choices.

        I meant sell not compete against.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Can’t argue with sales. That is certainly one measure the Sportster beats the Scout on

          • Fast2win says:

            That may be true in terms of raw numbers. But I gotta believe that’s where Harley feels the hit the most. Scouts are selling STRONG.

          • Grover says:

            Selling strong?Haven’t seen a Scout on the street yet.

    • Provologna says:

      “Sportster wins” compared to a Scout, exactly how? Are you kidding? A Sportster owner would have to spend at least as much as the original bike’s cost to equal the Scout in pure acceleration. The HD would be a bomb, would be difficult to ride part throttle (that’s kind of important), would shake worse than a stocker (if that’s possible), and would be illegal from top to bottom (emissions, ever hear of those?).

      What am I missing? Did I forget to mention the HD has as much to do with “sport” as does a politician in a truth contest? And that the HD motor comprises farm implement architecture from the late-middle last C, while the Scout is a thoroughly modern design?

    • ROXX says:

      “Scout” beats the “Sportster” in every imaginable ‘head to head’ comparison, hands down.

      • My2cents says:

        But one the Sporty is much better looking ghzn the Scout and spread over many renditions.

  28. Ryan Craig says:

    They don’t need to build sportbikes, but how about a real standard, sport-tourer or something (anything) that isn’t a cruiser? I think the Indian Scout’s engine is pretty sweet, but even the Octane was way too much to the cruiser end of the spectrum. How about something like Harley’s new model, but with decent ergonomics? Something with more than 25 degrees of lean angle capability?

  29. downgoesfraser says:


  30. Thor says:

    So where does all this leave Brammo? Is that what he is referring to with the Isle of Man comment? Otherwise I don’t see how Indian would be competitive in that race. Will there be Indian badged electric motorcycles or is Brammo dead now? That would seem like quite a marketing and promotional challenge.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Brammo was already dead, the bike having been rebadged as a Victory.

      It is just speculation in my part, but I suspect they’ll race in the IoM electric category with the bike branded as an Indian. The power train might show up in a consumer product, but I seriously doubt it would resemble anything they race or anything that looks like the Brammo consumer products for that matter

      • Dino says:

        Electric cruisers… Just what we have been waiting for! Small battery (like a peanut gas tank), just so you can make it from bar to bar, and let it charge for 6 hours at each stop…

        I don’t see how electric fits anywhere in the Indian brand. (another reason they should have kept Victory?)

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          At some point in the future, electric might be fitting into every brand, no?

          Right now, it fits into the Indian brand in that there is a racing venue for it.

          • Dino says:

            I agree, the future is likely Electric propulsion. I don’t see the future in Electric batteries, due to their current limitations of weight, range, charge times, etc… Even as batteries get better, they have a long way to go to match the convenience of dino juice.

            And racing does improve the breed, but I hope they steer the electrics toward Fuel cells to power the electrics. that would allow quick re-fueling (whatever the fuel would be) and avoid long charging times.

            Just the thought of a small range cruiser made me giggle, and the fact is won’t make any cool rumbly noises!

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “Even as batteries get better, they have a long way to go”

            and of course they’ve already GOTTEN waayy better, as such they may be at their limit. i mean what “hairy-chested man” among us doesn’t own a Li-Ion cordless tool of some voltage or another…? yeah baby…!!!

            but then of course there’s that whole JAL Boeing 787 incident, and the even more recent Samsung Note 7 incident (i myself almost got bit in the ass with that one and i KNOW better.)

            listen to me now and believe me later (Hanz/Franz voice) when I tell you – good or bad – the limits of battery technology are inextricably tied to the LIMITS OF ELECTRON CHEMISTRY.

            more than a Century on from Mendeleev and Bohr, there’s very little we DON’T know about the Periodic Table, as such when the Universe speaks, we’d do well to listen. just a thought.

    • sbashir says:

      If you had read the interview, Steve said they will not rebadge Brammo or Victory Empulse. They will come up with a brand new electric platform for Indian.

      • thrus says:

        Thing is I don’t believe that for a minute, they would just throw out the IP they paid for they will use it as the base and evolve it maybe, change the look sure but under the covers it will be an evolution of the Brammo just like Indian is an evolution of Victory. Sorry but Indian is more Victory then it is anything to do with all the history that gets thrown around with the Indian name.

  31. Dave says:

    Re: “We shouldn’t forget just how central race success has always been to Indian’s appeal to the customer. ”

    It’d been over 50 years since Indian raced or sold bikes in meaningful numbers. The customer didn’t forget, they died. Indian/Polaris has the opportunity to reinvent.

    • thrus says:

      THIS! Indian has a history of sitting in someone’s brands folder and nothing being made, as often as being an active brand. As bike companies go Indian has a history of failure, over and over again plus being sold. I’m not sure why everyone is so excited to see that started back up, by another company that bought the name. their tie to their history is colors and leather tasles. Harley’s current bikes have about as much of the same to do with their old bikes but they have at least had their doors open for that tale instead of being a brand that only existed on paper for multiple chunks of time in its history.

  32. VLJ says:

    Polaris was already free to produce higher-performance models with either line, and they always chose not to do so. Instead, they chose to participate in a couple of cherry-picked racing series, the tease being that they were attempting to break out of the me-too cruiser world.

    When the time came to transfer their racing success to a higher-performance streetbike, however, what did they produce? Was it something along the lines of their Pike’s Peak bike, or maybe some sort of streetable dirt-tracker? Even better, did they give us a souped-up standard or sport-tourer, i.e., something that would appeal to many more buyers than something as niche-oriented as a dirt-tracker?

    Nope. They gave us the Victory Octane.

    Just like H-D, Polaris is all hat and no cattle.

  33. arrowrod says:

    Add lights, catalytic can, Speedo, $10K. Mine!

  34. Does Tom R says:

    “We shouldn’t forget just how central race success has always been to Indian’s appeal to the customer.”

    This current effort to play up Indian’s racing heritage is somewhat amusing. The last time the original Indian Motorcycle Company was involved in track competition was before I was born…and I’m pretty damned old.

    Yet I am still interested in seeing how this strategy plays out. A relatively sporting production model that goes, turns, and stops as it should would definitely get me into their showroom.

  35. Trent says:

    This article title is a cruel tease if it doesn’t actually happen.

  36. Norm G. says:

    re: “we have the opportunity to take Indian drag racing”

    i’ll see you in the paddock at NHRA pal…!!! be there. (Pacino voice)

    • Norm G. says:

      to elaborate gents, Polaris actually had/has a full blown race team running against the HD, Buell, and Suzuki teams in PSM (Pro Stock Motorcycle). my guess is it would be nothing for them to simply rebadge/repaint the transporter and bikes in “crimson tide” red and BOOM suddenly the Indian name would be in the deep end of racing.

      the championship is like 24 rounds and the bikes run at 16 including the last 6 of the shootout so this is premiere, ESPN, “top o’ the food” chain advertising and marketing. these are the stomping grounds for names like John Force (who doesn’t know that guy) the daughters Force, Brown, Schumacher, Pedgregon, Dejoria (yes, her husband builder Jesse James is usually running around the paddock), etc.

      the series already began back in February and the bikes had their first outing in Gainesville. don’t know if “Team Polaris” were there…? or what livery they ran under…? but the next round for bike participation happens in roughly 30 days time at the crown jewel of the series the 4 Wide Nationals in Charlotte. if you’re a gearhead who fancys the noise of MotoGP…? then by all means go and get your TEETH KICKED IN by the simultaneously launch of four Top Fuel cars (think Saturn 5). it’s a good bit of fun, just keep a tube of PoliGrip at the ready and you’re all set…

  37. My2cents says:

    I believe Indian took a hit in sales when the news of Polaris stopping production on the Victory motorcycle line reached the general population. It is easy to lose faith in a company when the ability to just close up shop and move on is part of the bottom line. Again I think it a huge error on the part of Polaris as they would have been better to trim the Victory line up.

    Indian I hope does continue to grow and I like the move to flat track. The latest Indian release the Roadmaster Classic is a bit odd in it seems to be it’s own time machine. The front starts off modern and turns into a retro cruiser when it reaches the bags, not ugly just odd. The Jack Daniels edition of the Chieftain is really sweet

    I was seriously in the chute to buy a Indian Chieftain this spring but will now delay to see how the whole Victory backlash works out. I can’t afford to buy into a brand that closes the doors to extended warranty and service. This is really a shame because it is a pretty motorcycle.

    • Al Banta says:

      I don’t agree with you. i think it was the right move, that is not having two brands that compete with each other, too expensive and purposeless. I understand that parts and service will still be available for at least ten years. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy an Indian, they are here to stay.

      • Dino says:

        I would have preferred to see Victory “trimmed up” as well… Indian would be king, and classic.
        Keep some of the Victory cruisers (design was paid off, likely) but branch out to the street trackers and scramblers, Adventure bikes, etc… Niches that would NOT make sense for Indian. I think it could have been done right, and room for both brands without cannibalizing sales from each other. Both brands making basically just cruisers and large touring rigs did not make sense.

        Indian may come out with performance models, and race only equipment, but I don’t think they will ever produce anything for the street other than Cruiser variations, and that is a bit of a shame…

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Why do you believe they took a sales hit? There is nothing in their financials that suggests that.

      They made the right move shuttering Victory IMO. That was a stagnant brand that never gained traction. They could have reinvented it, but why do that if a much stronger brand like Indian already has the credibility to venture into new product categories?

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “They made the right move shuttering Victory”

        there’s a time that comes in every man’s life when you gotta shutter somethin’.

    • Fast2win says:

      They absolutely still service victory no door salamming

  38. paquo says:

    anything but a high performance cruiser would be cool, as in a scrambler or standard at least competitive with ducati and or triumph. I mean the dude is all tralk about pikes peak and isle of man so get to it boys make something fast and fun and upright

  39. Superlight says:

    An Indian high-performance cruiser is very believable, but a sport bike execution is a stretch for this brand. I’d like to see more performance and less hype (the Victory Octane promised more than it could deliver).

  40. RD350 says:

    Indian is finally owned by a worthy company that has the resources to make a successful go of this. I expect great things from them. If they development that gorgeous flat tracker into a “serious” street tracker (or Street Tard, Adv. Tourer, etc) I’ll be the first one in line. Their 1-2 finish at Daytona last week in their first pro-race in 50 years shows the seriousness of this new venture. If the product is high quality and competitive, I will gladly give my money to an American brand first.

    • Ryan Craig says:

      That flat-tracker isn’t getting developed into anything for the street. That is a pure race engine that will never see the light of day, even modified, in a production bike. It has roughly zero relationship to anything Indian is selling for the street.

      But the Scout engine, in a chassis with a more “standard” riding position and some flat-track styling would be cool. Kind of like a beefed-up Honda VT500 Ascot, or that new Harley Street Rod based model (forget name offhand) – hopefully with better ergos for full-sized adults.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I don’t think anyone is expecting this bike to get blinkers and a headlight and materialize in a showroom. But I do hope they put something out there styled in the spirit of the styling of this bike. The Scout engine would be fine, but I would rather see something with a little more attitude in a 750cc

        • ROXX says:

          That “Scout” engine does have ‘attitude’.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I haven’t ridden it so couldn’t say, but I am going off the assumption that it is a cruiser tune. It also looks a little heavy for a sporting platform, but it may just be “visually” heavy.

    • thrus says:

      The same company that owned Victory and had the resources, in fact Victory is where most of Indian’s resources came from. I refuse to see Indian as anything other then “Victory name badge #2”. Being under the same parent I always saw them as both badges stuck on a Polaris product, throwing out more then 1/2 their models means I don’t have faith in them for staying around that is not something that happens unless there are desperate times going on.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Victory was unprofitable for most of its 20 year existence. Polaris just ran out of patience with a division that couldn’t make money vs. another division that took a win right out of the gate. Sounds like business as usual, not desperate times.

        • mickey says:

          The fall guy should be the person at Victory who made the decision to keep doing same old same old for nearly two decades, when it was evident that it wasn’t working

          What could have been……

  41. paquo says:

    all talk no action

  42. North of Missoula says:

    I don’t see any Indian performance motorcycles in showrooms.

  43. Jeremy in TX says:

    I know better than to get my hopes up about this, but I’ve got my hopes up about this. By “hopes” I mean that I hope that they don’t mean high-performance cruisers.

    • Dave says:

      I’m envisioning a street going version of that dirt-tracker up there, in style anyway, with 17″ wheels and the same 100hp the stock engine makes. I think we’re stuck in a loop where sport bike = fairing and 160+ mph capability.

      An *American* sport bike to me is something more like the Ducati Scrambler, the new HD Street Rod (only good..) or this thing I’ve described. I am concerned for the name, though. If they grow it’s profile, it’s only a matter of time before an activist group pressures them to change it (though I think the name, “Native” would be awesome) and mess up their brand momentum.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I am hoping for a street tracker, too. The stock Octane engine would be fine, though I’d like to see them amp it up a little. I consider the trackers to have a very American flavor, so I can’t imagine they would be too concerned about eroding their brand with such a design.

        Basically what I had hoped Vic would do with the Project 156, I hope Indian will do with their flat tracker.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I think the name, “Native” would be awesome”

        just got a text from Burt Munro from the “nether regions” he says stick with the name “Scout” and ride it all the way to the bank.

      • EGS says:

        To be gone for 50 years then come back and steal a market HD assumed to be theirs would be poetic justice. Indian need only present a real performance tracker / 156 bike that appeals to the sport rider in a way the XR1200R, XL Roadsters and Street Rods never have. Could even spin up an ADV version to lure some buyers away from the mega-bucks euro crowd.

  44. Tank says:

    I don’t see what Polaris did to position Victory to be the high-performance brand. Did I miss something?

    • Larry Kahn says:

      High performance relative to Harleys. Sorta like Royal Enfields relative to Urals.

      • Dale says:

        “High performance relative to Harleys. Sorta like Royal Enfields relative to Urals.”…

        Now THAT…, was perfect. Well said.

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