Victory Motorcycles have been around for over 20 years. Even though the last plant closed down last year, there are still a number of these great bikes around. You might consider the brand something of a throwback to a time when having complete freedom on the road was more appreciated than it is in modern society. Even though riding a great motorcycle might not be as prevalent now as it once was, there are still plenty of people that find it to be a near-perfect activity. As far as the motorcycles from Victory are concerned, there might be a lot of things that you don’t really know about the company. Below are 20 of the more interesting tidbits.
1. The first bike was produced in 1998
It really doesn't seem like it was all that long ago, but the company was in business for more than 20 years. The very first Victory motorcycle was completed in 1997 and went into serious production one year later. The funny thing is that a lot of people actually think that the company was producing motorcycles far earlier than they really were. For some reason, almost everyone has the tendency to think that they were in production for decades before anyone even thought of the idea to create a motorcycle company. There are essentially two reasons for this. The first is that parent company Polaris has been around for so long that most people can scarcely even remember how long they've been in business. In addition, the company eventually purchased another popular motorcycle brand that has been in business since before World War II. As a result, people often think that this is one company in the same, when in reality it is very different.
2. The company was actually driven by Polaris
Most people are surprised to learn that Victory was not really a company in and of itself. Instead, it was what amounts to another division of the Polaris company, the same one that is so famous for making four wheelers and other all-terrain vehicles. Back when the company made the decision to produce motorcycles, they decided almost immediately that they did not want to produce them under the Polaris name, as they thought it would be a marketing mistake. Therefore, they made the decision to name their particular division Victory and market it as if it were its own company. They were so good at this marketing technique that many people still don't realize that Victory motorcycles could just as easily have the Polaris name plate stamped on them.
3. It was formed to be a direct competitor with Harley Davidson
The entire reason this company was formed was to allow Polaris to compete for business with Harley Davidson motorcycles. The company truly believed that if they produced the right type of product, they could steal away many of the customers that Harley Davidson already had and bring them over to their company, thereby giving them the opportunity to make more money in a division they had not previously been involved in. It all comes down to a matter of finding a way to make as much money as possible. The company felt that the best way to do this was to start marketing something they had never been involved with before, as they basically had the market cornered when it comes to the types of vehicles they are best known for.
4. The company was in business for four years before it started seeing a profit
It's really not all that uncommon to see a business that's just getting off the ground struggle for a few years before it starts turning a profit. This one was no exception. As a matter of fact, it was in business a full four years before it started making any money. However, Polaris had committed to making and they stuck it out until they started seeing results. While many standalone companies would not have been able to stay in business for that long without turning a profit, this one could manage because of its parent company, Polaris. Otherwise, the Victory motorcycle might have died off long before it really ever got off the ground.
5. If it weren’t for snowmobiles, Victory would never have existed
You already know that Victory was essentially the same company as Polaris, but you might have forgotten that they didn't start out making four wheelers. Instead, the company got its start making snowmobiles, something they still produce today. Most people that live in the southern-most states think that Polaris only makes four wheelers and similar vehicles because they obviously have no need for a snowmobile. With that being said, the company has dominated the snowmobile market for a number of decades and they continue to do so. There is absolutely no indication that the company is losing its grip when it comes to either snowmobiles or four wheelers.
6. Polaris investigated the motorcycle industry for about eight years
Even though the company was interested in creating its own motorcycles, it wanted to be sure that it was doing it right. As a result, they hired people within the company to investigate the motorcycle industry for almost a decade before they made the decision to start producing their own. Most of the other motorcycles the company focused on involved those made by Harley-Davidson. The company had been extremely interested in forming a branch dedicated to motorcycle production for quite a long time but they were meticulous when it came to doing their research. They wanted to know what the public wanted and then mimic those qualities in their own motorcycles.
7. The motorcycles produced were quite heavy
In reality, Victory wanted to create motorcycles that were essentially the same as the Harley Davidson models. Since those particular motorcycles have a tendency to be much heavier than motorcycles made by other companies, the ones made by Victory were equally as heavy. While there are plenty of differing opinions about whether or not a heavy bike is the best kind to have, there are a number of people that do prefer them. That is essentially what Harley Davidson is all about and it always has been. Since the company wanted to create a bike that would be similar yet superior, it only makes sense that the overwhelming majority of the bikes produced by Victory would be on the heavy side.
8. The company’s first production model made history because of its engine
At the time that the first production model was released for sale, it had the largest engine of any motorcycle made in the United States. Whether or not that engine produced the greatest amount of horsepower might be debatable, but no one could argue the fact that as far as displacement goes, there was not a larger engine on any type of motorcycle to be found throughout the country. This alone interested people that loved to ride motorcycles. It's essentially the same thing as putting a history-making engine in a high-quality automobile. It's bound to garner a lot of prospective buyers, which is precisely why the company decided to incorporate the engine in the first place.
9. The design of that first bike was unique as well
The company wanted to create a memorable design so they mimicked the more popular automobiles of the 1930s and 1940s in order to create a unique looking bike that could perform as well as it looked. Ideally, the company wanted to copy the designs of the fenders that existed on classic automobiles and then incorporate those designs into the exterior of the bike. This was certainly no small task, to be sure. However, it was one the company handled extremely well. Many of the motorcycles made by Victory carried that distinctive look for the duration of the company's operation.
10. The company handled its marketing in a different way
Marketing is always a big deal for any company. The key is to find something that sets that particular company apart from all of the competition. Victory decided to handle this dilemma by creating a contest that required people to send in a video detailing why they should win a particular motorcycle made by the company. The marketing campaign was a huge success, allowed two people to win motorcycles, and gave the company what amounted to a lot of free advertising that could be used for years to come.
11. Victory ceased to make a profit in 2014
Even though there was basically nothing wrong with the Victory motorcycles, the company stopped seeing a profit in 2014. That means that throughout its slightly more than 20 years of operation, it was only turning a profit for about 13 of those years. When the company finally decided to cease all operations, it had not made a profit in three years.
12. The last plant was located in Iowa
This was the birthplace of the Victory motorcycle, so it only seems fitting that it was also the last operational plant before the company officially went out of business in 2017. This was no accident, as the company chose to end things just as they had begun.
13. Parent company Polaris essentially sacrificed one company for another
A full six years before Victory went out of business, Polaris apparently noticed that something was not going quite the way they had hoped. As such, they began investigating what it would take to purchase Indian motorcycles and revive that particular brand as a more successful competitor against Harley Davidson. Once they discovered that this was indeed a possibility they made the decision to move forward with it. This undoubtedly played a large part in the decision to stop production at Victory. You might say that they decided the Indian Motorcycle name would carry them further, so they decided to stop production on their own company.
14. It all comes down to being sentimental
As far as the motorcycles themselves are concerned, the Victory in the Indian companies were making virtually the same thing. The difference is that Indian Motorcycles had been in business since the 1930s and held a very sentimental spot with many individuals. Polaris had decided that the only way to truly compete with Harley Davidson was to do so with a product that created an equal amount of sentimentality, something that a company started in the 1990s just couldn't do.
15. There is an owner’s club dedicated to these machines
Even though the company hasn't been in business since last year, there is still an active owner’s club and people still have a great deal of pride in owning and operating one of these machines. In fact, it seems to be even more important now that the company is no longer producing new motorcycles.
16. There are still over 100 chapters that remain active
Even though Polaris didn't believe that Victory motorcycles could successfully compete with Harley Davidson bikes, they still made a major Impact within the community. The fact that there are slightly more than 100 chapters dedicated to Victory motorcycles attests to the fact that these bikes did indeed reach a large number of individuals.
17.There are riding clubs dedicated to Victory motorcycles in several countries
These motorcycles are not just owned and operated in the United States. In fact, there are at least five different countries where you're likely to see one of them. In addition, all of these countries have active owner’s clubs.
18. The bikes offer extremely high quality
The initial idea was to create something that could easily compete with Harley Davidson, a company known for producing quality machines. As such, quality was always a major factor at Victory and it was never taken for granted. Therefore, many of the earliest bikes that were produced by the company are still on the road today.
19. They have more than enough power
The bikes are known for having engines that are perfectly capable of taking them to the highest levels of performance. As a result, people that test drive them usually fall in love with them almost immediately.
20. There are many versions available
While the original goal was to produce something almost exactly like Harley Davidson, there ended up being several different versions of bikes that were ultimately produced for sale.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker