Aug. 10, 2009 – Growing its touring presence

By Neil Pascale
LOS ANGELES — On the heels of a disappointing early summer season of sales, the amount of black draping strewn around the recent Victory Motorcycles’ 2010 model lineup unveiling at the Walt Disney Hall Concert Hall in Los Angeles could have been a sign of the heavyweight cruiser times.
Instead, the ample amounts of black draping turned out to be a symbol of Victory’s dogged pursuit of increased market share in not only its cruiser-relevant markets, but also its relatively new arena: the touring market.
Once the black draping was pulled away, Victory had uncovered four new models for its 2010 lineup, two of which are designed specifically for the touring segment and two more to add to the brand’s lower price-point offerings.
“While we and all of our key competitors are facing huge economic headwinds right now, we clearly want to position the business — for Polaris and our Victory dealers — to regain growth in retail sales and market share, as the market stabilizes and starts to grow again,” said Mark Blackwell, Polaris Industries’ vice president of motorcycles.
Victory moved to grow its retail presence by not only expanding its touring lineup but also taking design steps to make its cruisers more appealing to a wider audience and by introducing technology on its premium models that could draw the higher-end crowd.
“If you’re a classic cruiser rider, if you’re a custom cruiser rider, if you’re a performance cruiser rider, Victory now has a bike for you,” Gary Gray, Victory’s product manager, said at the unveiling.
Victory’s new models include:
the Cross Country and Cross Roads, two cruiser baggers that feature Victory’s 106-cubic inch engine with a 6-speed transmission. The two touring bikes have frame designs that are similar to Victory’s first entry into the touring segment, its Vision.
Victory Vision 8-Ball: This new addition allows riders to sit lower in the saddle compared to last year’s Vision and in many ways is a blacked-out, lower price point version (expected MSRP: $17,999) of Victory’s first touring bike. “There’s a lot of people out there that love the Vision,” Gray said, noting those same people don’t necessarily want all the bells and whistles of the Vision. “They don’t need things like the stereo and cruise control. They want a good base bike to start touring.”
Hammer 8 Ball: Another lower-price point offering ($14,499) designed for riders transitioning from the sport bike world to cruisers.
The enlarged 8 Ball family, which also will include the Vegas and Kingpin models, now feature lower riding positions than a year ago, another example of how Victory is attempting to reach a larger audience with its 2010 lineup.
“No matter what anybody wants to ride, we have an 8-ball for them,” Gray said.
On the opposite spectrum of the brand’s model lineup, Victory has added enhanced technology to its Vision. That includes an Anti-Lock Brake System that will have sensors on each wheel, allowing it to monitor wheel speed during braking. Victory also changed its auxiliary power outlets so they are now the cigarette lighter-style outlet and has improved its audio display, which will provide higher-resolution graphics.
Victory also announced it will have a full lineup of parts and accessories for its new Cross Country and Cross Roads touring bikes, including GPS, CB communication systems and dozens of other offerings.

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