By: Chip Douglas
Setting: May 8th 1945, Winston Churchill takes to the microphone, with the crowd in glimmered anticipation, he speaks… “This is your victory! It is the victory of the cause of freedom in every land. In all our long history we have never seen a greater day than this. Everyone, man or woman, has done their best.” Although the setting is quite different, I believe in context it is quite accurate. This IS your Victory. Since Victory launched its first bike in 1998 The Oil Cooled “V92C”, the company kind of seemed to walk in circles until this last year with the new push and focus on getting hip. Last year saw some great focuses on performance and power with the Roland Sands designed, built and raced “Project 156”. Esteemed powerhouse editor Don Canet took the bike and attempted to blast it up the treacherous PIKES PEAK race last year, however was not able to make it all the way up with a bit of a crash in route to the finish. However, even though the bike didn’t make it to the top, what was produced with this Victory Canvas was incredible. Honestly, it opened my eyes to give me the insight… “Hmm, what is victory up to here?” It made me look, and want to keep looking.
When I first saw the Octane, I mistakenly said I thought this was a scout? True, it roots from the same parent company, and true as they even share about 35% of its cousin’s parts. Even thought they share a lot of similarities, Brandon Kraemer, product designer says he “wanted to leverage the parts that weren’t super customer facing, like axle shafts. But anything that give the bike character is unique.” The fact being, I rode the scout when it first came out, so I was wondering if there really was a different in the FEEL of this bike.
First sitting on the bike, the initial impact was, “hey…. This is pretty comfy”. bars felt good, seat felt good, feel in the grips and levers felt smooth. I have to admit, with all the HYPE in the burn out aspect of this bike, you know, WORLD RECORD SETTING BURN OUT and all, I had to make that my first thing to do. At first, I was searching for the ignition and where I was to put this key. I looked and looked and eventually found It placed on the left side of the motor tucked in nicely between the twins. A flick of the key, and a turn of the switch and I was ready to hear the motor. With a press of the start button, the motor whirrs with calculated splendor as the smooth V-Twin purred with the slight sound of grunts delight. Everything felt so smooth, clicking the bike into gear, gripping the throttle, I slowly bring the RPM’S up to speed, feathering the clutch, I let loose with a blast of gas to the injectors as the rear wheels lets go, creating a Picasso like path down the tarmac, my cheeks are sore from the smiles as I set down the road on it’s debut tour of my southern California stomping grounds.
The first bit of information is that the seat height is very accommodating with a low 25.9” saddle. Honestly my 8 year old son could possibly reach the ground! Well, maybe not, but it’s a nice point to put out for all sizes of riders. I am 6’-1” and it felt great to me. My G.F. whom also rides is 5’-6” and she had no problems with fitment on the controls. To be honest, I am not fond of forward controls, but this really felt nice with the stock placement. Another odd thing that I was first skeptical of was the 551 lb rating. The bike is so well balanced that you don’t even think of the weight as being an issue, the weight is well distributed thought the machine to give it an even feel across the grips to the seat. The lean angle was also something I was worried about, but it wasn’t that big of a hassle. Victory claims a 32 degree lean angle clearance, and it didn’t seem that off at all. There were a few corners where we made 4th of July come a little early, but that did not deter from powering through some Mulholland twisties.
I have to admit, the LARGE LOOKING tank seems like it holds a ton of petrol, but nonetheless it holds a decent 3.4 gallons. With all that material, it seems like it would hold a bit more. The gaslight comes on about 110 or so miles. (Depending on how many Picasso paintings you try to create.) I have written it so many times in past articles, but honestly VICTORY, WHY CAN’T WE HAVE A FUEL SENSOR THAT TELLS US HOW MANY MILES WE HAVE LEFT???? As someone who commutes about 55 miles a day, the least of your worries should be not running out of gas. (Ok yes, I ran out of gas on the way to work one day. But really, the mileage was telling me it ran out at 118 miles.) Yes, I was upset to have to push the bike a mile down the side of the Orange County freeway, but at least the balance of the bike was nice to push 😉
Victory claims the Octane is able to run a 4-second 60 mph, and we feel the power is slammin’ good fun. It’s hard not to want to crank the throttle at the front of every stoplight. There were a few sport bikes that even gave me the “Nod” after clearing them off the line a few times. This 1,200 CC V-Twin cranks out about 104 hp. The whisper mode exhaust doesn’t help the grunt and feel of the bikes power, but of course like any stock bike, the blank canvas of creativity is wide open to breathe as much as you deem necessary. One thing to admit, once the bike hits about 5,300 rpm and above, a good vibration kicks in even shaking the speedo needle quite a bit. The tach tops out at 8,300 before the redline kicks in. The 6-gear transmission is a nice touch to keep the RPM’s down at hwy. speeds. I put over 1,000 miles on this bike and never had a power issue trying to get out of harms way with some of the worlds most idiotic drivers. I mean really, you don’t NEED to have a 1,200cc bike, but it’s sure nice to have the power IF and WHEN you need it. The bike is belt drive, which is a nice maintenance free thing not to have to worry about, and with the challenges we put it through with all the “painting”, it held up no problem at all.
As we face the battlefield of perpetual cruisers, we say to you “This is your Victory! It is the victory of the cause of freedom in every land.” Ride on my brothers and sisters, RIDE ON.
2016 Victory Octane
BORE x STROKE|101.0 x 73.6mm
INDUCTION|60mm throttle body
FRONT SUSPENSION|41mm telescopic fork
REAR SUSPENSION|dual shocks
BRAKES|single disc front/rear
FRONT TIRE|Kenda Cruiser 130/70-18
REAR TIRE|Kenda Cruiser 160/70-17
SEAT HEIGHT|26.9 in.
RAKE / TRAIL|29° / 5.1 in.
FUEL CAPACITY|3.4 gal.
CLAIMED WET WEIGHT (NO FUEL)|548 lb.