Victory had sufficient endurance that I really thought it was going to present The Motor Firm one thing to fret about. With the would possibly of Polaris behind it, that principle really had slightly weight to it. Everyone knows how that turned out, although one could make the argument that the problem is stronger than ever with Polaris resurrecting Indian.
However, nipping on the heels of the Harley Softail in 2009 was the Victory Vegas 8-Ball. Coming at Harley with a less expensive price ticket, its 100 cubic-inch V-Twin (of which the aesthetics I’ve at all times favored), and its stealth black therapy, the Vegas 8-Ball obtained a number of updates for 2009. Right here, former E-i-C Kevin Duke takes one for a spin in and across the seashores of Daytona and tells us what it’s prefer to trip.
A commuter-ized cruiser
Mar. 20, 2009
Pictures by Alfonse “Fonzie” Palaima
Like lots of our moto brothers, we frequently succumb to the ability of glitz. Larger usually appears higher, a lot in order that we generally overlook a few of the interesting bikes that help a producer’s flagships.
Working example: the Victory Vegas 8-Ball. Cynics would possibly say it’s merely a de-contented Vegas and subsequently unfit of consideration. Nonetheless, this elitist perspective would overlook what’s a really competent and classy cruiser priced about $2,000 cheaper than a comparable Harley-Davidson Softail.
The Vegas 8-Ball first appeared in 2005, however it’s since had loads of updates. Key amongst them is the addition of the highly effective 100 cubic-inch engine which now produces a claimed 85 hp and 106 ft-lbs of torque. This mill obtained a number of enhancements in ’08, together with bigger 45mm throttle our bodies as a part of a brand new, sequential, closed-loop fuel-injection system.
A discount within the compression ratio to eight.7:1 allowed extra aggressive ignition timing, bumping up energy marginally. A redesigned oiling system allowed using a smaller oil cooler that’s much less obtrusive. An annoying ticking sound from early Freedom motors was alleviated by slower valve closing speeds and longer closing ramps, and extraneous noise is additional damped by extra sound-deadening ribbing on the engine’s major cowl.
The Vegas 8-Ball is distinct from the upmarket normal Vegas primarily by its black theme. Most of the Vegas’ chrome bits obtain darkish finishes on the 8-Ball. The one remaining chrome is discovered on the exhaust, headlamp nacelle, devices and the clutch and brake levers. The 8-Ball additionally does with out the Vegas’ sixth gear, cool headlight and detachable passenger seat (and footpegs). As compensation, the $13,799 8-Ball is available in at a value $2,500 cheaper than the Vegas’ $16,299 MSRP.
|Saving cash on the 8-Ball’s authentic buy price has the potential to present a rider customization choices. Within the case of our 8-Ball take a look at bike, it’s outfitted with a couple of Victory accent items to make it simpler to dwell with.|
As with all 2008-and-later Vegas fashions, the 8-Ball will get the Stingray cast-aluminum wheels which can be stated to be almost 16 lbs lighter than the earlier hoops. On the 8-Ball, the swirl-pattern 5-spoke wheels are partly black and partly machined/polished, a pretty combo that works effectively with the ’Ball’s black theme. Additionally new is a twice-brighter LED taillight. Different modifications embody the elimination of the fast-idle lever, redesigned handlebar grips and a smaller airbox cowl.
Though missing the overdrive sixth gear of Victory’s Freedom 100/6 powertrain, the 8-Ball’s SOHC, 50-degree V-Twin nonetheless impresses. With 1634cc of displacement, the New American Motorbike’s engine compares favorably with The Motor Firm’s 96 cubic-incher, providing a large unfold of torque and greater horsepower numbers.
The absence of overdrive isn’t a problem until you intend an abundance of freeway miles, and even then the engine is easy sufficient that vibration doesn’t trigger annoyance. The gearbox affords strong, optimistic shifts, and driveline lash is sort of non-existent. Mirrors are unobtrusive however very usable.
As a sibling within the Vegas line, the 8-Ball model retains the custom-cruiser structure. The entrance finish is led by a slender (80/90-21) entrance tire and is balanced out again by a 180/55-17 Dunlop. A chopper-ish 32.9-degree rake is compensated by a comparatively brief 126mm of path to create a nimbler bundle than you would possibly anticipate. The 635-lb (dry) machine may be very straightforward to maneuver with a non-radical peg and bar positions plus a reasonably huge rear tire. A low 26.5-inch seat top retains the bike accessible to brief riders.
The 8-Ball additionally did job at ironing bumps on the imply streets of our Daytona, helped by 66.3 inches of actual property between the wheels. The 43mm non-adjustable fork affords a beneficiant 5.1 inches of journey whereas the preload-adjustable shock gives a reasonably easy trip with simply 3.9 inches of journey. Compared, the rear finish of a fat-tired Vegas Jackpot we sampled on the identical time was noticeably harsher.
The Vegas sequence, with only a single entrance disc brake and a thin 21-inch entrance tire, by no means set any data for brief stopping distances, however its 4-piston caliper and 300mm entrance disc does an efficient job at slowing the bike. Greatest if a rider additionally incorporates some energy from the 2-pot caliper and same-size disc out again.
We rode the Vegas 8-Ball extensively round Daytona Seashore throughout Bike Week, and we have been frequently impressed by the bike’s pleasant manners and the flexibility supplied by bolting on a couple of equipment. The addition of the windshield makes for an enormous enchancment in rider consolation, particularly at increased speeds, and there at all times gave the impression to be one thing needing stuffing within the helpful saddlebags.
There’s no scarcity of attention-stealing machines at Bike Week, however the understated 8-Ball drew a justifiable share of eyeballs in its path. There’s little doubt Victory’s trademark scalloped gasoline tank has been an enormous development in type since debuting in 2003, and it’s accented by a visually pleasing ridge operating alongside the middle of the tank prime that’s mimicked within the entrance and rear fenders. A 4.5-gallon capability will yield almost a 200-mile vary between fill-ups.
So, what now we have right here with the Vegas 8-Ball is a giant hunk o’ cruiser for a comparatively small quantity of coin. H-D’s related black-themed Evening Practice rings in at $15,899, a $2,100 premium over the 8-Ball. The Harley is supplied with a 6-speed tranny and passenger lodging, however its motor can’t cling with the Vic.
The 8-Ball proved to be a enjoyable mount whereas scooting via Bike Week’s sights and sounds, being each trendy and sensible. Nobody must know the bike is a little bit of a cut price, which now features a limited-time 5-year guarantee.