The new Cycle World magazine has a cover story about Victory's Project 156. The project is a combination of a prototype Victory 1300cc liquid cooled V-Twin racing engine, a race bike built by Roland Sands to put the power to ground, plus Cycle World staffer/racer Don Canet to ride it in the Pikes Peak hill climb. The number 156 represents the number of turns in the run up the mountain. In the end, a valiant effort on a very tight schedule ended in a heartbreaking DNF just two miles from the finish line, but it was a great run and everyone involved did an impressive job against the odds. In the end, though, could this be the beginning of a high performance American sportbike from a company with the financial wherewithal to go from concept to production and keep it alive?
Here at The Kneeslider, we've been promoting the idea of a big American V-Twin in a sportbike chassis for so many years I've lost count. Erik Buell had a very nice run, but it was always a struggle, even when under the wing of Harley Davidson since the Motor Company didn't really know what to do with him. Curt Winter has his own ideas and built several prototypes and there were the Roeher and a few others, but none had the backing to take it beyond the handful they managed to build.
Victory, operating under the umbrella of Polaris, might have the staying power to make it happen. Though Project 156 was an after hours, skunkworks effort, the company seemed to support the idea of letting their engineers color outside the lines a little bit. You have to figure that racing engine might have some real street potential, though the 15:1 compression might have to be dialed back a bit.
With the economy still having the jitters, this may go nowhere, but if anyone can pull it off, Victory might be the one to do it.