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Posts Tagged ‘Cross Country’

2011 Cross Roads Custom

‘Tis the new model season and earlier in the week Victory Motorcycles provided information on its 2011 line-up at a dealers meeting in Orlando, FL.

The Medina, Minnesota-based company has been busy researching how to attract buyers in this challenging marketplace. They’ve been blacking-out components, beefing up engines, recalibrating transmissions, tuning the exhaust, and made ABS standard on several models.  For 2011 the company brings the introduction of 15 motorcycles.

Most newsworthy, however, was the manufacturer’s decision to use the new “Victory Freedom” 106/6 V-Twin in every model.  The powerplant is a 4-stroke, 50-degree, 106 cubic inch (1731cc) V-Twin (compression ratio 9.4:1).  There are two versions of the 106/6 powerplant. The first is called the “Freedom 106/6 Stage 2 V-Twin,” which has a special Stage 2 cam package that boosts its power numbers to a claimed 97 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque.   All of Victory’s cruiser models (Vegas Jackpot, Hammer, Hammer S, Vegas, Kingpin, all three 8-Ball cruisers, and the Zach Ness Signature Series Vegas 8-Ball) will come with this engine.  The second version is called the “Freedom 106/6 Stage 1 V-Twin” which puts out a claimed 92 hp and 109 lb-ft of torque and will power the remaining 2011 motorcycles, including the Cross Country, Cross Roads, Victory Vision Tour, and Arlen and Cory Ness’ Signature Series.

In addition the motorcycle manufacture updated its transmission to a “100K mile” warranty along with modifications aimed to reduce driveline lash, reduce gear whine and to make it easier for riders to shift into neutral at a stop courtesy of a “Neutral Assist.” It’s also said to improve ride-ability and deliver a more appealing-sounding transmission.

The new Cross Roads Custom touring bike will feature air-adjust rear suspension, dual disk front brakes and inverted forks.  The company also announced a new custom program, which allows a consumer to select the bike color, saddlebag style, highway bar style and possibly a windshield. All totaled, the consumer can select up to 48 possible combinations.

Photo courtesy of Victory Motorcycles.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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Polaris Industries -- Victory Motorcycles

Creativity.

There is a fascinating and quite boring article in ‘Newsweek’ about the creativity gap, how creativity is declining in America.  Reading it I couldn’t stop thinking about the motorcycle business and specifically Harley-Davidson.

Given it’s earning season; H-D announce earnings HERE, now it’s Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII), makers of the Victory motorcycles turn who reported its Q2’10 net income of $25.6 million.  By comparison, the 2009 second quarter net income was $17.5 million.  Sales for the second quarter 2010 totaled $430.9 million, an increase of 25% from $345.9 million recorded in the year-earlier period.

Scott Wine, Polaris’ CEO stated:

“Polaris maintained strong momentum in the second quarter, driven by solid market share gains, sales growth and margin expansion. Innovation and execution enabled us to deliver another quarter of solid operating results in an overall economic and powersports industry environment that remains sluggish.”

Yeah, but you’re likely saying that’s all ATV and snowmobile sales, right?  True the lions share is off-road sales, but specific to sales of the On-Road Division, which primarily consists of Victory motorcycles, they saw an increase of 48% during the second quarter of 2010 vs. the same period in 2009. The N.A. heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle industry remained weak during the quarter, but Victory motorcycles had strong retail sales during the second quarter, increasing more than 10% in N.A. compared to the second quarter last year, resulting in overall market share gains and retail sales growth for the third consecutive quarter. The increased demand reflects the popularity of the new 2010 Cross Country and Cross Roads touring models.   The N.A. dealer inventory of Victory motorcycles declined 32% in the Q2’10 compared to 2009 comparable levels. The sale of Victory motorcycles in markets outside of N.A. continues to accelerate, with sales reaching 25% of total On-Road/Victory sales for the year-to-date period.  And lastly the income from Polaris financial services was $4.2 million for Q2’10 compared to $4.0 million in 2009.

I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something missing for me with the Victory motorcycle.  Maybe it’s just the “bar-n-shield” logo and now my bias is showing?  But I balk at comments from riders that claim Victory is NOT a threat or competition for H-D… it just doesn’t ring true.  The cruisers are more roomy, the engine has more HP, the motorcycle is lighter, has a lower seat, larger saddlebags all at a cost of thousands less means Victory is doing a lot RIGHT on the creativity front.

In other words, the Harley-Davidson businessmen look to squeeze all the creativity out in the name of profits.  And now the business is in the hands of the manufacturing line worker, who are always the least creative element in the chain.  The engineers designed out cost, the line-worker built them at the lowest cost, the dealer sold them slightly above cost. Now the company is trying to fix the business, but are flummoxed.  Do they truly think cutting out cost, means somehow people will magically appear?

They’re not and meanwhile Victory ratchet’s up innovation.

Photo courtesy of Polaris/Victory Motorcycles.

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Mt Bachelor, Or

Mt Bachelor, Or

I enjoy outdoor recreation.  I hike.  I camp. I mountain bike.  I ride cross-country motorcycles in recreational areas and act responsibly to protect public lands.

Last month the U.S. House approved and Obama signed into law yesterday a bill that unreasonably bans recreation on more than 2 million acres of public land by designating it Wilderness — meaning — no cars, no mountain bikes, no logging, no motorcycles, no permanent structures, no ATVs, no roads, no snowmobiles, no horses, no paragliding, nothing mechanized and no non-human-powered recreation PERIOD

Smith Rock

Smith Rock

The 1964 Wilderness Act cuts right to the point; “an area where earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”  A Wilderness designation means it will continue that way in perpetuity.  Think of it as a sanctuary to be preserved from humans by humans forever.  As example the five trails – Shining Lake, Shellrock Lake, Serene Lake, Grouse Point and Dry Ridge – that were open to mountain bikes is no longer allowed.  In the northwest, areas effected under this bill are: Mount Hood, Badlands, Spring Basin and Copper Salmon.

Before I get a bunch of doomsday comments re; catastrophic consequences… I do care about quality drinking water and am just as concerned about the Arctic ice shrinking as the next person, but this lack of democratic process and lack of public input or opportunity of review prior to becoming law is just another form of filling the federal treasury, adding layers of bureaucracy, and a literal “land grab” by the federal government.  I hold no delusion that the government is making any difference and today I’m temporarily “out-of-outrage”, but at some point people are going to wake up and be tired of this government over-reach!

As background, the bill followed congressional maneuvering which put new life into the measure AFTER it was originally defeated.  Unrelated, lawmakers approved HR146, known as the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Acquisition Grant Program, but at the last minute slipped in a collection of more than 160 pieces of legislation and more than 1,300 pages of text on the recreational ban.  The bill was formerly known as S.22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.  Again Congress’ first attempt to pass measure, S.22 on its own merits, was defeated.  House members never debated more than 70 of the bills included in the package before the vote.  Do you think they read it?!

Have fun out there, but whatever you do don’t touch your favorite huckleberry patch or soak your toes in the Roaring River as that background hum you hear might be a National Forest Service drone patrolling the air space looking for parking pass and Wilderness violators!

Photo of Mt Bachelor from NFD 370 Trail and Smith Rock.

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