First Look: 2011 Victory's - Inside Job

At first glance, the 2011 Victory lineup looks like little more than bold new graphics. Underneath those new color schemes and black chassis components, however, are significant engine and drivetrain updates meant to improve performance, durability and ride quality.

Excessive drive lash and noisy shifting-complaints we've long lobbed toward Victory motorcycles-have been addressed with a completely overhauled transmission and driveline. The tranny is essentially 100 percent new and has been completely redesigned to eliminate selected "modulation frequencies," greatly reducing mechanical noise and gear whine. Improved manufacturing processes and other component changes contribute to an overall 66 percent decrease in drivetrain lash, Victory tells us. Finally, a new neutral-assist function helps the rider locate neutral easier, reducing frustration and improving clutch life.

On the performance front, all Victory motorcycles-even the value-priced Vegas and Kingpin-now utilize the Freedom 106 V-twin motor and six-speed overdrive transmission. The 100 cubic-inch/five-speed combination has officially been discontinued. The Cross Roads, Cross Country and Vision touring machines use a Stage 1 version said to make 92 horsepower and 109 lb.-ft. of torque, while the Hammer, Jackpot, Kingpin and Vegas share a Stage 2 version with hotter cams to deliver a claimed 97 bhp and 113 lb.-ft. of torque. All models get redesigned mufflers with larger outlets to create a lower tone and more appealing sound-addressing another frequent criticism of Victory's machines.

Victory also extends its customizing collaboration with the Ness family for an eighth year, introducing a trio of limited-edition Ness Signature Series machines that represent three generations of custom style. The one-and-only Arlen Ness delivers a Vision tourer featuring scrolled styling elements, son Cory cranks out a chrome-covered Cross Country bagger and grandson Zach turns his talents toward a stripped-down, black-suede Vegas 8-Ball. If you prefer to do the customizing yourself, consider Victory's new Cross Roads CORE Custom program that allows the buyer to custom-spec color, saddlebag, highway bar and windshield options for a total of 48 possible combinations, resulting in a touring cruiser precisely configured to suit his or her tastes.

For 2011, all Victory models will receive the Freedom 106/6 engine, including the Vegas and Cross Country. Stage 1 and 2 versions are offered, tuned to suit the specific application.