If any rider with any years in the saddle starts to add up the number of times ‘muscle car meets motorcycle’ has been used to describe a beefy bike, well, it’s more than one would think. But just looking over the pictures, press release and specifications of Victory’s new Octane and it quickly becomes apparent that it’s a well-matched phrase.
So let’s look closer at that phrase.
Every high-octane horsepower enthusiast is familiar with the muscle car formula: take a big motor, insert it into a lightweight chassis, and then delete any creature comforts or other unnecessary accessories. What’s left is just what you need to go very fast, and nothing else.
Featuring a 1200cc, liquid-cooled V-twin, Victory’s first-ever liquid-cooled engine the Octane utilizes dual overhead cams and four-valve heads to rev beyond 8000 rpm and put down an authoritative 104 horsepower. For those counting, that’s more horsepower than any Victory motorcycle ever built.
But what that engine needs to move plays a big part in any performance equation. Weighing just 528 pounds, the Octane is the lightest Victory motorcycle ever built, too. No surprise, then, that Octane is also the quickest Victory down the quarter-mile, and the fastest from 0-60 mph, too.
So what exactly makes up this monster?
For readers and riders paying attention, Victory releasing a liquid-cooled monster shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. From the Project 156 prototype tested at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb to putting similarly looking concept motorcycles in the hands of famous customizers Urs Erbacher, Roland Sands and Zack Ness, the Octane was more a case of ‘when’ rather than any kind of ‘if’.
However, the finished product must impress, if not blow away anyone following along. In reality though, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. The aforementioned bike builders told us as much.
“This is a real performance engine, with four-valve heads, overhead cams and a lot of torque,” Urs Erbacher said of the liquid cooled engine when he built his ‘Ignition’, “And the engine revs much higher, like a sportbike.”
“This bike is unapologetic. It’s not trying to be anything besides what it is—a stripped to-the-bone road race bike. You just go out and ride it,” Roland Sands said of his Project 156.
A Race Bred Powertrain
The 1200 CC engine in the Victory Octane is a 60-degree V-twin featuring short-stroke engine geometry just like the Project 156 racer to allow higher engine rpm and more horsepower. It also offers a quick-revving engine response more like a sportbike than any traditional American V-Twin.
An electronically metered 60mm throttle body feeds high-flow, 4-valve heads operated by dual overhead cams, and liquid cooling quenches the heat that is the byproduct of generating 104 horsepower and 76 foot-pounds of tire-shredding torque. Geared short for quicker acceleration, Octane can sprint down the quarter-mile in 12 seconds and rush from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds.
But as we mentioned, raw power is only half the musclebike equation. You also need a solid chassis that can transmit all that power to the pavement and also hold a tight line when bent into a corner.
Octane’s solid-mounted powertrain is a stressed member that connects cast-aluminum front and rear frame sections, with twin tubular-steel backbones for added reinforcement. This rigid assembly is suspended up front by a 41mm fork equipped with dual-rate springs for solid front-end feedback over any type of pavement, and out back with stylish laydown shocks mounted 53 degrees off-horizontal, also equipped with preload-adjustable dual-rate springs.
Oversized, 298mm disc brakes with stainless-steel lines at both ends wait at-the-ready for those rare occasions when you want to shed speed, instead.
Cast aluminum, 10-spoke wheels are sized and shod for sure-footed handling with the 18-inch front wheel wearing 130/70-18 rubber and the 17-inch rear wheel is wrapped with a 160/70-17 tire.
Making sure this motorcycle will suit a range of rider’s heights, a low-slung solo saddle sits just 25.9-inches above the pavement. An equally low pullback handlebar and semi-forward-set foot controls create a riding position that gives that cool-biker look but still provides adequate support when the rider is trying to tame this beast of a motorcycle.
Victory has always hung their motorcycle designing hats on aggressive styling. As the Octane is the most aggressive Victory motorcycle ever built, and the styling has been revised to suit with harder lines, sharper creases, a more-pronounced center spine and other details that make Octane look ‘leaner and meaner’ than any American motorcycle ever before.
An item which adds instant street cred, the bullet cowl which is standard equipment. The bulk of the chassis, running gear and powertrain are blacked-out, featuring Matte Super Steel Gray bodywork with even the tank badge being cast in gray instead of the traditional Victory red to create a modern, monochrome look.
“We wanted to bring the American motorcycle into the 21st century,” Mike Song, Victory Senior Industrial Designer notes in a promotion piece, “Victory doesn’t have any long history or legacy —we are a new brand and we can go wherever we want to go. We want to be modern, and bold, and set our own trends.”
Based off a proven Polaris platform, Octane uses a significant number of unique parts specifically designed and engineered to deliver the high-performance, raw-adrenaline riding experience this motorcycle is promising.
And with pricing starting at just $10,499, it’s less expensive than most supersports while enjoying that raw cruiser image making the Victory Octane fast, capable, stylish and affordable.
But with the Octane, Victory Motorcycles is delivering more than raw, unadulterated performance. It’s also offering up some biker attitude to what many were considering as defining industry trends, that of the riding, buying public wanting smaller motorcycles.
The Octane is definitely not that and along with a few other motorcycle manufacturers, and we do mean few, Victory is putting its effort as well as motorcycle know-how firmly in the court of what could be termed as power-riders.
2016 is going to be an interesting year for motorcycles.