2016 /2017 Victory Octane Test ride, is this motorcycle going to be the convincing Harley Davidson rival from Polaris Industries? There is no doubt Polaris Industries are increasingly building their success and market share. At the time of writing this post their share price has climbed equal to Harley-Davidson shares, so that is telling us something for sure. Polaris also make Indian motorcycle, and it is good to see they have incorporated differences between the Octane and the Indian equivalent Scout so that each has its own personality. Collectively Victory and Indian have less than 10% market share in the 600cc and above, but reports have it they are looking to get into the above 10% market share with 2017 Victory Octane and its Indian cousin.
The Victory Octane is a very American machine, the engine is a liquid cooled 1200cc V Twin putting out 104 hp and 76 ft-lb of torque and is mated to a 6 speed gearbox with a multi disc wet clutch in between. The Octane is quite light at 528 lbs, handling is described as nimble with a maximum 32-degree lean angle either way when cornering. front wheel is 18-inch, and the rear 17-inch. Brake rotors are 12 inches, 1 per each wheel which may seem a bit light for the front as many riders have become used to twin rotors, but with a twin piston caliper the braking performance is not compromized. the rear brakes have the usual single piston caliper. The front forks have dual rate springs and provide 4 3/4 inches of travel, while the rear with twin laid-over shock absorbers has just 3 inches of travel. I suppose this is why Unholy Rider said he felt the bike was undersprung as it would tend to be a bit bouncy on rough surfaces.
The Victory Octane is a quick bike that handles very nicely. Certainly not in the ‘super-bike’ league where some of these put around double the horse-power from a same size engine, but to go from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds it is surely no slouch. I am picking the Harley-Davidson development team will be looking very closely at a new model to compete against the Octane, and anything new in way of Sportsters can only be good.
Join in this test ride, full marks to Unholy Rider for his matter of fact commentary.