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Know your Vic
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Okay you may or may not have the faintest idea what a Victory is, or worse still you might think you do. So here it is in brief the very basic history, and types of Victory Motorcycles.

TO START, you need to know this, a 1999 Vic was built and released in 1998, a 2001, in 2000 and so on, don't ask why, ‘cos we don't know. So when we say a 2001 92c, it may very well be registered in 2000. Probably best just to think of it as a model rather than a year. So that being said you need to know this; 
In 2002 (that is a 2002 model (first released 2001)) they changed the engine, from what is now called a ‘FIRST GENERATION' (sometimes called HAMMER) to the current ‘FREEDOM' engine. So what's that then?

All Vic's are 1507cc(92ci) as standard, the differences between the old, and the new (there are some other changes along the way, but they're not really important), essentially is refinement.

They have the same layout (50 degree V-Twin, 92ci ,fuel injection), they are all OHC (Despite what what some less informed journalists have previously written, oh, and while we're on it, Victory didn't go bust in 2000, nor did it go bust in 2003, don't ya just love gossip!), they all perform perfectly well, and there are no serious reliability problems with either engine. So the difference is? Well the ‘freedom' engine IS faster, the gearbox is miles smoother, the oil cooler is loads smaller (which looks better), most importantly the injection system is far more advanced, and lessons having been learnt before, there have been less recalls on this engine, of course there wasn't that many on the first ones, but better is better and that's that. On the flipside, a ‘first gen' with a power commander or similar, will hold it's own against a ‘freedom' no problem, the gearbox (which is a bit crude) is smooth as a baby's bum once you've got it set up right, and done a few thousand miles on it (on the downside, the gearbox never feels Japanese. On the upside, the gearbox never feels Japanese.). The crux of it is, the ‘freedom' is a better motor mechanically, but the ‘first gen' is still a great motor which has a bit more chunky yank character (And a bloody great oil cooler that looks a bit pants ‘till you get used to it.), so choose your weapon.

To tell the difference is easy, if the engine looks like a lump of wood that's been carved with a bandsaw, then it's a ‘first gen', if it looks like a piece of wood that's been carved with some nice fancy tools, then it's a ‘freedom'. See below.

1st gen  engine Freedom engine

By the way a ‘freedom' is also sometimes called a ‘second gen' (Clever innit?).


In 1998 Victory launched the 1999 (Stay with me) V92C, and it looked like this.

Footboards were chrome as standard, note the nice wheels (mmmmm), the oil lines were steel braided hoses, and the gearbox really did clunk on this one.

In 1999 they still only made one model, the 2000 V92C.

See! Yes, I know it's the same. Oh and at this point the gearbox still really does clunk. This however marks the end of the really clunky gearbox, next years' bike's got a whole new box. I didn't mention these earlier ‘cos outside of the U.S. There are only two that we know of, I've got one and my mate's got the other so you don't need to worry.

2000, The year Victory came to England, properly that is. If you see a ‘first gen' bike for sale in England or the surrounding lands, then most likely, regardless of when it was registered, It's a 2001 model (you're still with me, right?). Nice new model for this year, to go alongside the 92C, the V92SC (SC that's SPORT CRUISER). Actually these were first made in 1999, but they didn't make very many then, and there's only one in England, so again, don't worry about it. Did I say nice new model? Hmmn, maybe that's not right. Take a Dodge Charger, bolt handlebars on it, fix it to rails, and throw away the exhaust. Now climb on top and go heavy on the gas. And the truth is, once you've ridden it you'll love it forever. Crude in it's styling, 17” radial tyres, triple brembos, 50mm forks, excellent build quality, and spot on geometry made this one of the most memorable and enjoyable bikes I've ever ridden. And here she is, (Also available in black.)

Er, what colour's that then? That's yellow sir.

Meanwhile, The V92C carried on regardless, different paint, different wheels, steel oil lines, alloy replaced the chrome boards, and the giveaway painted forks and yokes. There's one to remember, the gearbox is now ok so, if it's got painted yokes and lowers (as oppose to lacquered alloy), then the gearbox will be good as gold with a few thousand miles to settle it in (like a nice pair of boots, a little stiff when new). There was a kind of half addition here, shown below. The V92DC (that's DELUXE CRUISER), appeared, it's aV92C with some nice bits on, and if you can get one,it's worth about £2000 extra second hand, assuming you want those bits. Spoke wheels, skirted seat, very expensive luggage, backrest, screen, lights, the lot. It's got over £3500 on it so don't think of it as a standard 92C.

2001 DADADAAA! Late 2001 saw the launch of the 2002 FREEDOM V92C, five of which made it to the UK in 2002 for press use. During 2001/2002 the UK importer/distributor changed hands so not a lot happened over here, and that's why there are only five 2002 bikes in England. The V92SC was dropped from the line, largely due to a lack of interest in cruisers that aren't very relaxing, and encourage you to drag race everything in sight, and of course not having roundabouts, it's taken until now for the SC to get it's proper appreciation. So a few minor changes, a bit of paint, narrower bars, a whole new engine and fuel system, and the 2002 V92C made it's way to Blighty in, wait for it, 2002!!!HURRAH!!.

Also in 2001 was this little beauty, one step further than the DC, the TC (that's TOURING CRUISER). All bikes now have the new engine, it doesn't shake, it changes gear from new without a grumble, and it looks nicer. The TC had a longer frame, hard luggage, and frankly was great, but was never imported into the UK, and as far as we know there aren't any here.

And that friends, having lost a year somewhere, leads us to 2003, when we were first graced with the 2003 VEGAS. Hang on, that's not right. Ah, but yes it is, you see some how, having lost some time, all models now carry the correct tag (and all the village cheered!). ]So in 2003, we saw the arrival of the 2003 V92C, take a sneaky look, spoke wheels, slightly different seat, but otherwise our old friend is still the same, now available in gloss black, or AAAAAAARRRGH! yellow.

And this of course, is the much written about (so I won't go on about it), VICTORY VEGAS.

And if you want to know more about this one you can get a brochure like anyone else, from any obvious place, like a Victory shop see links.

Written by Cal Shaw  Apr 04

KNOW YOUR VIC  03 to 10

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