2017-01-10 09:26:19+0000 - Compton, California, United States

After 18 years of producing American motorcycles, cruiser brand Victory will be closing its doors, and whoever named the company nearly two decades ago is likely feeling a depressing and profound sense of irony at the moment. Polaris, the parent company of Victory, has recently announced their plans to pull the plug on the motorcycle brand in an effort to divert more attention to Indian, another cruiser manufacturer owned by Polaris. From the press release it would appear the higher-ups at Polaris see this as a "cut off the foot to save the leg" type of situation and feel it's in the best interests of Polaris as a whole, as well as for the companies they own.

Sadly, this type of situation in the cruiser manufacturing world is somewhat typical - brands come and go, close and reopen, merge or get bought out - Victory is just the latest to succumb to this ongoing trend. Unless your name is Harley Davidson, it would appear that the cruiser production game is a tough one, not to say Harley is immune to down years, an aging primary demographic and struggling economies.

Luckily for recent purchasers of a Victory motorcycle, they won't be left out in the cold by Polaris, who has stated they will provide parts and service for the now defunct company for the next decade, as well as helping dealers liquidate existing inventories.

Many people had high expectations for Victory, hoping they would be the company to breathe new life into the American motorcycle manufacturing world which historically has been dominated by one name. It came as a total surprise to most when the American cruiser brand developed an electric superbike to compete in the zero emissions TT at the Isle of Man.

While clearly this was at the least semi-motivated by wanting to gain more international exposure for their brand, their TT entry demonstrated their passion and enthusiasm for all things two-wheeled. Countless custom bike building contests (you can see one of the most recent ones by here) only further cemented Victory as a life-style brand and not just a manufacturer. Sadly however the effort they put into building and growing the Victory brand was ultimately to no avail.

It has been proven that a viable and profitable cruiser manufacturer can exist in today's global market, however it's a seldom accomplished and impressive feat. Cruisers are luxury items that lack the practicality offered by other smaller bikes. They're expensive to buy, insure and maintain and are somewhat of a physical and tangible manifestation of excess what with their 1/3 ton curb weight and four-figure displacement. In addition to that, large cruisers don't have as large a global following the way Sportbikes, ADV's, Standards and Off-Road bikes have.

The lack of global sales forces these companies to earn the majority of their profit in North America, so when North American cruiser sales dive, it has a devastating, and in this case permanent, effect on companies like Victory. Between low sales and Polaris issuing expensive product recalls earlier this quarter, the Victory brand ending up on the chopping block and the company's fate was sealed.

The press releasing announcing Victory's plans to cease operations and a more thorough explanation of the reasons behind those plans can be found here.

5 Comments
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@radiohound while the loss of a brand isn't welcome news to dealerships, most people's will simply buy other brands or opt for used models. Polaris has said they're going to support and assist Victory dealers for the next decade, and it's not like they won't still have a motorcycle division/company in their family. This decision had more to do with seemingly helping Indian than it did abandoning Victory. Having said that I know many people keep cruisers for decades and decades unlike most sport bike riders that constantly trade up every few seasons (or at least want to).

 

I love my Cross Roads. It's been a great ride Victory! Sorry to see the brand go. I fear more for the great dealerships like Elk Island and the aftermath of support challenges.

 

@marina the Empulse TT was originally a Brammo bike that victory ended up purchasing (I assume), it never really took off as it was really over priced in contrast to the electric bikes Zero was offering. Production has also stopped so aside from providing parts and service for the next ten years to current owners of the Empulse TT (which there aren't many of), that's all that's planned for that bike. That was a big financial loss for Victory

 
  • marina
  • 2017-01-11T09:42:29-05:00

@Orona agreed.

@TimHuber any mention of what will happen to the EMPULSE® TT, Victory's first electric bike

 
  • Orona
  • 2017-01-10T20:47:54-05:00

It's such a shame to see another brand die. It's amazing to think at one point, there was over 100 different American brands, now we're down to just a hand full