Victory, they say, belongs to those who persevere. But if you have PhP1.150M burning a hole in your pocket, then you can go to the Access Plus showroom in Quezon City and ride home a Victory. A Victory motorcycle, that is. A Victory what, you ask? Yes. You see, unlike Harley-Davidson, that iconic motorcycle company from Milwaukee, Victory motorcycles is not that popular, yet. At least in the Philippines where even non-Harley cruisers are referred to as a Harley-Davidson, simply because they kinda look like a “Harley”, even if it has a tiny single cylinder motor that bears a Chinese name on it. That’s because Victory is a relatively young brand. So young in fact that I’m older by 23 years!
Victory motorcycles was founded in 1997 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Polaris Industries, makers of snowmobiles, ATVs, UTVs, electric vehicles, and until 2004, personal watercraft in the US. Victory was born when Polaris was seeking to diversify its product line. And when they saw the lucrative sales being enjoyed by Harley-Davidson and other manufacturers, they decided to create their own line-up of large capacity motorcycles fashioned after the popular American cruiser. Their first model, the V92C, was announced in 1997 and begun production in 1998.
Victory in the Philippines
Victory motorcycles finally landed in the Philippines. Last November 12, Victory Motorcycle Philippines was launched at an event held at the Tipsy Pig Gastropub located at the Capitol Commons compound, in Pasig City. Mr. Teodoro G. Alberto, the General Manager of Victory Motorcycle Philippines, briefed guests and the press about the history of Victory Motorcycles and the models they’re going to offer. Victory Motorcycle Philippines is under the umbrella of T.A. Marketing, Inc., the same people behind Ducati Philippines, so you know you’re in good hands when it comes to spare parts and after sales services.
Four different models of Victory Motorcycles were on display during the event, while select guests were given the opportunity to test ride the Victory Hammer S Limited Edition around the block. We took the Hammer S LE for a quick spin, but it only left us craving for more saddle time so we immediately requested for a test unit. Thanks to the kind hearted Teodoro G. Alberto, we were given first dibs on the Victory Hammer S LE less than a week of it’s launch.
Sweet Scent of Victory
After five agonizing days of waiting we finally received the Victory Hammer S LE test unit we requested, it’s the same bike used during the launch event. This particular Hammer S LE is quite a rare breed, being No. 64 of just 200 limited production Hammer S around the world. The Hammers S LE can be distinguished from ordinary Hammers by having a unique pearl white paint finish, mid-mount foot pegs, individual bike numbering on the triple clamp, 10-spoke alloy wheels, floating dual front disc rotors, 4 piston brake calipers and blacked out custom details. Upon getting the key, we wasted no time and rode the bike on the twisty mountain roads of Tanay, Rizal.
Muscle cruisers like the Hammer S is designed for quick straight line acceleration, and it does so with ferocious willingness thanks to its Freedom 106/6 motor, but surprisingly the Hammers S LE is also blessed with friendly cornering manners. Albeit, with a bit more counter-steering effort from the rider, perhaps due to the ultra wide 250mm rear section tire that resists sudden direction changes. The mid-mounted footpegs on the other hand offers a relaxed riding position and more importantly, a smidgen more cornering clearance compared to the stretch-out forward foot controls before they scratch the ground. For a 5 foot 7 inches tall guy like me, there’s a bit of a reach to the wide handlebars, but they do offer plenty of leverage to help turn the Hammer at low speeds.
As mentioned earlier, the heart of the Hammer S is the Freedom 106/6 motor. It may look old-school on the outside but inside it packs a modern chain-driven single overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. That 106 refers to the engine displacement in cubic inches. In cubic centimeters however that’s translated to 1731cc. Yes, this air/oil-cooled V-twin motor packs more displacement in two cylinders than your average inline-four subcompact sedan, and it churns out an arm stretching 92 bhp and 104 ft.lbs. of torque. That’s more than enough to catapult the 532 kg. (gross vehicle weight w/ rider) Hammer S briskly to triple digits speed. Only it doesn’t sound like it. An aftermarket exhaust system is a must if you want to hear those displacement at work. The other 6 on the 106/6 refers to the number of gears on the transmission, and they are spaced well enough to give the Hammer a relaxed cruising demeanor. I just wish the clutch pull is a bit lighter because it’s a pain to use in Manila’s horrendous traffic. Then again, that’s not a problem if you have a stronger grip than I do, or if you live far away from EDSA.
Surprisingly, despite its more than half-ton weight the Hammer S has a taut but comfortable ride, courtesy of the nicely sculpted seat and a well tuned suspension package that consists of a inverted cartridge telescopic front fork that offers 130mm of travel. At the back there’s an aluminum swingarm with rising linkage supported by a spring preload adjustable gas mono shock absorber with 100mm of travel. The ABS equipped front brake setup are plenty powerful to stop the Hammer S with just two fingers on the lever.
What cruiser lovers would surely appreciate is the Hammer’s smooth flowing lines; From the art-deco looking headlight to the frenched-in LED brake light treatment, the Hammer S exudes motion even while standing still. What’s more astonishing is the pearl white finish, heavily contrasted by the blacked-out chassis and exhaust treatment, accentuated by the polished heat sink on the motor makes it look like a custom built bike. In form and in function, it looks like the Hammer S has the H-D Breakout on its crosshair. But its price and spec sheet says otherwise. You decide.
Engine: 4-stroke, air/oil-cooled, 2 cylinder, 8 valves, sohc
Displacement: 1,731cc (106ci)
Max Power: 92 bhp @ 5,100 rpm
Torque: 104 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 17 liters
Seat Height: 660 mm
Dry Weight: 305 Kg.
Top Speed: 180 Km/h
Price: PhP 1,150,000
+ Custom-look styling, specs, price
– Heavy clutch
C! Rating: 9/10