This year doesn’t mark a milestone for Victory, or the Vegas for that matter, but the company still found a reason to celebrate something.
To commemorate racing efforts of Victory motorcycle owners who’ve subjected their Vics to the rigors of racing the Bonneville Salt Flats the company crafted a limited-edition Vegas.
“We wanted to honor racers that have brought Victory Motorcycles to the Bonneville Salt Flats,” says Victory Product Manager Gary Gray. “Bonneville is one of the most harsh racing environments on the planet, and racers such as Gregor Moe, Laura Klock of Klock Works, Matt Waring of MBW and others have helped show the potential of our motorcycles to the world.”
Beyond paying homage to Bonneville, the Victory team saw the chance to craft another Victory to be proud of.
“The truth is that the Victory engineering and design team is pretty young and open to new ideas,” said Victory’s external relations manager, Roberr Pandya. “When the possibility of slapping the 106 (cubic-inch) Stage 2 into the Vegas came up it was a resounding ‘Hell yeah!’ It's a unique bike that will be a rare sight on the street for sure.”
This commemorative model is very much a standard Vegas at the core, but in a tip o’ the hat to aforementioned Salt Flats racing, Victory replaced the standard model’s 100-cubic-inch, six-speed V-Twin with the brand’s most powerful mill, the 106/6.
However, this isn’t just a bump in displacement.
The 106-cubic-inch, six-speed Vee in the Vegas LE is the same engine as found in the Jackpot and Hammer models, all of which enjoy the power-boosting benefit of Stage 2 cams. As part of 2009 model revisions the Jackpot, Hammer and Hammer S received this engine last year.
Victory says the hot-rodded air/oil-cooled, four-valves-per-cylinder, sohc, 50-degree V-Twin is good for 97 hp at 5000 rpm and 113 ft-lbs at a lowly 2750 rpm compared to the 100-incher’s 85 hp at 5000rpm and 106 ft-lbs at 2750 rpm. Victory also says putting the cammed 106/6 in the standard Vegas’ chassis makes the LE the “quickest Victory ever.”
Victory likely makes that claim based on the LE’s dry weight of 645 pounds matching up with the company’s most powerful engine. The bare-bones Vegas 8 Ball weighs 7 lbs less than the Vegas/Vegas LE, however, it can’t boast of running with the tuned 106/6.
|Victory Vegas Model Timeline|
The most obvious indicator of the Vegas’ limited production status is its color scheme. Four different color choices – Fireball Red, Competition Yellow, Turbo Silver and Pearl White – are available.
The blacked-out engine, fork lowers, handlebar, headlight nacelle, etc, highlight the color-matched frame and swingarm, and a painted-on racing plate prominently displays a big 106 on each side panel. But the truest testament to the LE’s finite availability is its limited-edition numbering. An understated yet easily found number badge sits just behind the rear cylinder exhaust pipe, atop the belt drive front pulley cover. The badge subtly announces which one of only 100 Vegas LE models produced sits before you.
A narrow window of LE ordering opportunity existed between the months of January and February of this year, at which time the LE was available with an MSRP of $15,999. Maybe you can use that pricing info to your advantage if you ever run across an LE in the resale market…
No salt flats but still the perfect environment
Victory graciously granted Motorcycle.com access to an LE during this year’s unusually cold Daytona Bike Week. Not just any random LE though, but in fact number 1 of 100!
Your favorite motorcycle e-zine staff strutted around Main Street and all points Bike Week in favored status with an exclusive ride aboard the first LE to turn a wheel on public roadways. Yep, we rode Vegas LE numero uno!
To sweeten the pot, Victory swapped out the chrome dual over/under exhaust the LE comes with for a matte black Stage 1 Swept System. The Victory accessory performance exhaust was visually an ideal match for the LE. That it also gave the bike a more powerful, Bike Week-ready exhaust note didn’t hurt. We understand the need to meet emissions standards, but after riding the Fireball Red LE with the black exhaust system that perfectly complemented the bike’s other black bits, we can’t imagine a better system to go on this Victory.
And we can’t lie; it was throttle-blipping fun, too. Once in a while a couple of us ‘round here like to occasionally forsake our usually demure biking sensibilities and play up the biker part, if even for a little bit. Can ya blame us? We were at Bike Week for Heaven’s sake!
This special Victory blended well in just about every corner of Bike Week; it never failed to turn heads even amongst clusters of one-off pure custom riders/owners. (Even a couple H-D owners were keen on our LE. Shhh!)
However, we thought we’d mix it up with more Victory-minded folk, and so headed out to Orlando Speedworld Dragway for some impromptu, friendly drag race competition. The annual but unofficial Victory event sees numerous Victory owners gather for Street Night at the dragway. Some, like us, were there just for the fun of it, while other Victory owners were downright serious about taking on the quarter-mile.
Alas, even if we thought we were serious, record times from Motorcycle.com weren’t to be. A number of drag cars left small but crucial parts – as well as spewing oil! – on the start line, thereby limiting everyone’s (including other cars) opportunities to run. With only a couple times at the light tree there simply wasn’t enough time for us to get our drag groove on.
The best our limited drag racing experience butts could manage was a run in the high 12s. But that less-than-quick time had everything to do with us, and nothing to do with the capable LE and the potential its 106/6 offers for a good rider to turn some respectable times.
This year a group of Victory riders more serious about drag racing met earlier in the day at the strip. The group rented the dragway for an entire afternoon in order to launch their Minnesota-sourced V-Twins in search of elapsed times as low as they good get them, as well as to evaluate performance mods.
These owners plan next year to continue to exhibit Victory loyalty by creating an “Orlando V-Twin Day” at the speedway during Bike Week 2011. If you’re a Vic owner/enthusiast (or even if you’re not) and headed to BW ’11, keep your eyes peeled on the Victory Buzz blog as BW approaches.
The best Vegas yet?
After spending the better part of four days aboard Fireball Red Vegas LE number 001, we were reminded that it had been a while since we last rode a Victory custom-style cruiser.
Time on this Vic brought back memories of us wishing that Victory would sooner than later update the Vegas’ clutch to reduce effort at the lever and smooth out shifting, as the gearbox felt notchy/clunky at lower rpm. In fairness, however, our LE had very low miles, so it’s possible additional break-in time might loosen up the trans. Overall, though, we came away thinking the LE might be the best Vegas yet.
The Vegas LE possesses lots of powerful, low-end grunt by virtue of the most potent standard engine Victory has made to date. Yet the LE is largely a standard Vegas model and so enjoys the better handling and steering provided by the standard Vegas’ 180-section rear tire versus the chubby 250 found on the Jackpot model.
So, it has the big power of the Jackpot mated with the standard Vegas’ good handling. The LE is the perfect blend.
Here’s the biggest problem with the Vegas LE: Victory only made 100. Maybe Victory should’ve done what a lot of car manufactures do: create a model with Limited Edition in the model name but make thousands of ‘em anyway.
We like the Vegas LE enough that we wouldn’t hold it against Victory if they did such a thing.