Victory Vegas 8-Ball Project: "Evil 8" Part 3
We wrap up our project with a 2-into-1 collector pipe
It’s amazing how changing suspension can completely alter a motorcycle’s behavior. We confirmed that with our Evil 8 project bike, a 2010 Victory 8-Ball that we’ve been toying with during the past few months.
Our first installment focused on adding a small bevy of custom parts to the all-black bike to make our 8-Ball stand out from the crowd at the local biker roadhouse. We bolted on items available through Victory Motorcycles’ catalog so all the improvements we made are doable by 8 Ball owners wishing to make similar upgrades to their bikes, too. Check out Evil 8: Part 1.
“Among the first mods, my favorite is the flame-embossed Bandit Solo seat, which is both comfortable and stylish,” Editor Kevin Duke comments. “I also dig the accessory hand grips, which look cool with flame-shaped rubber pieces over chrome tubes, and are more functional thanks to the pseudo cruise control wrist-rest on the throttle side.”
Next we tinkered with the bike’s suspenders, replacing the 8 Ball’s front end with Victory’s inverted fork normally found on the Hammer S. We also replaced the rear shock absorber, which on the 8-Ball is Victory’s shortened version to lower the bike for a classic boulevard cruiser stance. In its place we had the crew at Southern California Victory in Brea, California, install a longer Victory coil-over shock so we had more cornering ground clearance and a slightly smoother ride. Check out Evil 8: Part 2.
As we reported in our last installment, the handling and ride were much improved – the Evil 8’s demeanor had changed considerably.
“I like the look of a big 21-inch front wheel, but they don’t steer as trustworthy as a smaller hoop,” Duke observes. “The replacement 18-incher with fatter 130/70 tire provides considerably more steering confidence. Together with the stout inverted fork and longer shock, Evil 8 is a sure-footed handler up to its cornering-clearance limits. And the extra brake set up front provides strong power and decent feel through steel-braided lines.”
Suddenly, those swooping Swept System exhaust pipes looked out of place. They also sounded out of place. The cackle they produce might be okay for bombing the boulevard, but when we strafed the back roads to let Evil 8’s new suspension unwind and do its thing through the twisties, the exhaust note was indicative more of a jalopy hauling white lightning than a smooth-handling power cruiser hauling ass.
We needed to fix that, so it was back to the Victory catalog where we locked in on the 2-into-1 Exhaust Pipe Kit (PN 2877254; $999.99 that includes Performance Air Filter and EFI Calibration).
The chrome-plated system comes with mounting brackets and hardware for a quick and easy install. Moreover, the header pipes contain catalytic converter inserts that enable the system to be 50-state legal in terms of conforming to EPA and California’s CARB emission limits.
Armed with our new exhausts, we made a trip to Southern California Victory, where Danny Edwards performed the swap in no time. A quick session with his laptop computer to download the calibration card, and we were in business.
After riding Evil 8 with its new collector we were confident that we had made an improvement to the engine’s performance. The 2-into-1 felt like it produced more power in the low- and mid-range, pulling smoothly from 1500 rpm to redline.
But the collector’s on-road improvement turned out to be only an illusion, because the final dyno chart (courtesy Geoff Gaites at Cycle Doctor in Costa Mesa, California) revealed a very similar power curve to that of the Swept System.
So why did the collector feel better in terms of how it performed on the street during acceleration? We can only conclude that the answer rested in the system’s sound and noise level.
In terms of decibels, the collector registered one dB less at 3000 rpm and at redline compared to the Swept System. One decibel may not sound like much, but because decibels are measured logarithmically, a single dB constitutes a rather significant leap (or reduction) in the noise level that the human ear will experience. And so the new collector system emitted a noise noticeably quieter than the raspy down-swept 2-into-2 pipes that it replaced.
Moreover, the collector’s sound was more pleasing to the ear. While this is certainly a subjective thing, we can only liken the distinction in sound between the collector and the Swept System to the screeching noise that a newborn baby in need of a diaper change cranks up as opposed to the melodic tones that a seasoned opera singer shares with her audience. Baby and opera singer might create nearly the same level of noise, but their sounds are worlds apart in terms of their tonality. Consequently, a parent will hurriedly do what it takes to appease the screaming baby, but even someone not accustomed to operatic music can enjoy a performance by a singer who has a practiced and controlled vocal range.
Our bike’s collector had a mellower tone to it, such that it sounded much, much quieter than the Swept System. In the process the collector might have given the false impression that it was working more efficiently, too.
“I’d rate the exhaust sound as just under the threshold for annoyance,” Duke says. “It’s certainly butch-sounding and quieter than most open-piped Harleys.”
We were also impressed with the collector’s cornering clearance. Given Evil 8’s improved handling, we could easily rub the tips of the forward-control footpegs on the pavement when fully leaned left or right.
The improved suspension kept the bike rock-steady, and not once did the new exhaust drag, giving us even more confidence through the turns with our modified Victory 8-Ball. Mission accomplished in terms of suspension and ride.
“The mods to Evil 8 transformed a straight-line boulevardier into something closer to a pro-street cruiser,” Duke opines. “It’s much closer to my idea of a desirable cruiser, one that doesn’t flinch when pointed down a twisty road.”
In terms of improving the ride and handling, our modifications were enough to tame it once and for all. And so, in the end, good triumphs over evil!
Victory Vegas 8-Ball Project: "Evil 8" Part 2
Victory Vegas 8-Ball Project: "Evil 8" Part 1
2011 Victory Lineup Reviews
2010 Victory Vegas 8-Ball Review
2010 Victory Motorcycles Lineup Preview
2010 Victory Vegas LE Review
2009 Victor Cory Ness Signature Jackpot Review
Mainstream Chopper Shootout
2010 Harley-Davidson Road Glide vs. 2010 Victory Cross Country