EICMA 2015: Victory Unveils Project 156-Based Production Engine In Concept Bike

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

When Victory Motorcycles announced in mid-October that it would reveal a new motorcycle at EICMA 2015, riders who follow Victory and its parent company, Polaris, knew that the bike would most likely be the production result of the company’s Project 156 Pikes Peak racing effort from this past summer. Well, they/we were right – and wrong. While the new engine displayed by Victory today is the production version of the Project 156 effort that will power a future 1200cc class motorcycle and “deliver the strongest power and performance in its class,” the bike is said to be just a concept. Still, the question remains: Exactly how far along is this concept?

Victory To Unveil New Model At EICMA

What Victory will let us know about the engine is that the basic architecture of the engine is the same as the one use in Project 156, utilizing the same crankcase, v-angle, rotating bottom-end, transmission and clutch set-up. Victory will also kindly informed us that it uses DOHC (with presumably four valves per cylinder) and is liquid-cooled, but we have eyes and already know this. Although Victory hadn’t previously stated it, common assumption was that the engine is a repurposed and updated Indian Scout engine, and Victory has finally confirmed that the engine is derived from within the Polaris family:

“Project 156 is a purpose built racer that took our engine design to one of the most challenging races on the planet – it was a proving ground like no other that set the bar very high for our team,” says Victory Motorcycles General Manager Rod Krois. “This engine platform, which uses designs from other Polaris products having sold over 200,000 engines, will deliver on the promise of modern American muscle that is in the DNA of every current and future product we sell. Victory will continue to aggressively plot a new course for itself and where an American motorcycle brand can go.”

eicma 2015 victory unveils project 156 based production engine in concept bike

Still, there still might be some surprises hidden away that we’ll learn from the manufacturer in the upcoming months timeframe that Victory has said it will release more information. Without even looking at the calendar, we know that would put it around Daytona Bike Week season, and Victory has publicly stated “this new engine will power a new model to be released in 2016.” Perhaps we should start booking our plane tickets, now.

The concept motorcycle itself was built by Switzerland-based builder Urs Erbacher who is well-known and respected within the Euro custom motorcycle community and is a multi-time drag racing champion. While the choice of a European builder might seem odd for an American motorcycle manufacturer, Victory had a plan behind the selection. “We knew any production version of the Project 156 race motor would be a great centerpiece in any American bike, but we wanted to see a European take on the design for EICMA. So, we sought out Urs Erbacher to see his vision,” explains Gary Gray, Director Motorcycle Product. “In the end I think we have a concept bike that both American and European consumers can get excited about.”

eicma 2015 victory unveils project 156 based production engine in concept bike

The bike itself, dubbed the “Victory Ignition Concept,” is an aggressive piece of machinery that reflects Erbaeher’s drag racing background and was built at his shop, Fat Attack Custom Bikes AG. The lines swoop rearward from the flat bar through the solo seat to a curvaceous abbreviated fender. Naturally, the engine is the jewel in this setting with a sexy, hand-built exhaust embracing the V-Twin’s cylinders.

MO Man on the Ground at EICMA (also known as E-i-C) Duke did some snooping around the Ignition Concept and says, “Note the frame, a cast aluminum piece, which is something no custom builder can do, certainly not in the three weeks Urs had to work on it. So, the die is cast, pun intended!” A close look at the frame also shows a family resemblance to how the Indian Scout’s radiator shroud integrates with the frame at its connection to the steering head, but it does not look to be the same unit. So, where did this frame come from? No other Victory has one like it. Hmm…

While inverted forks have been on Victorys ranging from the company’s first muscle bike, the Hammer, to the entire current baggers line, none have been as beefy or purposeful-looking as those on the Ignition Concept. Duke has also informed us that Victory representatives hinted that the production version would not include the sexy Brembo brakes. The wheels and the Metzeler Racetec tires look the part on this in-your-face machine.

eicma 2015 victory unveils project 156 based production engine in concept bike

We will be looking forward to Victory’s further announcements about the upcoming model based on the Victory Ignition Concept and the new engine. Until then, we can only consider these photos – and not so patiently wait.

Follow the rest of our 2015 EICMA Show coverage for more information on new 2016 motorcycle announcements.

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2 of 38 comments
  • CopperJohn CopperJohn on Dec 18, 2015

    I do believe it is a missed opportunity for Victory. I love my Vic - Vegas 8 Ball and I won't ever get into a sport type bike, but we already have Victory, Indian and Harley making great cruisers. I would like to see Victory create a sport bike based on that engine - full fairing, race oriented geometry and all...something that would appeal to the crowd that buys the Japanese sport bikes.. On the positive side, I love the looks of the bike, but it just needs to lean to more of the sport bike side of things..just my opinion.

  • Degoragon Degoragon on Jul 25, 2017

    There is still a chance for Polaris to bring a proper 156-Type bike into production, even though Victory is Gone, Indian can use a new "Ace" This can work especially well, given Indian's racing past, and pikes peak pedigree. Personally, I think a Proper Sport or Sport tourer under the "Indian Ace" name, along with a revised Victory Vision under the "Indian Spirit" moniker would be a boon to the brand.