Although I have never owned one, I’ve been lucky enough to ride a few different Victory models over the last couple of years, but they have all been the Touring oriented models, usually loaned to me by the various Indian and Victory dealers I have visited across Australia.
So today when a good friend parked his very new Victory Jackpot on our drive and passed me the keys, I finally got to ride one of the more radical bikes that found its way out of the Victory factory.
There is no other word to describe the Victory Jackpot. It is RADICAL. It has a simply monstrous rear wheel, a relatively skinny front wheel, and the wonderfully curvy and stylish bit in the middle that holds it all together is punctuated by a vast 107 cubic inch Vee Twin. Make no mistake, this is a large, and intimidating machine.
The paint and finish, like all of the Victory machines I have ridden is first class. I am particularly fond of the pipes, that on this particular model describe a very gentle arc along the length of the bike. Its a nice feature that picks up the curves of the tank and rear mudguard. The whole bike has an almost feminine form that flows from the front of the tank all the way to the tip of the rear guard.
The large single clock, hosts a range of functions, accessible from a handlebar button. Any Indian or Victory rider should feel instantly at home with the system that seems to be a staple of the Polaris machines.
Settling into the saddle, the first thing I noticed was that the shape and style of the seat, very much pins you into position. There is not much wiggle room on this bike. I found it a bit of a reach to the forward pegs and reasonably high handlebars, but nothing uncomfortable. In fact it feels very much like you sit in, not on this bike.
I had heard the bike running on a couple of occasions, but that didn’t prepare me for the sensation of sitting in the saddle with the motor running. It has a robust, low down exhaust note, that suggested those wonderful curved exhaust pipes do very little to disguise the size of the explosions taking place in the big Vee right underneath me.
Easing out the clutch gave me my first surprise. I’m not sure if it needs adjusting, or if I have got used to a more fluid clutch, but the overall feel was more like a “clutch switch”….I went from static to moving a good deal more swiftly than I had anticipated. If the clutch feels like a Switch, then it has to be said the Front Brake feels like it is not plugged in. For the size of the bike and number of horses available on tap I was surprised by the stopping power available at the front, which is very limited. I think this maybe a symptom of the style and design of the bike, this is no canyon carving race machine, and it is equipped as such. Riders will have to plan ahead, especially if you are using all of the lovely Torque that is available.
The steering is predictably slow and heavy. The frame Geometry and ratio between the Front and Rear Wheel sizes dictate the rate of the precise, but steady steering. Changes of direction need a fairly high level of rider input. You are not going to “think this one round ” a roundabout. Its going to take some effort, and after my short test ride, I was just starting to adapt.
The power delivery is best described as effortless. The low down Torque means this bike gathers speed with a kind of accomplished dignity. No need to hunt for the redline, just short shifting through the positive and fairly heavy gearbox will see you approaching and passing the legal speeds with very little fuss, and quite a lot of nice Vee Twin sound effects. It is not offensively loud, but you definitely know its there.
For me this bike is a first class example of Victory doing what they do, or rather did, best, which is producing a bike that looks like a hand built, one off Custom Bike shop special.
I think its a shame that we will not see the product line developed further, because although this bike may not be for everyone, its a Fun ride, that makes a serious statement.