Take note President Obama, American motorcycle manufacturing is alive with the new 2009 Victory Vegas Jackpot. Much like the Harley-Davidson Rocker C, at least two American motorcycle manufactures are producing high-quality factory stock motorcycles with a custom look and feel.
Now, Victory takes the competition to the next level. When you first lay eyes on the Jackpot, your brain says all custom. Onlookers everywhere expressed the same response and sighed in disbelief when I told them that they could buy this same bike off the Victory showroom floor just down the road. Yes, this is a factory stock bike that looks like you hired a custom builder to build.
Under the bright sunlight, the painted graphics scheme, the chrome headlight, and the billet stingray wheels (premium Victory wheels replacing the stock black cast wheels) glitter like the crown jewels. The detail in the metal-flake paint combined with the chrome on the frame and swing-arm make the Vegas Jackpot a strong beacon at any roadside cafe. The fit and finish is top-notch, and the only piece of plastic you can easily spot upon removal was the air intake cover-and, yes I was looking for the alleged bottle opener.
The new one-piece saddle has a fresh custom look that cradles the driver and leaves plenty of room to tote along a passenger with enough comfort for short trips. But, it is the new Victory Freedom 106/6 V-twin engine that is the prize of this package. The 106ci/1731cc motor is tuned specifically for peak performance in the cruiser models. And yes, the 97 horsepower and 113 ft.-lb. of torque pops and cracks with explosive acceleration, enough to leave novice sport-bike guys standing still at the last red light.
The bike we tested was fitted with the Victory Performance 2-into-1 exhaust (replacing the standard and less exciting 2-into-2 system). The system definitely adds the American V-twin rumble you would expect and some additional performance that experienced riders can take advantage of along with the closed loop fuel injection and Stage 2 cams.
The six-speed transmission shifted cleanly and expects precise rider input under hard acceleration, while the overdrive 6th gear and generous torque allows you to chug along while cruising the coast or at full-on highway speeds. As with any custom with such a long and low chassis and a super-wide 250mm rear tire, handling is best intent for straight-line power cruising and standing-still great looks.
So, from the smaller, younger American motorcycle manufacturer, Victory continues to impress with some serious iron and chrome. My 6-year said it best, "Wow, daddy, that is one cool bike".