Lifted this from another forum.
Everyone knows what a motorcycle should look like. With traditional laid-back cruisers on one end and crotch-rocket sportbikes on the other, bike design continues to follow a well-beaten path.
Victory Motorcycles intends to blow staid conventional design if the Vision 800 it showed at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show this past weekend in Long Beach, California. In front of a phalanx of journalists, Victory pulled the wraps off a unique look at a proposed idea for the future, fulfilling the company's tagline of "The New American Motorcycle."
The Vision is eye-catching above all else. It's a melange of sportbike, cruiser and scooter. Long and low with expansive bodywork, it's the bulbous nose that dominates this wild concept's appearance. Like a scooter, two full-face helmets can be locked away inside. A cast aluminum frame supports the structure that comprises a 61-inch wheelbase and a 28.5-inch seat height. The Vision forgoes a sportbike's rear-set footpegs for scooter-ish feet-forward floorboards mounted just below the laid-down parallel-Twin powerplant.
The fuel-injected engine is sourced from Polaris' 760cc Big Gun ATV. The addition of a counter-balancer and a presumed increase in displacement should make for a smooth and compact motor. (Victory reps hinted that a production version of this bike might even use KTM's tidy V-Twin seen in the Adventure 950.)
Instead of a manual transmission, the Vision is fitted with a CVT that offers twist-and-go operation like a scooter, with power delivered via a shaft drive through the single-sided swingarm to a fat 250mm rear tire. The front end is pure sportbike, with a 43mm inverted fork and 300mm dual discs. Exhaust exits through dual underseat grills at the stubby rear end.
The Vision is the brainchild of designer Tiger Bracy, who was set free in terms of stylistic restrictions from upper management. Bracy is a young, fairly recent addition to the Victory team and says he's been riding "forever." His personal bike stable includes a pair of Suzuki neo-classics: a 1992 GSX-R1100 and a 1982 Katana 1000 ("It was the bike that, as a kid, made me become passionate about motorcycles").
"Let's take motorcycles elsewhere," Bracy told me about his baby. "We have to move forward - this would be our start." Bracy added that America is often at the forefront of design, yet he considers contemporary motorcycles just derivatives of the same old stuff. "As Americans, we deserve this," he said about his look into the future.
Victory is becoming a real player in the industry. Its cruisers now rival goliath Harley-Davidson in quality and features, and parent company Polaris' intention to purchase KTM has given Victory even more momentum.
"There's never been a greater emphasis on motorcycles in our company," said Polaris/Victory press guy Tony Meirovitz at the unveiling.
As such, Victory needs to expand beyond its cruiser roots in order to reach a bigger audience. So, like Harley needs Buell, Victory needs a new bike that appeals to a different market.
"Our mandate for Victory is to drive the future of custom-inspired American motorcycle design," said Greg Brew, Director of Polaris Industrial Design, in a press release. "The Vision 800 is but one example of the type of exploration our team pursues in order to continue to deliver the type of innovative design that fuels people's passion for motorcycles."
"What I like is that this company has the balls to do this," Brew proudly told me.
The most oft-used word at the Vision's unveiling was "interesting." What do you think, dear readers? Is the motorcycle market ready for a massive break in design convention?