When we first brought you the Victory Core concept, we didn't have much time to bring you any analysis. We actually published the article from the show floor at the Javits Center during the press conference using a CD of images that we had to lie to obtain; it was only made available to print media. While we're much bigger fans of the Core than we are of the NY show's other headliner, the Honda Fury, we still have serious issues with Victory's "performance cruiser of the future."
Victory describes the Core thusly, "Core is a concept motorcycle
designed and built by the Victory Motorcycles Industrial Design team to
show what a performance cruiser of the future could look like. It
consists of only the essentials: engine, frame, wheels and front
suspension -- no rear suspension. Its unique cast aluminum frame was
made by pouring molten aluminum into a sand core, which was removed
when the casting was complete."
In these videos, Victory's staff boasts of the originality, innovation
and purity achieved by the Core. Let's look at each of those claims and
see how they stack up to reality.
Victory: "There's nothing like it out there."
HFL: The Core is striking similar to the Confederate Hellcat both in
profile and detail. The aggressive, streetfighter-like face achieved by
the lack of a protruding headlight? Hellcat. Formed split wooden seat's actual shape? Hellcat. The heavily
curved profile that makes the v-twin look muscular? Hellcat. The
current iteration of the Hellcat was designed in 2002.
Victory: "The cool thing about bobbers is if it doesn't make the bike
go, if it doesn't make the bike stop, then it doesn't belong on the
HFL: What's the big fake radiator thing bolted to the front of the engine?
Victory: "Performance Cruiser"
HFL: Our dictionary defines "performance" as: "A vehicle's capacity to
gain speed rapidly and move efficiently and safely at high speed."
While we're fans of big, air-cooled twins, the lack of rear suspension
means that the Core will be unable to translate its 97bhp and 113lb/ft
of torque into actual acceleration. That lack of rear suspension also
drastically compromises its ability to move efficiently and, in
particular, safely at any speed, much less high ones. We're relieved to
see the Core shun the trend for overly wide rear tires, but we're
afraid it won't be able to exploit the quick steering that would
otherwise result from that rear tire's 150/70 profile.
Victory: "320mm discs up front, Brembo calipers all round, over 100hp, super purposeful-looking"
HFL: Emphasis on the "-looking" Those big brake discs and radial
Brembos? They're not going to be able to work as intended with this
much rake and the lack of rear suspension.
Victory: "Its unique cast aluminum frame was made by pouring molten aluminum into a sand core, which was removed when the casting was complete."
HFL: We have three significant issues with the frame.
First, we made our first sand cast aluminum parts in seventh-grade shop class; this is not a new technique.
Second, making those parts taught us that sand cast aluminum is a bit
on the brittle side. A sand cast, hollow, brittle material does not
sound like an excellent material from which to make a steering head.
Nor is that material used sympathetically in the frame. An air-cooled
engine's heads will expand with heat, this not only means that their
position will shift relative to the sump, but also that there's a
significant amount of flex between the two. Using the extreme
peripherals of an engine that will flex and expand as stressed members
in a brittle frame is inherently flawed.
Third, this frame is rightly given design emphasis on the overall
product, the name "Core" refers to the frame. So why camouflage it with
tacky decals? Given this emphasis the design of the frame should be
bold and attractive enough to stand on its own.
Victory: "Performance cruiser of the future."
HFL: Where are the new ideas? The suspension, powertrain, frame and
styling are utterly conventional, if not overly retro. Are we missing