The path that opened when a 1,200 cc V-twin prototype racer contested the Pikes Peak hill climb last June has finally led to the long-awaited production model from Victory Motorcycles. The Octane power cruiser juggles fiery performance on one hand, with entry level friendly pricing on the other.
The press release announcing Victory's participation to the Pikes Peak event with a naked streetbike dubbed Project 156 came as a surprise to many. Those who follow Don Canet's Cycle World column or Roland Sands' Instagram account may have had a heads up on the information that Victory had developed a racer out of an Indian Scout in just four months. Investigating the sportier side of the Scout's V-twin apparently attracted plentiful publicity to Victory's plans, and also offered the opportunity to test the engine's limits in a competitive environment.
Soon after two concept models – the Ignition and the Combustion – completed the introductory trilogy.The works of Urs Erbacher and Zach Ness evidently contributed to the Octane's final shape and added another two well-known names to that of Roland Sands in the new bike's bloodline.
Sharp edges, matte grey finish, total absence of chrome and everything metallic blacked out – the Octane is designed to look menacing. It may resemble the average cruiser with a mean look, but in this case the attitude isn't just superficial.
An extra 50 cc over the standard Scout's engine comes from bigger bores, as the pistons' stroke remains exactly the same, which is exactly the opposite of the process that led to the Scout Sixty. It's 101 x 73.6 mm for the Octane, 96 x 73.6 for the Scout; both ostensibly oversquare. Working at 10.8:1 compression rate, maximum performance comes quite high in the rev range with 77 kW (103 hp) at 8,000 rpm and 73 ft-lb (99 Nm) at 6,000. That'd be a similar rev ceiling to the Scout, but with a substantial 17-hp punch and an equally important weight loss of 38 lb (17 kg), with the Octane tipping the scales at 528 lb (240 kg).
The frame also follows the hybrid logic of the Scout, with two cast aluminum parts tied together by the engine block and a double steel backbone. Although Victory does not talk about possible differences compared to the source model, we do note a slightly longer wheelbase at 62.1 in (1,578 mm) - 61.5 in / 1,562 mm for the Scout. Also the rear shocks are positioned at a steeper angle and the seat is a tad higher at 25.9 in (658 mm), while the rake remains at 29 degrees.
Suspension and brakes appear to be the very same units used on the Scout, as the Octane comes with standard ABS. The wheels are different, with a larger 18-in front (130/70) and a fatter 160/70-17 rear.
Victory has essentially come up with a sportier alternative to the Indian Scout. It's not exactly the hair-raising naked sportbike that Project 156 hinted at, yet Victory celebrates the Octane as the most powerful production motorcycle it has ever built. According to the official release, it can cover the quarter-mile in 12 seconds and accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds. Despite the significant power hike though, the price objective definitely played its part in retaining a rather basic set of suspension and brakes. The Octane takes a stab at the logic behind motorcycles like the Ducati XDiavel, offered at a considerably less intimidating price that will certainly appeal to a far wider customer base.
The Octane's press release makes no specific mention of availability dates, but informs us that the US MSRP starts at $10,499, while in Europe the starting price is set at €12,950. As extra incentive, the first 100 motorcycles (including pre-orders) will be offered with a special engine right side plate commemorating the model's Project 156 roots.
The following video offers some insight into the Octane's core values.