There was a time when Indian was as jaunty a bike as a Harley-Davidson. Of course, Harley has evolved to become a bit of a weekend trophy bike company, cranking out large, chromed-up cruisers that rely on a brand that has long since captured the imagination of the American rider, at least on a mass-consumer level.
The common joke about Harley is that their design philosophy is “if it breaks, make it bigger, and if it sticks out, chrome it.”
So, getting back to the Indian. That’s a great bike, and one that fell by the wayside. But now, thanks to Victory’s parent company, Polaris, Indian is back with the Scout and the Scout Sixty, and this year the 2017 Victory Octane is whispered to be the future of the American cruiser segment.
While Harley-Davidson long had a grip on the cruiser market, Victory seemed always to try and copy them and then hope for some residual business as a result. The moves with the Scout and Scout Sixty helped Victory, and now the Octane threaten to reset the dynamic.
At the center of the Octane is a 1,200 cc, liquid cooled V-twin making 104 horsepower and 76 pound-feet of torque. Victory claims that means 12 second quarter miles and a 0-60 time under four seconds. They also claim the Octane has 32 degrees of available lean angle, though those foot forward controls make real sport riding on the twists questionable. Nonetheless, it’s not chromed.
Photo credit: Victory Motorcycles