Suzuki Releases Black 2011 Boulevard M109R Model

BREA, Calif. June 16, 2011 –Suzuki is pleased to announce that the 2011 Boulevard M109R will now be available in black for the 2011 model year, in addition to the current Candy Indy Blue and M109R Limited Edition Glass Sparkle Black/Candy Max Orange.

The M109R is Suzuki’s flagship Boulevard cruiser, and the most powerful cruiser Suzuki has ever produced. Boasting a 109-cubic inch (1783cc) Suzuki fuel-injected V-twin powerplant, the M109R pairs unrivaled torque and horsepower with exceptional handling and aggressive styling. The rear wheel wears a huge 240mm Dunlop rear tire – the largest ever used on a Suzuki motorcycle. The Boulevard M109R offers the most complete muscle cruiser package in its class.

The new color option will be available in limited quantities at authorized Suzuki dealers nationwide.

For more information, please visit www.suzukicycles.com

 

 

Victory Throttles into 2011

Riding through the slot canyons around Gateway, Colorado, with the headlight of a good friend occasionally blinking in my mirrors, I’m once again reminded that I belong to a small tribe, at least when compared the number of people there are in the world who don’t ride. Realizing how incredibly fortunate we are to experience the thrill of a new landscape from the saddle of a motorcycle, I down shift the big V-twin beneath me and dive into the next series of bends. Reacting to the change of pace, my buddy adjusts his speed, as I also realize that the Victory motorcycles we are riding belong to a relatively part of this tribe in the big picture of the motorcycle industry. This makes the large presence and awareness they have already established for themselves since their introduction in 1998 all the more remarkable.
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Having arrived on the scene with their bikes being touted as “the new American motorcycle,” Victoryquickly began winning awards. Their 1999 V 92C took Cycle World’s “Cruiser of the Year,” with numerous awards to follow. Building on this success, “Fuel your passion” is now a new tag line at Victory to accompany the fifteen new models they have on offer in 2011. As we thunder alongside a breathtaking vista of deep river canyons and towering mountains, I’m having no trouble figuring out what it means.

Also, riding through some strange times in the motorcycle world with our current economy, it’s interesting to note the success Victory has been achieving in growing the brand. This is not so surprising, when you realize the Victory Motorcycle Company is headed by Mark Blackwell, the motorcyclist’s motorcyclist. There are few more qualified in our industry, and this is easily recognizable in the quality and versatility of the machinery and choice of machines he oversees. With the fat 250 tire models excluded, the have ridden put a premium on the ride experience, with great handling, braking and strong, useable power allied to superb fuel delivery. Realizing that while I’m not a fan of big tire bikes, many people are, and the Victory models certainly do a much better job than others I’ve ridden with this configuration. American Iron Horse has to be the worst offender, with Suzuki’s M109R coming a close second for honors in the most difficult to ride category.

With fifteen new models to potentially ride in one day, it seemed like a daunting prospect at first to give them a decent evaluation. But with all of the line up sharing the same basic 106 cubic inch, air-cooled V-twin engine, it actually wasn’t such a tough job. Starting with the one bike I know from the Victory line up, the Vision Tour, I learned this, the Cross Roads and the Cross Country actually have what is called the Stage 1 engine package. This gives the touring range engines milder camshafts and a lower maximum peak of 92 horsepower. With 109 lb-ft of torque, it’s man enough for the job, and I’ve made many a happy mile in the seat of a Vision in the past.

For 2011, Victory has made changes to the gearbox to quiet things down. Fourth and sixth gears have been worked over to reduce whine, and drive train lash has also been drastically reduced. After our day of testing, there was too much daylight and incredible scenery left for me to pack it in, so I jumped on a cruiser and headed out to shoot some photos. Paying particular attention to the gear whine, I was surprised how much noise there was and wondered why it wasn’t noticeable during the day. Well, I’ve never been the sharpest tool in the shed, so it took a while for the small, shriveled pea floating around inside the cerebral nut basket to register I was riding last year’s model. Enough said.

Visually there are few noticeable changes to the Vision Tour, which I personally think is one of the coolest looking motorcycles ever made, except new blacked out passenger handholds, redesigned muffler tips and new tubular handlebars. It does come standard with anti lock brakes this year though and will set you back $23,699. If you want something extra special, there is an Arlen Ness version, which is simply stunning to look at and retails for $27,999. As a top of the line luxury cruising motorcycle, the Vision Tour comes with all the bells and whistles, from capacious lockable storage to a fully integrated sound system and more. While I didn’t put any transcontinental type mileage on the new ’11, I did put enough miles on to remind myself why I enjoy this, comfortable, mile-eating motorcycle so much.

The Cross Country is a stylish bagger, with a large full handlebar mounted fairing that comes with a fully integrated audio system like the Vision, an MP3/iPod hook up and optional Satellite radio. It feels instantly lighter and more maneuverable than the Vision, but with a choice of hard bags or soft saddlebags, or the new accessory color-matched trunk you can make it perfect for long haul journeys. Comfortable and smooth, with a 4.8-gallon gas tank and cruise control, the Cross Country is going to easily live up to its name.

Braking is the same as the Vision, with a pair of 300mm dual discs up front using four piston calipers. A single 300mm disc is used in the rear, and unlike the Vision the system is not linked. Settling the bike well into corners, solid and predictable handling is certainly one of the Cross Country’s strong points. While it uses the same frame, forks differ from the Vision’s 46mm conventional units by using the same inverted 43mm units found on the Cross Roads. A single air assisted shock in the rear makes changes for passengers and luggage not only easy, but also as precise as you want to make it. Coming in a choice of three colors: Solid Black, Solid Imperial Blue Metallic and Two-Tone Pearl White and Vogue Silver. The base model is on showroom floors for $17,999. You can, of course, get a highly individualized Cory Ness version for $24,999, which comes with a host of Ness chrome and billet accessories, the cylinders diamond cut, a pair of beautiful sculptured billet wheels, custom suede seat and a Sun Set red custom paint job.

The Cross Roads itself comes standard with cruiser control and no fairing, although you can have the same lockable hard bags or soft saddlebag option as the Cross Country. Part of Victory’s Core Custom Program yhat allows the customer to choose their own color from a choice of Solid Crimson and Solid Black. They can also specify whether they would like the accessory windshield, different handlebars and either the soft or the hard saddlebags. There is the optional color matched lockable trunk from the Vision and Cross Country. This comes on and off the bike in seconds and requires no tools for this operation. Able to hold two full-face helmets with room to spare, it has two speakers for the passenger as well as a comfortable backrest. Added benefits are the high mount tail light, and if you want to accessorize it further, you can add a passenger arm rest kit and pick up a liner and a cargo rack for more luggage carrying capacity. It’s this attention to every detail that is so precise that really impresses me with the whole Victory experience. You can simply set the bike up exactly the way you want it before you ride it away from the dealership. Retail on this baby starts at $14,999 and there is a highly customized Cory Ness version for $24,999.

In the cruiser department, you have a mix of bikes centered on three models: The Vegas, the Kingpin and the Hammer. The Vegas Jackpot is one of the bikes that has a 250 series rear tire and a very skinny 90 profile, 21 inch front tire. Retailing for $18,999, it comes with a cool black and white paint job, with a glamour girl on the side panel. The bike is a real looker, but loses points from me for the rear tire and the very busy digital tachometer. Never settling at any one place, even when I tried to keep the throttle steady, it would need to go if I owned the bike. The engine is a peach though and with the same faultless fueling it has a little extra power thanks to the Freedom 106/6 Stage 2 engine, which gives a total of 97 hp and 113 ft-lb of torque. It also uses the newly revised six-speed transmission and a host of customizing options at time of purchase.

The Hammer and the Hammer S also feature this level of engine tune and the 250 series rear tire. Victory says they are “at the intersection of sporty styling and cruiser muscle” and with twin discs up front, an inverted fork and removable seat cowl, they certainly have some sporting attributes. A performance exhaust is available, as are lower controls, grips and covers. The standard Hammer retails for $17,999 with the S model coming in a little higher at $18,499. There is also the Hammer 8-Ball which is a more base line, blacked out version with less frills for $14,499.

The rest of the Vegas family of cruisers restored Mr. Happy to the saddle as they come with a 180 series rear tire and a cool custom looking skinny 90 series 21-inch tire up front. The best selling motorcycle of the Victory line up, and probably the best known, it’s a distinctive looking bike that works really well over a wide variety of road conditions. Wide pull back handlebars, low seat and custom quality paint give it the right look, and with the basic 8-Ball starting at $12,999, it’s the lowest priced Victory of the bunch. You can spend up to $18,999 for the Zach Ness version, and there are a number of accessories available like performance exhaust, windshields etc, at the time of purchase for all the Vegas line up if needed.

Last but not least, and one of the bikes I put the most miles on during our test, the Victory Kingpin. With the larger fenders, inverted fork and eighteen-inch wheels, it has a distinctly different look to the others in the range. With the best handling package and the same silky smooth engine response, it was my favorite to ride. The seating position is pure cruiser, but not at the expense of any comfort, as the floorboards were nicely placed and the wide bars sat me upright without feeling strained in either direction. Base model 8-Ball starts at $12,999 and the straight Kingpin, with a choice of Solid Crimson and Two Tone Imperial Blue and White, hits $14,999. Clean, quiet and efficient belt drive is used as with all the models here, and like all Victory motorcycles it’s an extremely tight, well thought out package in every respect.

Heading home from Colorado, it’s clear Victory is extremely serious about their motorcycles and how to keep building on their success. The amount of options available for someone purchasing a new machine are bordering on the overwhelming, although I’m sure very exciting as you set about making your new bike just the way you want it. What started out as a confusing prospect, turned into a simple distilled realization that it doesn’t matter which of the new Victory models you choose, you are clearly not going to be disappointed.

2011 KAWASAKI VULCAN® 1700 VAQUERO

The dictionary defines vaquero as a Spanish-origin word meaning “cowboy” or “herdsman.” Well, if that cowboy happened to be independent, adventurous, undeniably-cool and sported handmade boots and a custom hat, he’d probably ride a 2011 Kawasaki Vulcan® 1700 Vaquero.

Baggers are arguably the coolest cruisers these days, and it’s not a stretch to see why. The really good ones are low, long, ultra stylish and, with their chopped fairings and hard-case side bags, plenty functional.

The new Vaquero bagger is all that – and much more. Kawasaki engineers and designers didn’t just throw custom paint and a blacked-out motif on a Vulcan 1700 and call it done. They digested valuable owner and market research, and scrutinized every system – engine, chassis, features, bodywork and appearance – to ensure that the bike being developed squared nicely with what cruiser buyers wanted.

Custom, blacked-out details are your first clue to the new Vaquero’s mission, and there’s plenty to see. It all starts with the beautiful Ebony or Candy Fire Red paint on the abbreviated fairing, sculpted tank and curvaceous bodywork that looks as if it could be a half-inch deep. Luxurious chrome accents (engine guards, exhaust, mirrors, etc.) provide a beautiful counterpoint to the glossy paintwork, but it’s perhaps the multi-textured blacked-out engine and chassis treatment that best highlights the Vaquero’s radical aesthetic look. The engine, air-cleaner cover, wheels, fork assembly and tank cover all get the blackout treatment, which gives the bike a true custom look that’s beautiful and menacing at once. It’s definitely not a motorcycle you’ll easily forget.

Beneath all that beautiful bodywork, paint and chrome is a superbly engineered motorcycle, one that blends power, handling, durability and confidence-inspiring character in a massively functional package. It all starts with the Vaquero’s 1700cc liquid-cooled V-twin, which powers all four Vulcan 1700 models for 2011 – Voyager®, Classic, Nomad and Vaquero. A thoroughly proven design, this 52-degree Vee boasts the very latest in engine technology yet looks like a throwback to the past, a time when the V-twin was the engine to have powering your motorcycle. Features include an overhead cam design, high compression and a long-stroke dimensional design that results in the sort of effortless low- and mid-range thrust that’s so desirable and useful in a big-inch cruiser.

Vaquero’s throttle valve system works with the advanced electronic fuel injection to optimize engine response without detracting from its distinctive V-twin throb. The system utilizes an Accelerator Position Sensor (APS) and a Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) that feed data to the ECU, which adjusts the throttle plates to tailor intake airflow accordingly. The system offers a natural throttle feel, because the APS is activated by a throttle body pulley connected by cables to the throttle grip. Besides the obvious FI advantages such as improved fuel economy and automatic adjustment for altitude changes, the system also permits easy hands-off warm-up and idle speed control. Vaquero also features a water-cooled alternator that produces a staggering 46.8 amps of electrical output – plenty to power a selection of electronic accessories to enrich motorcycle travel.

The result of all this new-think engine tech is a massive quantity of usable torque spread out over a shockingly wide rpm range. With 108 foot-pounds of torque, a mere twist of the Vaquero’s throttle delivers arm-stretching acceleration for freeway passing or spirited riding, and the smooth wave of low-rpm grunt is always ready to please when you’re just boppin’ down the boulevard, checking out the scene and chillin’.

Speaking of just cruisin’ along; the Vaquero offers true touring-bike convenience in the form of its electronic cruise control system, conveniently operated from the right handlebar and usable at any speed between 30 and 85 mph in any of the top four gears. The cruise system can be disengaged in any of the following ways: usage of the brake lever, clutch lever, rear brake pedal, or manually turning the throttle grip past the “closed” position.

Additional touring acumen shines through the engine’s six-speed transmission with overdriven 5th and 6th gears, which contributes to a relaxed ride and excellent fuel economy at highway speeds. Power is routed to the rear wheel via a narrow carbon fiber-reinforced drive belt that has a 40 percent higher tensile strength than current Kevlar belts. And that chopped, custom-look fairing? Although lower than a traditional windshield or full fairing, it still cuts a decent-sized hole in oncoming atmosphere, giving the rider a useful still-air cocoon in which to enjoy the ride.

Lockable side-loading hard bags set the Vaquero apart from its Vulcan 1700 brethren. They’re beautifully integrated and spacious, and styled to highlight the bike’s long, low look. A scooped saddle offers a comfortable rider perch, while a minimalist passenger pad sits atop a wildly shaped rear fender that integrates equally stylish taillight and turn signal assemblies.

The frame holding all this hardware together is a single backbone, double cradle unit designed to be a slim and light as possible for an easy reach to the ground and optimal handling. Bolted to the steering head is a mammoth fork assembly offering 5.5 inches of wheel travel and a thoroughly compliant ride. Suspension in back consists of twin air-assisted shocks with spring preload and rebound damping adjustability working through a beefy steel swingarm. Nine-spoke cast aluminum flat-black wheels hold fat, 130/90 front and 170/70 radial tires that offer light handling characteristics, superb traction and long life. Braking hardware consists of dual 300mm front discs with twin-piston calipers and a 300mm rear disc with a two-piston caliper.

It all adds up to a truly top-of-the-line bagger that encompasses a perfect combination of traits: It’s functional in a wide range of environments, from inner-city cruisin’ to running down the open road. It’s got highly advanced technology. And it’s knee-shakingly beautiful, a bike that’ll put goosebumps on your arms and neck every time you open the garage door to take a peek. We’re sure any hombre would appreciate this one. Custom hat and all…

Authentic Kawasaki Accessories are available through Kawasaki dealers.

Victory Releases 2011 Models

Victory Motorcycles, a Minnesota-based company, continues to push forward with new products and innovations.  Each July, Victory debuts its line-up to the world and this year was no exception.  Victory is enticing buyers with big motors, updated transmissions, black-out components and new exhaust notes.  Other refinements include providing ABS standard on some of its models.  So, let’s take a look at some of the changes for 2011.

One of the biggest changes this year is the decision to include Victory’s 106 inch V-Twin in every model.  Based on the model of bike, Victory is including the 106 in two versions.  The first is a stage 1 106 V-Twin pumping out a claimed 92 hp and 109 lb-ft

Victory 106 V-Twin

of torque.  This motor is included in the Cross Country, Cross Roads, Victory Vision and Arlen and Cory Ness Signature bikes.  For more stump pulling power, Victory includes their 106 Stage 2 V-Twin that churns out 97 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque.  This motor is included in the Vegas, Jackpot, Hammer and Kingpin including the 8-ball versions.

Both V-twin motors are coupled to a 6 speed transmission which provides a true overdrive gear for smooth cruising at highway speeds.  Victory has re-designed its transmissions to reduce gear whine as well as lower driveline lash by a claimed 66%.  In addition, Victory has included a “neutral assist” feature that makes it easier for a rider to find neutral at a stop.

Victory rocked the motorcycle world in 2008 with the release of the Vision.  The

Victory Vision Tour

Vision is the company’s long distance touring bike.  The 2011 Victory Vision Tour

now includes the added advantage of ABS.  ABS provides the rider with an advanced braking system that minimizes lockup on heavy braking.  Additional enhancements

to the Vision line include round handlebars which allow for easier mounting of devices, easier opening saddlebag compartments and newly designed exhaust tips.

The Cross Country and Cross Roads continue to be an extremely popular bike for Victory.  Current owners have been hoping for a trunk for their long distance

machines.  Victory answered this year by providing a Lock & Ride trunk package for the Cross Country and Cross Roads.  This trunk has built-in speakers, LED tail lights and can be mounted or removed in seconds.  The trunk can hold two full faced helmets and provides a padded passenger

Victory Cross Country

backrest for the long hauls.  With cavernous saddlebags and a trunk that provides a combined 39 gallons of storage, just about everything can be brought along on that road trip.

Victory introduced a new program this year for its Cross Roads bike called the CORE Custom Program.  This program allows potential buyers to design a Cross Roads exactly to their liking before even leaving the dealership.  Buyers can add different types of accessories such as saddlebags, windshields and highway bars before they make their final purchase decision.   This flexibility allows the buyer to customize a bike without investing in stock parts that will be replaced later.

Victory continues to offer a no frills blacked out 8-ball version of its Vegas, Hammer, Kingpin and Vision.   8-Ball versions feature very little chrome but a lot of attitude.  With the same power plant and transmission as the other bikes in the lineup, the 8-ball versions provide a lot of performance at a reduced price.

The Ness family continues to provide signature series bikes for Victory.  Arlen and Cory have provided these masterpieces for several years, however, Zach Ness, Cory’s son, is now following the family trend. Arlen Ness continues to add his creative designs to the Victory Vision this year with a really impressive scroll design.  A true work of art that features a unique paint process that looks like engraved metal highlights the Vision.  Another addition to the Ness Signature Series is the Cory Ness

Victory Cory Ness Cross Country

Cross Country.  A beautiful Sunset Red paint job created by Cory Ness as well as an abundance of Ness chrome accessories adores this model.   The Cory Ness Cross Country even sports a custom suede leather seat.  Zach Ness has learned from his family and designed a really distinctive Vegas.  Diamond cut cylinder heads and precision cut wheels makes this Vegas stand out in the crowd.  Other enhancements include a custom seat, Ness chrome and stunning suede black paint with custom graphics.

The Victory Hammer, an aggressive fat tire muscle bike, continues in 2011.  The Hammer sports an inverted front fork, a 250 mm rear tire and dual disc front brakes.  With the addition of the 106 inch Stage 2 V-twin, this muscle bike is sure to please the high performance cruiser crowd.  The Hammer S continues show attitude with the addition

Victory Hammer S

of blacked out custom details and an aggressive paint scheme. Other models such as the Jackpot, Vegas and Kingpin continue to provide impressive components such as new paint and a new power train.

For more information about the 2011 models, including building your own custom Victory, check out www.victorymotorcycles.com