The year was 1998 when Polaris Industries rolled out a brand-new division of the company, Victory Motorcycles. The fledging bike builder came complete with a brash moniker: The New American Motorcycle Company. The well-known manufacturer of ATVs, watercraft, snowmobiles, and other specialty vehicles was about to embark on some uncharted territory-and was ready to compete with the established heavyweights in the field. It seems as if that were just yesterday, when in fact it was eight long years ago. Over that period, Victory's brass has taken this endeavor very seriously. What began as a one-bike (v92c) lineup in 1998 has turned into a line consisting of seven models. As with many startups, Victory was faced with numerous challenges along the way, but the company's solid backing and motorsports background gave it a leg up over many other companies competing in the same marketplace.
The last few years have seen many changes to Victory's model line, most noticeably the addition of its Hammer and Jackpot models, but also-perhaps more importantly-styling and design input from the most respected name in the custom bike world: Ness. The father-and-son duo of Arlen and Cory has had a major influence on Victory's styling, and there are even a couple of limited-edition models sporting their namesake.
One thing Polaris has learned over the years (50, to be exact) is to listen to what its customers have to say. By doing so the company has been able to increase the comfort, reliability, and attractiveness of its vehicles. Victory would be no different from any other division of the company in placing customer feedback high on its list. As focus groups were surveyed time and time again, one thing became very clear: Riders were looking for a more powerful motor, six-speed transmissions, and a whole lot of rubber out back.
Victory got the message loud and clear, and its Hammer model was in direct response to customer desires. Introduced in 2005, the Hammer was a stunning testament to the company's commitment to delivering what customers were looking for.
When it first hit the scene, the Hammer was the only Victory model available with the new Freedom 100/6 V-Twin driveline package. What set the Hammer apart from all other Victory models was the increased displacement from 92 to 100 cubic inches. In addition, it showcased a new six-speed overdrive transmission designed to make for smoother, more comfortable high-speed riding. For 2006 these enhancements have found themselves on the majority of the models built by Victory.
The Hammer's frame is constructed with a combination of steel, cast, and forged sections coupled with a mixture of both robotic MIG-welding and bolted segments. The bottom framerails are designed to be unbolted from the remainder of the frame, facilitating removal and installation of the integrated engine and transmission unit. The steering neck is set to 32.9 degrees, while the back of the frame supports a long, wide swingarm fabricated from forged side rails and a cast bridge. The welded assembly is controlled by a single adjustable gas shock, which couples the swingarm's linkage to the area of the frame beneath the seat, giving the Hammer all the benefits of a traditional shock setup while at the same time allowing for a clean look at the rear of the bike.