Victory Octane vs other performance cruisers

Published: 05 May 2017

After revisiting Victory's 2016-2017 Octane we also took a look how other £10,000 performance cruisers compared insurance wise.  

What we said about the Vegas 8-Ball then?

“The trouble is, instead of being the all- new ‘Modern American Muscle’ Victory hyped the Octane up to be it’s actually a rebadged Indian Scout with a (very) slight performance tweak. As it stands, the Octane is a cheaper, (very) slightly punchier Scout with a Victory badge when it could and perhaps should have been so much more...” - Taken from an MCN launch report, April 2016 

Victory have always cut their own niche, creating high-quality, US-made cruisers with a distinctive modern style, and the Octane is no different. Based on the same engine and chassis platform as the Indian Scout (a brand also owned by parent company Polaris) the Octane seriously rocks the party with its matt grey paint, sculpted tank and slash-
cut twin-stacked pipes. And the ride doesn’t disappoint, either.

Rather than a traditional laidback cruiser stance, the Octane’s riding position is slightly more stretched forward, for an aggressive muscle bike attitude. Because of this, the Octane feels suitably different from the Scout and it responds better as well.

You can’t deny the water-cooled V-twin engine is a bit of a beauty and the subtle alterations that Victory have given it to suit the Octane’s billing as a muscle bike only add to its appeal. It’s a wonderful motor that is quick revving for a cruiser and has a serious turn of pace thanks to its extra capacity over the Scout (1179cc compared to 1133cc). If I was being critical, I would moan about the fact it whines rather than thumps when you rev it.

But the Octane isn’t a traditional cruiser, it’s a modern one and that is reflected in its handling. I was really surprised at just how agile the Octane was, far better than I remembered it to be. With a 17in rear wheel and 18in front, the Victory is light to turn and nippy through the bends. It doesn’t feel its 242kg weight and the low centre of gravity and seat height of just 658mm would make it a cool city cruiser which can also cut it on a spirited weekend blast. It’s certainly impressive – so why didn’t it sell? 

Sadly for the Octane, its sales failure is a reflection of bad timing rather than the bike itself. The Octane arrived at a point when Polaris were unsure which direction to take with Victory and when they decided on closing its doors, this made consumers lose all faith in the brand and effectively killed sales stone dead. Bad news for the Octane, but great news for buyers looking for a bargain used or new muscle bike. 

Any obvious Victory faults?

As the Octane was only released in 2016 and the bike we borrowed is an ex-demo, you wouldn’t expect there to be any faults. The machine is still covered by Victory’s impressive five- year warranty (still honoured by Polaris) and as such is a safe used buy in terms of major mechanical faults. The finish is still factory fresh and seems to be holding up better than older Victory models, which suffer from poor quality plating on exposed metal parts. 

Or worthwhile bike extras?

This bike is totally standard, which is pretty normal for an Octane as the number of accessories available is pretty limited. If you can find one with a few extras already fitted, especially a performance exhaust, it is worth buying. 

Should you buy a Vegas 8-Ball?

The Octane deserved to live longer than it did. However its premature death has created uncertainty in both the new and used market, leading to bikes being discounted. If you want a cool looking, and well-priced, American muscle bike, the Octane is well worth a second look and bikes with £1000 off RRP or extras such as loud pipes included in the deal are easy to locate. 

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