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Gear Review: 55 Collection Hard Jacket

Product: 55 Collection Hard Jacket Made in: Barcelona Cost: €480 (US $510) Website:www.55collection.com
It’s likely you’ve never heard of 55 Collection; the Barcelona-based leather goods company is relatively small and has only been on the scene for a few years. So, allow me to introduce you to a company that’s making some of the best-looking and unique motorcycle jackets out there at the moment.

Adopting the “non serviam” nonconformist attitude that seems to run through a lot of Spain’s motorcycling culture (check out the crazy/beautiful custom works of El Solitario MC, for example), 55 Collection’s jackets may split opinion because of the company’s willingness to make jackets that are fashionable – that is to say, jackets that have a strong fashion element. The old dudes will decry hipsterism or some such thing. And indeed, I’ll admit that when company founder Aitor Gonzalez offered me a chance to try out one of his jackets I naturally defaulted to the most conservative of his offeri…

More Victory stuff


Good grief, I am such a ridiculous Victory fan boy. But I can't help myself. And the fact that they don't seem to publicise any of this stuff themselves always leaves me with a slight sense of responsibility (a).

Perhaps "responsibility" isn't quite the right word to use. I'm not sure what the right word is.

Have you ever seen It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown? The way Linus has such indefatigable allegiance to the idea of the Great Pumpkin, the way he goes around, knocking on people's doors, to evangelise this idea that everyone else dismisses: that's sort of how I feel about Victory Motorcycles. Linus, of course, is from Minnesota, so I'm sure he could relate.

Last weekend, I was in Swindon, visiting the Victory/Indian dealership there -- roughly 80 miles away, it is the closest Victory/Indian dealership to Cardiff -- and that sort of got me excited for the bikes all over again. It helps that the sales manager, Paul, is a genuine Victory fan. 

Anyway, here are three Victory-related items I've spotted or have been pondering recently:

1) Victory UK has dropped the price of the Cross Country.
This is another one of those things I learned solely from my obsessive staring at the Victory UK website. I mentioned not too long ago that the price of the Gunner had been reduced by £400 even before its official European release later this year. Well, turns out it's not the only one. The price on the Cross Country, which is apparently Victory's most popular bike in the United States, has for 2015 been dropped by £550. 

In 2014, the Cross Country was priced at £16,500. For 2015 it's being offered at £15,950. Sadly, that discount does nothing for me, but it's still noteworthy. Compare the Victory Cross Country with the quite similar Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special and you're paying £2,800 less for the brand from Minnesota.

2) Polaris bought Brammo and that might mean an electric Victory is in the works.
A fortnight or so ago, Victory's parent company, Polaris, bought electric motorcycle manufacturer Brammo. Buried within that story was the fact Polaris plans to utilise the assets acquired from Brammo to begin producing electric motorcycles sometime this year at its plant in Spirit Lake, Iowa. The same plant where Victory and Indian motorcycles are assembled.

Considering that Polaris already oversees two motorcycle brands, I'm guessing that the Brammo brand of motorcycle (a brand that is, by and large, unknown outside the circles of people who pay attention to the minutiae of motorcycling) will cease to exist. I'd expect, instead, for Brammo's technology to be reincarnated as a Victory or Indian that allows either brand to keep pace with Harley-Davidson's forthcoming LiveWire e-bike.

Many moons ago, Polaris stated that Victory would be its performance-focused brand, so, in one sense, it fits for the Brammo technology to fall under the Victory umbrella. Plus, it gives Polaris a tiny bit of wriggle room as it continues to build and fortify the Indian brand.

If Victory were to release an electric motorcycle and it were to flop, I feel it wouldn't tarnish the brand as much as if Indian were to do the same. Victory could just say: "Hey, we're the guys who are trying new things, and sometimes new things don't work. Oh well, back to the drawing board. Here are some more Cross Country models while we think of something else."

Whereas if Indian were to flop with an electric motorcycle, you might get cries of: "Oh, woe, Polaris has ruined the great and noble heritage of Indian. Fie! Fie!"

3. I'm still convinced something genuinely new and exciting will come from Victory in March.
Victory unveiled the Judge at Daytona. It unveiled the Gunner at Daytona. Based on this, I'm inclined to believe they are keen to make their stamp on that event and that they will be unveiling something truly new this year. I wrote an article about this for Biker News Online not too long ago, so I won't go into too much detail here. But suffice to say, I think there's a decent amount of evidence to suggest that Victory has something exciting planned for the very near future. And I think that Daytona Bike Week (b) is where that will be revealed.

____________________

(a) Honestly, Victory, get in touch. I'll happily be your PR guy.

(b) Crikey. a few weeks ago I wrote a post about sexism in motorcycling and made the observation: "If you disagree with my suggestion that the motorcycling culture of that region is demeaning to women, I dare you to type the words "Sturgis women" into an image search and view the results at work." -- With Daytona, you don't even have to try that hard. Just type the words "Daytona Bike Week" and you will be inundated with hundreds of such images.

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