SWISS BIKE BUILDER AND DRAG RACER, URS ERBACHER, CREATES A CONCEPT MOTORCYCLE WITH VICTORY MOTORCYCLES’ NEWEST V-TWIN ENGINE.
After racing at Pikes Peak with Project 156, Victory Motorcycles® knew that any production bike based on the prototype V-Twin engine would need to be something special. With this in mind, Victory® sought to find a custom bike builder who might like to take this challenge – and that builder was the multi-time drag racing champion Urs Erbacher, based in Switzerland.
Erbacher infuses all of his custom bikes with a European style that has global appeal. His style is clean, powerful and dynamic, and his customs turn heads. Most importantly, his customs tempt riders to simply climb on and get on the gas…just as they will with his latest creation – the Victory Ignition Concept.
AN IDEA IGNITES
This year, at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, Victory Motorcycles presents a concept motorcycle built around the first pre-production engine off the factory line in Osceola, Wisconsin. Featuring a lean and muscular design, the Victory Ignition Concept represents the future of Victory Motorcycles’ production machines. “We knew any production version of the Project 156 race motor would be a great centerpiece in any American bike, but we wanted to see a European take on the design for EICMA. So we sought out Urs Erbacher to see his vision,” explains Gary Gray, Director Motorcycle Product. “In the end I think we have a concept bike that both American and European consumers can get excited about.” The new engine is born out of the one-off racing powerplant used in Project 156, which entered the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. And it’s no secret that this new engine will power a new model to be released in 2016. “I’m proud not only of this build, but what it represents for the future of the Victory Motorcycles® brand,” says Urs Erbacher who has given the bike a Project 156-inspired paint scheme. “Having an open invitation to wrap the new engine in an interesting bike is a real highlight in my career – and I imagine that any production bike with this powertrain will be a fantastic ride.”
HIGH OCTANE ANTICS
Urs Erbacher is synonymous with custom bike building and drag racing throughout Europe. The 54-year-old has been customizing motorcycles to make them faster and better looking since he was 12 years old. “I have been playing with motorcycles for over 40 years,” enthuses Urs. “My brother is seven years older and we used to play around on mopeds that went 30km/hr. I modified them, doubling their speed to 60km/hr and changed their style. Very soon all of my friends wanted the same. I guess this is where it all started.” Erbacher took up drag racing in the 1980s. After winning three FIA European championships in the Top Methanol Funny Car class between 2003 to 2005, he then moved up in to the Top Fuel dragster class, winning the FIA European Championships in 2007, 2010 and 2011. The Swiss custom bike builder and champion drag racer has dedicated his life to seeking out more performance, building strong teams and winning races – as such he is the perfect partner for Victory Motorcycles® to work with in Europe. Indeed, Victory Motorcycles® sponsors his drag racing efforts and he owns a thriving Victory® dealership in Arlesheim in Switzerland, just south of Basel. At Faak Am See in Austria earlier this year, Erbacher wowed Victory® fans with a live firing of his nitro-fuelled dragster just meters away from the crowd. Today, Urs continues to compete in the Top Fuel class and still holds the European speed record of 514 km/hr in 4.74 seconds. He displays all of his winning trophies on the wall of his modern workshop in Switzerland.
FUELLING A PASSION
Urs has grown his bike-building business, Fat Attack Custom Bikes AG, into a renowned name on the biker scene. With gasoline and nitro in his blood, he leads teams that create unique motorcycle rebuilds in Switzerland for customers all over Europe. In the past Urs has sometimes had to push his team hard, working up to 20 hours straight to get a build finished. Leadership and motivating others are his strengths. In 2014, live at the Swiss-MOTO show, Urs and his team toredown, customized and re-built a Victory Motorcycles’ Hammer® S in just four days – resulting in a show-stopping drag-inspired cruiser with Erbacher’s signature styling – that bike was called the ‘Erbacher Hammer Sport’. In 2015, Victory Motorcycles® shipped one of its pre-production V-Twin engines to Erbacher’s incredibly well-equipped workshop along with a very simple brief; create a machine with the V-Twin at the heart of the bike. Erbacher was quick to recognize the potential for building a motorcycle more in tune with Victory Motorcycles’ existing line-up of cruisers, as well as paying homage to Project 156 – the bike that was the test bed for the new engine. The brand is thrilled with the end result and Victory Motorcycles® General Manager Rod Krois says: “Project 156 was a purpose built racer that took our engine design to one of the most challenging races on the planet – it was a proving ground like no other that set the bar very high for our team. We will continue to take this engine platform and deliver on the promise of American muscle in every current and future product we sell.” Steve Menneto, President of the Polaris Motorcycles Division is proud of the brand’s direction and said: “Victory Motorcycles – from day one – has been a brand that delivers outstanding in-class-performance, reliability and handling. “Our new engine along with Urs’ Victory® Ignition Concept and future concepts to debut in New York City will plot the direction not only of a fantastic new platform, but of this brand. We will continue to design and build the best cruisers in the class.”
VICTORY IGNITION CONCEPT HIGHLIGHTS
This has the same base architecture in the prototype engine used in Project 156 – the crankcase, v-angle, rotating bottom-end, transmission and clutch set-up is all the same. The liquid-cooled four-valve engine has double overhead cams with the aim of making class-leading power. Additional details of the engine will be revealed in the months to come.
Erbacher and his team have handmade twin headers that snake out from the cylinders into a single pipe and then in to an Akrapovicˇmuffler. The idea is to create the shortest exhaust for maximum performance.
The front and rear suspension are adjustable. Marzocchi forks stand proud at the front and Erbacher explains why: “We have used the same forks on our ‘Erbacher The One’ custom bike for the past three years. The forks are really nice to ride with and they absorb a lot on bad streets. The good thing is, we can also mount the Brembo® brake on this fork and it brakes like a race bike.” Erbacher and his team fitted an ÖHLINS® shock at the rear between the frame and the swingarm.
Erbacher chose 17” wheels made from aluminum. “These are superlight and are the right size for the Metzeler Racetec Interact tires we are using,” says Erbacher. “They give the bike a great look. We chose the red color as a nod to the Project 156 bike.”
Rake: 28° Trail (in/mm): 5.12in/130 mm
Exhaust System: Erbacher handmade headers with an Akrapovicˇ® muffler
Front Tire Type: Metzeler Racetec Interact
Front Tire Size: 120/70 ZR17
Front Wheel Type: Alloy Front Wheel Size: 3.5” x 17“
Rear Tire Type: Metzeler Racetec Interact
Rear Tire Size: 200/55 ZR 17
Rear Wheel Type: Alloy Rear Wheel Size: 6.00 x 17”
Front – Type/Travel 120mm
Front Fork Tube Diameter 50mm
Rear – Type/Travel 76mm
Brakes/Front Dual discs, Brembo® M4 Monobloc Brakes/Rear Single disc
Erbacher Tail/Brake Light
Erbacher Turn Signals
Erbacher License Plate Light
Indicator Lights: Motogadget S