Is Victory Better Than Harley?

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Key Takeaways

  • The disadvantages of Victory compared to Harley are found to be limited models, service, value, and availability.
  • The similarities between Victory and Harley are in quality and design.
  • The advantages of Victory over Harley are in its rarity, performance, and price.

Harley Davidson is a legendary brand that is an iconic American company. But can Victory motorcycles compete in excellence and value?

Victory motorcycles are not better than Harley Davidson motorcycles. While the debate has raged for years, this article will definitively answer this question and decisively prove that Harley is superior to Victory by comparing their reliability, support, selection, value, style, and price.

Of course, it may sound bold, even ostentatious, to dive into such a subjective debate with such confidence, but, hopefully, the reader will use reason to understand that at the end of the day, you may disagree with my conclusion, but you have to agree with my logic. I’ve been studying this subject for years, and with my riding experience on both brands and my arduous research on all the best Victory motorcycle and Harley forums and technical websites, I will present the best information for your own evaluation.

In this article...


The Disadvantages of Victory Compared to Harley Davidson

The premise of this article may sound derogatory toward Victory, but that is not the intention. The Victory motorcycle is a beautiful, well-designed, American-made bike that has kept its value and quality for years. However, when comparing the two companies, it will appear I’m disparaging Victory bikes as I compare it to a superior brand. The following weaknesses of Victory motorcycles vs Harley Davidson show how I’ve come to my conclusion.

Victory’s Limited Models

Victory bikes have fewer models to choose from when compared to Harley Davidson. In its 20 years of production, Victory created around 20 different models, mainly cruisers to compete with Harley.

However, this can’t compare to the over 100 models that Harley Davidson has pumped out over the last century to dominate the American motorcycle market. When choosing an ice cream shop, everyone chooses the one with 32 flavors over the little diner with three.

Victory’s Limited Dealership and Service Network

Victory had hundreds of dealerships in 2017, but when their parent company, Polaris Industries, decided to shut down production of its Victory line in 2017, it is difficult to find maintenance and repair services for this brand including upgrading and replacing hard-to-find parts. Harley Davidson, on the other hand, has over 675 dealerships in the United States and is known for their excellent service and maintenance programs.

One of the most important draws for Harley owners is the aftermarket availability of merchandise and the ability to easily customize their ride. Of the two motorcycle companies, only Harley Davidson is best equipped to customize. It’s built into the fabric of the bike from its inception.

Victory’s Limited Value

There is no question that Harley Davidson’s resale value far outpaces Victory bikes. All things being equal such as mileage, condition, model, and year, the Harley will depreciate less than a Victory because of its outstanding reputation, reliability, brand recognition, and desirability. Most of Harley’s models are more collectible than Victory.

Of course, value is in the mind of the beholder. Value is based on more than reliability and often comes down to the value of the brand itself. Harley Davidson is legendary. The history, the mystique, and even its sound is unique and sought after. Because of its phenomenal cultural impact, this company and all Harley owners have become a community, and this bike will always be sought after highly.

A Victory motorcycle, because of its limited time of development, has not had the advantage of age and hasn’t had the time to build a community of fans like Harley. This advantage speaks to what potential buyers are willing to pay even if the two bikes are not equal in quality. After all, when’s the last time you’ve seen a Victory tattoo? When the Harley logo is a common sleeve piece on the arm of the American biker, you know you’ve become a part of the culture.

Victory’s Limited Availability

Perhaps an argument could have been made a few decades down the road that Victory surpassed Harley Davidson in quality, value, and most importantly, its iconic status. Unfortunately for Victory, that is now impossible since Polaris decided to shut down Victory motorcycle production in 2017. No one can own a new Victory motorcycle. If your only option is to buy a used one, you will be left comparing a used motorcycle with every new Harley model that comes off the production line in Milwaukee.

When comparing used Victorys to used Harleys, I still believe Harley has the advantage for the above-stated reasons, but not having the same availability is the final nail in this debate’s coffin. For every advantage that Victory may have, a new bike from Harley Davidson has the potential to answer it. Victory bike models will continue to get older every year while Harley enjoys the fountain of youth found in modern, daily production.

The Similarities of Victory Compared to Harley Davidson

Victory is Similar in Quality to Harley Davidson

Harley-Davidson and Victory Motorcycles are known for their high-quality construction, durability, and attention to detail. Both brands have a reputation for building motorcycles that are built to last using high-quality materials and manufacturing processes in their parts. They use a combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology to ensure that their parts meet or exceed industry standards.

Most importantly, Harley-Davidson and Victory motorcycle companies produced these high-quality parts in-house, Harley’s in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, and Victory’s in Spirit Lake, Iowa which allows both of them to have more control over the quality of the parts they produce. While a few of the parts are made in Mexico and Brazil, the majority are American-made which is important to the riders of both of these machines.

During their history, both Harley and Victory brand motorcycles have had several recall campaigns issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for various issues. Victory had an issue with brake lines in 2014 with their Cross Country, Victory Cross Country Tour, Magnum, and Hard-Ball, and in 2013 with an engine oil cooler hose, and in 2011 a fuel pump leak, and in 2008 their Kingpin was recalled for a rear brake rotor.

For Harley, some recalls include a 2016 clutch master cylinder, a 2017 brake master cylinder, a 2018 front brake line, a 2019 anti-lock brake system failure, and a 2021 fuel pump issue.

Most forums believe that Harley has an advantage when it comes to the quality of rust-proofing the frame and body of the bike. However, I believe that the overall quality of both American-manufactured bikes makes this a virtual tie in comparing a Victory bike to a Harley.

Victory is Similar in Design to Harley Davidson

Beauty of design is a subjective subject. While I prefer the more classic look of the timeless Harley Davidson with its curved lines, low-slung saddle, relaxed riding position, and low center of gravity on a stretched-out, bold, chromed-out frame, it’s legitimate to disagree.

The Harley’s distinctive V-twin engine, exposed valve train, and wide front end with the Harley logo give some die-hards chills. But Victory owners will always prefer the more modern, sleek, sporty, and aerodynamic design and much more aggressive riding position for a smoother ride.

Therefore, in the design category, I declare these two companies a tie. It’s about personal preference.

The Advantages of Victory Compared to Harley Davidson

Fewer Victory Bikes Make Them Special

About 60 percent of all motorcyclists in America ride a Harley, and with Victory’s limited production years, Victory models are rare, and for some, that means more special. One could argue that the ability to customize can make any Harley unique, but overall this tips the scale slightly in Victory’s favor.

Modern Production Means Better Performance For Victory

A Victory motorcycle is more advanced than the average Harley Davidson motorcycle. Harley draws from the old school and classic stylings and doesn’t try to be the high-tech bike. Therefore, Victory has a slight edge in performance and speed compared to the Harley. It has a faster quarter mile and generally more power when riding than a Harley. Consumer Reports gives the advantage to Victory, but just barely. Both are amazing to ride, and most people ride them for different reasons which makes performance a less important factor overall. A Harley owner would be disappointed with a perfectly quiet, smooth ride as they expect to feel the engine down to their bones, and it just wouldn’t be the same without that distinctive “potato-potato” sound of that air-cooled, V-Twin Engine.

The Victory Is Less Expensive Than The Harley Davidson

Even when you could buy a new Victory bike, similar models would cost a few thousand less if you opted for a Victory over a Harley. While resale value is better for the Harley, you will save money and find a good deal with a used Victory bike.

The weight of this argument is lessened by the fact that many riders get what they pay for. The price of an iconic machine that has gravitas and history is worth the extra amount for those that value buying a legendary motorcycle.