IF THERE’S a single thing that becomes clear when you visit Perth’s new Indian and Victory store, it’s what a huge role is played these days by manufacturers’ marketing departments.
Presumably someone in the huge American Polaris company made a decision a few years ago that its motorcycle division would have two separate brands, one aimed at the vintage, retro, American-as-apple-pie market sector and the other aimed at the modern, contemporary, cutting-edge, no-such-thing-as-too-modern market sector.
Polaris launched the Victory brand in 1998 to satisfy the contemporary buyer, but it wasn’t until 2011 that it added the Indian brand to its stable. Depending on who you ask (and how you define such things) Indian is a couple of years older than Harley Davidson (1901 vs 1903). Prior to World War I, Indian was supposedly the biggest motorcycle company in the world. Indians finished first, second and third in the Isle of Man TT in 1911. So when Polaris bought the Indian brand, it picked up a whole bunch of historical credibility. The marketing department must have been rapt.
If you take a wander around the Cannington showrooms on Albany Highway, you’ll be struck by the similarities and the differences of the two brands. Both are made in the good ol’ US of A. Both are unmistakably modern motorcycles. Both are powered by big V-twin engines. Both are aimed at the urban and highway market.
And both are beautiful to look at.
But I suspect Indian buyers would never buy a Victory and Victory buyers would never buy an Indian. Two different groups of people, I’d say, thanks purely to the stylist.
When The Bike Shed Times visited the store this week, it was abuzz. A steady stream of people were coming through the door and ogling the bikes. The layout is stylish, the lighting subdued. Without wanting to sound too poncey, it really does feel like an art gallery.
Store manager Aaron Robeson, whose professional background includes retail experience with Bunnings and The Good Guys and a stint as Dealer Principal with Fraser Motorcycles, said he was delighted with the interest in the new store, with a queue of people waiting for the doors to open Wednesday morning.
The store is (Polaris) company owned, rather than a dealership, which explains the big range of bikes on show. It also means the Indian and Victory bikes don’t have to share showroom space with a competing brand — apart from one another, of course.
If you’re wondering about prices, the Indian Scout 60 has a RRP of about $16k, we spotted a Victory Hammer S at $24k and an Indian Roadmaster about $40k, and a whole bunch in between. How deep are your pockets?