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The Victory motorcycle company is owned by Polaris, an American snowmobile manufacturer. The Sport Cruiser is based on the firm's V92 Cruiser, so it shares the 1507cc fuel-injected V-twin engine of the cruiser, although the SC produces 7.5kW (lObhp) more, thanks to a two-into-one exhaust system.
The frame is similar, but the Sport Cruiser has much higher-spec chassis components. The wheels are sportsbike-style 43cm (17in) cast items, fitted with sports radial tyres. Brakes are upgraded with twin discs at the front, and the suspension is also more refined, with massive 50mm (2in) Marzocchi forks and a Fox rear monoshock. Though a satisfying ride, the V92SC has insufficient ground clearance for sportier riding.
FOR OUTSIDERS LOOKING IN, THE whole Moto Guzzi thing can be likened to the Harley-Davidson mystique. You know, that if-you-have-to-ask business. After all, Guzzi types often exhibit a sense of proud eccentricity, they congregate together in an almost clannish manner, and they keep their bikes for years and years.
With the introduction of the new-for-2000 VI1
Jackal, the folks at Moto Guzzi have taken all these customer characteristics
into consideration. But they're also treading in some previously uncharted Guzzi
territory, as the $8490 Jackal is a bargain-bike. At least, it is by M-G
In spite of the Jackal's minimalist styling, it's
actually a parts-bin bike. At its most basic, the machine borrows the chassis
and 1064cc fuel-injected V-Twin from the VI1 Bassa (CW, September), while
adopting stripped-down bodywork from the V11 EV (CW, March, 1998).
In spite of its parsimonious parts patrimony, the Jackal looks and feels far from cheap. Stroll around the bike, and its bulbous tank complements the industrial styling. Climb aboard, thumb the starter button and blip the throttle. The sideways-mounted engine shudders almost violently, and lets loose with a full-on back-of-the-throat roar.
Fortunately, the Guzzi's bark is as good as its bite. Lashed down to the CW dyno, it made 62 rear-wheel horsepower at 5700 rpm, and 59 footpounds of torque at 4800 rpm. No wall-flower here. But, could the Jackal run with the big dogs? On our favorite set of twisties, we happily found the answer to be "yes."
With a relatively aggressive seating position, the
easy-steering machine slinks in and out of ess turns, while sweepers are an
exercise in smoothness. Beware of rippled pavement, though, where the overly
stiff dual rear shocks can inspire "moments." In tighter going, the Jackal's
non-linked Brembo brakes slow the 439-pound bike more than competently. And as
for the five-speed transmission, let's just say that it engages with a
The problem is the seating position. It's too
upright for freeway use, and puts too much pressure on the tailbone. And did we
mention wind-blast? A screen is one of the many accessories Moto Guzzi makes for
the Jackal. Buy one. Now.