The 1700 bird actually sports better HP and torque specs by a bit. It should take the hammer or at least pull the same. Short tors should put it ahead. I had the 1600 and BB'd it, so i know the difference and that "pull" you describe is what i feel when i ride my 1700 Tbird. Maybe not as hard as the vic...i never rode a hammer. But i can say the 1700 bird pulls hard and much more than the 1600, especially with short tors.
As for the squeak, don't get so riled. Victorys and all other bikes have little issues. Buy one and see. you very well may wish you never sold the Tbird. But your call....you just have to be sensible and realize a little squeak due to a lack of grease is about as small an issue as you will ever find on any bike. I had it, took acre of it asap and not an issue since. Bikes are needy. Whatever you ride it's going to give you headaches now and they. They aren't cars....they aren't built for ease of maintenance and total reliability. No matter what brand you buy you will have to deal with little issues. If the hammer seemed much stronger, buy the BB kit or buy a storm. If thats not enough for you buy a R3. It will devastate any victory as tho it were a vespa. But you will pay big time for that. Theres no winning.... you want a killer ride, you pay big and you worry big. Thats the way it is unfortunately. Victories aren't better...they're different. But they all give you fits here and there.