And here come da Judge
AGGRESSIVE cruising is an oxymoron, but it is an apt description of Victory’s latest model.
The Judge is a stripped-down machine reminiscent of the 1969 Pontiac GTO — which was also known as the Judge.
This Yank muscle cruiser is a welcome addition to the showroom floor as every second bike sold in Australia over 500cc in capacity is a cruiser.
VALUE Like all Victory bikes, the Judge is priced between its direct competitor and compatriot, HarleyDavidson, and the Japanese.
At $22,995 ride away that’s $2000 less than its main style rival, the Harley Fat Bob — which is the fifth-best-selling cruiser on the showroom floor.
But the value is also in Victory’s standout level of fit and finish and the quality of components.
Yet it’s built to a price, so there are no extras either, and the white-lettered tyres look good, but they have a hard compound and as external relations manager Robert Pandya confesses, they are cheap.
Options include heated grips, luggage, solo seat and a 25mm longer rear shock for greater clearance and sharper handling.
TECHNOLOGY All Victory motorcycles are powered by a ‘‘106’’ or 1731cc V-twin engine with the cruisers tuned down a bit. Still, it has about 13 per cent more torque than the Harley.
Like its American cousin, it is driven by a six-speed overdriven gearbox and a quiet and lowmaintenance belt drive.
It’s basically the underpinnings of a Victory Vegas with different wheels and styling cues.
SAFETY Only Victory’s touring models have ABS, which is a shame.
The brakes are one big 300mm disc up front with stainless steel lines for feel and performance.
There is also a 300mm rear rotor that is very effective.
It has cartridge forks and a progressive single rear shock with pre-load adjustable for heavy or aggressive riders and the extra load of a pillion.
DESIGN The Judge is all about a menacing, muscular design like the Pontiac and even comes with a hero orange ‘‘suede’’ colour option and five-spoke ‘‘mag’’ wheels like its namesake ’60s muscle car.
This no-frills ‘‘brat’ bike features drag-style handlebars, small cast headlight, mid-mount foot controls, a flatter-than-usual rider’s seat and that high and fat front tyre with the white lettering.
RIDING The aggressive riding position encourages the rider to dig into corners, but the footpegs protest by grinding into the tarmac.
Many owners should opt for that longer rear shock.
The footpegs can also be adjusted which provide slightly better clearance angles.
Victory’s engines have become smoother and quieter over the years and this is yet another step up. It comes on with a seductive frisson of torque — as much as some small cars.
The brakes may seem underwhelming — but they perform well if you apply the front and rear stoppers together. Like the engine, the transmission has become smoother and quieter, although it is difficult to swap cogs on any big V-twin without a clunk
Despite the aggressive riding position, it is easy to get comfortable but after a long haul, your shoulders and backside may need a good rub.
The low seat should widen the bike’s appeal.
Terri Hayward, 19, of Southport, on the Victory Judge at the Gold Coast Expo. For a cruiser, this bike has muscle and an aggressive look and feel