What is it?
Officially classified by the manufacturer as a cruiser, the Victory Judge fits the bill perfectly. This V-Twin muscle bike draws its styling from the 1969 Pontiac GTO, which was colloquially known as The Judge too. Even the five-spoke mag wheels hark back to the muscle car design. Drag-style handlebars, a shorter wheelbase than most other Victory bikes, and a narrower rear tyre all have the effect of making the Judge a bit more nimble; as nimble as this type of bike can be. And, if you can’t see the obvious, it is in direct competition with the other American V-Twin manufacturer.
A 1731cc (106 cubic inch) Freedom V-twin. Victory introduced this power mill in 2009 and it is currently found in all Victory bikes. It produces 153Nm of torque to a six-speed gearbox. The Freedom engine has been recognised for reliability − it doesn’t have push rods or valve adjustments, it runs an overhead cam with four valves per cylinder. The hydraulic lifters and roller rockers are self-adjusting, as are the camshaft chain tensioners. This results in reduced maintenance cost over the lifespan of the bike. Or so they say. Nothing fell off during the time I had it.
The first, 92 cubic inch, version of the Freedom engine was originally launched in 2003 along with the then-new Victory Vegas bike and there have been a few power upgrades to the current range.
A carbon-reinforced belt is used for the final drive.
Style, instruments and equipment
The Judge follows the irritating trend of having no fuel gauge − or if it does I couldn’t get it to show on the electronic display. There is a single, round instrument dial, which follows aesthetic cruiser form rather than fulfilling an optimised function.
But it really is in the styling where the Judge, and Victory in general, stands out. It’s all sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. This is an exceptional combination of modern and retro elements. Classic enough to be instantly recognisable, yet sufficiently differentiated to satisfy even the most discerning. There are very few standard bikes that elicit such universal reaction of admiration from both bikers and civilians.
Customisation can be done when you order your Judge. It comes in one of three colours: Black, Gloss Sunset Red or Suede Nuclear Orange. Other customisations are available for the exhaust, seats and chroming, among others. Check the international site for full details.
The torque is almost immediately available, being such a large-bore beast, and the redline r/min is a moving target depending on which gear you are in. At 300kg dry weight, it is a rather hefty piece of metal that you need to get going and the weight is certainly apparent, but is no more pronounced than can normally be expected from a cruiser.
Ride and Handling
The handling through twisty roads is predictable and it has the graceful appearance and feel that you’d expect from such a large machine.
Optimum ride comfort is between 90 to 110km/h. You are supposed just to cruise, after all. South African road surfaces are, for the most part, not ideal for riding at speed and you really feel every bump through the Judge’s short rear suspension. It is easy enough to weave through traffic though, and this would be a cruiser to try for the novice biker.
Likes / Dislikes
It’s a cruiser, with all the normal cruiser hang-ups. As far as bike designs go, cruisers are impractical. They have hard suspension, an awkward riding position and are generally more difficult to manoeuvre, which really comes into play in town driving − but then, no one would buy the Judge for its comfort.
On the plus side, you have heaps of torque that just oozes out when you roll on the throttle and then there’s the looks, of course.
Verdict and rating
As a total package this bike is everything it promises to be and more. A serious contender if you are in the market for a cruiser.
Victory Vegas, Harley Davidson Softail Fat Boy, Triumph Thunderbird, Harley Davidson Dyna Superglide, Yamaha Star Warrior, Suzuki Boulevard, Kawasaki VN 1700
Specifications – Victory Judge
- Engine 1731cc 4-Stroke 50° V-Twin
- Gearbox 6-speed Overdrive Constant Mesh. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Belt
- Power 73kW
- Torque 153Nm
- Weight 300 kg (dry)
- Seat height 657.86 mm
- Fuel capacity 17 Litres
- Fuel consumption not available
- Warranty and servicing 2 years unlimited km warranty. 8000km intervals
- Price R189000
- Rode by Bikeroutes October 2012
- Review by Louis Fourie
More info from http://www.victorymotorcycles.co.za)