2013 Victory Judge – First Ride Review

Victory Motorcycles introduced a new model called the Judge to the press in Palm Springs, California, in February. It is a model that joins the Cross Country Tour and Hardball as the latest in its line. The Judge is the first of the 2013 models from this Medina, Minnesota, company that is a division of Polaris Industries, which also offers snowmobiles and ATVs.

The Judge is powered by the standard air/oil-cooled Victory 50-degree V-twin motor with a bore and stroke of 101 by 108mm, and a displacement of 1,731cc—or 106 cubic inches. It is solid mounted to the frame but counterbalanced for smoothness, and features single overhead cams with four valves per cylinder, fuel injection and a 6-speed transmission.

Victory intends this model for a younger demographic, a rider in his or her 20s to 50s coming off a sportbike or smaller cruiser who seeks minimalism, style, confidence-inspiring handling and a lower price. The Judge features the standard Victory steel gas tank with new steel fenders, and blacked-out components including the frame, dual exhausts, engine cases, heads and triple trees. New styling components include the drag bars and bodywork, the crisply styled headlight and taillight, fender struts, five-spoke cast wheels and the EFI covers between the cylinders. The Judge rides on 16-inch Dunlop Elite II tires with raised white letters.

This Judge carries the aftermarket Cobra pipes with their mellow sound.
This Judge carries the aftermarket Cobra pipes with their mellow sound.


The press was invited to ride the bikes for the day in the mountains north of Palm Springs, where I noted a relatively long reach to the low drag bar, a cupped seat that provided some back support, and mid-placed foot controls that were situated just where I wanted them. The big 106-inch motor is quite smooth and offers great low-end power. The 6-speed transmission shifts easily, and, with the motor’s broad torque range, provides a wide power overlap in each gear. It breathes through dual 45mm throttle-body injectors, and fuel delivery was flawless. During the intro, I was photographed riding a model equipped with an aftermarket Cobra exhaust system that is CARB legal, and is louder than the 2-into-1 stock system. I also rode a stock model and preferred the well-rounded sound from the aftermarket pipe, though power differences were negligible.

Steering was relatively slow thanks to the 64.8-inch wheelbase paired with a 31.7-degree rake and 6.7 inches of trail. Until I became acclimated to the bike I had to be deliberate with leaning and steering on the twisty mountain roads, as at first I tended to run wide in turns. It was easy to drag the pegs in corners as well, but this was more a testament to the Judge’s fun factor than a lack of cornering clearance. The seat height of 25.9 inches should fit most riders well.

From the Rider’s view the Judge is simple, basic and blacked-out.
From the Rider’s view the Judge is simple, basic and blacked-out.

A single 300mm disc rotor semi-floats at each end­­­­, the powerful front brake squeezed by a four-piston caliper. I found the two-piston rear brake, however, to be overly sensitive and easy to lock with less-than-precise usage. During this short day ride I also appreciated the firm, well-controlled ride from the cartridge-style fork and monoshock rear suspension, and was impressed with the Judge’s power and styling, and engine smoothness.

Color options include Black ($13,999), with Sunset Red or Suede Nuclear Sunset for $14,399. Watch for a full test coming soon in Rider.

A single front disc brake with four-piston caliper provides good stopping power.
A single front disc brake with four-piston caliper provides good stopping power.
The 106-inch motor runs power through a 6-speed transmission and a belt final drive.
The 106-inch motor runs power through a 6-speed transmission and a belt final drive.


  1. I really like the looks of this new Judge, but as always, I see a couple areas that need rethinking: the seat that wraps AROUND the oval side covers??? No tach for such a performance-minded machine??? And the rear fender struts look useless and tacked-on purely for imitation purposes. I suppose the owner can modify these gaffs with aftermarket accessories , but should they have to???

  2. At first glance, this bike looks to be a suitable replacement for the 2005 Harley XLH1200R Roadster that I’ve put 51,000 trouble-free miles on. Mid-mounted pegs (are highway pegs optional?), a decent seat (I’m on my second Sundowner), big tires for better control and comfort. Put it side-by-side with a ’08 1200R, and you’ll see what I mean.
    To my eyes, and wallet, it looks like Victory has built its own 106ci Sporty, but at a Big Twin price.
    But…my unmodified Sporty gets 60 mpg. No mention of the Judge’s mileage. Also, Harley puts together packages of options riders commonly order, things like windshields, highway pegs, and saddlebags.
    The Judge might be a good place to begin, but would a Super Glide give you more accessory options?

    • Dave,
      You sound quite knowledgeable about bikes and also helpful. I am thinking about a used Harley xLH 1200 with no more than 7000 miles and 2006 -2012. I am trying to look at other options. Of course the foreign bikes, yamaha and suzuki are less expensive. Would you think I should stick with the Harley regardless of the price? Also, I know not to go with the 2009 Suzuki m90. It appears there were some issues with that and someone is trying to sell me a hold over (brand new 2009 for $8,999) It’s a hold over for a reason right?>

      • Hello, Tod.

        I make it a point to not tell people what they should buy. My Roadster had some big shoes to fill, those of a legendary Suzuki GS850G I had previously owned. I initially considered a V-Strom but concluded that it wasn’t right for how I ride. I mostly commute about 25 miles per day now, but for the first three years of ownership I routinely did field service calls with many 500 mile days.

        I also added Progressive shocks and fork springs because I weigh 250 lbs. Investing wisely in your seat and suspension is key to many happy miles.

        IMHO, the “best” 1200R was the ’08 model. It has the improved transmission (’06 and later), fuel injection, and best of all, a five-gallon tank for serious touring. East of the Mississippi, gas and Gatorade every two hours is a good, safe pace but there are places out West where the 3.3 gallon tank makes things interesting when the next gas is 200 miles away.

        Harleys come with a huge dealer network and their version of the AAA that can come and get you if you break down. But riders of any make can create their own network by scouting out the dealers along any route you plan to travel.

        I have a friend who wanted to begin riding on a 40 year old Triumph. I asked him if he was prepared for all of the “baggage” vintage bikes bring with them. Long story short, he’s looking at a new T100. More time riding is better than wrenching, especially for a first bike.

        My experience with my 1200R is that it was $9700 well-spent. If I walked out of work and found an empty space I would be looking for another 1200R to replace it. I guess that buying the same bike you have is the best compliment you can make, regardless of what you’re riding.

        Hope this helps.

    • The latest Dyna Super Glide is an excellent choice for an all-around bike. It has a smaller motor than the Judge, but can easily keep up with it, and far surpasses it in fuel mileage. I regularly get 55-60 mpg on the highway.

      Plus it comes with an enormous array of accessories that will take many years for Victory to even come close. By then, the Judge will only be a memory.

  3. In the article Bill mentioned that the Judge had a rough rear suspension setup. With that in mind. Do any of the riders doing the tests adjust the suspension on the motorcycles or do they leave them at the factory settings.

  4. Very nice bike by the looks and specs. Did Victory have a look at the Road Star Warrior XV1700 by Star/Yamaha Motorcycles when creating this bike? It has about the same looks and engine. Would like to see a comparison review of these two.

  5. Dave, How is dragging the pegs because of very low clearance part of “The Fun Factor” rather then just inadequate clearance in the twisties or tight cornering?

  6. I would like to know how easy it is to drag the pegs too?? I dont wanna have a bike that scraps everytime I get into the turns. I have been trying to decide between the Judge and the Triumph Storm. Any opinions??

    • The bike drags pegs quicker than you would think, and diffinitely quicker then most. The rear end also locks up quickly during hard braking. Has any current owners had issues with their fuel light? Thanks.


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