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.
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.
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.