The Victory 2013 Judge is an all-new bike. It's different to be sure, but it happens to be based on the same frame as the Victory Vegas, which has been on the dance card for some time now. It also shares the same swingarm, engine and transmission as the Vegas.
One of the last Victory rides to feature 16-inch rolling stock (the High-Ball) also came with "reach for the sky" 15-inch ape hanger bars in the interest of a cool look, along with a solo seat.
This newest cruiser, however, serves up some significant differences that move it into the plus column from my perspective -- it comes with much more practical handlebars -- a kinder, gentler type, more on the order of a flat drag style. As an added bonus are the relocated foot controls -- moved more to the rear -- which Victory categorizes as mid-mounted, plus a broader, more comfortable deep-set rider seat that provides passenger accommodations.
In addition, the Judge features enhanced bodywork and paint schemes with nostalgic five-spoke alloy wheels, not unlike those found on the Pontiac GTO Judge model of yore. Tires are staggered, raised white letter donuts (Dunlop 491 Elite II-RWL).
My Victory Judge test bike is colored in Suede Nuclear Sunset with Black Krinkle finish handlebars, clamps, triple clamps, headlight bucket and rim, and Cobra exhaust. The front fender is a traditional "shorty" cycle type, while the rear fender sports a bobbed style featuring a slick integrated LED taillight. The base price is $13,999. Factoring in the suede paint, special Cobra exhaust system bumps the amount to $15,799.
Shorter riders may find it a bit of a stretch to reach the bars and still be in a position to comfortably operate the foot controls while taller riders will have no problem.
Controlling the Judge through the twisties is a breeze with its outstanding balance and weight distribution. The Cobra Tri-Pro exhaust system poses no problem during the ride, but upon standing caution should be exercised to avoid burning one's right leg. And yes, while the system conforms to most noise regulations a more unbridled and raucous rumble wouldn't be a bad thing.
Power is delivered by a 1731 cc / 106 cubic-inch, 8-valve, 4-stroke, 50 degree Freedom V-Twin with electronic fuel injection and dual 45 mm throttle body. My test bike was fitted with new EPA and CARB certified 2-into-1 Tri-Pro Exhaust Pipes manufactured to Victory specs by Cobra. The system meets the SAE J2825 stationary sound test standard.
The motor produces 85 horsepower and 113 lb.-ft. of torque geared to the rear wheel through a six-speed overdrive, constant mesh manual gearbox, via a primary drive gear with torque compensator, and a final drive belt.
Suspension travel is sufficient to tame rougher road surfaces, giving a comfortable ride. The six-speed gearbox is smooth enough, but could be quieter. Power is plentiful and instantly on tap, with a very broad torque range should the rider be in the mood to minimize shifting gears.
The Judge rides on conventional 43 mm telescopic forks with 5.1 inches of travel up front and a single, mono-tube gas shock, cast aluminum swingarm with rising-rate linkage, 3.0 inches of travel and preload adjustable spring in the rear.
Braking is made up of a conventional 300 mm floating rotor with 4-piston calipers forward and 300 mm floating rotor with 2-piston calipers aft. Despite the single forward rotor, the bike still displays impressive stopping power.
There is a digital gear indicator that appears in the singular, multi-function, centered gauge along with a speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip meter and other diagnostic info available to the rider. Unfortunately, there's no fuel gauge, but instead a low fuel warning light, which makes it necessary to plan one's ride carefully.
There's no integrated fork lock -- only a provision for locking in the form of a loop on the left side of the frame. Another issue was the Lo Oil warning that displays before actually starting the bike. Not to worry, it disappears quickly and is simply an indicator of low oil pressure that is obviously non-existent before the oil pump and engine are running.
The 2013 Victory Judge represents a new cruiser image, still with the premium ride and performance level of the Vegas, but now with a "bad-boy" sport-influenced styling. It personifies a highly customized, turnkey unit right off the showroom floor.
Copyright © 2012 Motor Matters
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