The Victory Judge, An Aussie Rider’s point of view
Well here’s a Basic report on the new 2012 judge from a Current Victory rider that’s been on a few other bikes over the last 30 years or so.
First impressions on the release of information from victory around six months ago were vague to say the least, i couldn’t work out where victory were coming from or trying to achieve by going to the trouble and expense of designing and releasing a totally new model on top of an already fantastic range of bikes, posing questions like, ‘what is this model trying to be’ an alternative to a Vegas, Jackpot , hammer, High Ball, which seem to be the contenders?, and ‘what’s the deal with the skinny rear end’ ‘a 16 inch front wheel?, ‘single front disk?, That head light?, styling of seat and rear guard, the oval race number panel both sides under the seat? etc etc etc, the opinion lost in confusion.
So i then started to trawl through the media releases from Victory, waited for the feed back to start filtering down off shore, and decided to reserve any comments until id actual seen a Judge live,that happened in march 2012 Victory Melbourne 'mmm' Not to bad i thought.
The general design basis victory has intended for its Judge was the 60’s 70’s Muscle car era in the USA that we all know, a period of awesome over powered over sized Lugs of cars, huge Engines, with little if any brakes Drum at that, cross ply tyres with white writing, suspension boing boing?, half inch hose fuel lines-petrol was cheep in those glory days, and handling akin to that of a hover craft on steroids, BUT DID WE LOVE THAT ERA OR WHAT those cars were awesome ‘’Still are’’ and the Americans raced them rampantly, Drags, Indy, circuit and dirt, and lets not forget the old Moon Shiners.
So that lead me to do a little research on that period for my self and you know what the judge nails it! The whole package from the style of the Alloy rims, the Dunlop tyres with the White raised lettering the tall rear with its slim width and 16’ front with its wide tread, these tyres look like old skool rags both are actual the latest radials in disguise, the overall stance of the bike is great the unusual rear guard is certainly adequate to cover that slim rear tyre and interesting styling in the placement of the tail light LED, grab rails, and oval race plate under the saddle looks really tough, the single gauge bezel up front has all the bells and whistles that the modern models have and fits the old skool look as does the head light and numerous other fitments.
The Ride, Gotta say i was really looking forward to it as i had it organized it the day id taken my Vision Tour in for a service at Melbourne Victory, when presented with the key and ‘Judge’ out front of the shop i was in awe of this Cherry red v twin that was really quite compact compared to the other models they have, helmet on, gloves, get on ‘surprisingly easy’ check everything out and hit the button, this one had the Arlen Ness mufflers on and had a sweet note much to my satisfaction, and away we go the plan over the Bolty Bridge the West Gate Bridge then down to Williamstown Passing by the ‘’Halls of Justice’’ remember Mad Max 1? Science works Spotswood, Altona, Werribee, then out into Mad Max country for a good flog around then back to the Shop, first impression in and around the city was, this things great a nibble firm handle, great feedback from both ends and the kind of feel that even a city motorcycle courier could deal with easily in city traffic, It’s nice to have the foot pegs under you too, you can actually lift your bum of the seat “stand up” nice for the circulation but better for throwing this thing around, stopping starting etc.
Once on the freeways i found myself comfortable in traffic there too, moving between lanes being easily able to flip the head around, mirrors etc felt good, and a tweak of the throttle and you’ve covered a heap of ground effortlessly deceivingly quick!! Seating position is great but for me id bring the bars back just a little an easy fix with different risers available, but I’m being fussy, at 100klm’s the Judge is still very firm and precise.
In the Burbs, lets run it through the streets and lanes again, Fat rear Tyres are great and certainly have their place but id forgotten how nice it is to ride over curb at an angle and not fearing getting flipped off by good old leverage on the wall of a 10 inch rear tyre, so i went looking for everything speed humps gutters bumpy car parks shit I’m on a dirt bike!! Well obviously not but how cool, in fact one of the Victory sales Guys was heard to say while riding the judge and I quote, ‘’IT’S LIKE A DIRT BIKE WITH AN AEROPLANE ENGINE’’ its more and far better a road bike but its gives you some idea of its nimbleness.
Ride and suspension is great it really sucks up the bumps, push ups and creases our Aussie roads have to offer, really nice to ride and firm with feel while cornering, No not a sports bike feel, But that was never the plan, remember that Muscle car analogy, you know your riding a 2012 version of that era with the current tech between your legs, having said this it’s certainly worthy of chasing the hammers around for sure and in the right hands who knows.
Stopping surprisingly good, 1 disk up front 1 at the rear, fist impression was to me are you serious but again Wow not bad, maybe at the end of that awesome winding road well all know of somewhere it would fade away but for my ride its stops well, good feel etc and the rear yep it works.
Some of the silly things i noticed were,
A clean air stream around the helmet! Little if any buffeting at speed or slow, I’m 5’8 average height,
Gear selection seams better smoother quieter and precise, it seems to vary around models in the Victory range being the same engine box though out models,
The Arlen Ness Mufflers Supplied & Fitted by Victory Motorcycles Melbourne retails for around $550.00 fitted got to be the best bang for your buck on any Victory Model they sound sweet
And ‘’Pose Value’’ come on Guys these Victory’s are traditionally Flamboyant we all love that, I ride a Bright orange Jackpot and ice blue Vision Tour so I expect to be seen, pointed at and mobbed at the service stations, Traffic lights, and just turn heads etc it’s pretty cool, so when i got on the Judge I really thought no body’s going to notice this one, how Wrong!!! Yep it turns heads, you do get the Questions, and other riders tip the visor at the lights and riding by, and while taken some pix of it in Sunny Williamstown on the Bay on old fella wondered over on commented on what a wonderful restoration job I’ve done on the old girl and what is it!, imagine his delight when I told him it was 2012 brand new, so ‘’Pose Value’’ yes!
Ultimately the big Question what’s it Cost $22,995 Ride away
Yes it’s great and fun to ride
It handles great too
The design nails the 60’s 70’s muscle car Scene
The 106 Freedom Engine is awesome in this frame
It’s not A Hammer
It’s not a Vegas or Jackpot
It’s not a highball nor is it trying to be any other Victory Model
It’s what it is a ‘’Victory Judge’’
Would I own one? Dam Right I would! Just for what it is alone another Awesome Victory Model
I’m really betting that there’s going to be a strong following of the ‘’Judge’’ here in Australia and for those that wonder the show rooms looking to invest in the phenomenon that is Victory another excellent choice to add to the confusion of which one will I get?
These are my personal opinions based on my dedicated love and enjoyment of the brand; I hope that others take what I have said as helpful to their decision, purchase, and entry into the Victory Motorcycle World, Good luck Choosing!!