CHARACTERS: Victory Judge

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Victory Judge action shot

Victory's pretty much got the cruiser market-segmentation thing wired at this point. It's using the hearty 106-inch Freedom V-twin and a good variety of stylistic treatments to fill the desires of its customers. Accu­sations of "parts-bin engineering" get thrown around, but, folks, this is how you build cruisers. Get the hard parts right and then start dressing it up differently.

Sometimes, however, something extra good happens. Case in point: the Judge.

The bike wasn’t a radical departure from the norm when it was introduced, but its deviations were interesting: number-plate-style side covers, beefy tires, and a more standard-style riding position than your average Victory. Every tester who rode the bike came back surprised and even a bit delighted in only the most burly way. It just rode nice.

The 2014 does, too, despite the more laid-back riding posi­tion (3.75 inches more pullback on the bars and 4 inches forward on the pegs!) and a change back to “normal” side covers. (The old parts are available in the acces­sory catalog, if you like.)

The core spirit of Judge just clicks. It steers great, feels good cruising down the road, and genuinely jumps when the throttle is rolled open. It’s not unlike the simple pleasure my 1974 Norton Commando delivers but with much better performance, and a distinctly American accent. The Judge somehow does more than its parts would suggest.

THE NUMBERS
PRICE|$13,999
DISPLACEMENT|1731cc
WEIGHT (CLAIMED)|660 lb.
SEAT HEIGHT|25.9 in.
FUEL CAPACITY|4.7 gal.
HORSEPOWER|80.8 @ 4810 rpm
TORQUE|96.1 lb.-ft. @ 2920 rpm
FUN FACT|The original Judge was a Pontiac GTO built from 1969 to 1971. T-handle Hurst shifter, of course.
On-road action shot #1
On-road action shot #2
On-road action shot #3
On-road action shot #4
Static left-side view.
Static right-side view.