Victory Judge review – The Alternative Americana

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Want a slightly different American cruiser? Then the Victory Judge could just be the alternative you’re looking for.

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“American muscle never died, it just needed handlebars…”, so said the creators of the Victory Judge sport cruiser you see featured here. Despite the wet spell of rain casted upon us, we managed to sample this ‘Alternative Americana’ over the course of a week recently.

At first glance, there’s plenty to admire with this red-painted test unit of ours loaned to us by distributors Harmony Fabulous Sdn Bhd – a subsidiary of the Naza World Group of Companies. There’s no denying that the Victory Judge is quite a good-looking bike, especially in the eyes of many American cruiser fans.

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Much of the Judge’s styling is inspired by classic American muscle cars of yore. That retro muscle car feel comes alive as you clap eyes on the way its large V-twin engine is placed in full view, the shiny and large twin-pipe exhaust running down the right side, not forgetting the massive Dunlop tyres shod in equally large 16-inch wheels front and aft.

Words like ‘muscular’, ‘aggressive’ and ‘brash’ comes to mind, but there’s no denying that this bike has that distinctively classic American cruiser looks to it. Overall, the Judge would please any cruiser fan that lay eyes on it, invoking plenty of gob-smacked expressions and stares whilst riding it through town.

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Being a marque developed to compete against Harley-Davidson, the Victory Motorcycles brand stands to offer buyers a new-aged alternative against the famed bar-and-shield marque. Notably, much of the Victory Judge’s left-field traits and charm is exuded by its mechanical workings instead of its aesthetics.

The most obvious of which is that aforementioned massive V-twin engine the Judge packs. This sports cruiser has adopted Victory’s signature 106 cubic inch Freedom V-twin that’s air-cooled and primed with electronic fuel injection. In case you were wondering, 106 cubic inches translates to a whopping and massive 1,731cc in metric terms.

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The mill develops 85hp and a meaty 149Nm peak torque figure, with the latter developed below the 3,000rpm mark. All that is managed by Victory’s six-speed overdrive manual transmission and a belt-drive setup as well, with the last bit being yet another typical trait of many American cruisers.

This massive 1,731cc mill grants the Victory Judge with rapid acceleration and seemingly high-speeds easily, feeling almost akin to dragster cruisers in fact. You don’t need to rev the mill high to get it going, and it is the kind of package that naturally dictates you to short-shift up the cogs before reaching a comfortable cruising speed.

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The abundance of torque in the low and mid rev ranges make the Judge feel as if it has endless pull, making this quite an engaging bike to ride initially. However, what really felt unnerving were the single-disc anchors primed all round that’s tasked at slowing and stopping this cruiser.

Besides the absence of ABS, the front brake felt rather vague and required quite the tug in the lever to slow this 300kg (dry) cruiser down. Instead it was the rear brake that felt more reassuring, but it does mean riders will need to master the fine art of rear-wheel braking when riding the Judge – not something anyone would want in a hairy, low-grip situation.

However, said quirk is seemingly typical amongst most American cruisers, and it becomes something easily overlooked once you indulge in this torque-rich mill’s thunderous soundtrack coming out of its chromed twin-pipes. The raspy and thunderous note it boasts commands plenty of attention, and it became quite an addiction to lash this 106 cubic inch motor’s throttle just to get that sound.

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What deserves merit here too is the Judge’s snug and comfortable sitting position – something many would expect out of a low-seat cruiser. At 658mm off the ground, jut about anyone is welcomed to hop on it in relatively high comforts, whilst the foot pegs positioned further forward felt rather natural too.

For a sub six-footer such as myself, the stock handlebars were an easy reach. But surely, shorter riders will find it a little harder to reach them. The solution to this perhaps lies in opting for a different and longer handlebar that is thankfully available in the Victory Motorcycles’ decent range of optional accessories.

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In the ride and handling department, the story here is rather mixed to say the least. Starting with the suspension, the 43mm telescopic front forks and rear monoshock does grant a very plush ride, and this is perhaps a perk from their high travel rates. No doubt, the Judge’s rivals felt a little more refined in this area, but it isn’t a deal-breaker.

Once again, that unnerving feel we got from the front brake’s performance rolled in after realising the lack of agility the Victory Judge poses. Manoeuvring this 2,339mm-long behemoth with its 32-degree rake and 170mm trail is quite a chore during urban rides through traffic. What didn’t help here either were the heavy clutch lever pull and the claimed dry weight figure or 300kg.

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Surely, this isn’t the ideal bike for one to thunder across the urban jungle with on a daily basis. Instead, the Victory Judge felt much more suited when tasked at long-distance cruises on straight highway roads where corners are scarce. Additionally, the presence of a long and large 17.8-litre fuel tank does grant this cruiser with a decent touring capability with Victory claiming a maximum travel range of 248km.

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Although it has some quirks, the Victory Judge isn’t a bad bike entirely, and riding this left-field offering felt both very engaging and pleasing, mostly because of the low vibrations this bike has compared to its rival. Certainly, the Victory Judge would fit the bill of those seeking an American cruiser alternative that wasn’t Japanese.

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Priced at RM119,568 sans insurance and registration costs, it’s certainly not a cheap proposition, especially for a very simplistic bike that lacked ABS of all things.

But, if you find pride in standing uniquely different from the crop of popular American- and Japanese-branded cruisers, then the Victory Judge will do just that easily whilst adding a very engaging left-field charm to the mix as well.

Right now, Malaysian distributors Harmony Fabulous is holding a special sale for the Victory brand, offering lucrative discounts and price reductions for all available models – the Judge included. You can find out more through the official Victory Motorcycles Malaysia Facebook page or by visiting the Victory showroom located in the Naza Auto Mall, Petaling Jaya – just before the flagship Ducati centre.

Could this be the perfect ‘Alternative Americana’ for the brave few? We’d like to think so.

Victory Judge – Specifications

ENGINE Air-cooled, four-stroke 1,731cc

SOHC 50-degree V-twin with

electronic fuel injection and

electric starter

TRANSMISSION 6-speed constant mesh manual with wet multi-plate clutch and belt-drive
POWER 85hp
TORQUE 149Nm
CHASSIS Tubular steel frame
SUSPENSION Front:

43mm telescopic forks with

130mm travel

 

Rear:

Pre-load adjustable monoshock

with 75mm travel

BRAKES Front:

300mm floating disc with

four-piston caliper

 

Rear:

300mm floating disc with

two-piston caliper

WHEELS & TYRES Front:

130/90 B16 67H

 

Rear:

140/90 B16 77H

LENGTH 2,339mm
WHEELBASE 1,647mm
SEAT HEIGHT 658mm
FUEL TANK 17.8 litres
WEIGHT 300kg (claimed, dry)
PRICE RM119,568

(without insurance and registration)

FROM Harmony Fabulous Sdn Bhd

(Naza World of Companies)

 

Victory Judge gallery

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