?Victory High-Ball: An old school ride for Tarzan or Cheetah?
Victory, the self-proclaimed new American motorcycle, ahs stepped outside their normal styling box, no doubt to do battle with Harley-Davidson?s Crossbones model which also hearkens back to a more nostalgic era of two-wheeled transport. Victory?s entry into this arena is called the High-Ball.
The High-Ball represents a stripped down, bare bones throwback to the bobber era. The most pronounced feature of the High-Ball happens to be the ?Ape-Hanger? handlebars, which shout ?Reach for the Sky podner?. Edgar Rice Burroughs? Tarzan of the Apes would no doubt be completely at home riding this bile when not swinging from a vine, while his venerable sidekick, Cheetah the Chimpanzee would probably prefer the optional lowered bar position.
I took delivery of my review bike at Arlen Ness? Victory dealership in Dublin, CA with the bars in the lowered position, which more closely approximated beach bars, albeit more awkward. Alternating the bar?s placement from ?Ape? to laid back, requires removing the cover and loosening the tree clamps fastening bolts, rotating the bars to coincide with pre-aligned dots for each of the two respective locations and then re-torqueing down the bolts to 22 pounds starting with the forward-most bolts first, then tightening the rear bolts last. Hold on there Jungle man, we?re not finished yet? – the bar switchgear also has to be repositioned for optimum operation. In the top position, the bars represent a bit of a stretch ? more than Harley?s version.
I?m not a big fan of Ape hangers, neither in a visual or functional sense. The hand position is okay for riding roller coasters, but not for motorcycles, so I chose to leave them in the lowered attitude. Call me lazy ? I didn?t feel like moving them back and forth. That having been said, how can I evaluate the obviously intended higher riding position you ask? Simply by straddling a High-Ball with bars in the up placement.
Visually, the Victory High-Ball looks totally retro with its 16-inch Dunlop Cruisemax whitewalls mounted on chrome lace spokes affixed to gloss black outer 3.5-inch rims, abbreviated front fender, bobbed rear fender, solo seat and flat black body work with a flat white tank-side insert and Victory logo. The bars and dual staggered exhaust also appear in flat black. A throwback in terms of style yes, but in terms of performance, reliability and handling characteristics, the High-Ball steps up with modern technology and values.
Power is provided by Victory?s new 1,731cc (106 ci) 4-stroke 50-degree SOHC, 8-valve Freedom V-Twin with electronic fuel injection, dual 45mm throttle body and staggered dual right side exhaust with crossover. The motor delivers 97 horses at 5,500 rpm while generating 113 pound feet of torque at 2,900 rpm. Motive force reaches the rear wheel via a six-speed constant mesh overdrive transmission with overdrive and Primary Drive with a torque compensator? to the carbon fiber reinforced belt final drive. The new motor produces a fuller and deeper exhaust note than before, but even more rumble would be welcome.
The High-Ball?s suspension consists of conventional 43mm inverted telescopic forks with 5.1-inches of travel up front and a cast aluminum swingarm with rising-rate linkage, single monotube gas shock with 3.0-inches of travel and preload adjustable spring aft. Rubber is Dunlop Cruisemax 130/90-16 67H forward / and150/80-16 71H mounted on 16×3.5? chrome lace spoke in gloss black outer rims.
Bringing this basic bobber to a halt is a conventional hydraulic braking system with a 300mm floating rotor and 4-piston calipers up front and a 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston calipers in the rear.
My test High-Ball came in with a base price of $13,499 available in only the one color scheme. There were no extras, but expect to tack on roughly $300 for dealer prep and handling.
SUMMARY: The 2011 Victory High-Ball is sure to appeal to a lot of old school riders who want a nostalgic flavor and look but with better performance attributes. The ride quality delivers above average comfort and the handling characteristics are both positive and well balanced, except for perhaps with the Ape hanger bars in the high position. The riding position is fine with forward controls and relatively low seat.
The design definitely falls into a specialized niche look that isn?t for everybody, unless they?re a dyed-in-the-wool ?Bobber? fan. The look actually lends itself to further customization and personalization ? all possible with Pure Victory accessories, or go down your own road.
Bottom-line, the 2011 Victory High-Ball is fun to ride and makes a very pronounced statement for Tarzan or Cheetah types.