Victory Motorcycles ramps it up with their sleek new cruiser, the 2013 Judge. Drag bars and mid-mount controls place riders in a compact, at-the-ready riding position. A wide chunk of Dunlop rubber leads the way. A chiseled tank and faux racing plate add to its sporting disposition, while the lean profile of the 140mm rear helps keep it light on its feet.
The pulse of the Victory Judge is provided by its Freedom 106 engine, a 50-degree 1731cc V-Twin with single overhead camshafts. At the throttle, its power is deceptive. It doesn’t feel like it has the same arm-stretching hit as the Fat Boy, but it won the torque battle on the dyno by 8.15 lb-ft and destroyed it in horsepower by 17.79 more ponies. It’s smooth and quick off the line and has an engine that likes to be revved to get the most out of it. The solid mounted engine is also smoother at idle.
On the twisty sections of SoCal’s Ortega Highway, the Judge turns in and transitions easier than its Harley counterpart. With a 25.9-inch seat height and 64-inch wheelbase, the Judge is long and squat and its center of gravity is low. Its 40mm smaller rear tire also contributes to the Victory’s edge in turn in. The Judge feels lighter than the Fat Bob despite tipping the scales a mere 10 pounds lighter. One area where the small rear tire does concede to the Harley is on rough freeways at speed where it has a tendency to transfer more of the road’s imperfections to the rider.
Luckily the Judge’s 43mm fork and single rear gas shock do a solid job of absorbing most everything the road throws at it. In comparison to the Fat Bob, the Judge’s suspension is a tad stiffer. When it comes time to stop, the Judge’s brakes bite down hard on the 300mm floating rotors with very little pressure. The brakes are strong, almost too touchy, as the rear wheel locks up easily. Still, we prefer their power over the squishy rear unit on the Fat Bob.
A few gripes we have include a loud-shifting transmission and the lack of a fuel gauge. We dig the aesthetic of the oval number plate but the plastic it’s made of doesn’t add much to the quality of the fit-and-finish. Still, it handily wins the horsepower battle, will chirp the tires in the first couple of gears, handles sharper than the Fat Bob, and has stronger brakes. Throw in the fact that it has a base sticker price over $1300 less than its Harley counterpart and the Judge gets the nod in this cruiser comparison.