Victory Motorcycles made a Hard-Balling bagger out of its High-Ball and Cross Roads. Victory again thumbs its nose at conventionalism and throws a hard-riding bagger with apes out there. Not everybody wants to hide behind a front fairing but can appreciate having the convenience of some bags when it’s road-trippin’ time. The 2012 Victory Hard-Ball is the happy median.
The stance of the 2012 Hard-Ball mirrors the High-Ball – same two-way adjustable factory Apehangers, spoked wheels wrapped in beefy tires, and Victory’s quick-revving Freedom 106 spooned tightly in the frame. And that’s a good thing. The 1731cc Freedom 106 provides a spirited ride with a wide spread of power on the High-Ball, and despite a little larger fender on the front end, steering should still be light with the absence of a fairing most baggers or tourers sport. Gauges are Spartan, consisting of a small round analog speedo with basic diagnostic symbols incorporated into the face like a Neutral indicator, ABS engagement indicator, low fuel warning, high beams, cruise control and an engine problem warning light.
But close inspection reveals a host of differences. First and foremost is the addition of a set of hard locking saddlebags from the Cross Roads. We didn’t wager a guess on capacity since it wasn’t listed in the original press release, but have learned since it has 21 gallons of storage space, enough to stash a few days provisions in easily. This is good since they’ve added a larger pillion pad and passenger foot pegs, so if you’re going to be traveling two-up, the bags become a necessity. At
OK, there’s no denying these two came from the same father. But the 2012 Hard-Ball has the added luxury of more touring amenities in a murdered-out paint scheme.
first glance the tank looked similar before we realized it’s the more angular-cut tank of the Cross Roads which comes with the added range of a 1.4-gallon larger capacity. Touring-minded amenities like floorboards and highway bars have been added, as has the Cross Roads small chin faring. Besides the new bags, the rear end includes a larger air-deflecting battery cover, split dual exhaust, and a longer rear fender. Hard-Ball owners will get to ride with the added confidence of standard ABS. Everything in black, of course.
No MSRP was available at the time of the article’s writing, but the 2012 High-Ball lists for $13,499 and the Cross Roads has an MSRP of $15,999, so we guessed the new bags, ABS and exhaust would cost consumers at least a couple grand more. We’ve since learned the Hard-Ball has an $18,999 sticker price.
In Victory’s PR they pose the question – Is it a cruiser? Is it a tourer? It’s not a full-on bagger, either. So what is it? Victory says it’s “The Bad Ass Bike That Rejects Labels.” We say we’ll figure out what to call it after we ride one and the true nature of the beast reveals itself.
2012 Victory High-Ball Specs:
ENGINE: 4-stroke 50-degree V-Twin
COOLING: Air / Oil
DISPLACEMENT: 106 ci / 1731 cc
BORE X STROKE: 101 x 108 mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 9.4 : 1
VALVE TRAIN: Single overhead camshafts w/ 4 valves per cylinder,
self-adjusting cam chains, hydraulic lifters
FUELING: Electronic Fuel Injection with dual 45mm throttle bodies
FUEL CAPACITY: 5.8 gal.
EXHAUST: Split dual exhaust with crossover
OIL CAPACITY: 5.0 qts
CLUTCH: Wet, multi-plate
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed overdrive constant mesh
FINAL DRIVE: Carbon Fiber Reinforced Belt
LENGTH: 104.4 in.
WHEELBASE: 65.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT: 26.25 in.
GROUND CLEARANCE 5.8 in.
RAKE/ TRAIL 29.0° / 5.6 in
DRY WEIGHT 751 lbs
FRONT: Inverted cartridge telescopic fork
TRAVEL: 5.1 in.
REAR: Single, mono-tube gas, air adjustable
TRAVEL: 4.7 in.
FRONT Dual 300mm floating rotor with 4-piston calipers
REAR: 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper
FRONT: 18 x 3.5 in Spoked
REAR: 16 x 5.0 Spoked
FRONT: 130/70 B18 Dunlop 491 Elite II
REAR: 180/60 R16 Dunlop Elite 3
COLOR: Matte Black with Red Pinstriping