Blame it on Victory. If the gang from Medina hadn’t been so specific in its intended target, taking aim at Harley’s “Fat” line of cruiser motorcycles, this whole situation may have been avoided. But the battle lines have been drawn and the ring has been readied for this duel between two heavyweight American cruisers, the 2013 Victory Judge and the 2012 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob. To test the merits of the two, we tossed this drag-ready duo on our scales, threw them on our DynoJet 200i dynamometer, then took the battle to the road ways, rumbling around the mean streets of L.A. before doing dashes up the mountain to Big Bear Lake and running over to Ortega Highway to see how they handle themselves when the roads twist up.
In the Bar & Shield corner, weighing in at 699 pounds on the Motorcycle USA scale, the 2012 Harley Fat Bob. Making its debut in 2008, the Fat Bob quickly ensconced itself as a family favorite by blending its own signature cues with time-honored styling traits. Its wide tank with a shiny chrome console and a Bobtail fender with chrome struts have been carried over from the Wide Glide but its meaty front tire and drag bar make it more of a street brawler. On the dyno, it put out a respectable 85.53 lb-ft of torque @3300 rpm and registered 64.04 hp @ 5000 rpm. Its Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection helped it win the battle at the pump with a 40.38 mpg avg. With an MSRP of $15,349, the 2012 Harley Fat Bob loses the pocket book skirmish as it costs $1,350 more than the base Judge.
In the challenger’s corner, tipping Motorcycle USA’s scales a scant 10 pounds lighter at 689 pounds, the 2013 Victory Judge. Victory got the jump on everybody by being one of the first to market with a 2013 model, the new cruiser model complementing the custom-inspired Vegas Jackpot and Hammer S power cruiser. The 2013 Judge was the “King of the Dyno” in this cruiser comparison, putting out 8.15 lb-ft and 17.19 hp more on the DynoJet 200i. Its 93.68 lb-ft of torque comes on a little later in the rev range at 3900 rpm while its big horsepower advantage comes on higher in the powerband as well, hitting its peak of 81.83 hp @ 5300 rpm. It puts out the power while still running efficiently, losing
the miles-per-gallon duel by a tad with a 40.26 mph average. It is the more affordable of the two with a base sticker price of $13,999, with the ‘Sunset Red’ or ‘Suede Nuclear Sunset’ colorways costing a bit more at $14,399. As you can see in pictures, we were privy to the ‘Suede Nuclear Sunset’ model for this comparison.
A quick glance at the two reveals front ends that were made to go toe-to-toe, aggressively positioned drag bars and identical chunky 16-inch, 130mm wide tires. The tale of the tape shows the Fat Bob fork positioned the tighter of the two at a 29-degree rake angle while the Judge’s telescopic unit has a little more stretch at 31.7-degrees of rake. This equates to a longer wheelbase on the Judge, too, with a stretch of 64.8 inches between contact patches compared to the Fat Bob’s 63.7-inch wheelbase. Seat heights are close, with the Fat Bob up a touch more at 27 inches while the Judge positions riders a bit more in the bike at 25.9 inches. Both are powered by big V-Twin engines, albeit Harley opts for pushrods for its signature lumping cadence while Victory smoothly runs single overhead cams with hydraulic lifters, but outright displacement is close as the Harley’s Twin Cam 103 with 1690cc compares favorably to the Victory Freedom 106 and its 1731cc V-Twin.