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2012 Victory Hard-Ball First Look

Friday, December 9, 2011
2012 Victory Hard-Ball
Introducing the 2012 Victory Hard-Ball.
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
The core of the 2012 Victory Hard-Ball comes from its best-selling brother  the High-Ball.
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
CHASSIS DIMENSIONS
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
SUSPENSION
FRONT: Inverted cartridge telescopic fork
TRAVEL: 5.1 in.
REAR: Single, mono-tube gas, air adjustable
TRAVEL: 4.7 in.
BRAKES: ABS
FRONT Dual 300mm floating rotor with 4-piston calipers
REAR: 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper
WHEELS:
FRONT: 18 x 3.5 in Spoked
REAR: 16 x 5.0 Spoked
TIRES:
FRONT: 130/70 B18 Dunlop 491 Elite II
REAR: 180/60 R16 Dunlop Elite 3
COLOR: Matte Black with Red Pinstriping
2012 Victory Hard-Ball Photo Gallery
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Comments
Piglet2010   December 12, 2011 07:46 PM
Hopefully the comfort of the Cross Roads and Cross Country carries over, so you can do more that cruise around town without getting a sore butt. A quick-release windshield would complete the package.
harley1   December 12, 2011 08:43 AM
There you have it folks, some of the first impressions of riding the 2012 Victory Hard-Ball from a man who knows his baggers. In fact, his magazine specializes in them. Sounds like Toph had fun. WilCon, I followed Victory's lead. The press kit we got included pictures of the Hard-Ball next to the High-Ball, not a Cross Roads. I think they're trying to portray a harder attitude with the Hard-Ball than the more conservative Cross Roads. Just check out how Toph felt after being the first one to rip around on this bad boy. That's more of the affect I believe Victory was hoping it'd have on riders.
tophLBC   December 11, 2011 01:36 PM
ahh- the new hard ball- heck of a machine. i had the opportunity to rip around the mean streets of long beach saturday night on the new hard ball. this bike drips attitude and it's amazing how handlebars, wheels, and a cool paint scheme can change a mild mannered cross roads into an rudeboy! with saturday night electricity in the air- the hard ball crackled and popped- squirming, smoky hole shots- controlled hooliganism- heads turning, women swooning, men and boys drooling. hands high in the air- i was transformed from a mild mannered bagger rider into a mischievous urban assassin. and all without a radio. this bike is bare bones sex appeal- like dressing up your girlfriend with stilettos and a hot, short skirt. wow! props and respect to bryan and crew. toph baggers
WilCon   December 11, 2011 05:59 AM
Bryan, love your reporting and writing typically. Aren't we a bit off base saying this is a redone bagger hi-ball? It's based off of the Cross Roads bike, the hi-ball is based off the Vegas. They are totally different motorcycles. The Hard-Ball uses a sand cast frame with the motor as a stressed member, the most obvious piece besides the tank you mentioned is the absence of the front down tubes. The bags are of course straight off the touring line should have been another indicator.
Mitch   December 10, 2011 10:20 AM
Victory's marketing may have set expectation pretty high when they said they would be announcing a "new" bike even though if it was going to be a completely new model they would have introduced it with the rest of the 2012 line up. However as Victory seems to have a gift for these days they have again pushed cruiser convention almost past the comfort zone of many. Cross-over bikes may be heresy to cruiser purists but I predict just like the auto market we will see more and more of them as riders with limited budgets and space for multiple bikes desire the same versatility and functionality they get from their Ford Flex or Porshe Panamera. I know I for one would love to have a tourer, classic bobber, and a sport cruiser all lined up in my garage ready to ride but for those of us that can only dream I think Victory has come out with the closest reality. And despite the some what inflated price I think it will be a good seller. Guess I better start saving up now =).
Jeff1164   December 10, 2011 10:11 AM
That is one seriously ugly motorcycle!! I was really looking forward to this unveiling hoping to see one of the major American makes go another direction ... something more sporting in nature. What a disappointment!! I guess I'll have to wait for some small company to make a truly sporting American bike. Eric Buell ... good luck to you!
BATMAN   December 10, 2011 04:16 AM
A blacked out Cross Roads, for $3000 extra? I love the bike, but no thanks.
CowboyTutt   December 9, 2011 06:01 PM
I forgot to mention that the rear bags look too big and out of proportion to the front. How is it that a Road King, without its windshield but bags intact, still looks good but this thing looks so disjointed and out of proportion? I think Victory needs to hire some new stylists for their company. Its a strange looking bike. -Tutt
GB   December 9, 2011 05:56 PM
well Victory finally did it. They made abike that would make the Vision look good next to it. Just plain ugly. get rid of the bags and maybe a round headlight........
CowboyTutt   December 9, 2011 05:52 PM
A bit disappointed here. I was hoping for more. I really liked the original Victory Vegas model years ago. I ride a highly modified 09 Street Bob but have always found Victory Motorcycles interesting. Its just that when you see them in person and start them up, some of the fit and finish is not so great and they make all sorts of gear whine like some sort of Jap bike? While the Victory motors may be better designed in theory with the SOHC and 4v per cylinder design, something got lost in translation along the way and I much prefer the sounds of a Harley (no gear whine) and that you can modify to your infinite personal tastes and has better fit and finish. I'm really hopeful for Indian now that Victory owns them (so to speak). Hopefully that will go well. -Tutt