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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Victory Plays Hard-Ball to get at the Heavyweight Cruiser Market

As promised, Victory Motorcycles added another Touring model to its 2012 lineup over the weekend with the new Hard-Ball. The bike plays on the popularity of both baggers and ape-hangers and adds some edginess to the more conservative Touring lineup.

Although it looks, at first glance, like the High-Ball, it’s actually a very different model. The High-Ball uses the tube-steel chassis of Victory’s cruiser models, although it does share the same Freedom 50-degree, 106 cubic-inch V-Twin as the Cross-Roads based Hard-Ball. That means the Hard-Ball is significantly heavier—and more expensive—than the 660-pound High-Ball, but it also benefits from a rigid aluminum monocoque chassis, 5.8-gallon gas tank, standard ABS brakes, 600 pounds of carrying capacity and cartridge-fork front suspension.

Although the Hard-Ball shares basic architecture with the Cross-Roads, it has some important differences to make it a unique model. Blacked-out height-adjustable ape hanger bars let the rider choose between fashion or function. Black 18-inch spoked wheels with red pin striping lend a distinctive, old-school look. Locking hard bags offer up 21 gallons of storage, and the bike is finished in a minimalist matte-black finish with more red pin striping. The Hard-Ball will be priced at a buck under $19,000 when it appears in Victory dealers next year.

Great-looking bike, but isn’t Victory fighting for a slice of the shrinking heavyweight cruiser pie? Actually, that pie may now be growing. Harley-Davidson shipped 182,387 units through the month of August, and if the fourth quarter is like the other quarters, the company should be on track to ship 230,000-250,000 motorcycles worldwide, up sharply from the low-water mark of 210,494 reported to shareholders in 2010. And H-D isn’t alone—both Triumph and Ducati have trumpeted increased production and sales.

Let us know if you own a Victory or are considering the purchase of one. Why did you buy it? Why would you consider it? What kind of community do Victory riders have?


  1. Matt says:

    Many of the comments I read here remind me of when Victory released the Vision and despite those who didn’t care for the aggressive styling and claimed it would be a flop for Polaris, it was still their best selling model till the Cross line came out. Personally I think the idea of a hybrid cruiser makes sense in this market. Not everybody has the space or budget to have a Bobber, Tourer, and Sport Cruiser in their garage but now Victory is offering the next next best thing. My only suggestion though would be to knock a grand or two off the price.

  2. JR says:

    I own a 2011 Victory Cross Roads. I have quite a few extras on it. I have ridden a lot of bikes in 40 years including Harley. I was going to purchace a used 2009 Road Glide. It was a beauty. I road it twice. Then, for some raeson I stopped at Victory. I rode the Cross Roads. I couldn’t believe the ride! I went back and drove the Road Glide over the same road. Then, back to Victory for the second ride, same road. Rough, smooth, rail road tracks and curves. The victory stock was smoother and more powerful than the Harley with pipes and a 110 kit. But, it was also $6000 dollars cheaper. They gave me a five year unlimited warranty. The Harley had 30 days. I got $50 oil changes for as long as I own it. AND, the clencher was the cost of service. The Harley was going to cost $750 the first 2000 miles I own it. The Victory $50 for the first 500, then $50 every 5000 after.

  3. BlueSkyGuy says:

    If you thought you would see a Harley in a Victory your wrong. They are doing their own thing and I like what they do. Fpls that own them like them, enough said.

    • carl says:

      They are doing there own thing? How? Still the same basic V-twin copy of what HD has been doing for 100+ years with Vic styling twist. Ducati does there own thing, triumph does there own thing they build cruisers but not with V-twins, BMW does there own thing. Even the Japanese couldn’t resist trying to copy HD. Apart from Victory styling and even then when you look at the CCT and Ultra they are still the same basic design.

  4. carl says:

    After reading so many negative comments, one wonders if Victory should even bother to put this bike into production. Doesn’t seem like they are going to have many sales.

    • Pat says:

      Almost every model that Victory comes out with, I hear how ugly it is, how it will never sell, and things like WHAT IS VICTORY DOING?? Funny, but Victory seems to be doing just fine. Everyone seems to thing that since THEY don’t like the bike, and wouldn’t buy it, EVERYONE else must be thinking the same thing. It’s comical.

      • carl says:

        Well this is kinda like a random survey and its mostly negative. I do like other Vic models and in fact probably going to add the new Victory Cross Country Tour to my collection. How well they are doing is hard to say, how many bikes per year they are putting out I have no idea, I use my wing for touring and all of last year I saw 1 Cross Country the whole season of riding.

  5. Z1 says:

    It looks like something someone made in their backyard…or in high-school shop class.

  6. Jim says:

    Wish Victory the Best, but don’t think this will improve their image. I agree with Todd about building a smaller bike for less than $10K and would do it in Cruiser, Roadster and Cafe Racer forms. Each one having a slew of accessories, and 3 electronic motor tunes. Total bike weight under 500#dry. I know this is a Norton or Suzuki SV650 take-off, but to me that is a good thing. You could actually have 3 bikes in “kit form” in the garage and only one engine/chassis combo. Customizing options endless. The technologies are there .. it seems Management’s imagination is stuck in Cruiser World.

    I currently ride hard in the Rockies on a ZRX1200R and Honda Magna 750 Cruiser and avoid Interstates with a passion.

  7. PN says:

    It looks like a replica toy.

  8. Jamo says:

    No, VIctory isn’t listening. THey’ve been in a soundproof room since they launched the “Nessie” lineup years ago. The Nessie frame isn’t a classic design, like HD. It was kind of cool at first, because it hadn’t been seen before and looked custom, but now it’s just dated.
    Big, heavy crusisers aren’t coming into vogue. It’s been done. Like someone else said, make it light and less than $10,000, and build up a following. As it is, VIctory is trolling for Harley rejects. It’s low class nomenclature, “8-Ball,” “High Ball,” “Crapshot,” and low class style. I don’t want to be an 8-Ball or a Joker.
    Make a high class ride, like BMW. You cannot appeal to a lower class than Harley appeals to. It isn’t there. You have to aim higher, not lower.

  9. Tom says:

    I like it and I want one.

    • Tom says:

      Possibly a fitting replacement for my Warrior.

      • saddlebag says:

        I replaced my Warrior with a Cross Roads and couldn’t be happier. It is a FAR superior motorcycle. Uber comfy, plenty powerful, and best of all, the damn thing handles better than a lot of sport tourers.

  10. Variance says:

    That is a good looking bike with an attitude . Well done.

  11. todd says:

    I never understood the direction of bikes like this. If I wanted a bike to travel all over, Id want it to have stellar protection from the elements. If I wanted a bike to just ride around town I’d want a smaller 8 or 900cc lighter weight bike with smaller saddle bags and a smaller seat. I dont care about paint to much (I love od green). The thing is if I wanted either of the bikes I talked about and wanted a victory I’d buy a 8-ball or their way out there cruiser (which I love).. To me there is no place for this bike. Personally I dont want any bike like this right now. I want a dual sport. I know victory could knock one of those out of the park. 34″ seat height, under 270lbs, 500cc dual sport with factory accessorys would do the company good

  12. James says:

    Victory, here’s a suggestion; Make a sub $10,000 bike!! If you really want to get your foot in the markets door, make a model for less than $10 G’s!! Do what your competitor (harley) has done…Make a model that’s more about owning the name (883 sportster) rather than catering to people who make $50,000+ a year and have to tuck there tie into there button down shirt before jumping into there convertible. You want market penetration?? Build a bike for the 18+ age group where financing is affordable and build an excrement ton of accessories for it so they can make it there own and I will guarantee you will sell as many as you can make!! Highball? $13K?….cool, but off the mark. Hardball? $19k?? Wrong direction……Or am I OFF the mark??

    • Tom says:

      Hope Victory is reading this! James, if you are looking for work you may want to contact them.

      Victory has the ability to build an excellent bike. I can say this because my wife rides a Vision Tour with over 40,000 trouble free miles. While many traditionalists do not like the styling of the Vision, I have never seed a bike that attracts so much attention. Everyone from teenagers to old people like it.

      On the Hardball, I too think it needs some serious styling work.

    • superbikemike says:

      no…. your not off the mark, but victory ain’t listening… $19k 4 this model, in these economic times… their deaf…. 😉

    • Jason B says:

      I agree that their top heavy line up is part of the problem. But with close to 15 years in business now the only thing Victory has proven is that you can’t reroute the HD faithful. I think Victory has more ground to gain in the non-cruiser markets. I truly believe there are American buyers that want an American bike that’s not a cruiser, but there are no options. Polaris Industries has the engineering capability to do this which is why it’s so disappointing that they haven’t yet. The Japanese manufacturers still struggle with the fact that building a better bike doesn’t equate to beating HD, you can’t engineer an image. Despite the fact that Victory is an American manufacturer they will always struggle against the same thing in the cruiser market against HD. I truly believe that branching out into other segments is their best chance at greater success with the brand.

      • Jim says:

        Agreed! I was hoping for a Buell Uly XT someday, but everything US built is cruiser. What about a adventure-tour, standard, maybe a cafe look for the kids? Can’t hurt to start below $10K. Triumph Bonnie & Tiger800, Kawi Versys, Suz Wee………

  13. ABQ says:

    Complaining that a bike looks ugly implies that you would ride something that looks pretty. Really? You big bad bikers don’t like ugly???

  14. mickey says:

    I didn’t want to comment, but when I looked at the bottom pic I immediately thought “Russian Tank” for some reason.

  15. ham says:

    I love the appearance of this bike. Finally something unique. You me too Harley guys just won’t see it. Now I hope the test ride is as impressive.

    • Reinhart says:

      Yep, all we see is a hunk of junk! If you read all the messages you’ll see that it’s not just Harley people that think this bike is a POS…it’s practically everyone out there!

  16. superbikemike says:

    these comments get funnier and funnier…. you can just feel the love for this model…. well maybe not… 😉

  17. N says:

    Reminds me of a Ural bike in a way.
    Can’t say I expect good sales with this look; I personally like matte paint and simplicity, but this definitely looks unfinished in some crucial areas.

  18. I agree with many of the commenters on this: it’s butt fugly. I’m a fan of Victory bikes overall (Hammer S? Drool!), even their out-there big tourers, which got better looking over time. But this looks like Cletus down at Chucks Harley Barn drank too much PBR, put it together out of spare parts and then rattle-canned it. That cow-catcher in front of the engine- WTF? And those wanna-be ape-hanger Z bars are ugly as sin and don’t look either safe or comfortable. Then tag on a butt-ugly king/queen seat and that camel tank and this is all sorts of wrong rolled into one big black turd. Kudos to Polaris/Victory for thinking outside the box, but this is a swing and a miss. I’d love to have a powerful, long-haul bike with comfy seats, a big tank and spacious luggage, but I think even I could have designed something more aestheically pleasing than this contraption.

  19. Neil says:

    It looks hideous! The paint looks unfinished. The panel under and to the side of the seat. That radiator like thing. Horrid. The bags. Like something left over in a department store bargain basement. The seat! What the…???! Some guy in China had nothing to do that day!

  20. Not a cruiser fan says:

    I like it more than the ‘me too’ bikes most companies crank out. Then again I also love my Buell 1125R, so obviously I’m among the minority. I’m not a big fan of cruisers, but if I were, this is the kind of styling I’d go for. Which is what they need. People who are obsessed with H-D are not the target market. They’re looking for people who are fence sitters and pulling them in with superior engineering and styling that stands out.

    That being said, I freaking hate forward controls and that automatically disqualifies this bike as something I would ever consider buying.

    • Kent says:

      I’m not getting the 1125R comments. I think the Buell 1125R is a fantastic bike and looks great too.
      As for attracting fence sitters, I think this styling just scared them right off the fence, out the door, off the property, never to be seen again.

  21. Kent says:

    What a Mess………

  22. Mike says:

    Motorcycle style is a very personal thing as we all know, but I have seen Victory and Harley bikes in the same market segment side by side and have to say in most cases the Victory model is clearly the better looking design….so I dont understand the negative comments on most of the Victory models.

    One thing I do know for sure is the stock Victory motor is superior to the stock Harley motor in most if not all respects.

    I wonder if just putting the Harley tank badge on the comparable Victory would change alot of the negative views here about the Victory styling

  23. Mat says:

    heh carl- you are right on the money….now if only victory would realize “LESS IS MORE”

  24. Leif Mann says:

    Victory makes a well-engineered and high quality bike. Unfortunately, most of them are wonkishly ugly. How long will they continue to buy-into the Arlen Ness debacle ? All of their bikes are slammed-out, forward foot controls, weird-looking body panels and just plain funky ! This “new” model adds insult to injury.

    I hope they can use their recently acquired Indian brand as a ticket into some classically-styled road art the likes of which has made their american manufacturing cousin famous and successful.

  25. Brendan says:

    It is nice to see Victory are obviously an equal opportunity employer. They have employed a Vision impaired designer. A bold move but one for which they should be commended.

  26. Reinhart says:

    I really wish Victory would read these comments and perhaps begin to design bikes that actually look nice. Aesthetics sure go a long way when it comes to selling bikes. Perhaps Victory is happy being the most “invisible” bike manufacturer out there? A lot of people (even some riders!)have never heard of Victory and most think it’s some kind of metric cruiser. If they keep styling bikes like the one above, they will soon be out of business! Too bad they can’t open their thinking up a bit and offer something other than a CRUISER to the riding public. I would personally like to see an Victory offer something other than a cruiser and have almost given up hope when it comes to Victory motorcycle as their bikes just keep getting uglier and uglier. First step should be to divorce themselves from the whole Arlen Ness design team. That would be a really good first step!

    • Jake says:

      Reinhart says: “If they keep styling bikes like the one above, they will soon be out of business! Too bad they can’t open their thinking up a bit and offer something other than a CRUISER to the riding public.”
      Polaris tried with the very first Victory back in Y2K — the V92C Sport Cruiser. Very *sporty* looking (for a cruiser) — and it died a painful, early, death. Americans buy cruisers — plain & simple. Potato…potato…

      • Reinhart says:

        V92C Sport Cruiser sound an awful lot like a cruiser to me! They’ve never ever built anything other than a cruiser!

      • Pat says:

        The SC model that Victory had was not their first model, the C was. But neither of them, nor the variations of the C ever sold like Victory would have liked. That’s why they went the direction that they did. And while many of the “style experts” here disagree, the bikes sell. You may not like the bikes, but someone does, as Victory keeps selling them. As far as this bike goes, I dig it, but not the price that it carries. I guess I’ll keep my old school looking ’02 TCD with 88,000 trouble free miles on it.

  27. Don says:

    I ride a Harley and am a fan of Victory’s styling – until now. Not sure what they where thinking but “Butt Ugly” is the only work that describes this unit….

    Just my thought….

  28. Biker says:

    I’m really not sure about that.. something is just ‘wrong’ with the design… a bit like the Buell 1125r (but not as horrendous)

  29. slimlids says:

    Yuck. That thing is sad looking. Those Ness boys are trying WAY too hard. This thing is the Motorcycle equivalent to Guy Fieri. A loud, obnoxious, pile with highlights and stupid sunglasses.

  30. carl says:

    I enjoy all bikes cruisers, sport and touring. My beef will all these bikes is why can’t they simply make a bobber style cruiser or any bike for that matter. SIMPLE, clean design and if it has no function then leave it off. It seems to me bikes are getting heavier with just junk added on. Can never understand why the harley crowd loads there bikes with extra chrome and crap that adds nothing to the bike. I’ve always felt if it doesn’t do anything why add weight to a bike.

  31. W Bond says:

    That is one ugly bike.

  32. Dirt-Ball says:

    Me Likes 🙂

    21 gallons of storage, abs, 106ci (97 hp), 6 speed trans… I really like the lines and the entire design flows flawlessly from the front to rear and I love that phat azz! I guess you can’t please everyone. Ness no longer has input in design at Victory (designer is greg brew) but the ness’ do still offer custimized versions of a few models from the lineup.

    The apes are adjustable and can be tilted back to whatever angle suits your needs for touring or bar hopping. They also have easy on/off fairings and windshields that are already available for the cross roads that will work on this bike for touring when needed.

    The so called ‘radiator cover’ is there because there is no frame in front of the motor. The frame is cast aluminum with the motor as the stressed member which provides a lighter bike and better handling. The front cover finishes off the look of the front of the bike as well as providing a mounting point for the oil cooler.

    You Tube video showing cast aluminum frame:

  33. Denny says:

    Higher up order qustion:
    If someone spends time, money, effort, material and energy on such…an…well many said that already, what does it mean? It may mean two things. One is wrong and self-centered perception of market by maker. The other may be the reality that indeed some portion of motorcycling public has distorted taste and whacko intentions. In that case, I am sorry for my comment.

  34. Kawzies says:

    Every Victory is the same bike. There-I said it. The Emporer is naked. Until they come out with a bike that has a different engine or at least a different gas tank I just don’t give rat’s patootie about their bikes. Yawn

    • Auphliam says:


    • jay1975 says:

      You’re mistaken, they have three gas tanks. There is the split tail which is pretty much the standard, then there is the tourers gas tank and then the Vision has what looks like the tourers under some additional metal. You are correct about there only being one engine (and transmission) and nearly all of their frames are the same as well. They are following the Harley business model these days it seems.

  35. frostbite says:

    In a word – HIDEOUS !!!

    hideous [ˈhɪdɪəs]
    1. extremely ugly; repulsive a hideous person
    2. terrifying and horrific
    [from Old French hisdos, from hisde fear; of uncertain origin]
    hideously adv
    hideousness , hideosity [ˌhɪdɪˈɒsɪtɪ] n

  36. mark says:


    Are you guys going to do a test report on this bike? I’ve never ridden a bike with ape hangers – I’m honestly very curious how it handles with them.

    • Gabe says:

      We’ll probably be invited to the press introduction at some point–we’ll keep you posted!

      I did ride a Street Bob with apes when I wrote for a lesser website:

      “The Street Bob we look at emulates the days of old that harkens back to a hard starting, hard-tailed, vibrating mass that oiled the road and came home (if it got home) with a few less parts than it started with. The Street Bob you ride is a different animal. A punch of a button brings a fuel-injected mill to life. No kicking till you sweat blood and no warm-up necessary. You just ride. Your ass sits low, and with a nod to the past, your hands hang high. George and Gabe always thought that high ‘ape hanger’ type bars weren’t a very good idea, and actually riding a bike with them only confirmed their suspicions. At every stop, whoever was riding the Bob said the same thing: “Dump these ape hangers for a set of drags on 3 inch risers and Bob would be the bomb.”

      To hammer home the point, George did a 100 mile, non-stop, slab blast back home from Peoria. He was hanging on for dear life at the high speeds, and at the end of the ride his arms felt much like Muhammad Ali’s after throwing punches for 15 rounds with Joe Frazier. But after the feeling in your arms and hands returns, you notice there isn’t any oil on your legs or the bike, all the parts are still there, there is still feeling in your backside, you didn’t have to ride in the slow lane, and you didn’t have to fill up twice in 100 miles. This ain’t your daddy’s bobber.

      Handlebars aside, there’s a lot to like here: solid power, decent range, comfort, and lots of style. The bike handles well and the suspension is surprisingly supple. The solo seat is the most comfortable in this test, while also being the most impractical. With the new six-speed transmission, running triple digits on the highway is a breeze for this bike. It’s loafing at 75 in top gear and just asks for more. That’s the most dramatic change in the Dyna’s 16-year history; that sixth gear really opens this bike up. In 1999 the Twin Cam engine added an easy-revving feel to the bike, but the new top-gear ratio turns this bike into a true easy rider.”

  37. Ed says:

    I haven’t seen a decent looking Victory since they brought Arlen Ness on board.This is a perfect example of why they’ll never be in the same league as Harley.In fact I’d take anything in the Harley line up over this monstrosity.And damn near anything in the Triumph line up as well.

  38. Mat says:

    Its hard to comprehend what these engineers are thinking.I think they should rename this the Wrecking Ball!!

  39. bad Chad says:

    I guess if you want to pretend your Batman, this is your bike.

    • NJ Steve says:

      or Darth Vader….

      the bags seemed molded into the sides of the bike….. they look like fender wells for a wheel chair

      no thanks!

      This is an example of what Jesse James said (correctly) about the Tuetels… they are basically “cake decorators” attaching this n that to the bike until it has something from every bike style & hopefully some of it will appeal to a blacked out ape-hanger/bagger.

      no thanks!

  40. JimS says:

    Zzzzzzzzzzz-Zzzzzzzzz. Enough with the cruisers already! If Victory is going to copy Harley-Davidson, copy the XR1200R but better.

  41. Scorpio says:

    I like it. A lot. Looks like a sci-fi dreadnought, right down to the stylistic disconnect of the front end. If a complementary quick-release ‘shield could be fitted it would be perfect for my commute, and it’s nearly a show winner in the slammed bagger/dragger class in stock trim. I applaud them, and aren’t you all (even the haters) glad we don’t all have to ride the same bike? Not ready to trade my Bonneville, but I for one dig this Hard-ball.

  42. Chris says:

    I think it looks good. When the saw the first picture, I legit thought it was a decent looking bike. As I read these comments, I had to pause, go back to the top, and yup…same bike. Japense cruisers are ugly? The only good bikes are HDs? HDs suck? Cruisers are slow and not 600 cc sportbikes? I appreciated the comment that noted many bikes don’t get used for their ‘supposed’ purpose. Style sells cruisers, and unlike the rest of you, I think selling bikes is what Victory is out to do. Who cares what market segment the bike is in? The ‘slammed’ bagger is right where this fits, and is one of the most popular segments of cruisers currently. Of course apes don’t make sense for touring. Blacked out bikes don’t make ‘sense’. But most people don’t have an iron butt and prefer something unique and stylish. Kudos to Victory.

  43. Jeff says:

    Alright… I’ve seen a lot of ‘Ugly’ comments here, and it *almost* sounds like calling the latest cruiser ugly/slow/poor-handling has become the in-thing to do by “Real Motorcyclists”.

    So just a show of hands then from each of you that called this bike ugly: Did you also call the Diavel, Multistrada, 999, V-Strom, or pretty much any BMW ugly? What about the VFR1200, DN-01, Thunder(Ace/Cat) or Versys?

    If you answered “No” to any of my suggestions, then you have no taste, and are not fit to comment on ugliness!

    Seriously, you can’t possibly think this bike is really all that bad. Sure I’m no cruiser guy, I prefer race bikes myself, but even I can appreciate the single-purpose nature of the modern cruiser design, and I find that this design does in fact strike some positive notes from the curved radiator scoop to the flowing lines from the headlight hood, to the tank, and continuing down the seat. I actually think the bars look kind of neat as an extension of the fork tubes (even if taken a little too far). And it may be somewhat of a contradiction of itself, a touring bike with ape-hangars, but how many people actually tour on their tourers, or race on their race-replicas, or ‘adventure’ (or whatever) on their adventurers?

    Any race-replica 600 will smoke this thing in a straight line, and certainly in the corners, but that’s not the point. There is an undeniable market for this type of bike, and I applaud Victory for trying to do it a little differently than the rest, even if it is a rehashed model from their lineup… It’s THEIR lineup!

    Maybe this bike is built to pose on, but would you say the same thing about a ’68 Camaro these days? Surely there are faster cars around…

    • Cory says:

      I don’t think any one element of the bike is ugly, but it just has too many unrelated ideas stuck together without any decent explanation. The bike has soft flowing lines except for the apes–which could have easily been made with a softer bend in the tubes. The curved radiator scoop that you noted is very nice looking, but it is on an air-cooled engine! The slab-sided nature of the saddle bags are painted to mimic the lines of the tank, but tank sides balloon out instead of having vertical sides. On that note, I personally would like to see the tank stay the same, balloon out the saddlebags just a bit to match the tank, and create more storage too boot.

      As far as the other bikes you mentioned, in my opinion the Diavel could lose some visual weight up front, but otherwise not a bad design. The new Multi-Strada looks good compared to the first gen, but suffers from a lot of things I complained about the Victory-too many ideas, rather than one idea. I was apparently one of 5 people in the US who liked (and still does) the 999, though it looked better in race trim (no headlights, etc). The ugliness of adventure bikes is kind of like Chef pants–the weirdness hides stains:) All of BMWs bikes, whether you like the design or not, are each a cohesive single idea, not a jumble of disparate ideas. The VFR1200 suffers a bit of what the Diavel suffers from, but its petite rear end doesn’t match the bulbous front, and suffers a lack of function, too. Try convincing a significant other to get on that pillion compare to a 1st gen VFR800 interceptor, which is still a better looking bike than the 1200. The DN-01 has too many ideas in it both in form and in concept of use. Instead of reinventing the UJM with it, Honda just made a mess. Are there still bikes in production with the Thundercat/ace designation? I am the US, and the YZF1000R and YZF600R were replaced with the R-1 and R-6 years ago. For those, the R-1 peaked in 2004 design wise, and the R-6 still looks best in 1st generation trim. The Versys is an urban commuter bike, and has theft deterrence built right in!:D
      Sorry to be longwinded on your post, but people do not have to like any design. Even if a bike (or anything) follows sound design principles, the design sometimes fails anyway. But if you do not have solid reasons for everything in a concept, it is guaranteed to fail. I think this bike falls into the latter category.

      • Auphliam says:

        The “curved radiator scoop”, as you pit it, covers the oil cooler…something that’s standard on all Victory bikes. It also houses the battery.

        • Cory says:

          Okay, I didn’t realize that. It at least puts a bit more function into that form, but now it makes me wonder what is under that rather large area under the seat. The “(not) radiator” cowling is rather large for its function, though. I think there are a lot of individual good looking parts on the bike, but it seems they don’t belong together. The battery/oil cooler cowling is the one that stands out to me.

    • Dave says:

      There’s no ‘almost’ about it. Cruiser bashing is a national pass-time for legions of textile-clad Internet denizens since forever. People can’t accept that it’s ok simply to like a motorcycle. One must be able to fully justify the liking by clearly articulating why the motorcycle is objectively better than some other motorcycle, doncha know. These are people who take themselves too seriously, and who apparently have nothing meaningful to do. So, they spend time reading about, then bashing motorcycles that they have no actual interest in.

      I’m not a cruiser guy at all. I personally find them uncomfortable, slow, ill handling, and in general, not my cop o joe. This is because I prefer sporty S/T bikes (and full-on sport bikes if I’m on the track). I’m a racing fan, so part of my ‘what turns my crank’ makeup comes from that direction. All of that said, I fully understand how someone else might like cruisers. Different people like different things. It’s ok to like something just because you like it.

      Now, if cruiser fans read this article and express displeasure with the bike, that’s completely fine. After all, not everybody likes the same stuff. But, if you’re about to don your Aerostich and flip-up helmet, but paused here to beat up on yet another cruiser as being slow and heavy, please spare us your self-important bull$#%^, go out to your garage, get on your motorcycle that you bought because you like it, and go for a ride.


    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I am not a basher, but I am definitely not a cruiser guy.

      Diavel – Ugly
      Multistada – Strange (I can’t really call it ugly)
      V-Strom – Ugly
      999 – below average, but not quite ugly
      VFR1200 – Nice
      Thunder Ace/Cat – don’t know what this is
      Versys – Ugly
      BMW’s – Some ugly, some not

      There. I am at least somewhat qualified, and this Victory is ugly.

  44. Jeremy in TX says:

    Wow! That is hideous. I am not a cruiser guy and rarely find anything in the category as having a mouth watering design, but I don’t find the designs to be offensive to the eye either (except for choppers – there’s just no hope there). But this surely can’t be an eye of the beholder thing. This is even ulgy in cruiser world, right?

  45. man relish says:

    I’ve seen better looking gangrenous wounds than this

  46. yellowhammer says:

    Odious. Dudes, the Emperor has no clothes on, for crying out loud, can you not see? Am I the only sane person left on this Earth? IT’S HIDEOUS – stop the madness!

  47. Dave says:

    The Victory Hard-Ball looks like something a clown would ride in the circus. An ugly bike that Victory should be ashamed of. When will Victory build a bike that actual riders would want to be seen on?

  48. mechanicus says:

    Whew – ugliest abortion of a motorcycle I’ve seen in a LONG time… what in Hades has happened to American mechanical design?

  49. Scott says:

    I honestly had to stop to think if we were anywhere near April Fools day when I first saw this photo. But put a decent set of bars on it, and I could live with it.

  50. Larry Kahn says:

    This may (in comparision) make that BMW Cruiser thing of a few years ago look good. Holy Crap is that ugly!

  51. Tom says:

    I’d call it the Lard Ball.

  52. jay1975 says:

    They took a $16,000 Cross Roads, painted it flat black, gave it hard bags and apes and bumped the price by $3,000. That does not make it a “new” model, just a Frankenstein bike like Harley has been doing for years. Victory came on the scene claiming that they were innovative and wouldn’t be another Harley clone, but the times seem to have changed. They took a good step forward with the Vision, but have since taken two steps back with the High and Hard Ball bikes.

  53. jay1975 says:

    The painted a $16,000 Cross Roads, painted it flat black, gave it hard bags and apes and bumped the price by $3,000. That does not make it a “new” model, just a Frankenstein bike like Harley has been doing for years. Victory came on the scene claiming that they were innovative and wouldn’t be another Harley clone, but the times seem to have changed. They took a good step forward with the Vision, but have since taken two steps back with the High and Hard Ball bikes.

  54. Dave says:

    If this was the only motorcycle made i would quit riding. Apehangers and touring do not mix. Apehangers are only good for T T racing. That is tavern to tavern.titylee

  55. Bill says:

    Lordy! That is an ugly motorcycle. A ‘touring’ bike with no windscreen and ape hangers that look like my uncle pieced them together in his barn.

  56. Cory says:

    From a design standpoint, it’s a mess. The thin, angular apehangers don’t go with the low, wide stance of the rest of the bike. The elongated headlight also doesn’t mate well with the wide and low couch cruise body. I like the headlight cowling, but it is just too long. I also can’t figure out why it has has a radiator shroud when it doesn’t have a radiator. It looks like this was two (or three) different bike designs that accidentally ended up on the same machine.

    • Cory says:

      I still think that Victory needs to tap the existing Polaris ATV/Snowmobile market with an off-road or dual sport bike, even though I am more of a sporty bike guy.

      • carl says:

        Agreed in a air cooled engine you would think the shroud would cut off air flow to the cylinders and effect cooling. The new 2012 Cross country tour is the only victory that somewhat interests me.

      • Stinky says:

        I too think that would be a good fit. I also think it’s a small market to find guys that will ride great motorcycles that don’t always look so good. Buell was another great but homely one (I own 2). I’m with most of the replies on this bike (for once), It was made to look good and it seems to me to have missed the mark badly.

  57. Vroooom says:

    Is there anybody looking for ape hangers on their tourer? I don’t ride cruisers, so might be a bit biased, but my brother used to have a harley he’d put ape hangers on, and the thing handled worse and was less comfortable than it had been before. Perhaps you get used to them, if the blood has not completely left your hands first.

  58. RAD says:

    Damn that thing ran through a Ugly Barn .

    That’s one Fugly looking motorcycle.

  59. craigj says:

    Don’t mind Victory, don’t even mind a great big heavy and torquey V twin. I really don’t like cruisers. I’m not a sport bike guy either. Why can’t the Americans build a chassis around and American engine that will brake into curves, rail through curves, and accelerate out of curves without tying itself into a pretzel! Oh right, I forgot that Harley killed Buell.

    This is ugly. Saddlebags are great, even lighter ones like this, but really, who is going to tour with apes? How much back will they have left after a weekend?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Why can’t the Americans build a chassis around and American engine that will brake into curves, rail through curves, and accelerate out of curves without tying itself into a pretzel!”

      (old gas station attendant voice) can’t get there from here (/old gas station attendant voice)

  60. Dave says:

    I ride a bmw ’94 r1100r, which is a funky looking bike with bags that most people think is ugly (like I think this hard-ball is). But the thing runs great, fast, smooth, well suspended, handles well and is reliable. I’d have to ride this before criticizing it, but with those apes on it, I’m betting it handles poorly and is not comfortable at speed. Think I’ll just stick to the R, thanks.

  61. Bill Lentz says:

    Seeing Victory find success in this market makes me happy. Heck, I’m glad to see any manufacturer continue to pour capital into my favorite source of entertainment. How many new bike dealers in your area have gone belly-up in recent years?

    No, the Hard-Ball isn’t my cuppa’ tea, but I like that Victory takes these risks. I would much rather see them developing an independent style signature and not go for the easy “looks like a FL-whatever Harley” design. As a life-long MC guy, I never mistake a Victory for an HD. Maybe one day soon Victory will apply some of that design risk to a standard-style, or sport-touring, or even a Victory adventure bike… the Victory Dirt-Ball?? Victory has to continue to prosper and grow to do that, so I’m in their corner.

    • Asphanaut says:

      I had to laugh and agree at the same time. Dirt-ball – hilarious. Since I bought the original victory offering (’99 V92C) back in ’99 I’ve mostly ridden sportbikes and sportbikes set up with bars, pegs, and windshields to offer more touring duty. I still own and ride my Victory but I do wish they’d explore other segments of the market.

    • Norm G. says:

      bill lentz for president…!!!

  62. Hot Dog says:

    Jeez Direk, seems like I’m not the only one in the crowd that’s fed up with poseurs. Like a carnival barker hawking his goods, “Step up people, and purchase a bad assed persona and pretend your bad to the bone”!!! Are you looking at me now? A lemming has nothing on us Americans.

  63. Gentleman Rook says:

    Wow. I’ve liked a few of the new Victory bikes, but this monstrosity? It takes “fugly” to a whole new level. The flat black makes it look like it’s all made out of plastic, like some giant Mattel toy. And ape hangers? Just…wow. #totaldesignfail

  64. Gary says:

    Saddlebags does not a touring model make (and with Ape hangers yet!). Just what we need… ANOTHER cruising bike with a V-Twin engine, and ugly flat black yet. Victory seems to be interested in out Harleying Harley and nothing else. It is sad, some bikers think that Harley is the ultimate and anything else that is not a cruiser and at least looking like a Harley is nothing. And yet, most sell, I would rather be different.

  65. superbikemike says:

    gotta admit i like it… and might be shopping 4 a cruiser next year, but where on god’s green earth did they come up with the pricing 4 this model….. it’s a very spartan bike, with a price tag more inline with a feature laden model…. triumph bonneville is half as much $, i’ll be shopping with the brits come spring… 😉

  66. clasqm says:

    “Great-looking bike”

    Errr, no, not really. Victory has made some lookers in the last few years. If I had more time to spend touring, the Vision would be on my shortlist.

    But this thing? No, thanks.

  67. Joey Wilson says:

    I have been generally encouraged that Victory in recent years has mined the Other-Than-Harley-V-Twin segment with designs that were in the neighborhood but somewhat more stylized than the usual outright (Japanese) clones. Lately, though, these ‘ape-hanger’ models would indicate to me that Victroy may be having an anxiety attack that maybe they’re not ‘me too’ enough. This is especially unnerving considering that they have Arlen Ness on the payroll and they’ve just bought Indian, who would certainly allow them to go one-on-one with H-D to their heart’s delight in wearing out all these 50’s chrome excesses.

    I realize these flat-black/black bubber look paint jobs are the business right now, but is there anything ELSE they could possibly do to make me as invisible as possible to the usual Starbucks swilling, texting, watching the GPS preoccupied / disconnected soccer mom in a Suburban who really needs one more advantage in trying to kill me?

    In general, I’m just worn out to these kinds of motorcycles and the doofusues who are this thing’s target market: The ‘Weekend BadAss’ who goes back to his CPA job every Monday morning . . . . sheeeeesh . . . .

  68. timco says:

    Gentlemen – and others:

    when will you admit that providing a motor to sloppily drive the rear wheel of a 19th century design is unsuitable for this market?

    Sleek lines, enclosed bodywork, proper weather protection, capacity for 50+ litres of groceries or camping gear or business materiel should be standard this century. It requires an automatic gearbox and watercooled, fuel-injected engines to drive you down the road. These are the world standards. What you have here is neither fish, fowl or good red herring.

    Come on, ANY designer can do better than this!

    • clasqm says:

      timco, every time a manufacturer brings out a motorcycle even close to your wishlist, it tanks in the market. Every time. Case in point: the Honda PC800.

      Bikes don’t have these things because we, the riders who buy motorcycles, don’t want them. As simple as that.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Suzuki has a Burgman with your name on it. The rest of us prefer motorcycles.

    • Justin says:

      Congratulations. You just described a Honda Civic. You’d be happier in that anyway. Leave two wheels to people who actually want something interesting and not an appliance.

  69. steve says:

    I have ridden a few Vegas models and they run strong-way stronger than a Harley at 85+ but this has to be the ugliest thing ever. Why are those angular bars so popular? they don’t match the curvy bike. They are moronic!-like a lot of this crusier baloney. Steve
    Bandit 1250
    GB 500

  70. Norm G. says:

    re: “How sad is it that the greatest country in the world can’t seem to build a single great motorcycle.”

    ok, but what’s their incentive…? we would only devalue in < 30 secs whatever they spent millions in man hours and materials laboring to produce. our not closing the economic loop kinda "short circuits" the whole process do'nit…? warren buffet would declare this an "ineffective business model" and he would know about these things.

    • Jason B says:

      What about national pride? What about pushing the limits of what’s possible and showing the world we have what it takes. If you want to talk business, cruisers are one of the fastest shrinking segments in the US street motorcycle industry right now because the enthusiasts left in the market don’t want them. The fashion buyer is all but gone, if they don’t start building a more diverse line up they’ll drive themselves right out of business. T-shirts and stickers will only fill the coffers for so long.

  71. paso100 says:

    Congratulations Victory, you’ve surpassed the Japanese — in building the ugliest cruisers in the world.

  72. Mtrhead says:

    Do not be deceived – the numbers H-D broadcasts to shareholders has nothing to do with the number of bikes sold, just the number shipped to the dealer. Dealers have had a huge excess inventory for years. I’d bet that if you could get the true CUSTOMER sales numbers, you would find that the “pie” is a lot smaller than most cruiser manufacturers would want to admit.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Even if that were true, it is still the largest pie out there by far.

      • Mtrhead says:

        I think not. How many hundreds of thousands of units of the R1200GS has BMW sold now? How many “adventure” bikes have come out/been improved and re-released (from all manufacturers EXCEPT H-D)? How many positive responses have there been to recent cruiser remodels (like the recent cafe-mods to the Suzuki Savage and Honda Shadow)? The market is over-ripe for a return to a “standard” riding position bike that weighs less than 500lbs, gets 50+ MPG, can accommodate riders of any size, costs less than $8K USD and can be owner-configured for commuting/touring/canyon carving. Cruisers are for short, fat, wealthy individuals who do not want to ride longer than 15 minutes at a time.

  73. Kerry says:

    The Lady GaGa of motorcycles… (she) can actually run (sing), but the looks……yikes.

  74. Tom says:

    Great. Another overpriced tub o lard. Exactly what I don’t need.

  75. GB says:

    Almost as much bodywork as a car! Just doesn’t work for me …

  76. Jason B says:

    How sad is it that the greatest country in the world can’t seem to build a single great motorcycle. Ten years ago I thought for sure Victory might finally be the one, after all they thrive on competition in their other business segments. Yet year after year all we get from them is another take on a 100 plus year old design. I guess the US motorcycle manufacturers are simply too afraid to compete which is just so sad.

    • big papa says:

      Never heard of “don’t fix what ain’t broke”?? Victory (and HD) make big heavy cruisers. The big heavy cruiser market is large. Victory is after the HD crowd. HD riders want modern versions of old classic bikes. If that’s not for you, them move on. I used to ride a Hayabusa, ZX-12, K1200R, and R1200RT, now I am selling my HD RG for a Victory Cross Country for my wife and I to enjoy long rides. This Hard Ball isn’t for me, but the Cross roads, Cross County, and Vision are great bikes, that are miles beyond the HDs they are competing against.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “What kind of community do Victory riders have?”

      in addition to the obvious virtual portals that exist for anything and everything on god’s green, victory/polaris publishes a traditional hard copy VRA (victory riders association) magazine for owners. should also really checkout the “project 200” collaboration between roland sands RSD and lloyd’s (victory tuning) from around the OCC area of NY.

    • Auphliam says:

      Too afraid to compete? They’re 10 years into a battle with the Goliath of motorcycle manufacturing, and growing steadily every year.

      • Jason B says:

        Building an over priced, over weight, ill handling, under powered vehicle with two wheels to go up against another of the same breed isn’t competition, it’s a runway show. None of the US manufacturers are willing to compete when it comes to performance motorcycles. They’re stuck in the safe rut of boring cruisers built for image seekers, not riders. As for that “Goliath” you speak of they’re an embarrassment on the world stage and given their racing heritage they should be ashamed of themselves.

        • Auphliam says:

          So, that’s what a real moto-snob sounds like. Thanks for that clarification. When you have your next meeting on the “world stage”, tell them that Victory doesn’t really give a flying f@#$ about your rash generalizations and uneducated comments.

          Don’t speak about what you don’t know.

          • Jason B says:

            Nothing I’ve said is untrue. Anyone looking in from the outside, as in outside this country, can clearly see we don’t have a single manufacturer in this country that can successfully build anything but cruisers. HD had to outsource the only modern engines they’ve built in the last 20 years. That’s the point I’m trying to make and it’s neither incorrect or ill founded.

            I get it, people in this country like cruisers. It’s odd that no one else in the world does but what ever. What I don’t get is why it’s the only damn thing we seem to be able to build here. I have no idea why you’re so angered, it’s the truth.

    • 80-watt Hamster says:

      You must be referring to the two wheels and a motor design, because, and correct me if I’m wrong, aluminum monocoque chassis, cartridge forks, and 100 lb-ft engines smaller than a refrigerator were pretty rare in 1911. Of course, you could also be talking about the current cruiser idiom, but that only goes back about forty years, so it can’t be that.

      • Jason B says:

        I’m speaking primarily about styling when it comes to the US manufacturers product offerings, and yes slightly exaggerating. Yes, their technology has come a long way since the early 1900’s, but it’s still well behind the rest of the world, especially the Japanese. Would HD even have fuel injection on its vehicles had tightening emission standards not forced their hand? A US manufacturer hasn’t won the Daytona 200 since 1969, a race we pretty much dominated up until that point. HD is a lost cause at this point, the sheep are too trained to wander from the fold. But Victory has the resources and it’s disappointing to see them crank out yet another over priced, over weight, ill handling, under powered vehicle with two wheels year after year.

        • paulysr says:

          Have you ever ridden any of their aluminum framed bikes down a curvy road at high speed???

          • Jason B says:

            Yes, the Cross Roads and compared to the Roadliner platform from Yamaha it simply doesn’t stack up. And neither bike can hold a candle to bikes like Yamaha’s own FJR1300 or the Kawasaki Concours when it comes to touring capability. Great for a cruiser doesn’t make it a great motorcycle.

  77. big papa says:

    If you are looking at buying a big heavy American made cruiser then Victory is the way to go. Now I don’t particularly like this one, I prefer the Cross Country.
    Victory is:
    American made with way more American parts
    More standard power, better brakes. No need to upgrade suspenision immediately.
    No Harley tax, almost everything you need is standard, ABS, great lighting front and rear.
    Better air flow, no need to try multiple windshields to tame buffeting, like on a Road Glide or Ultra.
    Cost less up front and down the road…

  78. steveinsandiego says:

    not “ewwwww”, but: need to mix up the black textures. bars and headlight do not complement the rest of the bike, or vice versa. the risers need to be straight, and shorter, in order to maintain a continuous line from the forks to the grips. bars oughta be less angular. mho fwiw.

  79. Reinhart says:

    What a ridiculous looking POS. Everything Victory builds looks like it was designed for a poser. When will they fire the current design team and hire a talented designer?

  80. mike mosiman says:

    That is one ugly motorcycle. I wonder if Arlen Ness approved that?

  81. highspeedhamish says:

    Ummm yup… ewwwww is right… Which market segment is this Victory?

  82. Bud says: