|2012 Victory High-Ball|
Ho hum... another day, another bike. At least, until I came across the 2012 Victory High-Ball this past spring. Say what you will about Harley-clones, the Victory Motorcycle Company has, at least in my opinion, attempted to spice things up over the course of the last 13 years by creating some fairly unique and affordable motorcycles. The Victory High-Ball is no exception. Its sleek lines and return to retro styling "bobber" attitude with ape bars hark back to 1953's 'The Wild One' with Marlon Brando. Like the Triumph Thunderbird 650cc that Brando rode, the Victory High-Ball dares to re-imagine what the classic 'biker' should be riding instead of the typical 'HOG' that the Harley-Davidson company continuously flogs at us.
In fairness, the Victory High-Ball has taken a cue or two in regards to the line up that Harley-Davidson has been putting out as of late, in particular, the Dark Customs lineup. In fact, Victory makes no apologies for their blacked out - I am going to ram my fists down the back of your mini-van if you cut me off - white walled menace. On the contrary, Victory has outright declared war on Harley-Davidson and challenged its adoring fans to try a Victory and compare the two. The Victory Challenge has taken place all over the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom as Victory attempts to shape and change the very meaning of the term "American Motorcycle", once synonymous with only Harley-Davidson.
As for the Victory High-Ball itself, several months after having first laid eyes on this new retro - styled motorcycle reviews are in and so far the question isn't whether the bike will stand up to the scrutiny of Harley-Davidson owners but rather, it has Harley-Davidson riders questioning why they ever bought a Harley-Davidson in the first place. The Victory High-Ball represents what Harley-Davidson could have become if it had decided to actually improve upon its technology year after year instead of recycling the same old technology that has been used in their motorcycles since 1949. Instead, Harley-Davidson has focused on its name sake in place of improved performance and comfort sacrificing the soul of their product for the cheap earrings and clothing lines which now adorns their show rooms. The Victory Motorcycle company provides bikers with something that Harley-Davidson simply does not; a bike that is actually comfortable to ride and with an engine that does what it says on the tin... kicks ass!
6 speed transmission
Although Victory states that the High-Ball was designed to compete with the Harley-Davidson Crossbones, the fact of the matter is the High-Ball kills the majority of the Dark Custom line up. The Crossbones was retailing for just under $20 grand in my neck of the woods whereas, the High-Ball starts off at just $14 grand! Compare this with Harley Davidson's Streetbob, a more justly comparison in my opinion, at least in terms of styling, and even the Forty-Eight, Blackline, and Nightster and you will be hard pressed to match a Harley-Davidson in price, performance and overall quality compared to the Victory High-Ball. Yes, the Nightster and Forty-Eight are technically cheaper than the High-Ball, but anyone who has ever bought a new Harley-Davidson knows that they are inevitably going to spend close to $5 grand making it comfortable! For those of you who are thinking of the H-D Iron 883... well need I say more?
Interestingly enough, Harley-Davidson has lowered its prices for all of the above mentioned models and in a move that surprises me, they have discontinued the Crossbones. The latter may have made economical sense for Harley-Davidson given that sales weren't that high. However, to do so the same year Victory creates a bike that openly challenges what was Harley-Davidson's Dark Custom flagship seems almost like admitting they were licked. Replacing the Crossbones with the Blackline has not changed public perception either, at least, where price is concerned. The Blackline still retails for nearly$7 grand more in my neck of the woods... and no, that doesn't include taxes. In all, Victory seems to have Harley-Davidson on the run or at least, it's making the century old motorcycle company get off its fat ass and try and get into shape again. Check out Victory vs. Harley videos on Youtube!
This was suppose to be a simple note about a beautiful new motorcycle to hit the scenes in North America but seems to have instead turned into a rant about Harley-Davidson. The truth is, I am a Harley-Davidson fan. I have even written a few articles about their bikes and in honesty, I would be lying if I didn't say that Harley-Davidson's Dark Custom range is very exciting. Let's give credit where credit is due! The Dark Custom range has single-handedly changed the face of the motorcycling market with nothing more than a slap of black paint on their engines. For guys like me who would rather be munching miles than polishing chrome, it was a relief and a return to a kind of 'attitude' that had been forgotten. Harley-Davidson became cool again. Back in Eire I owned a 2008 H-D Nightster with ape hangers and all... but I did have to spend close to Euro 4 grand to make it comfortable. I digress.
|All I Want for Christmas...|
No, let's nod our gratitude to Harley-Davidson for helping inspire motorcycle companies everywhere to create their own blacked out beauties for more affordable prices. Japanese manufacturers and American manufacturers alike have jumped on the Dark Custom band wagon. However, let's throw our hands up into the air and embrace Victory for just having the passion and intelligence for perfecting Harley-Davidson's vision.
Nota Bene: The Above Rant Was Originally Published on October 22, 2011.
However, the original was deleted.