Large-displacement cruisers usually mean large everything else, too. But for women and smaller-framed men who want a big V-twin that handles well and is in proportion to their not-gargantuan bodies—without sacrificing power—there aren’t many options in today’s motorcycle market. Thats why when we find one, we make sure you know about it.
A new viable option for just such riders is the Judge, a muscle cruiser released by Victory last year to much fanfare. While maintaining Victory’s trademark swoopy tank lines, the Judge’s character derives from old-school American muscle-car styling, delivering big-twin power in a modern, good-looking package that begs to be tossed through some corners.
After throwing the bike into aggressive twisties, you’ll quickly discover the Judge’s cornering clearance limitations, as hard parts start scraping at a fairly moderate lean. The Judge is not a sportbike, however, and it isn’t difficult to get used to taking wide lines, braking hard, and even downshifting before the more serious switchbacks. Pulling out of the turn is even more exciting when you give this bike a good twist of throttle and hang on as the big brute straightens up and takes off.
The only criticism I have of the Judge is that, like other Victory Motorcycles, it has no built-in lock—that is, no fork or ignition lock—so you have to bring along a disc lock or another security device.
The fuel tank holds 4.5 gallons, and I averaged a decent 46 mpg on my test ride. This means you can travel a long way on the Judge, or about 200 miles, between fill-ups. Just don’t wait for the low fuel light to illuminate, as there are only approximately 17 miles between the light coming on and the fuel running out. I learned that lesson the hard way, while riding to the airport to catch a plane, no less!
The Victory Judge is an ideal choice for smaller-framed riders who desire the power, heft and looks that a big twin delivers but in a more manageable package. Plus, like its biggest competitor, Harley-Davidson, Victory is a US manufacturer, with the Judge priced $1,500 less than its counterpart, the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob, and $3,000 less than the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. For those looking to buy an American-made machine at a more economical price, the Judge is an excellent option.