First Look: 2012 Victory Hard-Ball

New Bagger Is The Highlight of 2011 IMS Show

You may be in the market for a new motorcycle, or maybe you just want to check out the latest and greatest stuff for 2012. In either case, you can't go wrong at the International Motorcycle Show, a one-stop shop for all things moto. For more info and schedules on the remaining shows, check out: www.motorcycleshows.com.

Friday December 9, rang in the start of 2011's IMS Show - Long Beach edition. The Long Beach Show is notable for its ties to the industry, as a good portion of OEMs maintain their North American distribution centers and regional headquarters in the Southern California area. There's even the occasional new model reveal, and this year proved to be exceptionally colorful.

After a quick stop at the Dream Pavilion display— a collection of coveted motorcycles ranging from Italian customs to American exotica - we made our way to the Star display, where we ogled the 2012 Star Raider SCL. Ultimate Bike Builder customs were also enticingly arranged throughout the show space, and Indian Motorcycle featured a full-blown display too.

Harley-Davidson revealed a 1931 Model C machine as a way to announce three major new 2012 exhibits coming to the Harley-Davidson museum: Watercolors by Willie G. (the first art exhibit of its kind); Journey of the Iron Elite; and Worn to Be Wild (which focuses on the iconic leather motorcycle jacket). See details at: www.Harley-Davidson.com.

But most of the real excitement was over at the Victory Motorcycles display. To kick things off, Actor and motorcycle rider R. Lee Ermey, best known for his role in the movie Full Metal Jacket announced his inaugural Toys for Tots Saddlebag Challenge and also received a customized motorcycle - in the form of a tricked out 2012 Victory High-Ball, all decked out in Marine Corps trim. But the big reveal wouldn't come til later that afternoon.

Victory had teased us with an ad campaign for weeks now, a cryptic video whose focus was a paintbrush, and a can of red paint. Naturally, we figured the new bike would be awash in an eye-popping explosion of color.

It was not to be. When the wraps came off at the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show December 9th, the new 2012 Victory Hard-Ball stood before us coated in …black. All black. In fact, matte black – the kind of flat, primer-y finish you normally get out of a Rustoleum can. The red hue was there if you looked hard enough, on the tank and fenders. It consisted of pinstripes.

But the 2012 Hard-Ball isn't just a High-Ball with bags – while the new bike sports the same two-way adjustable factory ape hangers and spoke wheels, the Hard-Ball rolls on the same aluminum frame as the Cross Roads touring bikes.That means the wheelbase is nearly an inch longer than the High-Ball’s 64.8 inches, and wheel sizes are tweaked as well; the front diameter is 18 inches, rolling on a 130/70 R18 Dunlop Elite II tire, while the Hard-Ball's rear wheel is a 5-incher wearing a 180/60 R16 Dunlop Elite 3.

Victory decided on the quick-revving 1731cc Freedom 106 for the power plant, so the ride should be as spirited as that of the High-Ball. Arresting forward progress is a second brake disc on the Hard-Ball, along with ABS .

But the major distinction on the Hard-Ball is the addition of a pair of hard locking saddlebags, which look large enough to stash a few days’ gear easily (capacity is listed as 21 gallons). Since the Hard-Ball also now rocks a pillion and passenger pegs, that’s probably a wise move – Mama’s gonna need some room to stash her stuff for a long two-up weekend.

The tank also has a different shape than the High-Ball’s; it’s more like the wider Cross Country unit, and it offers 1.4-gallons of additional capacity. You also get touring-biased touches like floorboards and highway bars, as well as a small chin faring. The rear end conversion includes a split dual exhaust, and a longer rear fender too.

The spec sheet reveals numerous other little variations: the Hard-Ball has a taller seat (26.25 inches), and it weighs almost 100 pounds more. Rake and trail figures changes to 29.0° / 5.6 in. and ground clearance increases by 1.1 in.

If you guessed all that extra stuff would be mean a higher MSRP than the High-Ball's, you'd be right: MSRP is set at $18,999.

2012 Victory Hard-Ball
MSRP: $18,999
Colors: Matte Black w/Red pinstripes
ENGINE:
Type: 1731cc air/oil-cooled 50° V-twin
Bore and Stroke: 101mm x 108mm
Compression ratio: 9.4:1
Valve Train: SOHC; 4 valves per cylinder, self-adjusting cam chains, hydraulic lifters
Fueling: Electronic Fuel Injection; dual 45mm throttle bodies
Ignition: Digital with 3-D mapping, two spark plugs per cylinder
Transmission: Wet, multi-plate clutch, 6-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: Carbon reinforced belt

DIMENSIONS:
Length: 104.4 in.
Wheelbase: 65.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 29.0° /5.6 in.
Seat Height: 26.25 in.
Fuel Capacity: 5.8 gal.
Dry Weight: 751 lbs.

CHASSIS
Front suspension: Inverted cartridge fork; 5.1 in. travel
Rear suspension: Single mono-tube gas, air-adjustable; 4.7 in. travel
Front brake: Dual 300mm floating rotors; 4-piston calipers (ABS)
Rear brake: 300mm floating rotor; two-piston caliper (ABS)
Front tire: 130/70 B18 Dunlop 491 Elite II
Rear tire: 180/60 R16 Dunlop Elite 3

Brian Klock of Klock Werks Custom Cycles also revealed a new project for Victory. The curtain was pulled aside on the Klock Roads, a blinged out Hard-Ball (which was revealed the day before). This one however, is awash in color. Highlights include a brand new, gold-anodized Icon Performance Machine wheel, Klock Werks fender, gold fork tubes, new Cliffhanger handlebars - essentially clip-ons for baggers - Kicker sound system (1000 watts), a 116-inch Lloyd's motor kit and more.

For more info and schedules, check out www.polarisindustries.com

First Look: 2012 Victory Hard-Ball - Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine