Sneak Peek: 2012 Victory High-Ball

Unleashing Your Inner Bad-ass – Adjustably

Photography Courtesy of Victory Motorcycles

The calendar may show 2011, but Victory Motorcycles is already on to the next page. For the 2012 model year, Victory has just released an all-new model called the High-Ball. In sharp contrast to 2010-2011's slew of bagger designs, Victory let its in-house designers pen a bike that’s more about raw vibe than boring functionality (best-in-class luggage capacity can be a pretty humdrum design challenge). If anything, the High-Ball gets back to basics, and rolls with a stripped down, streetwise aesthetic.

Whether you call it a bobber or a chopper, the minimalist, blacked-out machine is still motivated by Victory’s now brand-wide 106/6 powertrain (in this case, it's the more powerful Stage 2 version), and the High-Ball looks like a sharp departure from the bagger-heavy bias of the last few model years. If the main differences between bobbers and choppers is that bobbers typically use unmodified frames without stretched forks, then we'll dub this a bobber - but mostly because of its less-is-more aesthetic.

With just hints of bodywork, a solo seat, high handlebars and a flat black paint treatment with bare-bones graphics (you can get it only in black), the High-Ball veers away from the high luster of other Victory machines, adopting more of an 8-Ball aesthetic (though with a bit more polish). Pieces like the headlight, a slash-cut shotgun exhaust and the teardrop tank, will be recognizable to Victory watchers, though the High-Ball does roll on spoked, chunky 16-inch whitewall tires on either end of a reasonable 64.8-inch wheelbase - the shortest of Victory bikes. It also sports just the bare minimum of graphics; the High-Ball blacks out the handlebars, clipped fenders, lower fork, headlight bucket, parts of the engine cases and most of the powertrain.

Victory only allowed us a quick seat on the 25-inch saddle (the second lowest seat height of any current Victory model), not actually letting us kick the shifter and throttle away, so the best we can tell you is the seat is indeed subterranean and the tall handlebars require a pretty full stretch from sub 6-footers – we’d say the bars felt a touch taller than the mid-height apes on Harley’s Cross Bones (which, you could argue, got here first). So Victory may be angling for instant street cred with that feature, but in a nod to soccer dads and weekend warriors everywhere, you also get the option of adjustable handlebars on the 'Ball; with just three quick on-bike bolt adjustments using hand tools, you can manipulate the bars down to a lower, more standard setting, if you only wanna hang 'em high part of the time. Seems like a pretty shrewd marketing ploy - or not.

The Minnesota manufacturer also decided to jump the gun on the model’s release – at a time most OEMS are just starting to ship 2011 models to dealerships, Victory chose to unveil the 2012 ‘Ball at the New York IMS Show. That's January, 2011, folks.

Victory also told us that renowned customizer Roland Sands has confirmed that he’ll soon be receiving his own High-Ball to trick out as well, so look for a hotted-up version of this machine soon (though if you ask us, that seems contrary to the whole point of the bike).

It remains to be seen whether this bike will actually appeal to one-percenters, but with that stout, Stage 2 cam-enhanced 106/6 mill (claimed to be good for 97 hp and 113 lbs-ft of torque) there’s no doubt it will go like stink. Time will only tell if it makes it onto the Sons of Anarchy set.

Specifications: 2012 Victory High Ball

MSRP: $13,499
Color: Black
Engine
Type air/oil-cooled,50 –degree V-twin
Displacement, Bore x stroke 1731cc, 101 x 108mm
Valve train SOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Compression ratio 9.4:1
Fuel System EFI, dual 45mm throttle bodies
Transmission 5-speed; multiplate wet clutch
Final drive belt

Chassis
Wheelbase 64.8 in.
Rake/trail 31.7 degrees / 6.7 in.
Front suspension 43mm fork; 5.1 in. travel
Rear suspension single damper; 3 in. travel
Front brake 300mm floating disc, 4-piston caliper
Rear brake 300mm disc, 2-piston caliper
Front Tire 130/90-16 Dunlop Cruisemax
Rear Tire 150/80-16 Dunlop Cruisemax

Dimensions
Overall length 92.5 in.
Seat height 25.0 in.
Fuel capacity 4.5 gallons
Dry weight 659 lbs.