2014 Victory High-Ball | Cruiser Motorcycle Exclusive Test
Attitude is an illusive thing for an inanimate object, yet the 2014 Victory High-Ball displays it in abundance. The goal of many cruisers is a bad-ass attitude, and they achieve it in varying degrees. However, without any doubt, the equipped High-Ball projects the tough-guy biker image better than any mass-production motorcycle on the market.
Without any debate, the leading factor in the High-Ball’s attitude are its ape-hanger handlebars. Barely legal in some states, and illegal in others in the stock positions (you can, and may have to, rotate them down to stay on the right side of the law), the projection of your fists to the wind and the world is an unmistakable statement—do not mess with me.
Now, apes aren’t enough on their own to seal the deal. Victory backed it up with quite a few rough-hewn styling cues. The fat white-walled Metzelers look very cool, although I’d prefer they were mounted on wire wheels. Matte black is the color of choice, and that adds to the menacing look. The solo seat says, “Back-off, this ride is for me only.”
The High-Ball’s single clock and corresponding black-matted round headlight are sparse and speak to getting the job done, but no more. The front fender is bobbed, making sure you don’t miss any of the front rubber, and the mirrors and turn signals blend in unobtrusively, while not losing any functionality.
The balanced, rigidly mounted Freedom 106/6 engine is a centerpiece, with the black offset by polished cooling fins, for a bit of bling. We’re all familiar with the engine’s prowess–110 ft/lbs of torque is all you really need to know. This big has great acceleration and roll-on muscle. It might protest a bit of you lug it, but above that, it rocks.
If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle with ape hangers, the 2014 Victory High-Ball will feel a bit awkward, if not intimidating. The bars are the highest of any mass production bike, and it’s an unusual feeling.
However, keep in mind that the chassis below those bars is standard Victory cruiser, and we know that it works well. All Victory cruisers have a rake of 32 or 33 degrees, and the High-Ball is the conservative 32 degree choice. The 65-inch wheelbase is on the short end for Victory cruisers, so the chassis is as compact as it gets for the line.
With the tall bars and wide-stance forks, it might have been tempting to Victory to go with a 21-inch front wheel and give it a chopper look. Instead, Victory’s choice to go the bobber route and fit a fat 16-inch front tires pays dividends in handling. The front end feels planted wherever you ride it, from canyons to potholed streets. Even with the tall bars, the High-Ball steers confidently, even if not perfectly accurately.
In town, there’s little to complain about. The fat tires provide help to the suspension—the five inches of fork travel work much better than the three inches of rear wheel travel—by softening the blow of squared-off street obstacles. It may look ungainly, but the High-Ball is pleasant around town, and you can easily put an hour on the bike without a break, which is plenty for most urban riders. Vibrations from the motor are handled ably by the balancing system, while not removing all the good vibes.
One thing that helps the time go by faster is all the compliments you’ll get. Expect thumbs up galore, admiring stares, and people verbalizing—“Nice ride!” When I was parked on the side of the road, a Harley rider stopped to make sure I was okay, and was clearly impressed with the High-Ball, as was a guy at a stoplight on a Honda Shadow. This bike is an attention getter, so be prepared.
You would think that the tough-guy look of the bike might get you some negative attention, but I didn’t find that to be the case. I did notice, though, that cars gave me a bit wider berth. They probably didn’t want to find out if the High-Ball look is an act or not—that’s a nice bonus. Of course, mufflers with a bit more bite would enhance the illusion, but Victory has the EPA looking over its shoulders at all times.
With the 2014 Victory High-Ball, you get you have your cake and eat it, too. The bike looks eminently bad-ass, yet it doesn’t have the bad handling habits of many custom bikes with full-blown ape hangers. The brakes are decent—rely on the rear, of course. The handling is capable, and the cornering clearance adequate for light-duty canyon riding. Hitting the highway, the High-Ball turns you into a kite, so backroads and city streets are a better venue. Only the six-speed gearbox is troublesome—occasionally balking at shifting from neutral to first when at a stop.
There are probably a lot of potential High-Ball owners who are attracted by the styling, but aren’t sure they can actually ride the big beast. Sure, it weighs in at about 700 pounds with a full 4.5-gallon tank, but the 25-inch seat height (the lowest in the Victory cruiser line) keeps thing manageable. Let the guy in the Prius next to you be intimidated—the 2014 Victory High-Ball is very rideable and a heckuva lot of fun.
Photography by Kelly Callan
- Helmet: Bell Rogue
- Eyewear: Dual Power Eyewear Dual Q9
- Jacket: River Road Mesa
- Gloves: Roland Sands Design Barfly
- Jeans: Drayko Drift
- Boots: Chippewa Harness
2014 Victory High-Ball Specifications
- Engine Type…SOHC, 50-degree V-twin
- Bore x Stroke…101mm x 108mm
- Displacement…106 ci / 1731 cc
- Valve Train…SOHC w/ 4 valves per cylinder, self-adjusting cam chains, hydraulic lifters
- Compression Ratio…9.4:1
- Cooling System…Air / oil
- Fueling System…EFI with dual 45mm throttle body
- Exhaust…Staggered slash-cut dual exhaust with crossover
- Clutch…Wet, multi-plate
- Primary Drive…Gear drive with torque compensator
- Transmission…6-speed overdrive constant mesh
- Final Drive…Carbon Fiber Reinforced Belt
- Battery…12 volts / 18 amp hours
- Charging System…38 amps max output
- Front Suspension…Conventional telescopic fork, 43 mm diameter, 5.1 in. travel
- Rear Suspension…Single, mono-tube gas, cast aluminum with rising rate linkage, 3.0 in. travel, preload adjustable spring
- Brake System Type…Conventional hydraulic
- Front braking system…300mm floating rotor with 4-piston caliper
- Rear braking system…300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper
- Front Tire…Metzeler ME880
- Front Wheel…16 x 3.5 in
- Rear Tire…Metzeler ME880
- Rear Wheel…16 x 3.5 in
- Ground Clearance…4.7 in.
- GVWR…1151 lb.
- Length…93.4 in.
- Rake/trail…32 degrees / 6.7 in.
- Seat Height…25.0 in.
- Wheelbase…64.8 in.
- Fuel Capacity…4.5 gal.
- Oil Capacity…5.0 qt.
- Dry Weight…659 lb.
- Colors…Suede Black with Graphics, Suede Black with Flames
- 2014 Victory High-Ball MSRP…$13,499 (shown), $14,499 (Suede Black with Flames)