Victory Motorcycles is taking the next logical step in the evolution of production custom motorcycles by marrying the comfort and rideability inherent in an American cruiser with the high-performance aspects of a sportbike. The resulting machine is raising the bar in the emerging power cruiser market. The impressive 2005 Victory Hammer is a stylish, big American V-twin with bold paint schemes and plenty of chrome that is as at home cruising the boulevard as it is navigating twisting roads.
Victory has fired a shot across the bow of the competition by mounting the largest standard rear tire available on a production motorcycle: 250mm. To take advantage of the massive new Dunlop rear tire—developed specifically for the Hammer—Victory squeezed a 100 cubic inch air-cooled Freedom V-twin motor into the frame. Fuel-injected and counterbalanced, the engine delivers extremely robust power with minimal vibration. A new cam drive, oil pump drive and primary gears were developed for the larger engine to reduce “mechanical” noise. This is most noticeable at idle and off-idle situations. The Hammer growls through big, chrome twin exhaust pipes that sweep back to stylish slash-cut tips.
Another first: The Hammer is the first production cruiser platform to come standard with a six-speed overdrive transmission. This allows for low rpm cruising on long stretches of road, resulting in less vibration and engine noise at highway speeds. Also, reduced rpms translate into longer engine life. Final drive is via a new carbon-fiber reinforced belt that is narrower and designed for an astonishing 100,000-mile life.
Equally as bold a statement as the fat rear tire is the Hammer’s front end. An inverted 43mm cartridge front fork and dual 300mm front brake rotors are a direct carryover from the performance-oriented realm of sportbikes and an abrupt detour from cruiser tradition. Enlisting the ample stopping power of dual discs grabbed by four-piston calipers means that slowing down, often the bane of the cruiser set, isn’t going to be a concern with the Hammer and though they are incorporated for function, they also serve the Hammer by creating a unique, all-business look.
To ensure performance in the corners, the Hammer’s engineers focused on building a cruiser that could handle some serious lean angle. Narrowing the Freedom engine’s crankcase 10mm and pulling the frame’s downtubes closer together allows for increased cornering clearance. Unlike many cruisers, the Hammer has to be leaned over significantly to start dragging the footpegs. The bulk of the Hammer’s 657 pounds is carried extremely low, giving the bike an agile, well-balanced feel. This translates into the nicest surprise of all: the Hammer’s cornering ability. Long, fast sweepers or tight switchbacks are tackled with equal aplomb. The chassis is stable and responds with ease to rider input. The result is a production custom cruiser that can be ridden with the confidence traditionally reserved for sportbikes.
For flat-out highway cruising, the Hammer’s seating position is low and mean but with a good, comfortable reach to the bars. That sixth gear is a welcome addition and once you get up to speed it’s a great feeling to pull the shifter up into overdrive and drop the revs. The added punch of the new motor eliminates the need to downshift to overtake other motorists. (Click image to enlarge)
Attention to detail and a flawless finish are the icing on the cake for the new Hammer. A bobbed rear fender—designed specifically to show off the footprint of its meaty rear tire—melds smoothly into the seat (with a height of 26.4 inches) and scalloped fuel tank, which are joined by the signature Victory split tail design.
The manufacturer is spicing up the prospect of owning a Victory with its new Victory Custom Order Program. This online service allows you to dream up and view your ultimate Hammer, and when you’re ready you can order it from the factory with the same full warranty as any other Victory motorcycle. As if that weren’t enough, Victory has plenty of after-market chrome accessories available, as well as performance add-ons to pull even more thunder out of your Hammer.
With the introduction of the Hammer, Victory has stepped up to the plate in a serious way with a good-looking, good-handling, high-performance power cruiser that rumbles right off the showroom floor. As far as the custom cruiser market goes, any manufacturer that can boast an available color scheme of “Toxic Green with Tribal Tattoo” is OK in my book.