Long Beach, Calif., Dec. 9—Victory Motorcycle wasted no time in stealing the spotlight at the International Motorcycle Show’s Long Beach appearance, the seventh city visited thus far in the IMS schedule. Sitting on a lit platform in the middle of the Victory display area on the floor of the Long Beach Convention Center was a shrouded form and attendees arriving when the gates officially opened at 4:00 p.m. were informed over the P.A. that something big was in the offing there promptly at 5:00. As the crowd gathered to see what all the fuss was about, they discovered a pair of uniformed Marines milling about the area in the company of Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey of the History Channel’s Mail Call television program and, especially, Kubrick’s masterful Full Metal Jacket movie fame. (“What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn’t your mommy and daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?” Yeah, him.)

You could be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that the new model was somehow so super-secret it required a contingent of leathernecks to keep it secure, but the actual story was that Victory was multitasking and also using their show-opening limelight to kick off the inaugural Gunny’s Toys for Tots Saddlebag Challenge. Off to one side of the Victory area sat the USMC-themed High Ball model that had been presented to Emrey in appreciation of his nascent efforts on behalf of the underprivileged at Christmastime.

And as the appointed hour for the big unveiling approached, it was Gunny who was given the honor of doing the reveal, and with the assembled crowd doing a five-second countdown, he tugged away the shroud in a blaze of camera flash, and the new Hard Ball model was revealed in all its dark glory.

The sinister new Hard Ball is something of a bagger/cruiser hybrid hewing to current custom bagger trends and based upon Victory’s existing Cross Roads “have it your way” model fitted with the hard bags and tubular crashbar options. Unlike more conventional baggers, though, the Hard Ball has no windscreen, and in place of the stock Cross Roads handlebar, a set of wicked apehangers sourced from the company’s scrappy High Ball cruiser appear. As with that model, the apehangers can be angled back to a more level position for purposes of improved reach for shorter operators as well as legal compliance in some ape-averse jurisdictions.

Also borrowing from the High Ball’s retro outfitting, the Hard Ball sports laced wheels, and the whole works is coated in an uncompromising flat-black paint and finish treatment with just enough red pinstriping to make it pop.

Call it Darth Bagger.

Like its bagger siblings in the Victory stable—the Cross Roads, Cross Country, Cross Country Tour, and Vision—the Hard Ball runs the potent and proven Freedom 106/6 powertrain cradled in a stout and long-boned aluminum monocoque chassis. ABS comes standard on the bike, and the list price is $18,999 ($19,249 in California).


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