The way the Judge rode was stellar for an off-the-shelf bike. The acceleration and braking were ample, the frontend was solid, and the hidden shock out back was supple, yet didn't squirm as much as many OE bikes.
The Slim, which comes from Harley's factory pretty low suspension-wise, immediately felt good and I only dragged the floorboards occasionally. The Softail design on the Harley is not a performance platform by any means, but we are not reviewing a GSX-R, now are we. All in all the Judge felt a bit sportier to me, but the Slim still had gobs of that predictable Harley feel about it.
In the styling department, the H-D Slim hearkens back to an earlier era whereas the Victory Judge has a Nouveau muscle car theme going on with it. Though both of them have great fit and finish, the Slim looks like a classic bike for the ages and the Judge looks like it's back from the future.
Overall, I liked how both bikes handled and looked, but not as much as say my now-totaled 2010 Dyna. Like most box-stock bikes in this here cruiser class, they both need a bit of help in stiffening up their soggy chassis and uncorking their exhausts to get them up to snuff.
The best points of the Slim are its looks, ergonomics, and drivetrain, while the Judge gets its high marks from the sheer power of its powerplant and its lust for sticking out in a crowd.
Although I like where Victory is going with its bike designs (or maybe I am just getting used to it), the levers and a few other items looked and felt very "metric" to me. If you are an American V-twin purist, then this may be not be the bike for you.
Whereas the Slim has a good fit for most adults big and small, the front center of the Judge was pretty long, which wasn't bad for my 5-foot-10-inch frame, but anybody with a smaller stature than me may have an issue with it.
Here are my two cents regarding buying either the Slim or the Judge: If I owned a bike that I was not going to modify at all, I would go with the Victory, but if I was going buy a motorcycle to customize, I would for sure buy the Slim. This is due to Victory currently having diminutive aftermarket support versus the vast amount of aftermarket parts available for H-Ds. Both are good, solid bikes that are worth their asking prices and a ton of fun to ride.
This sleekly styled model from Victory sure catches attention. Borrowing a race- and sport-inspired theme, the bike has mostly blacked-out parts, floating brake rotors, vintage magnesium-inspired wheels, and a number plate motif body panel below the molded seat covering the oil tank. The single heads-up instrument gauge mounted at the center of the handlebars has the best of both worlds with analog speedo and digital readouts for what gear you're in and information messages such as "low oil." The riding position is not aggressive, but not timid either. It has a slight street-fighter sporty feel and performance is nimble with plenty of smooth power. I would consider changing to more narrow handlebars as they were a little too wide and cruiser-style for the sport sensation I was channeling while riding the bike.
The "Slim" moniker seems out of place, for this does not hearken to anything skinny. That doesn't detract from the sex appeal that this bike exudes though. The details and off-the-showroom-floor styling are well thought out. Little touches such as the crossbar handlebar, leather swingarm bag, and tuck-and-roll solo seat only add to the sweet blend of spoke wheels with black rims and perfect mix of black and chrome. This bike has a comfortable riding position that I would classify as classic H-D cruiser. The 103 motor provides the perfect power, the ride feels sure-footed, and the rider can feel a bit more sure-minded with the optional anti-lock brakes. If I owned this bike, I might add passenger pegs and a passenger seat to bring some more honey to this sweet machine.
2013 Victory Judge
Engine 106ci Freedom V-twin
Trans Six-speed overdrive
Wheels 16x3.5-inch America Cruiser style
Fuel Capacity 4.5 gallons
Colors Gloss Black, Gloss Sunset Red, Suede Nuclear Sunset (shown)
2013 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
MSRP $15,699 ($17,582 as shown)
Engine 103ci Twin Cam
Trans Six-speed cruise drive
Wheels Black Laces Steel wheels
Fuel Capacity 5 gallons
Colors Vivid Black (base), Ember Red Sunglo (shown), Big Blue Pearl, Denim Black