Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special vs. Victory Hammer S | American Muscle

Is it the meat or the motion?

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kevin Wing

Victory Hammer S
Price: $19,749

Hard Parts

Most of the S-spec Hammer's higher admission price comes from its red powder-coated Gatlin wheels from Performance Machine. And most of its handling quirks come from the 8.5-inch rear rim and 250/40R-18 Dunlop Elite 3 tire.

Engine The latest 100/6 Freedom V-twin is the star of this show. Polished in its appearance and performance, overhead cams and four valves per cylinder make it more technically impressive than most big-inch behemoths. Hydraulics control valve lash and cam-chain tension.

Unlike the twin-shock Harley, the Victory uses one shock tucked away under the seat and an inverted, 43mm cartridge fork. The shock serves up a harsh ride, and adjusting spring preload could be easier.

Unlike the average pottering boulevardier, the Hammer comes with genuinely stout four-pot Brembo calipers and a pair of 300mm floating rotors up front. A two-piston Brembo caliper grabs the 300mm rear rotor.

Welcome to classic big-bore American V-twin power. The Hammer mill is cranking out maximum torque at 2800 rpm-well before the higher-revving Harley even clears its throat. Torque production hovers around 90-something lb.-ft. from 2500 rpm until nearly 4800, where those big cylinders begin running out of breath. It's surprisingly willing to spin and quite smooth doing it. Still, the party's over by 5000 rpm.

Tech Spec
Price: $19,749
Engine type: a/o-c 50-degree V-twin
Valve train: SOHC, 4v
Displacement: 1634cc
Bore x stroke: 101.0mm x 102.0mm
Compression: 9.8:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Tubular steel double-cradle
Front suspension: 43mm inverted cartridge fork
Rear suspension: Single shock, adjustable for spring preload
Front brake: Dual four-piston calipers, 300mm discs
Rear brake: Single dual-piston caliper, 300mm disc
Front tire: 130/70-R18 Dunlop Elite 3
Rear tire: 250/40-R18 Dunlop Elite 3
Rake/trail: 32.9 degrees/5.6 in.
Seat height: 26.4 in
Wheelbase: 65.7 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
Weight (wet): 697 lbs.
Weight (dry): 670 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 74.9 bhp at 4550 rpm
Measured torque: 92.9 lb.-ft. at 2800 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 13.07 sec. at 100.8 mph
Top gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 5.0 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.) 38/45/40 mpg
Colors: Sunset Red/Black
Available: Now
Warranty: 12 months, unlimited mi.
Contact: Victory Motorcycles
2100 Highway 25
Medina, MN 55340

Essentially the opposite of the Harley, Victory's Hammer is more accommodating to all but the long and lanky. A broad bar makes for easier slow-speed steering, and is also closer to the scooped-out saddle, which doesn't allow much fore/aft fidgeting. Pegs accommodate all but the tallest testers comfortably. That cowling behind the rider pops off easily, but passenger accommodations are tight.

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