When did ape-hangers become fashionable? We must have blinked and missed it. Are they really good for anything beyond cooling your pits? Maybe that’s the whole point. Regardless, Harley-Davidson took the concept mainstream with the 2008 Crossbones, and now Victory has followed suit with the 2012 High-Ball.
The Polaris-owned brand introduced its latest creation to the motorcycle press at Jeff’s Metal and Speed, a hot-rod shop not far from the Long Beach Convention Center where the International Motorcycle Show is held each December. With chopped-and-channeled cars all around and beer on ice, this invitation-only show-and-tell had a lowbrow appeal that suited the High-Ball perfectly.
Sporting a hot-rod bobber look, the new bike is based on Victory’s Vegas, and powered by the proven Freedom 106/6 motor, said to churn out 97 horsepower and 113 lb.-ft. of torque. Ridged fenders hug the 16-inch whitewalls, which roll on wire-spoke wheels for the first time since the original 1998 V92C. The body, engine and shotgun dual exhausts are all blacked-out, the only "color" a splash of white on each side of the tank. But the big news is the ape-hangers.
While many states have legal limits for handlebar height, most fall into two categories. Thus the High-Ball’s apes are two-position adjustable. A single gauge resides in the crook of the bars, and the seat height is said to be a knuckle-dragging 25 inches.
Codenamed Bob, the High-Ball was designed in-house by Victory’s own Mike Song, and will go on sale in April for $13,499 ($250 more in California due to emissions plumbing).
Maybe Earth Is the planet of the apes after all...