Favorite driver's magazines

"Fast Bikes", January 1, 2013

CHARLEY | VICTORY HIGH-BALL

Odd how a 2012 motorcycle seems in keeping with a decades-old train carriage!

TIME ON TEST:

9 MONTHS (FBK261)

04246

ODOMETER

MILES

BHP: 97

GAIN: NA

NEXT SURVIVE

AIM: WINTER

THIS MONTH I HAVE MOSTLY BEEN… ‘Waiting for a tax disc...’

They say charity begins at home. Well on the 21st October it definitely began at Severn View services off junction 1 of the M48, the start point for “Hoggin’ The Bridge”. A local fixture since 2000, this is a fundraising run through several local villages via the Severn Bridge that ends up in Chepstow where the centre of the town is closed to cars and turned over to bikes. A bit like a misty Welsh Daytona.

Originally a Harley event (hence the name), this is now open to everyone from cruisers to caff racers and trailies to trikes. There was even a contingent of mods on hairdriers braving the elements and the motorway traffic.

Due to a problem with the tax disc and the need to ride some other test bikes the High-Ball hadn’t been run for five weeks, but she fired up without hesitation. The Victory is an easy machine to ride, whether bopping up the M4 playing cat and mouse with Harleys or nose-to-tail 5mph parading. In sufficient numbers even bikes can get stuck in traffic jams, but the big air-cooled 50º V-twin didn’t overheat and even the heavy clutch action remained bearable.

Because the forks aren’t extended and the rake is reasonable the High-Ball isn’t too much of a handful in heavy traffic once you allow for its bulk and weight. And the apehangers are OK too up to legal speeds so motorway spins are no more boring than on any other bike.

Afterwandering round Chepstow ogling the bikes (there’s always something odd stuffed in a corner somewhere), and scarfing down a chicken jalfrezi wrap to ward off the cold it was back on the bike and off up the evil A466 to the Old Station Café at Tintern for dessert. The A466 is one of those twisty roads that is nowhere near as fast as you expect, which can catch out the unwary, big time. Add in wet leaves, rubbernecking car drivers and flotillas of chromed and concho-bedecked Electraglides acting as mobile chicanes and it was certainly time to pull off the road for a welsh cake.

With 4,000-odd miles on the speedo there’s still plenty of tread left on the tyres although the rear hoop is getting a bit squared off and squirrelly. I’ve noticed that the headlight’s started to suffer from condensation (not unknown on Victories) and it would certainly benefit from replacing the stock glow worms with a brace of Osram Nightbreaker bulbs now that British Summer Time’s ended. But hey-ho, Victory want to swap the High-Ball for a centrally-heated Vision Tour now that winter’s here. It’s a hard life, but it’s got to be done...

Price from new: £13,995

Insurance group 17

Modifications | Price

Stage 1 X-Bow pipes (plus fitting) | £1,225.00

Pillion seat | £150.00

Pillion rests | £301.80

RUNNING TOTAL | £1,676.80

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