If you just happen to be in the market for something mean, moody and magnificent, then, Chris Moss of Superbike magazine writes;

Are you man enough for a cruiser? What about the limited edition Victory Hammer S then? 1,700cc of throbbing manliness. Or... ...

Not everyone has heard of the bike firm Victory, and anyone within earshot of its Hammer S Limited Edition will probably never hear again. The earth-shaking racket from its open pipes is loud enough to cause temporary deafness – and a near-certain end to neighbourly relations within a two mile radius of your house.

Thankfully the American-made behemoth's is a lot less painful on the eyes. Its moody all-black dragster style seems to please just about everyone - even those annoyed by the racket it makes. It's a bike with real presence, and generates the sort of attention normally reserved for celebrities. Built to commemorate the firm's tenth anniversary, only 100 of the bigger-engined, higher-tuned, hand-painted versions of the Hammer S it's based on are going to be made.

It's a bloody great long thing that's heavy enough to make it an effort just hauling it up from its stand. But plant your boots on the forward-mounted pegs and get its black alloys turning, and a much of its low-slung 305kilos seems to disappear. On the go the Hammer turns into something quite manageable – most of the time anyway. Its whopping 1,731cc V-twin motor is more impressive for its 100-odd ft/lbs of torque than its ninety measured horsepower. It gives it a lazy, easy-going character which, allied to the high gearing means revs always stay very low.
It has six ratios to choose from, but most of the time just using the first three is enough. Besides, if you start topping 80mph the breeze gets strong enough to blow you off the back should you as much as wave to another rider. I did the ton a couple of times, and dare say it'd get to 120, but I'd have to get down the gym for some bicep-building before I could tolerate that much wind-induced strain.

Choose the right sort of flowing back roads and the Victory can corner well enough. Stability is a strong point, and with decent brakes and surprisingly firm suspension it can be hustled along at a fair old rate. Try maintaining that pace when the going gets tighter though, and the Hammer develops a bit of an allergy to corners. A lengthy wheelbase and the massive 240-section, flat profile rear tyre conspire to make negotiating roundabouts a real challenge. Arguably that's not what the Victory is about though, with its design more suited to boulevard cruising than anything more speedy.

As an exclusive eye-catcher, the Hammer S Limited Edition takes some beating. It ain't cheap at around £16,000, and unless you've left your GSX-R days well behind, it might not be something to consider just yet. If you want to make a big impression and avoid anonymity then it's a different story. But one's thing for sure – your neighbours won't thank you for the choice…


Price: £16,000 (tbc)
NU Ins Group: 17

Type: air/oil-cooled, 8v, SOHC, 50-degree V-twin, 1,731cc
Bore x Stroke: 101 x 102mm
Compression: 8.7:1
Carburation: EFi, 45mm throttle bodies
Maximum power (tested): 92bhp @ 5,000rpm
Maximum torque (tested): 103lb/ft @ 4,000rpm


Chassis: Steel-tubed double cradle
Suspension: (F) 43mm inverted telescopic forks, no adjustment
(R) rising-rate monoshock, adjustable preload
Brakes: (F) twin 300mm discs with four-piston calipers
(R) single 300mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Wheels/Tyres: Cast aluminium/Dunlop Elite (F) 130/70-18
Rake/Trail 32.7°/140mm
Seat height: 673mm
Wheelbase: 1,669mm
Fuel capacity: 17 litres
Dry weight: 305kg