A Quick Spin look at the Victory Hammer S
Victory introduced the Hammer Model in Australia and NZ in 2008 and it has been a constant in their range since. It has undergone some changes in that time and the bike has evolved into a competent and capable muscle cruiser with a great power delivery and style.
It’s a distinctive ride and if you haven’t got your head fully around the concept of counter-steering, then a spin on the latest incarnation will tell you pretty much all you need to know.
There are two ways of getting the best handling from this bike. Give it a right-old heave-ho countersteering push into the corners, or use exaggerated body English, hanging your butt off the saddle and hauling it around.
Its road manners are down to the massive 250-section rear wheel the bike has run since the original model. It requires more cornering effort like all massive rear ends it means you have to ‘ride around’ the back wheel somewhat - but, that said, what it adds up to on the Hammer (for an experienced rider anyway) is downright good fun. Exaggerated, engrossing and entertaining.
That’s also not to say that the handling is unreliable. It just needs more effort. It’s also a very firm ride that feels every vagary of the road’s surface.
The rear suspension is a monotube gas shock with adjustable preload offering 99mm of travel. About stock for a muscle cruiser. The front end is much more sports bike-like. The USD forks offer 130mm of travel. The front wheel runs an 18 x 130 section tyre as opposed to the rear’s 18x 250 rubber.
Victory claims that the fat and slammed rear end is not only about the great looks, but also about getting the power to the ground efficiently. And that it does. Well. Another of the real joys of the bike is how quickly the traffic disappears in the rear view mirrors when launched.
The power is produced by the same 106 cube or 1731cc engine that runs in all Victory models now. It’s a lovely power plant. Strong, compliant, modern and it’s a good looking engine. The 101 x 108mm Bore and Stroke runs a 9.4:1 compression ratio with a SOHC, 4 valves per cylinder with hydraulic lifters and cam chain adjusters. Final drive is geared with a torque compensator. It’s a powerful, torquey engine that should be reasonably cheap to service and run.
It’s all fed by well sorted EFI with dual 45mm throttle body and with the accessory straight shot pipes fitted it sounded delightful too.
The six speed gearbox is crisp and reliable and very sure changing. Along with the gear primary and slop free belt final drive the bike provides very direct rider feedback. It’s a great ‘feeling’ machine.
Stopping is by way of Dual 300mm/Floating Rotor/4 Piston Calipers up front and a Single 300mm/ Floating Rotor/ 2 Piston Caliper at rear. ABS is not included.
The overall rakish line and style of the bike also appealed. It has some lovely angles.
The wheelbase is a reasonably long 1689mm and combined with the 33 degree rake and 140mm trail it not only looks strong, but adds to the straight line stability of the bike.
The 673mm saddle height will suit the most riders while the forward controls and wide handlebars allow longer limbed to stretch out comfortably and the saddle is likewise very comfortable for a muscle cruiser.
The other creature comforts are well integrated. The instrument cluster houses traditional analogue speedo and tacho and an array of trip computer functions are available by scrolling through the LCD dsplay set into the speedometer.
The headlight is good for a single unit and the array of warning lights are functional.
The pillion accommodation is pretty basic although Victory do offer a range of back rests and aftermarket seats,t the Hammer is better as a solo unit, carving up the boulevards and muscling through the city. It’s great fun for a day ride and is narrow and tractable enough to be workable as a commuter.
It’s main attraction is as a stylish, fun, cool urban motorcycle.