Having longed for an all-American chopper for years, within a couple of months of moving to Dubai from Cairo in February 2010, Egyptian Amr Moustafa had passed his bike tests and bought a 2009 Victory Hammer.
Amr, 32, works in marketing therapeutic products for Merck Serono Middle East and uses his bike to ride around the emirates as a sort of therapy of his own.
His first experience with motorbikes happened while studying for his MBA four years ago, when he carried out an assignment on Italian manufacturer Ducati. "I liked the Ducati very much but ended up buying a bicycle as this was all I could afford at the time. Soon after, a friend who lived opposite me bought a motorcycle while I was on vacation. I returned to see this beautiful Harley-Davidson parked and I told my wife I was going to buy one," he reminisces.
And Amr was to realise his dream soon after moving to Dubai, but not a new Harley on this occasion. "I'd put down a deposit on a Harley-Davidson, which I was due to receive in early 2011," he explains. "However, the dealer informed me of a delay in arrival until at least May, which literally meant losing an entire cruising season, so I visited the Victory dealership instead."
A 2009 Victory Hammer costs in the region of Dh70,000 new, but Amr received an offer from the dealer on a one-year-old model with only 2,415km on the clock that he couldn't refuse. "As soon as I saw it I felt I needed to hop on and cruise," laughs Amr.
Victory Motorcycles is a relatively new company, which began production in 1998, designing its bikes to compete directly with Harley-Davidson and similar American-style motorcycle brands. With plenty of optional extras available, Amr lists his various upgrades: "My Victory Hammer has Shot Gun pipes, a K&N filter, a Stage One performance kit, which adds another 15 to 20 per cent more power, a side-mounted licence plate, rear LED turn signals, a 2.5in lowering kit, a custom mirror with turn signal and cruising throttles."
"My passion is to ride the bike everywhere outside the city - highways to Hatta, Fujairah and Abu Dhabi, where I can enjoy the cruise and relax with less traffic to worry about. When out on the highway I feel I can disconnect from the whole world, like an empty box. I don't think of work, stresses and things happening in my personal life. Instead, it recharges the whole week for me and gives me a real feeling of freedom," he says.
Despite owning the bike for less than a year, Amr's had a few close calls on the road, narrowly avoiding a five-bike pile-up during one of his first trips - a bike rally across the emirates. "We were travelling in three groups of around 200 motorbikes and I saw the accident happen right in front of me. The bikes ploughed into each other with some of my friends receiving broken bones. It was a real scare and has put me off cruising in large groups as there is just too much to concentrate on - bikes are dangerous enough without having to worry about what multiple riders are doing all around you," he says.
Amr looks forward to casual Thursdays at work, when he can wear his jeans and leave his Volkswagen Passat at home to ride his Hammer. "It's a real treat to ride the bike into the office, as long as it's early in the morning or in the evening as it can get really hot. Sometimes you feel like a human shawarma inside the helmet, especially when riding in traffic and these air-cooled bikes focus the heat between your legs, but I love it," he says.