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2013 Victory Boardwalk First Ride

Monday, July 30, 2012

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2013 Victory Boardwalk First Ride
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Watch the 2013 Victory Boardwalk First Ride Video to see this new classic cruiser in action on the backroads of Santa Barbara.
Victory Motorcycles is making changes. It began with an all-new logo for the American cruiser brand that is simple, focused and signifies its push towards an ever larger presence in the two-wheeled arena. The next change is the phasing out of the classic Kingpin cruiser for 2013, leaving a hole at the lower end of Victory’s lineup. This slot will be filled by a brand spanking new model called the Boardwalk. We recently a spent couple of days sampling the 2013 Victory Boardwalk while soaking up the scenery in California’s Santa Barbara County. After just a few minutes aboard it we forgot all about the now defunct Kingpin.

The Boardwalk ranks near the bottom of the ladder in terms of price ($15,499-15,899) and is lean on features, but that doesn’t decrease its desirability. Personally I believe less is more when it comes to cruisers where it’s the details that matter. The Boardwalk has those details. With its blend of classic and modern styling, this new Victory is a looker. Long swooping fenders wrap around 16-inch wire wheels shod with whitewall Metzeler ME880 tires, giving a nod to lowriders and lead-sleds of bygone days. The new 4.7-gallon tank makes the Boardwalk unmistakable as a Victory even without seeing the blocky badging. Meeting the requirements of a classic cruiser there is plenty of chrome, from the pipes to the headlight to the massive beach bars. It’s 21st century classic.

The 2013 Victory Boardwalk features an air- and oil cooled Freedom 106 V-Twin engine.
The wide bars of the 2013 Victory Boardwalk are a comfortable reach from the cushy seat.
A low seat height and wide beach bars give the 2013 Victory Boardwalk a comfortable seating position.
Swing a leg over the Boardwalk and riders are greeted with a comfortable seat with an easy reach to the pavement for just about any size. The very low 25.9-inch seat height drops the rider deep in the chassis, but you still feel on top of the bike rather than in it. Grab onto the widest bars of any Victory cruiser for a relaxed and laid-back seating position while your feet rest comfortably on the large floorboards. The passenger pillion is large and cushy and when removed leaves no marks or holes in the rear fender.

Hit the starter button and the Boardwalk chugs to life without hesitation, quickly settling into a familiar lope from its Freedom 106-cubic inch V-Twin. The air and oil-cooled engine has just the right amount of jiggle at idle and smooths out as the RPM rise. A slightly tinny exhaust note emanates from the chromed slash-cut pipes but still has character that lets the world know this V-Twin has some muscle lurking inside.

Click the toe-shifter into first and riders are met with a solid clunk into gear that can be heard by your riding buddies, but there is no mistake that the cogs have meshed. Rowing through the gears is hassle free, no missed shifts or hang-ups during testing. Clutch lever effort is not light by any means but not overly stiff, with positive engagement and excellent feel.

The Boardwalk is propelled with more than enough power thanks to the 50-degree Freedom 106 V-Twin. This bike may be targeted at the" taking it easy and rolling through the countryside" or "meandering down to the beach crowd," but it’s always nice to know that you can slingshot away from a stoplight when the mood strikes. Throttle response is crisp and sorted perfectly no matter the situation, so much so that you don’t even really think about it. It just goes. Gearing is spaced for a relaxed ride and in sixth-gear at 60 mph the revs of the big V-Twin settle into a silky smooth cadence.

The 2013 Victory Boardwalk is comfortable for all-day cruising
Rough roads are a bit unsettling on the Boardwalk, but the ride is excellent on well-maintained pavement.
It’s clear the Boardwalk is more at home on well-maintained roadways. On the bumpy back roads of Santa Barbara County the suspension has a tough go of it. To soak up the undulating pavement and chunky asphalt, the 700-pound American-built bike blows through the three inches of travel on the rear easily. On normal stretches, the ride is comfortable and smooth as can be.  

When the road gets curvy the Boardwalk is more than competent despite the softer suspension and relaxed riding position. When cruising at a laid back pace the wide handlebars impart a large amount of leverage on the front end, making the steering effort very light. Dipping the Victory into a corner is almost effortless. Once in a turn holding a line is cake, unless the road is rough then things can get a little squirmy but never out of control. As usual the unofficial Journalist GP usually breaks out during the end of a ride, and at truly silly speeds the Boardwalk still handles well and clearly communicates where the edge of its capabilities are. The floorboards can touch down but not as early as expected, impressing us with the corning clearance for a low-slung classic cruiser.

Comfort is paramount on a cruiser and without hesitation I can say the Boardwalk has it. Even after a full day in the saddle
Braking power from the single front disc is more than adequate for slowing the 700-pound Victory Boardwalk.
The 2013 Victory Boardwalk checks all the boxes for a classic cruiser and gets it done in style and comfort.
my overly sensitive tailbone showed no signs of discomfort. Lots of highway miles could be tiring with the wide bars and lack of wind protection, but that is not what this bike was meant for. It's most comfortable on the side roads lumping along in style.

In the stopping department, squeeze the front brake lever and you are rewarded with solid feel and excellent stopping power for a single front disc. In the past I have been a critic of Victory’s braking prowess, but I have zero complaints from the front binder on the Boardwalk. Out back the rear brake has decent power but the feel is a bit muted. Locking the rear does take some effort despite the lack of feel, which is a good thing.

Victory has a potential hit on its hands with the Boardwalk. The motorcycle melds modern style with classic lines for one of the best-looking Victory Cruisers to date. The Freedom 106/6 drivetrain is an excellent fit for what this machine is intended for and will give riders the performance they seek when the itch for a short blast down the boulevard strikes. It's comfortable for a low-slung, wide-barred V-Twin and checks the appropriate boxes to make it a desirable American-made cruiser.
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2013 Victory Boardwalk Specifications
The 2013 Victory Boardwalk is a classic cruiser powered by Victorys 106 6 drivetrain.
Engine: Freedom 106 50° V-Twin
Cooling: Air/Oil
Displacement: 106 ci / 1731 cc
Bore x Stroke: 101 x 108mm
Compression: 9.4:1
Valvetrain: SOHC, 8 valves
Fueling: EFI with Dual 45mm throttle body
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallon (17 liter)
Transmission: 6-speed Overdrive
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Final Drive: Carbon fiber reinforced belt
Front Suspension: Conventional Fork, non-adjustable, 5.1 inches travel
Rear Suspension: Single shock, preload adjustable, 3 inches travel
Swingarm: Cast aluminum with rising rate linkage
Front Brake: 300mm Floating Rotor with 4-piston caliper
Rear Brake: 300mm Floating Rotor with 2-piston Caliper
Wheels: 16 x 3.5 inch,
Front Tire: 130/90 Metzeler ME880 FrontRear Tire: 150/80 Metzeler ME880 Rear 
Wheelbase: 64.8 in
Seat Height: 25.9 in
Ground Clearance: 4.7 in
Rake/Trail: 31.7° / 6.7 in
Dry Weight: 675 pounds (claimed)
Colors: Solid Black, Solid Pearl White 
MSRP: $15,9499 (solid black), $15,899 (solid pearl white) CA models add $250

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ozarksv92   January 17, 2013 08:27 PM
The Boardwalk has classic lines with the Victory "twist". I am ready to sign up for a test ride! Love them or hate them...Victory is here to stay.
Lumpy   December 4, 2012 06:29 AM
Take Victory's existing Kingpin model, remove the inverted forks and replace them w/conventional forks, remove the 18" alloy wheels w/tubeless tires and replace them with 16" spoke rims w/inner tubes, take away almost an inch of suspension travel, and give it redesigned sheetmetal... now you have the Boardwalk. In my book that's not exactly progress.
tttt   September 5, 2012 10:46 PM
Retro doesn't mean it has to look old...love the headlight and the turn signals...updating the old tired Harley pieces. Bike looks fantastic in person. Always thought the Softail Deluxe was the prettiest cruiser, but this one is it's boyfriend.
wmg1299   August 21, 2012 08:52 AM
I just don't see the appeal of this bike. Victory really got my attention with the Hard-Ball and High-Ball, and I dig the look of the blacked out 8-Ball and Judge models. I think going with another semi-vintage, over-chromed, $16k model just misses the mark. It'll be a couple years before I'm ready to buy another cruiser, and I'd love for it to be a Victory, but not if they shift their design strategy (and pricing) to the Boardwalk style.
harleybro   August 2, 2012 12:15 PM
Agree with Dexxter and Hecklerboy. This reads like an ad, not a review. Also like the mostly retro look, but that headlight, those turn signals and the pipes look way out of place if retro is the goal.
Hecklerboy   July 31, 2012 01:55 PM
It's not bad, but has some styling ques I don't care for.
I like the long fenders and white walls but the the signal lights are too angled and stick out too far from the bike. And that headlight has to go.
The seats looks a little out of place with that pillion sticking up so high.
The beach bars are cool and the exhuast looks pretty good as well.

I'm still like my Harley better though.
But it's nice to see another American company building bikes.
GB   July 31, 2012 09:15 AM
the sheeple aren't gonna like it cuz it don't say HD on it. nice job Victory!
Kropotkin   July 31, 2012 08:45 AM
Sorry, but it still looks like a "Nessie," dated and uninspired.
Dexxter   July 31, 2012 07:35 AM
Sorry, but Moto-USA can do better. This "review" reads, blatantly, like a lengthy sales pitch.