2013 Victory Boardwalk Review

A Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe alternative?

story by Tom Roderick, Photograph by Brian J. Nelson, Created Jul. 30, 2012
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Say goodbye to the Victory Kingpin and hello to its new for 2013 replacement model, the Boardwalk. More classically styled to better compete with Harley-Davidson’s Softail Deluxe, the Boardwalk is the perfect canvas for displaying Victory’s other replacement for 2013, the company’s new logo.

Like the outgoing Kingpin and every current model in Victory’s line-up, the new Boardwalk is powered by the ubiquitous Freedom 106/6 V-Twin. The 1731cc, air/oil cooled engine, six-speed transmission and carbon fiber reinforced belt final drive have a proven track record for dependable performance but also above average noise and clunkiness when changing transmission cogs. Otherwise, this engine/transmission combination has served Victory well, and not only does the Victory Twin out-displace Harley’s 103-cubic-inch Twin Cam engine, Victory’s claimed 113 ft-lb of torque is 14.3 ft-lb more than H-D’s Twin.

2013 Victory Boardwalk Profile Right

Styling and specifications are where Victory differentiates the Boardwalk from the Kingpin and draws parallels with Harley’s Softail Deluxe. The most visually obvious of these changes are the fat whitewall tires mounted on 60-spoke, laced chrome wheels. Where the Kingpin rolled on 18-inch mag wheels, the Boardwalk emulates Harley’s choice of 16-inchers both front and rear with nearly identical tires sizes of 130/90-16 up front and a 20mm larger 150/80-16 in the back.

2013 Victory Boardwalk Pearl White Action

Seat height of the Boardwalk was lowered from the Kingpin’s 26.5 inches to match the Softail’s 25.9 inches, and Victory shrunk the Boardwalk overall compared to the Kingpin with 2.7 inches less length, 0.8 inch less wheelbase, 1.1 inch less ground clearance while tightening the rake and increasing the trail (31.7°/6.7” vs 32.8° / 5.4 in). Last but not least, the Boardwalk trades the Kingpin’s inverted fork for a traditional pair of tube sliders.

From here the Boardwalk becomes its own machine.

Wide beach bars curve back to greet a rider, a flangeless, restyled tank holds 0.2 gallons more fuel than the Kingpin, and deeply valanced fenders don’t stray quite as far from convention as the Kingpin’s more contemporary sheetmetal. The Boardwalk’s passenger seat is also removable, by way of a couple bolts, for owners desiring that lone wolf persona.

2013 Victory Boardwalk Overhead Action

Riding the Boardwalk is a minimal-effort affair. Its willingness to turn in quickly can be attributed to its 16-inch wheels, shorter wheelbase and the leverage those gaping handlebars provide. Its suspension is nicely damped and works in concert with the chassis to keep the Boardwalk performing well even when ridden outside its design parameters. But riding the Boardwalk fast is missing the point. The relaxed seating position, diminished ground clearance and 675-pound dry weight (nine more than the Kingpin) bespeak a pace of moderation, not excess.

Maintaining its classic design are single 300mm disc brakes front and rear, with four- and two-piston calipers, respectively. Steel braided brake lines help strengthen stopping duties, and when ridden as intended, the combination provides more than adequate braking performance.

2013 Victory Boardwalk Tank

A thoughtful element of the restyled fuel tank is its flattened sides where a rider’s knees reside. This practical feature provides a hint of elevated comfort compared to the rounded contours of the Kingpin’s tank. The Boardwalk also boasts features such as chrome engine trim with polished cooling fins, tapered clutch and brake levers, floorboards and LED blinkers and tail light.

At $15,500 in solid black and $15,900 for solid pearl white (California models cost an additional $250) the base model Boardwalk retails for $500 more than the Kingpin but $1,650 less than the base model Softail Deluxe ($17,150). Victory claims a stockpile of more than 60 available accessories for the Boardwalk.

New Victory Motorcycles Logo

Adorning the tank of the Boardwalk as well as all the 2013 Victory models is the manufacturer’s new logo. Eschewing the convoluted intricacies of the former logo, Greg Brew, Victory’s Director of Industrial Design, has simplified, emboldened and modernized the Victory insignia. Gone are the wings, world map and Polaris association, leaving only a large red V and the words Victory, motorcycles and USA.

In other news, Victory announced at the Boardwalk press introduction that it has lured Ian O’Reilly away from Triumph to restructure and restyle the company’s apparel products. O’Reilly was employed with Triumph for more than a decade and is responsible for creating Triumph’s reputation for quality motorcycle apparel. The items on display at the Boardwalk event represented O’Reilly’s attention to detail, fashion and protection. Look for good things to come in the way of Victory branded apparel.

2013 Victory Boardwalk Action Left

Victory Boardwalk Specs
Engine Type Freedom 106/6
Cooling System Air/Oil
Displacement 106 ci/1731 cc
Bore x Stroke 101 x 108 mm
Compression Ratio 9.4:1
Valve Train 4 Valves per cylinder, hydraulic lifters & cam chain adjusters
Fuel System Electronic fuel injection, 45mm throttle body bore
Fuel Capacity 4.7 gal./17.8L
Exhaust Dual staggered slash-cut with common volume
Oil Capacity 5.0 qts/4.75L
Charging System 38 amps max output
Battery 12 volts/18 amp hours
Primary Drive Gear drive with torque compensator
Clutch Wet, multi-plate
Transmission 6-speed overdrive constant mesh
Final Drive Carbon fiber reinforced belt
Front Suspension Telescopic ford - 5.1 in./130 mm travel
Rear Suspension Single, mono-tube gas - 3.0 in./75 mm traavel
Brakes Front - 300mm x 5mm floating rotor with 4-piston caliper
Rear - 300mm x 5mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper
Wheels Front - 16 x 3.5 in.
Rear - 16 x 3.5 in.
Tires Front - Metzeler ME880, 130/90 16 TL 67H
Rear - Metzeler ME880, 150/80 B16 TL 71H
Length 97.2 in.
Wheelbase 64.9 in.
Seat Height 25.9 in.
Ground Clearance 4.7 in.
Rake/Trail 31.7°/6.7 in.
Dry Weight 675 lbs
GVWR 1151 lbs
Color Options Solid Black, Solid Pearl White
MSRP Solid Black - US$15,499
Solid Pearl White - US$15,899

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