Victory Boardwalk | First Ride

A Day at the Beach

They say: "You'll want to take this one to the beach."
We say: "Bring your sunscreen."

Remember those summer days on the boardwalk? Riding the Tilt-AWhirl with a belly full of hot dogs and cotton candy, blowing your nickels on Skeeball and water gun races, maybe copping a feel on the Ferris wheel?

Well, Victory Motorcycles is commemorating those good times with its latest model, the Boardwalk. This classic boulevard-style cruiser comes complete with a super wide, feel-like-a-kid-again beach-bike handlebar, floorboards, 60-spoke chrome wheels, whitewall tires and deep, wraparound fenders. It’s a smooth look, with a bit of visual edginess added via the chunkier, 4.7-gallon tank (borrowed from the new, muscle car-esque Judge) and hackle line that runs down the center of the fenders and tank.

This latest addition to Victory’s cruiser lineup will replace the Kingpin, originally released in 2004. Until the introduction of the Judge earlier this year, six years had passed since the company had made significant changes to the basic cruiser stable, having spent years concentrating on its bagger and touring lines.

Victory’s busy these days, even if the bikes it’s been introducing every few months are more about new bars and bangles than ground-up reinventions. Add a new logo to the mix, a pretty gutsy move considering the world had finally gotten used to the complicated, yet recognizable blue-on-black, globe-and-wings badge. The new insignia is extremely simple: a crisp, wide, red V with a logo-inscribed bar laid across the top. We’re told this clean, classic styling will echo throughout the line, just as the Kingpin-to-Boardwalk move shows a retreat from a blacked-out motif toward the fun-house effect of flashy chrome and bright colors.

Beneath the paint, the Boardwalk is also a pretty good motorcycle, a treat to ride. It packs the expected punch from the Freedom 106 engine—fuel-injected, long-stroke, air/oil-cooled as in the Judge and elsewhere—shouting through a pair of staggered slash cuts. Victory knows what works here, and didn’t feel the need to change.

The floorboards and beach-bar combo make the bike especially comfortable to ride around town and on back roads. And while the Boardwalk suspension is more compliant than some other Victory offerings, the single gas shock out back finds a spine-jarring bottom all too often. Also, cornering clearance is still quite limited, putting a mom’s-here to-pick-me up buzz kill on spirited riding.

This updated custom classic is bound to be as popular as a summer day at the beach, especially when owners add the Boardwalkspecific amenities such as the Lock & Ride saddlebags, windscreen, passenger backrest and luggage rack, all of which can be installed or removed in just a few minutes, especially if you have a second pair of hands. If you plan to take the Boardwalk touring, you’ll want the heated-grip and cruise-control options.

When you think of the boardwalk you can almost smell suntan oil and funnel cakes. Victory’s Boardwalk is fun like that, too, just in a much healthier, more diet-friendly way.

Price $15,499 (black); $15,899 (pearl white)
Engine type a/c 50-deg. V-twin
Valve train SOHC, 8v
Displacement 1731cc
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed horsepower 92 bhp @ 5250 rpm
Claimed torque 113 lb.-ft @ 2750 rpm
Frame Aluminum backbone
Front suspension Kayaba 43mm inverted fork
Rear suspension Kayaba shock with air-adjustable spring preload
Front brake Dual Nissin four-piston calipers, 300mm discs
Rear brake Nissin two-piston caliper, 300mm disc
Front tire 130/90-16 Metzeler ME880
Rear tire 150/80-16 Metzeler ME880
Seat height: 25.9 in.
Wheelbase 64.8 in.
Fuel capacity 4.7 gal.
Claimed curb weight 703 lbs.
VERDICT 3 out of 5 stars
On the Boardwalk...we’ll be having some fun.