Saturday, June 8, 2013

Review: 2013 Victory Boardwalk – Cross-section of Modern and Retro

In the event that you are one of those riders who no longer enjoy the intensity of riding an all-out sport bike and would prefer kicking back in a more relaxed riding posture on a stylish machine that smacks of history, independence and freedom, then this may be the perfect bike for you. The 2013 Victory Boardwalk delivers a retrospective flavor while providing modern cruiser attributes and visual appeal.
Motive force for the new Boardwalk comes from a smooth, throaty and powerful 1731cc, four-stroke 50 degree Freedom 106-cubic inch V-Twin with air and oil cooling and electronic fuel injection, dual 45Mm throttle body and dual staggered slash-cut dual exhaust with crossover. The V-Twin makes 92 horses while cranking out 110 pound feet of torque. The motor’s energy is transmitted to the rear wheel through a primary gear drive with a torque compensator and carbon fiber reinforced belt final drive – via an easy-shifting 6-speed sequential manual gearbox with a wet multi-plate clutch and true overdrive for smooth, effortless cruising down the highway.
Visually, the Boardwalk comes across as a custom cruising bike with iconic “old school” DNA right off the showroom floor. The stylish fenders are full and stylish, wrapping around the tires front and rear, and Victory’s traditonal raised centerline spine runs the entire length of the bike from the front fender, over the stretched fuel tank to the rear fender. The chrome beach-style handlebars not only look cool and retro, but they’re comfortable and provide good control. The Boardwalk rolls on classic-looking 60-spoke, chrome laced wire wheels (16×3.5”) shod with Metzeler Wide whitewalls (ME8980 130/90 16 67H up front and Metzeler ME880 150/80B16 71H in the rear.
The Victory Boardwalk glistens with its share of bling, featuring chrome engine covers, exhaust, bars, trim and wheels, adding to the custom look. Seating serves up a comfortable blend of both cushion and support, positioning the rider ideally for fatigue-free long rides, while passengers are provided with a comfortable seat and well placed footpegs (the passenger pillion portion of the seat is removable, for those who prefer solo riding). The Boardwalk riding experience is further enhanced by the comfort and security of spacious, cushoned floorboards that put the rider’s feet and legs in a comfortable position while providing easy access to lower foot controls.
This latest 2013 Victory Boardwalk Cruiser sits just right with a 64.8-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 96.7-inches. The dry curb weight is a manageable 407 pounds, and the seat height measures 25.9-inches. The ground clearance is 5.7-inches and the fuel capacity is 4.7 gallons.
Suspension componentry consists of conventional telescopic 43 mm front forks, with 5.1-inches of travel and a single, mono-tube gas, cast aluminum rear with rising rate linkage, 3.0-Inches of travel and preload adjustable springs.
Bringing the Boardwalk to a halt is a conventional hydraulic system with a 300 mm floating rotor with 4-piston caliper up front, and a 300 mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper aft.
My test 2013 Victory Boardwalk wore a gloss Black exterior and came with a base prce of $15,499. Options included a locking, removable windshield for $599.99 and an accessory hell/toe rocker shifter for 199.99, which along with Dealer prep and Handling (the latter can vary from dealer to dealer) brought the final sticker to an estimated $16,498.98.
SUMMARY: Cruising on the Boardwalk delivers a feeling of coolness, comfort and confidence. It is extremely well-balanced and highly manageable. My press test bike was picked up at legendary bike customizer Arlen Ness’ Victory dealership in Dublin, CA where the skies were overcast with a predicted slight chance of rain. The outside temperature was 41-degrees Farenheit- not ideal, but tolerable. Shortly after departing the dealership, it began to sprinkle lightly, and me with no foul weather riding gear. The light precipitation turned into a blinding, torrential downpour, and with both windshield and my helmet visor fogging and sheeted with rain, a critical turn was missed in my effort to avoid freeway travel. With a “No sweat” approach, all that was necessary would be to simply work my way back to the desired route. That didn’t happen and I ran even further off course. Long story short, what should have been an hour and a half ride, wound up being over five hours. At times, I opened my visor and raised up over the windshield to gain some modicum of visibility.
Feeway travel was finally resorted to in order to arrive home before dark which can definitely result in a “white-knuckle” riding experience in the near-freezing cold and wet scenario. Thanks to the stability and manageability of the Boardwalk, home was finally reached safely. The power delivery was smooth, as was changing gears, and the seat and riding position was ideal – suitable for a wide variety of rider statures. Riding later in more suitable weather, the bike was even more enjoyable, while it drew admiring glances and comments.