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Victory's Kingpin Tour is a great new "bagger" bike

May 18, 2007|by ARV VOSS / Motor Matters

Although Victory's Hammer S is a stellar riding machine, my heart traditionally resides in the cruising or "bagger" realm of two-wheelers. Enter the Victory Kingpin Tour.

For some, it may not be on par with Harley's top-of-the-line heavy cruisers - or with the RV of motorcycling, Honda's Goldwing - but the Victory Kingpin Tour gets the job done and gets it done quite well.

The Kingpin Tour holds a big advantage over nearly every other big bike in the cruising genre, in that it is a turnkey custom that's ready to ride off the showroom floor. The classically styled flared fenders are sweet-looking, with metallic trim accents. That doesn't mean of course, that it's not a candidate for further personalization, but it looks pretty cool from the get-go. It's also ideal for either touring solo or riding two-up, provided those aboard aren't oversized.

Power comes from Victory's Freedom 110/6 V-Twin with overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, plus electronic fuel injection. The power is routed to the rear wheel through a six-speed transmission with true six-speed overdrive and standard heel/toe rocker shift lever. Exhaust exits through right-side, staggered, slash-cut dual pipes with an authoritative, but not overbearing, rumble. The primary drive consists of a torque compensated gear, while the final drive is a carbon fiber reinforced belt.

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New for 2007 are a new Top Box, capable of carrying up to 20 pounds of gear (twin locking saddlebags handle overflow); a new custom-inspired headlight; a cast rather than forged swingarm that is both stronger and lighter (an optional chrome unit is forged); repositioned emissions decal (now on the battery box, cleaning up the swingarm look); and a new inventory of Pure Victory accessories for dress-up and customization. An accessory lock kit is available with three locks that operate with a single key for the top box and both saddlebags.

My Victory Kingpin Tour loaner was finished in a two-tone Pearl White metallic and Boardwalk Blue metallic finish with fading charcoal accent tribal graphics striped in black. The base price was set at $17,999, but one can figure adding a couple of hundred dollars more for prep and handling, tax and license, which brings the final tally to approximately $18,249.

Inverted cartridge telescopic 43mm tube forks with 5.1 inches of travel enhance the ride quality up front, as do the single forged and cast aluminum mono-tube gas shocks, with rising rate linkage swingarm and preload adjustable spring, which provide 3.9 inches of travel. The damping compliance was comfortable even with two-up, - each weighing in the neighborhood of 220-plus pounds.

Bringing the Kingpin Tour to a halt is no problem - forward is a 300mm floating rotor with 4-piston caliper, and aft, a 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper does the job. Meeting the pavement are Dunlop tires - 130/70-18 front and 180 55/B18 rear mounted on seven-swirl-spoke, polished alloy wheels.

SUMMARY: The Victory Kingpin Tour offers a pleasing look and ride quality. It handled well with excellent stability whether riding solo or two-up, though I preferred solo since the passenger portion of the kicked-up seat was on the short side, with the unadjustable passenger backrest and top-mount trunk forcing the passenger into me, necessitating my moving too far forward for my taste and comfort. My passenger felt that the boards were mounted too high for maximum comfort. On the subject of riding comfort, the Kingpin Tour comes with a windshield and lower wind deflectors to minimize buffeting at freeway speeds. Accommodating rider and passenger, the two leather-covered saddlebags and top-mount trunk provide lots of road trip storage.

A cold idle lever on the left control pod smoothes out the idle when warming up the big Freedom 100/6 V-Twin. Once warmed up, the 1634 cc motor gives off a satisfying throaty rumble, albeit somewhat quieter than a Harley. Also on the left pod is a single switch for directional (both directions) with push-to-cancel when the self-cancel feature fails.

The six-speed overdrive gearbox gets the job done, though I occasionally found neutral while downshifting, when I didn't want it. The key must remain in the ignition unlike many other cruisers, and securing the bike when parked requires lining up bracket holes on both the frame and tree to allow using a lock, as there's no integrated fork lock.

OK, enough nit picking. The Kingpin Tour, which is essentially a bagger version of the base Kingpin, is a really pleasurable bike to hit the road on. Optional highway bars and driving or passing lamps contribute to a more traditional flavor.

Bottom line, the bike's balance is ideal, and it serves as a top-notch Victory cruiser, which could possibly be overshadowed when the Victory Vision and Vision Tour future luxury cruisers roll onto the showroom floor of dealerships.

Copyright, Motor Matters 2007

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