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2009 Victory Kingpin Tour Review


by Marc Cantin ,

Hail to the right-sized Tourer

Fully faired luxury touring bikes suffer from one major shortcoming – they are big and heavy, especially when loaded and at lower speeds. This is where a standard cruiser with add-ons such as an effective windshield, deflectors for the lower legs, and various side and top cases, really shines. This is in fact the role played at Victory by the Kingpin Tour, completing the line with a capable tourer short of the top end Vision models in size and price.

The Kingpin uses the excellent 100/6 version of the corporate V-Twin, a well born and developed engine.

Yes, you get extra comfort on the bigger bike, but with most of the extra weight placed high over the front wheel, you end up with an unpleasant and unsteady experience at low speeds – not what you want to help keep your older customers coming back for more.

And the difference is felt just pulling the bike off the side-stand, effortlessly on the Kingpin, but requiring some effort and extra attention on the Vision.

Happily, the Kingpin uses the excellent 100/6 version of the corporate V-Twin, a well born and developed engine that delivers gobs of torque (106 lb-f) and power (90 to 92 hp according to reliable sources) in a clean looking package, with no tubes, wires, or other visual pollution to mar the beautiful design. In fact, other cruiser manufacturers are emulating this clean look that Victory have featured successfully for more than six years now, hiding wires and oil lines to do so.

An excellent six speed gearbox, with extra long gearing for low-rev cruising in sixth, takes power from the light, easy to modulate clutch, and passes it silently to the rear wheel via a modern Kevlar belt. Gear changes are positive without annoying – with a slight “clunk” to let you know it is now in the correct ratio.

The proof of this pudding is in the riding, so let’s leave the propeller-head stuff aside for a while and take off. The seat feels just right, while the windshield and side deflectors let some turbulence bleed past and reach you, enough to ventilate on a warm day and let you know that you are moving. Just bring earplugs to take the edge off the wind noise, but more to dampen the constant pounding from the intake that rises straight up from the tank cover into your ears - not something I want to hear for hours on end.

Front and rear suspensions dampen better than the average cruiser.
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