The 2014 Boardwalk is a true testament to Victory's styling and performance expertise. Similar to the Judge
, which shared its chassis and main components, the Boardwalk displays rare balance and rider-friendliness for a large cruiser.
Chrome laced wheels, whitewall tires, full fenders, and chrome beach bars give this bike a truly irresistible retro look enhanced by premium fit and finish. Add a number of touring accessories from the extensive Victory catalogue, such as a windshield, soft saddlebag, cargo rack or passenger backrest, and you'll travel in style even farther.
Developed in-house, the steel frame of the 2014 Victory Boardwalk
teams up with an aluminum swingarm, 43mm telescopic front fork, and single rear shock with preload-adjustable spring. A low centre of gravity, long wheelbase, and 32-degree rake angle help the relatively heavy Boardwalk handle like a middleweight. Easy to manoeuvre at low speeds (even at idle, actually), this machine feels about 50kg lighter than it actually weighs.
The 1,731cc, 50-degree V-twin engine uses an air/oil cooling system; it produces 97 hp at 5,000 rpm and 113 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. Power delivery is quite linear thanks to the latest generation of Bosch's electronic fuel injection system, as well as a counter-balancing shaft that mitigates unwanted vibrations. The Freedom 106/6 delivers hard, relentless acceleration until it reaches the redline, which is uncommon in this segment. Expect a syncopated rumble and that sweet dose of mechanical thrills you're seeking.
Sharp, precise shifting at all times adds to the lovely feel, although the clutch lever still requires a firm hand. Another sore spot with the Boardwalk (and Judge) is the single brake disc at both ends. This setup might prove adequate when riding alone, but it sure could use more bite when carrying a passenger -- especially since there's no ABS.
Safe and sound
|The 1,731cc, 50-degree V-twin engine uses an air/oil cooling system; it produces 97 hp at 5,000 rpm and 113 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. (Photo: Olivier Delorme)
Wide handlebars that extend toward the rider, floorboard-type footrests that aren't too far away, and a large, comfortable seat perched just 658 millimetres off the ground contribute to relaxed, comfortable ergonomics.
The 2014 Victory Boardwalk isn't just stylish and comfortable, mind you. More than anything, its superb road manners set it apart from the pack. The Boardwalk is both remarkably solid at higher speeds and plush enough to deal with road imperfections without delivering a harsh ride. This bike feels safe and sound whether the road is straight or snaky, with or without a passenger and some luggage behind you.
A great way to bridge the gap between the Cross Roads and the exuberant Jackpot, the Victory Boardwalk is so uniquely styled that direct competition is almost non-existent. At $16,699, pricing is rather attractive, too, especially when you consider the high levels of build quality. It will appeal to fans of classic American motorcycles from the '50s and '60s, as well as laid-back cruiser enthusiasts looking to escape after a week of hard work.
|The 2014 Victory Boardwalk isn't just stylish and comfortable, mind you. More than anything, its superb road manners set it apart from the pack. (Photo: Olivier Delorme)
- Premium fit and finish
- Efficient, charismatic engine
- Comfortable and rider-friendly cruiser
- Firm clutch lever
- Not quite enough braking power for two-up riding with some luggage