Victory Kingpin Review

This is not an article written by a wannabe motorcyclist article writer that is under direction from the magazine owners on what to write and say based on which motorcycle company is paying the most in advertising dollars at the moment. This article keeps it real.

As I mentioned, I purchased my Victory Kingpin in February of 2004 — A very good year. After looking at Harley Davidson and seeing how Harley has become a mass production company of cookie cutter, oil-leaking machines, I decided to look elsewhere. If a Harley is you bag, then that is all good. For me, I do not understand the appeal. Next I looked at the Honda VTX 1800 — Very nice bike. Best performance and all around cruiser for the money. I wanted this bike.

At the last minute I catch glimpse of a Victory Vegas advertisement. I decide I need to know more. I find that the 2004 Victory motorcycles are being sold by mostly Indian dealerships. Why? Well this is about the time that Indian corporation has decided to go out of business. So the nervous Indian dealerships are quickly signing on with Polaris to sell the Victory motorcycle lines. Was this fate or what? The Victory dealers are enjoying record sales now and selling high-quality American motorcycles. I go to my local Indian dealership, check out the Vegas, then in the back of the small showroom I see Victory Kingpins sitting there calling to me. One was the Black/Bronze 2004 two-tone color. I wanted this motorcycle. The look of the bike, the test ride.

Yes, I said test ride. And the professionalism of the Victory dealer made me sign for the bike that day. Sure I was nervous buying an unknown and unproven American (86% American that is) motorcycle. I knew the inherent problems with buying a Harley and I did not want to go there or be labeled a Harley rider. Not for me. Common sense told me I should have gone with the Honda VTX 1800. But the Victory had styling, had performance, and had comfort and handling that I wanted. It cost eight thousand more than a Honda, but who cares when it comes to the bike you want.

The Kingpin was a joy to ride from day one. I upgraded to the Stage I performance kit, which included new slip-on exhaust, a new K&N air filter and a remapping of the Victory Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The new slip-ons gave the bike a deeper throatier sound. Not the metal clanky sound you hear with Harleys. After doing the recommended engine brake in, I started to get comfortable with the new machine and explore its handling capabilities. With its low-center of gravity, this bike handled like a dream. Not as good as my sport bike but very impressive.

I initially was afraid to work on the bike since it was so expensive and foreign to me. But that winter I started doing some modifications on the bike. The modifications started small with simple bolt on add on like the highway bars, chrome goodies and mirrors. The following year I got even more serious and started wiring in brake light and headlight safety modulators. Then I started swapping out stock parts like the ugly stock turn signals and replacing them with custom LED lighting products from the boys at MBW Motorcycles. Now the bike was started to look custom and I was learning my way around.

The latest modifications I have done include more wiring in of the PIAA driving lights, adding a custom after market drive sprocket overdrive pulley. The latter modification involved removing the fuel tank, exhaust, rear wheel, belt drive, right foot controls. This was a serious modification and I had to make sure I put her back together correctly. I strongly suggest you buy the Service manual for your motorcycle. You need to know the torque specifications and which bolts need Loctite. I did succeed in getting the Kingpin back together and running. I took some time in practicing how to align the rear wheel with the belt drive. I did this a few times and bought a Motion Pro belt tension gauge to make sure I was a close to accurate I could be. With all of these modifications, my confidence in working on the Kingpin has gone from zero to what can I try next. It is Zen like to work on motorcycles and to ride them.

Now we are in spring of 2006. The Victory Kingpin is two year old. With all of my modifications and 10,000 miles I have not had one single mechanical problem with this motorcycle. Yes I am shocked. Especially since this was the first year for this motorcycle. There were bound to be some problems. The answer is simply no. This motorcycle is a gem. I can count on this bike on long trips. Feel comfortable riding the bike, and feel confident that I can keep her running for years to come.

I have my Kingpin completely customized to my style. With one or two performance modifications in place, I find the need to give the Victory Freedom 92 cubic inch engine more power. The method to which I will use to satisfy this need is to install an Eaglecat custom Victory air box and a Lloydz Victory Fuel Control module. Bit the items combined will give your Kingpin an additional 11 horsepower. Yes I said eleven horsepower. I have the dyno sheets to prove this.