First Ride: 2008 Victory Kingpin 8-Ball Rolling for dollars.
Chrome is the enemy. It costs a lot and if it is done the cheap way, it is bad for the environment, which is why it costs a lot. But we love it on our cruisers, so most of the time we get it, and we pay for it.
Victory offers an alternative. A few years ago, the Minnesota makers began offering the Vegas in basic black, deleting most of the chrome and other shiny metallic finishes and giving customers a break on price. Or maybe they were just trying to be bad-ass.
In any case, the Vegas 8-Ball was a success, and the “darkness” treatment has been applied for 2008 to the Kingpin.
It couldn’t have happened to a nicer bike. The ‘Pin is the best-riding “traditional” bike in the Victory line. It’s got like-sized tires (130/70-18 and 150/55-18) for easy steering, supple suspension with an inverted fork, a comfortable feet-forward riding position and a nice-running 100-cubic-inch Freedom V-Twin.
The latter was an important update. As the company worked on engine refinements so that the Vision tourers would be smoother, quieter and more powerful than any Victory before, the same solutions were also applied to engines in the rest of the lineup. So the anti-backlash split gear on the clutch, quieter cam profiles, improved fuel-injection, lower first gear, etc. that worked so well on the Vision’s 106-cube engine are all applied here.
The 100-inch engine also got a reduced, 8.7:1 compression ratio, which allows for more ignition advance at lower rpm and results in better bottom-end torque, engine response and detonation resistance.
Money-saving alterations continue with a simpler, round headlight and no passenger seat/footpegs, either.
Sometimes I am stoked to think about a “60-pin Visteon Engine Control Module with speed-density based load detection using manifold air pressure (MAP) sensor for cylinder phasing, barometric/altitude compensation and primary load control,” such as applied to all of Victory’s ’08 models. But a lot of times I am more stoked to just get on the motorcycle and have it run well, leaving the critical thinking about such matters to someone else.
Victory did its homework on this iteration of the Freedom engine. It is lively and powerful with great throttle response, sounds good and has better low-end than ever.
A backroad stroll through the mountains above Santa Barbara during the bike’s press introduction also showed a sweet-handling cruiser with good brakes and a comfortable ride. The deleted sixth gear (another money-saving move) is missed a little on the highway, but for light touring, Victory will refer you to the Kingpin Tour, which has bags and the overdrive sixth.
In the end, the $13,999 ($14,249 in California because of emissions equipment) “8-Pin” carries off the bad-ass attitude that people will see from roadside while revealing its good heart to the rider. Nobody will miss the chrome.
- Review of the 2010 Victory Vision Tour – Yahoo Voices – voices.yahoo.com
- Victory Cross Country Tour Review – webBikeWorld
- 2009 Victory Cory Ness Signature Jackpot Review –
- 2012 Victory High-Ball First Look – Motorcycle USA
- 2007 Victory Hammer S – SFGate