2007 Harley-Davidson, 2007 Victory, And 2007 Honda VTX1300C - Long - Term Test Bikes

2007 Harley-Davidson Road King Custom
Caretaker: Kay
Odometer: 7,558
Miles RIDDEN: 889
Modifications: Heli Horizon bars, Kryakyn ISO-Grips, ISO-Throttle Boss, Boss Blades

Well, the Beast has been tamed (somewhat): The stock handlebar is gone, replaced by the new Horizon bars from Heli Modified, Inc., whose first foray into the cruiser market is a hit. The Horizons are adjustable for height, fore-aft position and angle. The environmentally friendlier trivalent chrome finish is beautiful, and the design of the bars meshes with the bike. Key was the fact that I now had the bars exactly where I wanted them, with wrists in a neutral position. I reeled off 180 miles after installation and could easily have ridden many more. The additional control transforms the Harley from a boulevardier to a highway hellhound.

I also threw on a set of Kryakyn ISO-Grips with the ISO-Throttle Boss, plus some Boss Blades levers. The grips are fantastic cushiony bubbles of down under my size-medium hands, and the Throttle Boss (a wrist rest) is very useful on longer highway jaunts. The Boss Blades look great but didn't provide much functional benefit; then again, with the thicker grips, it was a bigger stretch to the levers. All in all, though, the ergonomic tweaks make the Harley much more rideable.

2007 Victory Kingpin Tour
Caretaker: Zimmerman
Odometer: 744Miles Ridden: 594Modifications: N/A

Things haven't been going well in Victory- ville, though it's in no way the fault of the bike. In short, the weather's been miserable and unpleasant family business also conspired to burn up more time than I had to spend. Fortunately, that's all behind me now.

I did manage to rack up a meager 594 miles, which at least gave me more insight into the King's character. First of all, this bad boy's fast, and our Sunday morning ride includes some pretty quick guys on swift motorcycles. One of them mentioned that it took a good twist of his sportbike throttle to keep up with the Victory, especially out of the gate. Of course, in the corners it's a different story: It's slow to turn, a result of the long wheelbase, and it tends to move around at high speed, although I suspect the majority of that is caused by the trunk and windshield. It's not that the Victory handles badly, it just handles differently than I'd expected it to.

Still, the Kingpin is as reliable as the Energizer Bunny, and the brakes work well-really well, in fact, as I found out the other day accelerating down a freeway on-ramp only to find some twit parked in the middle. Needless to say, I was extremely pleased with the Victory's grace under pressure; with both wheels locked and sliding, the bike remained much more composed than its rider. In any event, the warm weather's finally here, so if you don't mind, I think I'll cut this short and go for a ride.

2007 HONDA VTX1300C
Caretaker: Cherney
Odometer: 2,414
Miles RIDDEN: 1,060
Modifications: Cycle Solutions gel seat pad, K&N; filter

Things have gotten off to a slow start for my big middleweight as well-the much-heralded Peacemakers pipe National Cycle promised months ago is still AWOL, so about all I've been able to do is fit the VTX1300C with a gel pad from Cycle Solutions for a more forgiving (albeit temporary) buffer against the sharper L.A. potholes the VTX occasionally wallows into. The pad damps nicely-my tailbone's happier, anyway, but it's a pricey accessory ($260). Though it doesn't really need one (the stocker's clean as a whistle), K&N; has insisted on supplying me with new air and oil filters, both of which were mounted up lickety-split.

I'll save the rejetting for when the pipe shows up, though. On the plus side, the VTX is starting up with much less protest now that the weather's warmed, and I've taken to using the 1300 as a daily commuter. As far as that goes, it's up to the task. Even with its heavy steering, it sneaks through all but the gnarliest of L.A.'s infamous bottlenecks with surprising agility (just under full-size SUV mirrors). I've gone ahead and contacted Race Tech Suspension for a rear damper upgrade, so hopefully there'll be many more ride improvements to report in the next installment.