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2015 Victory Magnum – First Ride Review

Greg Drevenstedt
August 14, 2014
Filed under Cruiser + Touring Motorcycle Reviews, Victory Motorcycle Reviews

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Victory's new Magnum is a "big wheel bagger" with a 21-inch front wheel, slammed rear end, triple-tone paint and a 100-watt audio system.

Victory’s new Magnum is a “big wheel bagger” with a 21-inch front wheel, slammed rear end, triple-tone paint and a 100-watt audio system.

Photography by Riles & Nelson

Motorcycle customization trends ebb and flow. Choppers, with their spindly, raked-out forks, beach-ball rear tires and bizarre riding positions, seemed ubiquitous a decade ago. But when the Great Recession popped the bubble of easy money, the chopper craze deflated. Chromed-out bling machines were out and more practical baggers, with wind-cheating fairings and handy luggage capacity, were in. On the custom front, tiny front wheels gave way to big hoops, better to show off high-dollar billet front-ends. And all that extra plastic provided a big canvas for wild-style paint jobs, as well as a place to mount block-rockin’ sound systems.

The Magnum's 21-inch front wheel is said to be the biggest production hoop in baggerdom.

The Magnum’s 21-inch front wheel is said to be the biggest production hoop in baggerdom.

With a significant share of Polaris Industries’ motorcycle R&D focused on the Indian branch of the family tree, Victory’s two new-for-2015 models are stylistic spin-offs rather than all-new platforms. We got our first ride on the Gunner, a stripped-down bobber based on the Judge, during Daytona Bike Week last spring, and I saddled up on the Magnum, a factory custom “big wheel bagger” based on the Cross Country, at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August.

Some bikes seek attention, but the Magnum demands it. There’s nothing subtle about its 21-inch Black Roulette front wheel—said to be the largest production wheel on a bagger—with what look like silver stiletto blades embedded in its nine gloss-black spokes. There’s nothing low-key about triple-tone paint jobs with names like Plasma Lime, Ness Midnight Cherry and Sunset Red (or Metasheen Black) over Supersteel Gray, with color-matched paint on the dash, saddlebag hinges, fender closeouts and radiator shrouds. And there’s nothing understated about a six-speaker, 100-watt audio system packed into the fairing, which can be boosted with accessory speakers in the saddlebag lids. If you wear khaki trousers, this bike ain’t for you.

Stiffer suspension with less travel trades ride comfort for a low-profile, custom look.

Stiffer suspension with less travel trades ride comfort for a low-profile, custom look.

The Cross Country’s cast-aluminum frame, taut-but-compliant suspension and ample cornering clearance give it some of the best handling characteristics among cruisers, but the Magnum trades some agility and comfort for style and a lower seat height (just 25.7 inches, thanks in part to the sleek Low-Pro seat). The Magnum’s slammed rear end is one inch lower than the Cross Country’s, but rear suspension travel has been reduced even further, from 4.7 to 3.5 inches, and front suspension travel is down from 5.1 to 4.4 inches. To compensate for less travel, the suspension was made stiffer and more progressive, contributing to a harsher ride. The big front wheel feels a little awkward around the parking lot but its amplified gyroscopic effect helps the bike feel rock-solid at speed.

Also new to the Magnum is a low-profile Boomerang windscreen that deflects oncoming air smoothly but somewhat noisily, and an LED headlight that improves conspicuity during the day and should enhance visibility after the sun goes down. Powered by the same 1,731cc (106ci) air-cooled V-twin and 6-speed transmission found throughout the Victory lineup (good for 85 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel on the Jett Tuning dyno), the Magnum offers plenty of thrust, and cruise control is standard.

The Victory Magnum is a bike for the times, but its styling isn’t exactly timeless. If a loud-and-proud bagger that trades some comfort for low-profile style suits you, then try this bad boy on for size.

2015 Victory Magnum in Ness Midnight Cherry.

2015 Victory Magnum in Ness Midnight Cherry.

2015 Victory Magnum Specs
Base Price: $21,999
Price as Tested: $22,999 (Ness Midnight Cherry)
Website: victorymotorcycles.com
Engine Type: Air-cooled, transverse 50-degree V-twin, SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,731cc (106ci)
Bore x Stroke: 101.0 x 108.0mm
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt
Wheelbase: 65.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 29 degrees/5.6 in.
Seat Height: 25.7 in.
Claimed Dry Weight: 761 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 5.8 gals.
MPG: NA

Turning the Magnum's big front wheel can be a handful at low speeds and require extra muscle at high speeds.

Turning the Magnum’s big front wheel can be a handful at low speeds and require extra muscle at high speeds.

LED headlight and low-profile Boomerang windscreen are new.

LED headlight and low-profile Boomerang windscreen are new.

The Freedom 106 V-twin with a 6-speed transmission powers the Magnum and all other Victorys.

The Freedom 106 V-twin with a 6-speed transmission powers the Magnum and all other Victorys.

Color-matched dash houses a six-speaker, 100-watt audio system.

Color-matched dash houses a six-speaker, 100-watt audio system.

Comments

One Response to “2015 Victory Magnum – First Ride Review”

  1. Robert Wilson on August 15th, 2014 5:52 pm

    How far will it go at 85mph on the tank of gas? That’s all I need to know on any bike you review. I live in south Florida. Speed limits are useless. Traffic moves on the Turnpike at 85-90mph+. If you don’t go with the flow you become the pavement.

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