2015 Victory Magnum Review

Victory’s latest is a custom bagger that’s loud and proud

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2015 Victory Magnum

Editor Score: 78.5%
Engine 16.0/20
Suspension/Handling 12.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.0/10
Brakes 7.0/10
Instruments/Controls3.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.0/10
Appearance/Quality 8.5/10
Desirability 7.5/10
Value 8.0/10
Overall Score78.5/100

Baggers are a big deal these days, making up something like half of the cruiser market according to Victory’s experts. Victory’s newest attempt to supply what the market demands is this highly customized version of its pre-existing Cross Country, dubbed Magnum.

What you get is a 21-inch front wheel instead of the CC’s usual 18-incher, a slammed rear end that carries the seat about an inch lower, and some big upgrades in the styling department: There are four multicolor paint options, all of which are really eye-catching without being too over-the-top (not a skull in sight), and the bright color carries on through the dashboard and rear fender close-outs, ie, where the fender blends into the bags.

In contrast to the Cross Country touring bike it’s based on, Victory thinks the Magnum is oriented more toward urban use, and that the Magnum buyer is the extrovert who wants to be seen and heard around town as opposed to the long-distance rider who wants to get away from it all. To that end, it gets a new 100-watt sound system with six speakers packed into the fairing, which does pump out more and better sound than the CC’s stereo – and optional saddlebag lid speakers are available too (along with medium and high apehangers, a throatier exhaust, etc.).

The Ness Midnight Cherry bike on the left has Victory’s louder Tri-Oval Exhaust and medium apes; the Plasma Lime version on the right is bone stock. Note the color-matched dashboards and “close-outs” that cover the bag mounting hardware and seams.

The Ness Midnight Cherry bike on the left has Victory’s louder Tri-Oval Exhaust and medium apes; the Plasma Lime version on the right is bone stock. Note the color-matched dashboards and “close-outs” that cover the bag mounting hardware and seams.

The seat is all the way down to 25.7 inches, from 26.3 for the Cross Country. Victory says the rear shock linkage is redesigned for the same smooth ride, but the price you pay is reduced rear wheel travel, down from 4.7 to 3.5 inches for the Magnum. In my brief spin around Las Vegas on smooth pavement, it wasn’t a problem. Mainly what I did notice is that the Magnum’s low-speed handling, as in making U-turns in parking lots and things, was way more manageable than the Cross Country Tour I rode on a 5000-mile tour a couple of months ago – maybe because I didn’t have 60 pounds of junk in my trunk? But I don’t think so.

Some swooned at the bike in Plasma Lime. Note the color-matched saddlebag hinges and radiator cowling.

Some swooned at the bike in Plasma Lime. Note the color-matched saddlebag hinges and radiator cowling.

Guys who know their choppers tell me putting a big wheel on the front is an age-old way to improve the handling of any bike: It shifts more weight rearward, including tilting the engine weight that direction, the oil in the pan, etc. However it works, it’s a big difference you can feel. Crawling around in traffic, the Magnum is easily balanced and graceful. Victory’s specs claim identical rake and trail numbers for the Cross Country and the Magnum, but the Magnum must have a little more of both.

That low windshield ain’t going to cut it on the open road, but it’s great around town.

That low windshield ain’t going to cut it on the open road, but it’s great around town. Cruise control and ABS are standard. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

If it seemed like the loud and proud Magnum might’ve been a good time to squeeze a little more juice out of the tried-and-true but not-updated-for-a-long-time Freedom 106 V-Twin, we agree. But that didn’t happen. It’s still a perfectly acceptably torquey/powerful engine, but we do need to keep up with the Joneses, don’t we? Maybe the fact that Polaris is standing pat with it means the new liquid-cooled motor our man Dennis Chung uncovered in April might be here sooner than we think?

A bright new LED light should brighten things up after dark. The CC already had a big, bright LED taillight.

A bright new LED light should brighten things up after dark. The CC already had a big, bright LED taillight.

Anyway, yours in four pretty cool color schemes, including the two in these photos as well as black/gray and red/gray, starting at $21,999. Again, not cheap, but not bad considering you get ABS brakes with steel lines, cruise, the sound system and all the rest of it – keeping it roughly on par with the best-selling H-D Street Glide.

A lot of people in Vegas are under the impression the whole town is some kind of playground. Sure, why not shoot a picture of your kid on my motorcycle? Has anybody ever told you he looks just like Maurice Gibb? She. Sorry.

A lot of people in Vegas are under the impression the whole town is some kind of playground. Sure, why not shoot a picture of your kid on my motorcycle? Has anybody ever told you he looks just like Maurice Gibb? She. Sorry.

Whoops! I warned them, but mommy burned her foot anyway.

Whoops! I warned them, but mommy burned her foot anyway.

Victory says business has tripled over the last few years. The Daytona PD is the 46th department in the country to switch over to Victory, and if you’re a cop, fireman or military (like 30-percent of its buyers) – you get a $1K discount. Clamp your eyeballs on one physically at your friendly Victory dealer in September.

The Last Neighborhood Bar in Las Vegas was shut right up, which gave us the perfect excuse to stand around in the parking lot and kvetch. Some H-D loyalists would never stand for the loose gas tank/ seat interface on the Victory.

The Last Neighborhood Bar in Las Vegas was shut right up, which gave us the perfect excuse to stand around in the parking lot and kvetch. Some H-D loyalists would never stand for the loose gas tank/ seat interface on the Victory.

+ Highs

  • Really good low-speed manners around town
  • Stands out in a crowd
  • You’ll be able to hear “Free Bird” at 90
- Sighs

  • A little more “go” to go with the “show” would’ve been nice
  • Still lacks the final 5-percent attention to detail of comparable H-Ds
  • Personally, I don’t think I’m man enough to appear on it
Photo by Dain Gingerelli

Photo by Dain Gingerelli

2015 Victory Magnum Specifications
Engine Type Air-/oil-cooled 50° V-twin; single overhead camshafts; 4 valves per cylinder, hydraulic lifters
Engine Capacity 1731 cc
Bore x Stroke 101 mm x 108 mm
Compression 9.4 : 1
Fuel System Closed loop fuel injection, 54 mm throttle body
Transmission 6-speed overdrive w/ torque compensator
Clutch Wet multiplate clutch
Final Drive Carbon fiber reinforced belt
Front Suspension 43mm inverted cartridge fork; 4.4 in. (113mm) travel
Rear Suspension Single air-adjustable shock; constant rate linkage; 3.5 in. (90mm) wheel travel
Front Brakes Dual 300mm floating rotors, 4-piston calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes 300mm floating rotor, 2-piston caliper, ABS
Front Tire 21 x 3.5 in; 120/70R21 Dunlop Elite 3
Rear Tire 16 x 5.0 in; 180/60R16 Dunlop Elite 3
Seat Height 25.7”
Dry Weight 761 lbs. (claimed)
Wheelbase 65.7”
Fuel Capacity 5.8 gal.
Colors Metasheen Black over Supersteel Gray, Plasma Lime or Sunset Red over Supersteel Gray, Ness Midnight Cherry
MSRP $21,999 Black, $22,499 Lime, $22,999 Cherry

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  • Craig Hoffman

    I am with ya on the last “sigh”. Not a poser – I just wanna ride. The “normal” Cross Country is on my list of someday maybe bikes.

  • SRMark

    Lime? Really?

    • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

      I thought that was a Kawasaki color.

  • Kenneth

    When I start to think I understand frame geometry, along comes the idea of (the Magnum’s possibly-) increased rake and trail being responsible for improved low-speed handling. ‘Guess it will remain a mystery to me.

    • john burns

      come to think of it I could be mistaken: they may have just slid the fork tubes up in the clamps a bit or used shorter ones. Then you could have a bigger front wheel and retain same rake/trail like their specs say. I’ll see if I can get an answer on that… but it def. is easier to control at low speed.

      • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

        May be Kevin Cameron can explain it. Oops, wrong magazine.

  • Old MOron

    A fine review! I expected nothing less. But you guys are going to have to change your URL to shiny-boat-anchor-and-occasionally-motorcycle .com

  • http://www.themotorcycleobsession.com/ Chris Cope

    So much nope.

  • Noah S

    I like the Victory bikes though am not a fan of some of their paint schemes. Nice piece, however. BTW, love the fat guy laying out in the third photo…keeping it real!

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  • frank

    so nice motorcycle. I love it.