Ending weeks of teasing the moto-public about a new heavyweight motorcycle, the Minnesota-based manufacturer, Victory Motorcycles, has finally tipped its hand. The newest bike to enter the Victory fold is a bobber named the Victory Gunner.
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According to Victory, fans of urban-styled cruisers previously had to choose a bike that worked well around town but lacked the power and handling for the open road. While that may be true for some models taking the market this year, bobbers – regardless of displacement – are clearly a hot niche in cruisers, right now. So, Victory’s decision to release their newest version of the bobber as an early 2015 is great news for both bobber and Victory fans, alike.
Bobbers have always been about stripped-down, nothing but the essentials – call them elemental – motorcycles. Victory has slashed the fluff of any extra ornamentation and wrapped its standard cruiser chassis (think High-Ball or Judge) in the bare minimum bodywork: a tiny front fender, slight side panels, and an appropriately chopped rear fender. Into this, Victory dropped its beefy Freedom 106 engine.
While some might complain that the Gunner is nothing more than a repackaged Victory cruiser, they would be both right and wrong. The Gunner embraces the bobber ethic: take an existing bike and peel away the layers for a cleaner look and better performance. While there are clearly things that an OEM cannot strip away (I’m looking at you, license plate holder) that a private builder would, with the Gunner shaving 11 lb. from the dry weight of its sibling, the Judge, to tip the scales at 649 lb. dry (which translates roughly to 683 lb. with all fluids) , the bobber ethic is front and center.
And about the performance? Our past reviews of the power put out by the 101 x 108 mm cylinders of the Freedom 106 have said things like: “the engine continued to flex its strength as it darted ahead with bursts of surprising acceleration, even when lumbering along at low rpm in 4th gear” (2013 Victory Judge Review) or “the vibrant Victory Vee is faster and more powerful than Harley’s Twin Cam” (2014 Victory Ness Cross Country Limited-Edition Review). Unlike some smaller displacement bobbers – ones that don’t even offer a sixth gear, as the Gunner does – we know the 106 won’t run out of steam on the highway since the mill also powers Victory’s line of touring bikes. So, the Gunner will have heavyweight power while both trolling the boulevard and dashing out of town.
To address Victory’s second claim (that the Gunner would out-handle other factory bobbers), we, again, only need to look at our past reviews of models using the same chassis. Of the Boardwalk we said, “Its suspension is nicely damped and works in concert with the chassis to keep the Boardwalk performing well even when ridden outside its design parameters” (2013 Victory Boardwalk Review). Since the Gunner’s wheel and tire sizes are the same 130/90-16 front and 140/90-16 rear as the Judge’s, again, we feel we know what to expect: “The Judge flicked quickly to the left and I shouted in my helmet, ‘Now this is how a cruiser should handle!’” (2013 Victory Judge Review) We can say that the new, 24-spoke, cast aluminum wheels give the Gunner an aggressive look while appearing almost spoke-like.
Although much of the Gunner may be the same as other Victory cruisers, several important things are quite different. First, the solo seat is a low 25.0 inches – 0.9 in. lower than the Judge and the Boardwalk and the same as the other Victory bobber, the High-Ball. Perhaps the coolest difference the Gunner has with the most of the other Victory cruisers is its $12,999 MSRP which places it below all other Victorys except the Vegas 8-Ball.
Members of the military (and we can’t help but think that the Gunner is directed at them for obvious reasons) and law enforcement can drop the price even further by taking advantage of the Hero’s Metal program. When buying a new Victory motorcycle, armed service, police and fire members need only to show a valid ID of the branch in which they serve to receive a $1,000 credit. The same is also true of retired and reserve members.
Now, all that remains for riders interested in the 2015 Victory Gunner is to find out when the bobber will go on sale. Well, you’re gonna have to wait a while longer since Victory has listed no on-sale date. However, you’ll have the opportunity to run your fingers over the “suede titanium” paint and even take the Gunner for a test ride at Daytona Bike Week in March. You just may see us there waiting in line with the rest of you. This is one bike we can’t wait to pull the trigger on.