2015 Victory Magnum
Since its first production model rolled off the line on the fourth of July in 1998, Victory Motorcycles has been roaring forward, establishing itself as a premier American manufacturer. To meet demand for the increasing popularity of baggers — and with 21.3 gallons of storage, it fits the bill as a "bagger" — Victory built the 2015 Magnum to be a somewhat pimped-out version of its Cross Country. I say “somewhat” because the Cross Country was pretty fly to begin with, and while the changes seem small on paper, their collective impact makes a big difference.
Continue reading for my review of the 2015 Victory Magnum.
2015 Victory Magnum
Displacement:106 cubic inches
Top Speed:137 mph (Est.)
Where the Cross Country tends to be more of a tourer, the Magnum seems to be more of an urban cruiser — a go-slow, look-good bike — for folks that want to be seen and heard. With eye-catching colors, the sexy rumble of the V-twin and a 100-watt sound system with six speakers in the fairing, you certainly won’t be missed coming or going. If that’s not enough attention for you, peruse the available options to add the saddlebag lid speakers and the Stage 1 Tri-Oval Exhaust for a throatier sound from the pipes.
As any chopper guy will tell you, putting a big wheel on the front improves handling. The Magnum feels balanced and handles well in low-speed traffic and parking lot maneuvers. With the low seat height of 25.7 inches, even us shorties can reach the ground and handle the weight of the bike with confidence.
Part of the showiness of the Magnum is the custom look of the color-matched features. Painted rear fender closeouts cover seams and hardware, cleaning up the rear end. Color-matched saddlebag hinges and lock bezels, headlight and taillight bezels, and a painted dash and radiator shroud give the Magnum a coordinated, put-together look.
The most obvious difference over the Cross Country is the big 21-inch hoop up front with Victory’s “Black Roulette” design on the cast rim. Baggers typically run a front tire that looks like it could also serve as the rear, and the Magnum’s big front tire seems to thrust the bike into custom territory. Inverted 43 mm front forks float the front end on dual-rate springs to provide 5.1 inches of travel, and extra stiffness to prevent excessive dive when you need to grab a fistful of front brakes. Victory lowered the single-shock rear suspension one inch, bringing the seat height down to 25.7 inches, but at the expense of travel, which is down to 4.7 inches. I consider this adequate for relatively smooth roads, and is by no means a deal-breaker for someone wanting to put some state lines behind them.
A trio of 300 mm discs handles braking with a pair of four-piston calipers up front and a two-piston caliper in the rear, which gives you plenty of wheel-binding power to keep the nearly half-ton of bike, fuel and rider under control. The ABS keeps you from losing it if you get a bit overenthusiastic with the brakes.
A bike as larger-than-life as this deserves a big engine, and Victory delivers with a 106-cubic inch, 50-degree V-twin that churns out a gut-wrenching 106 pound-feet of torque. Dual 45 mm throttle bodies feed the engine through electronic fuel injection, and the split dual pipes carry off exhaust, rewarding you with a distinctive V-twin rumble. Air- and oil-cooling siphon off the waste heat to keep all those ponies cool.
The transmission has six-speeds with an overdrive ratio in the top gear for a low and comfortable cruising rpm. A wet, multi-plate clutch smoothly sends power through the carbon-fiber-reinforced belt, and the primary drive utilizes a compensator to reduce shocks sent down the line by poor clutch technique. Some riders report a small problem with the clutch, namely that the mini-ape-hanger bars make it a little difficult for small to average-sized riders to get a good fistful of the clutch lever, but otherwise clutch actuation is smooth and predictable.
MSRP on the Magnum is $21,999. You can get it in Magnum Red/Super Steel Gray, Metasheen Black/Super Steel Gray or a retina-searing Plasma Lime/Silver.
My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, “Even though the Magnum shares many design similarities with the H-D Street Glide Special, the rounded sweep of the lines gives it a sexiness all its own. These “half baggers” are very popular now, and rightly so, as they provide the comfort and protection of a larger bike sans the “old man’s bike” look of a full-dresser. If there is a downside to this model, it would have to be the available color choices – it swings from “meh or bleh” to a full-throated “Holy smokes” (for the green version). I’m not saying that I wouldn’t own one; just that I would take it straight from the dealership to the nearest paint shop to have her shot with a new coat.”
"Victory openly compares the Magnum to Harley-Davidson’s Street Glide Special. The two bikes are comparably priced, but the specs that Victory claims as a "win" aren’t all that significant. Two degrees more lean angle, six pound-feet of torque, and three cubic inches of displacement don’t really constitute a resounding win. I do like the extra storage capacity in the Magnum — 21.3 gallons versus the Street Glide Special’s 17.2 gallons — but the Project Rushmore improvements and renovations count for so much more than a few slightly better specs. As far as color, the Deep Pearl Jade introduced for 2015 on the Street Glide Special is a huge improvement over what Victory offers, unless you live in an area where you frequently have to contend with heavy fog. The Plasma Lime green Magnum would be visible through the fog like a beacon as no other color could."
|Engine Type:||Four-Stroke 50 degree V-Twin|
|Displacement:||106 cubic inches (1731 cc)|
|Compression Ratio:||9.4 to 1|
|Maximum Torque:||110.6 Pound-Feet|
|Valvetrain:||Single Overhand Camshafts with Four valves per Cylinder, Self-Adjusting Cam Chains, Hydraulic Lifters|
|Battery:||12 Volts / 18 Amp Hours|
|Charging System:||48 Amps Max Output|
|Drive/Driven:||Clutch Wet, Multi-Plate|
|Exhaust:||Split Dual Exhaust with Crossover|
|Fuel System:||Electronic Fuel Injection with Dual 45 mm Throttle Body|
|Transmission Type:||Six-Speed Overdrive, Constant Mesh|
|Transmission/Final Drive:||Carbon-Fiber Reinforced Belt|
|Transmission/Primary Drive:||Gear Drive with Torque Compensator|
|Front Suspension:||Inverted Cartridge Telescopic Fork, 43 mm Diameter, 5.1-inch Travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Single, Mono-Tube Gas, Cast Aluminum with Constant-Rate Linkage, 4.7-inch Travel, Air Adjustable|
|Brake System Type:||Conventional with ABS|
|Front Brakes:||Dual 300 mm Floating Rotors with Four-Piston Calipers|
|Rear Brakes:||300 mm Floating Rotor with Two-Piston Caliper|
|Front Tires:||120/70R21 Dunlop Elite 3|
|Front Wheel:||21 X 3.5 Inches|
|Rear Tires:||180/60R16 Dunlop Elite 3|
|Rear Wheel:||16 X 5.0 Inches|
|Ground Clearance:||5.8 Inches|
|Seat Height:||25.7 Inches|
|Overall Length:||104.3 inches|
|Storage Capacity:||21.3 Gallons|
|Oil Capacity:||5.0 Quarts|
|Fuel Capacity:||5.8 Gallons|
|Dry Weight:||760 Pounds|
|Colors:||Magnum Red over Super Steel Gray, Metasheen Black over Super Steel Gray, Plasma Lime with Silver|