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BIKE TEST

Posted On 03 May 2024
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This entry is part 5 of 30 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#29

VICTORY MAGNUM BRIGHT ENOUGH FOR YOU? WORDS/PHOTOS THE BEAR

“Magnum” is a really blokey sort of word, isn’t it? That was established without any question after Clint Eastwood told the perp in “Dirty Harry” that his, Eastwood’s, Model 29 Smith & Wesson revolver was the most powerful in the world. He was wrong about that; it wasn’t until S&W developed the .500 S&W Magnum that they could honestly make that claim. But so what? The word magnum, also applied to a roller coaster, cartoon characters, bottles of booze and ice creams, was out there and moving product.

So, to cut a very much longer story short, I think Magnum is a good choice of name for a motorcycle.

The word, which is Latin, meaning “great”, sits especially well on Victory’s upgraded Cross Country bagger, which is a pretty great big motorcycle already.

I’m not usually particularly fond of “batwing” style handlebar-mounted fairings, but on a bike as big as the Magnum they have little if any effect.

And in this case they actually look good; painting the inside of the fairing in body colour gives a quality appearance.

Apart from the paint, and the six-speaker, 100 Watt sound system it holds, what’s new or different on the Magnum? The Cross Country’s 18 inch front wheel is replaced by a 21 incher, the seat is lower and there is less suspension travel. The rear guard is styled to match the curve of the panniers, and on my bike the green colour scheme looked… well,outstanding. The weather was overcast and dull for most of the time I had the

Magnum, and it provided a bright and cheerful contrast. All in all I think the bike is well worth the extra two and a half grand over the standard Cross Country. At $29,995 the Magnum is right on the money, considering that it’s obvious competitor is Harley-Davidson’s Street Glide Special at $34,995. They share the shorty windscreen look.

The analog instruments with their white faces and digital LCD displays combine to tell you the story of what’s happening with the bike, and the sound system and cruise controls each have a block to themselves on the left- and right-hand switch blocks respectively.

It’s all easy to use and there is no confusion about what does or means what. Both instruments and controls are state of the art.

Running gear is good too. Between them, the 21 inch front wheel and the lowered back suspension make this a remarkably easy bike to manage, both at low speeds and out on the highway. Combine that with the comfort of the low, well-padded seat, the large foot boards and the relaxed reach to the handlebars and you’ve got a bike that’s good to run all day. Sixth gear’s overdrive helps.

Stopping is looked after too. The anti-lock braking (ABS) will haul you up even from, er, substantial road speed as I discovered when a bloke in a ute suddenly decided, out on the open road, that he needed to make a last minute right turn. The Dunlop E3 Elites did their bit on the glossy, wet road surface too.

I’m a bit in two minds about the luggage. The panniers are terrific, with no major obstructions in the way of loading. The right-hand pannier has a power socket, despite which the panniers are easily detached.

But they’re it – there is no obvious way of adding extra luggage. Two up, that makes the bike an overnighter, not – like the Cross Country – a serious mile eater.

So is it just an upgraded, more “custom” and less versatile version of the Cross Country bagger? Well, no. Not really. What it makes it, is quite a different bike.

The Magnum, to my mind, is not really intended as a tourer at all. It is an around-town cruiser, intended to look great and go well enough to impress just about anyone else on the street. The paint job will draw eyes anywhere, and dropping the clutch in first (which I, of course, did not do) results in spectacular acceleration off the line as the 146Nm from the 106 cubic inch Freedom vee twin gets laid on the road. And when you’re standing still you can always play the AM/FM (AM? Are they kidding?) radio or your own playlist by Bluetooth or USB contact.

Having suggested that the Magnum is not intended as a tourer, let me confess that that’s exactly what I used it for. You can do the same, by the way; take a look at http://www.victorymotorcycles.com/en-au/ weekend-escape for Victory’s impressive weekend escape test ride program, which allows you to take a bike away for a weekend, free. They even throw in an overnight stay at a hotel and a tank of fuel. I paid for my own fuel and accommodation,but otherwise I could have been using the program.

And what did I find? I found a bike that would cruise at any speed I chose and overtake enthusiastically, although unfortunately (?!) Victorian roads are a bit too good to judge how it would handle poor tar in other States. The screen and fairing only really protected my body and left my legs and shoulders hanging out in the breeze, but the wide handlebar-mounted fairing did not cause any uncertainty in the steering, despite some pretty gusty wind. I found a bike that was comfortable for a full day’s riding, and that had plenty of room for my gear in its panniers. So maybe it’s a tourer after all.

It was certainly everything I wanted it to be. And next year’s upgraded model will have a 200 Watt sound system with even more speakers…

SPECS
VICTORY MAGNUM
PRICE: $29,995 (plus on-road charges)

WARRANTY: Two years, unlimited distance
SERVICING INTERVALS: Every 8000km or 12 months
ENGINE: 4 stroke 50 degree vee twin, 4-stroke, SOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
BORE x STROKE: 101 x 108mm
DISPLACEMENT: 1731cc
COMPRESSION: 9.4:1
POWER: 65.6kW
TORQUE: 146Nm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed constant mesh with overdrive, wet multi-plate clutch, belt final drive
SUSPENSION: Front, 43mm inverted cartridge type telescopic fork, non-adjustable, travel 130mm. Rear, mono shock, adjustable preload, travel 120mm, air adjustable.
DIMENSIONS: Seat height 667mm,weight 345kg (dry), fuel capacity 22 litres, wheelbase 1670mm
TYRES: Front, 120/70/R21. Rear, 180/60/R16
FRAME: Alloy
BRAKES: Front, dual 300mm floating discs with four-piston ABS calipers. Rear, 300mm disc, twin-piston ABS caliper.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 6.5 litres per 100km, premium unleaded
THEORETICAL RANGE: 334km
COLOURS: Metasheen Black over Super Steel Grey; Magnum Red over Super Steel Grey; Nes Midnight Cherry; Plasma Lime with Silver
VERDICT: BRIGHT AND VERSATILE

on his dial at the end of the day, he got a lot out of what Pete had taught him.

But motoDNA offers more than this 4th level top end course. There are, as the name suggests, three levels leading up to it and there’s a “Coachlite” course available too.

Level 1

This is aimed at road riders and track day rookies and addresses the most common novice issues, making your transition to the track seamless and safe. The goal is to give you a better understanding of bike and rider limits,essential to survival on the road.

Topics include racetrack etiquette, basic bike setup, vision, target fixation and more. Mark guarantees that you will finish the day with a huge smile on your face. A lot of road riders enjoy the track experience so much they end up buying a track day bike, or go racing.

Level 2 – Intermediate

The intermediate course is aimed at riders who have completed a few track days and focuses on building your skills, knowledge and confidence to the next level. Topics include body position, line selection, cornering, reference points, braking and more.

Level 3 – Advanced

The advanced course is aimed at the more experienced track day rider or racer and takes you to the next level of riding skill and motorcycle setup knowledge again. Topics include suspension, geometry, advanced cornering, electronics and more.

Coachlite

“Coach lite” provides track time between full training days but without the classroom sessions. Students are encouraged to do a full training day every three Coach lite days to continue to improve their skills. Coaches are on track and in the pits for casual advice.

As well, moto DNA has a lot of new products coming shortly, but I recommend doing Level 1 and progressing through to Level 4, building on your experience on the bike already. It is a fun day with fun coaches. I am actually going to be a coach with moto DNA, so you never know, you might get me coaching your session!

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Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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