By Brenda Knight
2015 Victory Gunner
The 2015 Victory Gunner ‘bobber’ immediately catches your attention. The titanium metallic with the two tone black tear drop style tank sweeping to the single seat and full rolled fender give this bike that stretched out look. The black frame, engine and staggered slash cut dual exhaust and 24 spoke cast aluminum 16’ front and rear tires black on black, adds to the mystic and seduction. Its stock looks easily pass it off as a custom.
The 2015 Victory Gunner is a powerful machine with a 106 cubic inch engine producing 110 ft lbs of torque but its ergonomics are relaxed and compact making it an easy bike to ride (Rider: Brenda Knight/Photo by Marissa Baecker)
When I first sat on the bike, I was surprised by the ease at which I could lift the 660 lbs dry weight. Even with the wheel base of 64.8 inches, it doesn’t feel like a big bike. The streamlined solo seat has a nice deep pocket to keep you well positioned for those quick take offs that 110 ft. lbs. of torque will deliver. A one up seat can be added if needed.
The single electronic speedo gives you easy view of everything in the bright sunlight, showing you digital speed, RPM, signals, fuel gauge, oil pressure and more.
The handlebars are set at a comfortable angle, with pull back riser and fully adjustable. The small turn signal lights with the single headlamp gives all that you need, adding to the over all look.
As I opened throttle onto International Speedway Boulevard in Daytona Beach, FL, the 106 cubic-inch (1731 cc) fuel injected Freedom V-Twin engine was immediately responsive. The low to mid-range torque offered plenty of power and left enough room to pass. This bike had the ability to pull you a off the line or get you out and away of any situation and was receiving many nods and thumbs up from fellow riders.
Merging with Florida highway traffic, I flipped through the smooth shifting, belt driven, six speed transmission effortlessly and into true overdrive for a comfortable, cruising ride. Forward controls and foot pegs enhance the relaxed rider experience. Even with out a windscreen (optional with quick release lock & ride and three heights), the bike was stable and strong.
Upon returning to the stop n’go of Bike Week traffic, the clutch hand got a good workout but the ease of engagement made a tired hand a little less stressed.
When Victory decided to build a bike that did not compromise style, ergonomics, speed, and size. They really did do a great job on this bobber-style motorcycle coming in under $15,000 stock, with the option to fully customize your own build. They did well in naming the bike after the actor, author and Victory rider R. Lee Ermey aka (Gunny).
I thoroughly enjoyed riding the Gunner, if you could have seen the ear to ear grin, it said it all.
By Marissa Baecker
My ‘mission’, if I chose to accept it, contained words about security, keeping things top secret and some other stealth lingo. After reading its entirety, I fully expected my email to self-destruct. I was off to test ride the all new 2015 Victory Gunner.
The Gunner stood out immediately for its stealth matte gun metal looks and its sleek, smooth, design lines. The signature Victory 4.5 gallon tank smoothly flowed in to the frame making the silhouette appear as one line. This edgy bobber had basic instruments, basic lighting but detailed styling and ergonomics.
The 2015 Victory Gunner has smooth simple design lines with subtle details that make the bike stand out. (photo by Marissa Baecker)
The looks were similar to the 2014 Victory Judge yet in the saddle, my reach was the perfect distance to the bars and my legs rested comfortably on the forward controls. These two areas that came up short with the Judge appeared to be addressed with the Gunner.
The Gunner offered drag style bars. The bars were wide and ideal for those sweeping turns and touring comfort yet for those tighter corners, it was a bit of a stretch. Riding without a shield was surprisingly effortless perhaps due in part to the low seating position of 25”. The controls were forward enough to accommodate the longer legged but not so far forward as to tilt the pelvis off the sit bones. With only four inches of ground clearance, it is no wonder that the pegs come standard with scrape bars.
With a mere 4 inch ground clearance the scrape bars on the foot pegs will wear out quickly on the 2015 Victory Gunner. (Rider – Marissa Baecker – Photographer – Brenda Knight)
Riding through traffic, my rubber soled boots stuck to the pegs more than once. As I made my way through the first half of the 6-speed transmission, the 106 cubic inch V-twin delivered instant power. In fourth and fifth gears the power came later in the rpm. So much so that I did not feel the need for sixth gear as I was already doing 120 km and still had plenty of room. “You need to be flying at around 140 km to need sixth” one rider commented.
This 1731cc powerhouse was smooth with a telescopic front fork yet the rear shock was a little tougher over the bumps. With the beefy Dunlop 491 E2-RWL 130/90 front and 140/90 rear I expected to have to muscle the Gunner somewhat but was pleasantly surprised with the agility of this 660 lb beast. At higher speeds, the ride seemed to be much bouncier as those Dunlops rolled over the pavement and it was difficult to decipher whether the tires or the suspension was to blame.
The skyline was barely shrinking in my side mirrors when my phone in my pocket began to light up. Considering I was away from home and riding an unfamiliar U.S. freeway, I initially ignored the constant vibration against my torso. After the fourth or fifth attempt from the caller I peeled off the next exit ramp and pulled over as clearly, something was up. Apparently the Gunner was late for a beauty pagent. A photo shoot had been scheduled and the mission was being recalled.
Back at the hangar, quite a crowd had formed. Models, stylists, photographers, assistants, a few custom motorcycles and several individuals who appeared to have a vested interest in the goings on. Difficult to remain “Quiet on the Set!” with that many people, we were ushered out to the tarmac where I engaged a fellow rider in conversation about the Gunner. In our discussion, he offered up his ride for comparison. His custom bike seemed enormous. After accepting his invitation to try on his ride, I thought I should introduce myself as I was seated on the saddle of his bike. “I’m Marissa from B.C.” to which I received, “Hi, I’m Arlen.” “Nice to met you Arlen. Wait! Arlen as in Arlen Ness?”
Marissa Baecker sits on the personal ride of world renowned custom bike builder Arlen Ness (standing). Photo by Brenda Knight.
I am such an idiot sometimes. Of course it was Arlen Ness. It was all snapping into place. The custom rides. The models. The photo shoot. Why that guy was named Cory and that other guy was Zach. Wow! Nothing slips past me! Arlen laughed at my ‘Ah Ha’ moment and indulged me with a photograph of the two of us while I was seated on his ride. To think I had been disappointed to have to return the Gunner. I would have missed meeting Arlen Ness.
2015 Victory Gunner with Stage 1 Cobra after market exhaust.
Back in B.C., I found another Gunner at the local Victory dealership and they agreed to let me take it for the afternoon to finish my review. Opening up the throttle on Hwy 97, I immediately noticed the roar of the pipes. I didn’t remember the Gunner having that aggressive attitude. This sound was so distinct and exuded power that I had to take a closer look at the first stop light.
This Gunner had Cobra two-into-one pipes in place of the stock staggered slash cut dual exhaust. What a difference.
Returning my Gunner, I raised a concern that I was unable to stop the bike completely without using both front and rear brakes. The cause, possibly my feminine grip paired with stiff levers but the bike would be looked at just in case.
The 2015 Victory Gunner is the perfect bike for the aging sport rider that still wants the power and agility of a sport bike without compromising the comfort and longevity of a cruiser. MSRP $14,499