Gunning The 2015 Victory Gunner In Daytona

gunner1gunner2gunner3At the Daytona airport warehouse where the media fleet of Victory and Indian motorcycles was kept and maintained during Bike Week, I was offered the choice to ride either the stock or the factory customized version of the new Victory Gunner model. I leaned towards the accessorized option knowing that improvements were only cosmetics and would not affect my report for those choosing the plain version.

First, let me say, the Gunner looks much better in person than on the press pictures you have seen on my website. I have a personal preference for low compact cruisers, and even before gunning it, just sitting on the Gunner gives you the confidence of a solid position at the bars with your feet firmly planted on the ground thanks to a seat height of 25” (635 mm) and of a lean bike that I anticipated, would be extremely easy to balance in all situations.

gunner5gunner6Because it took me more than a couple of times to find my way out of the airport, a few u-turns on no name streets told me right away that the Gunner  is without any doubt the most nimble to pilot Victory cruiser you can ride. For reference, rake is 32-degree for a wheelbase of under 65” and a weight of 649 lbs (294 kg), 11 lbs lighter than the Judge, another Victory model that I have liked very much in a former test ride.

gunner7gunner8gunner9gunner10First part of the ride was the inevitable contemplation of a dozen red lights, the best time to visually detail this new Victory fellow equipment and accessories, their position and readability. No critiques there. The Gunner design has some Bobber styling influence, but I am pretty sure many will want to put their spin on it, add more throwback cues with retro mirrors and turn signals.

When it’s time to launch it, the Gunner is a rocket, taking full advantage of its strong, bullet proof and already legendary 106” (1731 cc) Freedom engine coupled to a very precise and quick 6-speed transmission. Really the type of bike you want to ride very hard. Alternating cruising and speeding over the limit (you didn’t read it here), in any riding position, and although I am 6ft tall, ergonomics are excellent. Floorboard position made me feel comfortable at all times, never getting a chance to drag their mounting brackets even on very sharp city curves.

Gunner0A 60-mile tour in and around Daytona convinced me of what Victory promised. The Gunner is a very fun bike to ride, both in the city and on the highway. Blacked-out straight pipes, gun metal colors are the perfect dress-up for this type of machine that will seduce all those looking for a burly, brutish, light and stripped-down compact cruiser. The Gunner is currently hitting dealerships and at the very reasonable MSRP price of $12,999 should attract a lot of bikers stepping up to the heavy cruisers category. The Gunner has already a lot of custom accessories available online on the Victory Website. (all photography copyright H. Roesler for Cyril Huze)
Gunner-and-Indian-Chief

Gunnerspecs

Zipper's

39 Responses to “Gunning The 2015 Victory Gunner In Daytona”


  1. 1 Brett Mar 21st, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Looking good. Great price.

  2. 2 Shifter Mar 21st, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Cyril rides Victory & Converse…

  3. 3 Greeko Mar 21st, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Nice, but deserves a shorter rear fender and more nostalgic wheels. Traditional 60-spoke wheels?

  4. 4 Branson Mar 21st, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Remove the front fender and shorten the rear one and it will be more “bobber”. Easy job to do.

  5. 5 P. Hamilton Mar 21st, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Gun metal and pewter colors are the new black. Red seat looks good in contrast.

  6. 6 CW Mar 21st, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Looks like a step in the right direction for Victory going after a younger demographic, their touring bikes are already a solid competitor

  7. 7 Kamikaze Mar 21st, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Yep, probably a bike for the 30/40-year old mostly “bad boys” urban bikers doing some highways during the weekend..

  8. 8 Paul Kart Mar 21st, 2014 at 9:12 am

    I agree, Victory getting better at cruisers.

  9. 9 Matt W. Mar 21st, 2014 at 9:26 am

    “the Gunner looks much better in person than on the press pictures you have seen on my website.”
    Oddly enough I find this to be true of many Victories. They certainly look very different (and in my opinion better) in real life “3D” and even in amateur pics than in polished/sharpened marketing and press images that seem to make the bike look “flatter”.

  10. 10 Terence Tory Mar 21st, 2014 at 9:48 am

    It’s O.K., but I think the first High Ball looked way better.I’d like an old High Ball with those mag wheels though.

  11. 11 Seymour Mar 21st, 2014 at 10:38 am

    A victory for Victory

  12. 12 Peter Davenport Mar 21st, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Victory little rocket. Looking pretty good. Cyril, too!

  13. 13 spaz Mar 21st, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    The problem with Victory’s, is once you ride one, and I mean really ride one, not some chaparoned test-ride, your precious Harley just isn’t good enough anymore. Victory’s feel so much better- more sure-footed, WAY better balance and handling. and lower center-of-gravity, better lean-angles, and oh yeah, SO much more power. Then you start to also notice that Victory’s are longer, giving you more room. Get off a Vic and onto a comperable-sized Harley, and the Harley feels small, Even with short legs the Harley will feel like your on some small, scrunched-up bike. I have always loved Harley’s and still do, but as far as riding, the bikes just aren’t good enough anymore. It’s kind of sad to me that I feel so jaded against the motor company now. I’m a diehard Victory rider. Bigger, better, stronger, faster. -Maybe that should be their next tag line!

  14. 14 John Trenzer Mar 21st, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Cyril & Spaz are right. On a Victory, you get a sense of confidence, of strength that you don’t get on a comparable Harley. Less vibrations, too, but well enough to make you feel on a V-Twin.

  15. 15 Jayson Mar 21st, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Spaz hit the nail directly on the head !!! Once you let go of the Harley mystique, and ride a Victory, there’s no denying it’s the better bike. By a mile !! I like the gunner but think they’ve dumbed down their perfoance. They dropped the kingpin, and that was the best cruiser on the market for performance. And they only offer a single disk front break on the Hammer now. But still they are the best cruisers on the market !

  16. 16 BobS Mar 21st, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Not a fan of the red seat but I dig the rest of it.

  17. 17 SIGFREED Mar 21st, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    It is surely aggressively priced.

    BUT – I will still stick with the Wide Glide or perhaps even consider the new HD Low Rider – the Victory just does not have the old-world charm/soul and for many people that is still the essence of a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th vehicle. Eg if you want a clinically perfect vehicle then buy a Mercedes.

    Absolutely the Victory is dynamically better than the Dyna. Certainly better than a Softail. Better than a V-Rod..? Mmmm – depends, maybe, maybe not… But if it is dynamics you want, from a motorcycle in the cruiser style, then get a Ducati Diavel.

    Engine performance – sure the Vic 106 is a powerful engine. Sure it may outperform a std Dyna 103ci – but how and when..? In an absolutely clinical race under artificial conditions. Between traffic lights… However, if you want to ride the snot out of a bike in a blurred tunnel that is the surroundings, then get a KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. 0-125mph in ~ 7sec. While the ol’ Vic is still “Gunning” around the airport’s parking – you will already be poking your lungs out in some sleazy joint in Key West…

    If you want a bona fide cruiser that is more refined than a HD then get a Moto Guzzi California – now that oozes style…

    The Vic Gunner is seriously well priced, nobody can conceivably deny that, but now everybody knows it too. So everybody knows you got the thing because you could not afford a HD (even better for HD some would argue). But if you buy a heavy/big cruiser then you are generally not running out of Food Stamps…

    All in all, I remain perplexed what market Polaris is in pursuit of, with the Victory brand.

    If the Victory brand was mine (and I had Polaris’ resources at hand), I would have grabbed the market HD should have taken with the V-Rod, viz a Euro-styled ‘dragster’ that is legitimately powerful (ie torque-band ~ 3k – 5k r/min), fast and relatively light. I would have taken it on the chin and dropped the ME-TOO thing (at cut-throat prices) and rather put all the ‘cruiser’ effort/money into the Indian.

  18. 18 Terence Tory Mar 21st, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    SIGFREED, Somehow your food stamp logic made me think a Victory rider with stamps is way smarter and more prosperous than a new Sportster owner without food stamps:Half a Harley and no food?

    To me a rider on a new H-D Big Twin says to the world: monthly payments and no cash for fun.

  19. 19 Zipper Mar 21st, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I wish Polaris all the best. Took a lot of balls to take on Harley. I would definitely change to another American made motorcycle if I was younger. It has not been the most pleasant experience dealing with Harley for the last fifty years. Their arrogance has taken some of the pleasure from the fun of riding and there was no other place to go. HD had everyone over a barrel. The last bike I bought from HD I spent five thousand on Screaming Eagle parts to make it keep up with the traffic. I spent eighteen thousand for the bike and they told me I could have a T shirt, so I picked one out and the cashier said It had to say Daytona HD on the back or I couldn’t have it. I could go on for hours.”But Anyway” I hope HD feels some of the frustration competing with Polaris as I have just getting a Chinese T shirt for $18,000 grand. ..Z

  20. 20 J. Parker Mar 21st, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Glad to see that Victory gets the recognition it deserves. It takes time to convince Harley addicts…Now, show us the new 2015 Indian.

  21. 21 Bruce Mar 21st, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Like the raised letter Dunlop tire and the red seat on gun metal paint. Agree with the comment recommending to use spoke wheels.

  22. 22 Dave Blevins Mar 21st, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    You know, if Polaris/Victory would deal with just a few cosmetic enhancements, (the bulbous side covers and that clumsily shaped rear fender and it’s mounts), they could really start to get a good looking machine.

  23. 23 RUB Mar 22nd, 2014 at 6:35 am

    hate the rear fender , looks like a toomar ! ( with best Arnold voice )

  24. 24 Roscoe Mar 22nd, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Polaris is not trying to take on HD. They are trying to get the people that want a bike but think that HD is prone to breakdowns. They are taking in all the import buyers. “You know you want American muscle without all the hassle, but a Victory”. If they happen to pick up some HD faithful, then that’s great too. It’s just the start for Polaris. They are going to be here for a long, long time. I remember when the Vision came out, there were a lot of naysayers on this board, two people in particular, one of them doesn’t post anymore, and the other has changed his opinion. Polaris makes nice bikes. I prefer baggers to cruisers, but the Gunner looks like a nice ride.

  25. 25 Harold Mutter Mar 22nd, 2014 at 7:52 am

    I agree on the rear fender issue. It’s the one item that detracts from a otherwise good looking bike.

  26. 26 Magnet Man Mar 22nd, 2014 at 7:55 am

    I have met and spoken to a number of Victory and recently a new Indian owner and they were not bashing Harley, frankly, hardly a mention.
    They just liked their new ride as they should and were having a good time, which is important in this fast paced world which is demanding and rarely affords us the time to really enjoy something. Happy trails, my friends!

  27. 27 BobS Mar 22nd, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Sigfreed that’s an interesting take that sounds an awful lot like rtionalization for one’s affinity for a brand. Here’s another way to look at it: Let’s say I have narrowed my choice for a new bike down to two. The one I prefer to ride costs 15k. The one that’s more popular with the folks hanging out at bike night costs 18k. What do you call me for picking the lesser ride that costs more? I’m either a poser for picking what other people will think is cool, or I’m a loser who can’t afford what other people think is cool. Guess I should just not care what other people think and pick the bike I enjoy riding the most and if I save a little money good for me.

  28. 28 Jarrod Mar 22nd, 2014 at 9:05 am

    It doesn’t matter where the buyers of Harley & Victory come from. From Japanese, English, Italian, etc manufacturers’ clients. From each other? It’s important only for the mc corporate guys. Us, we care about more Harley & Victory bikes sold each and every year. Competition, competition. Good for all of us.

  29. 29 Gunther Mar 22nd, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Good looking. For the rest I don’t know until I ride it and confirm what Cyril reports.

  30. 30 mcgillicutty Mar 22nd, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    ”The Vic Gunner is seriously well priced, nobody can conceivably deny that, but now everybody knows it too. So everybody knows you got the thing because you could not afford a HD (even better for HD some would argue)”

    Are you serious Sigfreed? So by your logic if it costs more it must be better and if you pay more for an item than you must be wealthier. LOL! You are a retailers wet dream.
    PS: If you use all capital letters in your name does it make you BIGGER?

  31. 31 morpion Mar 22nd, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    i hope they don,t call that a bobber,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  32. 32 Bob D. Mar 22nd, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks the mirrors aren’t the best fit with the bike? Minor thing, but they really stick out to me, even more than the rear fender.

    Overall though I really like the look, the stance and the riding position. To be honest both Indian and Victory continue to draw my attention lately, so I guess Polaris has got my number. I’m selling one of my bikes soon and I could really see a Gunner taking its place.

    Owning a Victory would not have been on my radar a couple of years ago, but man they are doing something right lately. I hope they keep it up, because as noted above, IMO this kind of competition is good for everyone.

  33. 33 Zen Mar 22nd, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    The Gunner and the Judge look the same. I’d like to see something without that slopped gas tank and swooping lines. Get some chrome. Victory is on the right track but they should probably stay out of the Ness’s for a while and crowdsource some new ideas from riders who know what they want.

    What I think Victory needs to do right now:

    Braided cables and route the others through the handlebars

    Traditional gas tank and headlights

    More color options and copy that HD1 builder program. (you have to admit that was a great strategy even though dealerships hate it because they want you to buy TODAY from something on the lot)

    MORE DEALERSHIPS that are Victory/Indian specific. I can’t stand going into a dealership of mixed brands that feels like a walmart. I want a place to take a break from the road, have a cup of coffee and meet and ride with other riders who share my passion for the brand.

    Certified mechanics. I want an MMI graduate who has taken something like a Victory/Indian elective working on my bike not some guy who works on snowmobiles, foreign bikes, etc. who has taken a two week Victory course somewhere or had some online training. I want someone who works on my bike who knows what he is doing and has been thoroughly trained.

    Victory is improving but has a ways to go.

  34. 34 Terence Tory Mar 23rd, 2014 at 9:50 am

    ZEN,the first thing you are saying is Victory should built bikes that just look like Harleys.Why? If you want a H-D,go buy one I guess.If you want traditional tanks and lights,the same applies.Victory strives to be a little different,not a clone.

    Braided cables can chafe and wreck everything around them,and internal wiring was a manufacturing,safety,reliability,liability and repair nightmare.As far as I know,every bike company stopped the internal cable and wiring nonsense decades ago for very good reasons.

    Victory is wise to offer somewhat limited finish options at this stage.It makes inventory and production much easier.Personally,almost all the current H-D paint schemes and chromework make me sick when I enter a showroom,the CVO’s especially.Why not polished alloy with a gloss on top? Probably because H-D would have to cast a more costly metal for a good polish finish.

    The modern reality of motorcycle mechanics is they mostly just bolt on replacement parts and change fluids.The days of needing to find an ex-airforce trained guru wrench with a magic spanner and special sauce,to make stout your steed are well over.Unless you are blessed with a hot Ducati.I guess.A qualified motorcycle mechanic can work on any bike and do it well.Modern tech,is modern tech.Servicing a Victory would be no different to servicing a Honda-powered ride-on mower.And that’s a good thing.

    When you can come up with a business model and enough bike buying customers for more than two Indian/Victory playhouse coffee shops,in the entire world,let Polaris know all about it.

  35. 35 Bob D. Mar 23rd, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Wow, extremely well said. I’ve reacted very positively to some of the latest Victory moves, but IMO these points hit the nail on the head as far as some the work that remains to be done.

    >>>MORE DEALERSHIPS that are Victory/Indian specific. I can’t stand going into a dealership of mixed brands that feels like a walmart. I want a place to take a break from the road, have a cup of coffee and meet and ride with other riders who share my passion for the brand.
    Certified mechanics. I want an MMI graduate who has taken something like a Victory/Indian elective working on my bike not some guy who works on snowmobiles, foreign bikes, etc. who has taken a two week Victory course somewhere or had some online training. I want someone who works on my bike who knows what he is doing and has been thoroughly trained.
    Victory is improving but has a ways to go. <<<

  36. 36 James just another crazy Kiwi Mar 23rd, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    What ever way you look at, it I would pay 3 grand more for a motorcycle that I would find aesthetically pleasing.
    Though it is all ones personal taste I find the Victory’s cheap looking. Slab sided motor and other things just do not do it for me.
    The Polaris negative advertising campaign towards Harley Davidson owners which must be one of the stupidest advertising campaigns ever still annoys me.
    Possibly this also sways my view !

  37. 37 John Trenzer Mar 23rd, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    james Crazy Kiwi. You must have absolutely no sense of humor. I thought that the Indian campaign (Harley guy cleaning his bike to sell it) was right on. It’s advertising. It has to be entertaining. Very creative. It doesn’t mean that Indian doesn’t respect Harley. Harley has done the same type of ad against competitors.

  38. 38 Boomer Mar 25th, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Really great base bike to build on. It would look good with the Highball handlebars and set the riding position a bit better. With some minor changes to the 106 motor you have a true American muscle machine anyone would be proud to ride with a permanent grin while doing it.

    Those minor changes would include a freer flowing air filter and exhaust to go with it. A tuner such as the PC-V with Auto Tune or a good dyno tune. I prefer the AT just in case I change pipes later on. and lastly but most importantly; Lloydz cams to really wake it up. All can be done for under $1500 in your garage for those with a moderate mechanical ability.

    As a 33 year and 9 Harley’s old school biker who switched To Victory 3 years ago; all I can say is I love the handling and power of both my Vic’s (Cross Country and Kingpin) and really like the extremely low maintenance of them. Gives me more time to ride or customize if that’s my thing at the time. The low cost of ownership is a real plus as well.

    All of this is great for current Harley riders as well. It will put pressure on HD to up their quality and reliability and that is good for everyone. A friend recently showed me his new water cooled Touring HD. I must say I was impressed with a lot of the changes and he was too. I think the roll out of the Indian Chieftain had a lot to do with these upgrades so HD could compete with Indian on their level.

  39. 39 Steve H Mar 25th, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Great engine, beautiful looking. What a bike.

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