At 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.
Because 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.
First 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.
A 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)