New Model Preview – 2016 Victory Magnum X-1
Ingredients for a sound performance
text by Dain Gingerelli
photograph courtesy of Victory Motorcycles
With all the noise that came from Polaris Industries’ Indian camp this past year or so, it was only a matter of time before the other motorcycle company from Minnesota broke its silence. And when Victory Motorcycles decided it was time to be heard, the ruckus came in a big way: a new Magnum-based bagger that pipes 200 watts of audio amped into 10 speakers. Let’s hear it for the Magnum X-1!
“This bike is built to shatter the sound barrier,” says Brandon Kraemer, Victory’s product manager, during the X-1’s special sneak preview at an audio-video studio in Simi Valley, California, last January. Kramer was speaking in figurative terms, of course. His words were aimed at those 10 speakers — six of which reside in the fairing dash, the remainder in the bag lids — that are poised and ready to broadcast whatever tunes you deem worthy of playing through the onboard audio system. For the most part, the sound system’s controls are the same as those on the standard Magnum because the X-1 is essentially a reissue of that model, but with bolder acoustics and a wilder display of paint graphics (Victory describes the red pinstripes as Electric Red), and contrast-machined components that include an all-new 21″ black billet front wheel design. There’s also a sun-bright, smoke-tinted LED headlight that can practically melt your retinas to light the way.
Kraemer’s reference to the sound barrier explains the Magnum’s X-1 moniker, too. The first man to break the sound barrier was US Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager, and he did so back in 1947 piloting the experimental rocket-powered aircraft Bell X-1. Victory’s new Magnum X-1 won’t necessarily take you near Mach 1, but people at Victory are hedging their bets that the 200-watt audio system is loud enough to break another sound barrier, of sorts. You want loud tunes while you ride? The X-1 will deliver, claimed by Victory to be four times louder than a standard Cross Country. And, to drive home that fact, the folks from Victory parked one of the new bikes in the acoustically rich sound studio where they cranked up the volume. Simon and Garfunkel’s classic “Sounds of Silence” most certainly was not on the play list. Indeed, the Magnum X-1 might be the vanguard of future models from the Minnesota-based motorcycle company because Polaris is poised to ramp up Victory’s role in how it markets motorcycles. Victory Brand General Manager Rod Krois explained that the motorcycle community should expect even more diversity between Indian and Victory models in the future, with America’s oldest brand (Indian) taking the lead in producing designs heavy on heritage while Victory will develop and produce what Polaris calls “performance and muscle” — cruisers and baggers such as the X-1.
“We are investing in motorcycles,” Krois explains to motorcycling’s gathered fourth estate, and any doubt about that was left on the table when that same day Victory announced that it was going NHRA Pro-Stock racing. With ambitions to crack into the hotly contested quarter-mile drag racing arena, Victory is teaming up with S&S Cycle to develop an engine and dragster for two-time NHRA champion Matt Smith and his wife/co-rider Angie to compete in the Pro-Stock class this year.
“We’re going to take on Harley,” one Victory spokesperson confides. And his words will be verified by the time this issue of American Iron Magazine hits the newsstands because the NHRA season will already have begun with the first race at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.
No doubt the American V-twin landscape is becoming more and more interesting as time goes by. On one front, we’ve now got more than one American-made brand battling at NHRA race tracks, and we’ll have American baggers vying on the chorus line to see which bike is the loudest. So far the Magnum X-1 has top honors from Victory’s camp. And you can be a part of the magic, too, by underwriting the X-1’s MSRP to the tune of $24,499. AIMThis article originally appeared in American Iron Magazine issue # 322, published June 2015. To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, visit Greaserag.com. Follow American Iron Magazine on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! To subscribe to the PRINT edition, click here.To receive DIGITAL DELIVERY, click here.