In 1947 the Bell X-1 was the world’s first airplane to break the sound barrier. Piloted by Chuck Yeager, this icon of mankind’s need-for-speed hangs forever frozen at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Victory, in honor, named their new Magnum, “The X-1 Stealth” claiming the “Loudest Victory Bagger” ever built. Designed for serious music and motorcycle fans, Victory drops the sonic bomb with a 200-watt 10-speaker audio system. But does it deliver the firepower on at top speed?
Flying planes has always been likened to riding motorcycles. Banking hard into tight turns with aggressive lean angles, the breakneck acceleration and deceleration, only motorcycles are way more fun. Unless you’re a Top Gun, flying in a commercial jet at seven hundred mph feels like you’re hardly moving up there. Down here at ground zero, not so. The hard tarmac screams by inches below as the next mountain curve approaches. You’re always on full alert.
The Magnum X-1 Stealth Edition inspired me to visit an aviation museum in Southern California. I’ve seen the Spruce Goose and ridden in a B-17 in Long Beach. Also, I’ve visited the Space Shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center and Air Force One at the Ronald Regan Library. Consulting Google, the great god of knowledge, I found 30, yes 30 aviation museums listed in Southern California, whodaknown. Torrance, Santa Monica, Chino, Riverside and Palm Springs are all easy targets. I began with the biggest, March Air Force Base.
Hitting the highway I pondered the X-1’s aircraft inspired monochrome stealth gray paint job. Featuring color-matched hinges, fender fillers, lower frame covers, dash, speaker grills and headlight bezel. The blacked out chromed and matt gray paint look s very cool but also seemed ripe for a personal touch. You know, something a bold like the pin-up girls painted on the nose of WWII bombers or perhaps something subtle like pin stripping, or not.
The Magnum X-1 Stealth Edition features the largest front wheel offered by an OEM at 21 inches. The wheels are machined from a single block of aluminum to make them both lighter and stronger to maintain the handling capabilities. The Magnum X-1’s smoke tinted LED headlight is 74% brighter than Victory’s standard halogen bulb while the thin blade LED turn signals and flush LED tail lamp are aerodynamic.
The Victory Magnum line are all lowered 2 inches and coupled with the 21 inch front wheel the X-1 sports a slammed look. Of course, like all cross series motorcycles the X-1 comes standard with air adjustable suspension and air pump. I know these bikes well and they inherently have good lean angles and the Magnum Series have scraper posts bolted underneath the floorboards for good reason. Without them, you will be scraping your great sounding Stage 1 Tri-Oval accessory exhausts… trust me on this one.
Pulling into March Air Field Museum one is immediately reminded its 100 year history. Home of the annual “Air Fest Thunder Over the Empire”, a free event with free parking that draws quarter of million aviation enthusiasts. With over 70 planes on display inside and out, a series of displays from its exhibit rooms showing the evolution of jackets and helmets to the space exhibit room. The museum spans WWI to the NASA Space Program. The SR-71 Blackbird (The world’s fastest jet with published speeds of Mach 3.2) sits in the middle of the museum. When fully fueled on the ground the SR-71 tanks leaked like a sieve at rest. The component parts of the Blackbird fit very loosely together to allow for expansion at high temperatures. The tanks in the fuselage and wings only sealed at operating temperatures. There is some serious aviation history here.
It was in the open cockpit bi-plane exhibit I had an epiphany. There it was, an airplane that truly mimicked the motorcycle experience, a vintage open cockpit bi-plane. The WWI fabric… biplanes averages well over 100mph with pilots wearing nothing more than a leather helmet and goggles. Looking at the aerodynamics of the open cockpit planes reminded me of the tiny ribbon of plastic Victory calls a wind screen on the X-1. Probably very similar open cockpit airplane, it’s not only ineffective, the aerodynamics created a perfect windstorm that dilutes the powerful sound system at high speed.
Takeoff: The drivetrain on the X-1 is the Freedom 106, a power plant that’s been the heartbeat of Victory motorcycles for 15 years. May just be the most reliable, easily to maintain of American V-Twins. With an engine displacement of 106 ci / 1731 cc this 4-stroke 50° V-Twin puts cranks out 106 pound-feet of torque, plenty to qualify it for the power-cruiser category. You can add horsepower, torque and a more authoritative exhaust note with the Stage 1 “Tri-Oval” exhaust accessory. Instead of a chain, the Freedom 106 uses a gear-type, primary drive to carry power from the engine to the tranny. A compensator helps to smooth the power pulses a bit before they hit the wet clutch and the six-speed, overdrive-ratio, constant-mesh transmission. The final connection to the rear wheel comes courtesy of the belt-and-pulley final drive.
Landing: A pair of non-linked brakes four-pot calipers pinches the dual, 300 mm discs up front, while a twin-pot caliper binds the 300 mm disc in back. Plus, ABS protection adds a safety net to help prevent problems associated with over braking, a very good thing considering the braking power inherent in such a set up and the heavy forces involved with controlling a bike that could potentially weigh two-thirds of a short ton when fully loaded.
Cockpit Controls: The audio system fully integrates into any Bluetooth capable device, and features an informational window for input and song selection. That aside, finding and selecting a playlist, and then a particular song, is easier than with some other systems. Plus, the up and down volume buttons are nicely responsive, without lag. Of course, the system also features an auto-volume that’s synchronized to the speed of the Magnum X-1.
Ok enough of the aviation analogies and party line propaganda, does this bike really rock? Let’s discuss the Good Bad and the Ugly.
THE GOOD: The 200 watts cranking out mega decibels blasting through TEN, yes ten marine grade speakers is without a doubt cranks up the to 11. Two 6×9 woofers and two tweeters in the saddlebags, as well as two 5.25-inch mid-bass speakers, two 2.5-inch mid-ranges and two more tweeters in the front fairing rocked the neighborhood. With Van Halen maxed out my neighbors popped out of their houses with handguns or hard alcohol looking to fight or party.
THE BAD: The Band-Aid sized piece of plastic Victory calls a windshield on the X 1 might be attractive as a bikini bottom on a supermodel at the beach but is useless at highway speeds on a motorcycle. Useless would actually be a compliment because at my seat height the perfect storm of chaos at 85mph was literally parting my lips and had me flapping like a Labrador in the wind. Cruising around town and even lower highway speeds the system is amazing. As the road speed goes up, so does the amount of wind, road, and engine noise the stereo has to overcome for the rider to be able to hear the music. At some point it’s a losing battle with the ambient noise.
THE UGLY: I’m not kidding, I had to video it to believe it. https://youtu.be/A-6y9c09hSw
FEAR NOT: Solving the flapping Labrador effect and reducing wind noise is a snap on all Cross Series Victory motorcycles. 4 Allen screws and a plethora of windscreen options are available. Four are available from Victory themselves and dozens from aftermarket companies like WindVest Motorcycle Products. I installed the 9 inch high performance sport windscreen. It still retains the sexy contour of the X-1 yet redirects the wind out of the rider’s face and chest area while looking over the top of the screen, creating a smooth airflow 3 to 4 inches higher. Made of a high impact acrylic GE Plexiglas, DOT approved material and is available in 9”, 10” or 11” heights in gun smoke color (dark smoke). Retails at $169.95 and made in the USA for over 18 years.
I may also suggest the optional wind deflectors that easily mount at the bottom of the inside faring: part number 2878527 ($149.99).
The Victory Magnum X-1 Stealth edition is loaded with custom features such as billet wheels, a monochrome paint scheme featuring colormatched components and LED lighting, 21” billet front wheel, custom stealth paint, LED lights and an MSRP that’s $1,000 lower than last year. The 2016 Victory Magnum X-1 starts at $23,499 ($23,749 CA, $27,999 CND).
Tri-Oval Stage -1 exhaust. Retails at $999.99, comes with a washable air cleaner and download and meets all CA. EPA and CARB emissions. Musty be done at a Victory dealer.
So what this journalist’s opinion, I totally dig the suede gray matt paint, cool rims and big wheel look. The lines on this bike scream custom. The audio boom on is baby definitely breaks any barriers and I am invited to all the block parties as rolling PA and DJ. Polaris has been getting motorcycling right for over 15 years now and has a devout following of riders. The Polaris motorcycle line now comprises 22 models. From the Vision, Americas super sleek ultimate touring machine to the entry level Octane. A giant leap from the first Victory produced on the Fourth of July, 1998, in Spirit Lake, Iowa, where every Victory motorcycle continues to be produced today.
2016 Victory Magnum X-1 Stealth Edition Specs
Displacement: 106 ci / 1731 cc
Engine Type: 4-stroke 50° V-Twin
Compression Ratio: 9.4 : 1
Valve Train: Single overhead camshafts with 4 valves per cylinder, self-adjusting cam chains, hydraulic
Cooling: Air / oil
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Exhaust: Split dual exhaust with crossover
Fuel System: Electronic Fuel Injection with dual 45mm throttle body
Transmission Type: 6-speed overdrive constant mesh
Transmission/Final Drive: Carbon Fiber Reinforced Belt
Battery: 12 volts / 18 amp hours
Charging System: 48 amps max output
Front Suspension: Inverted cartridge telescopic fork, 43 mm diameter, 4.4 in / 113 mm travel
Rear Suspension: Single, mono-tube gas, cast aluminum with constant rate linkage, 4 in / 103 mm travel, air adjustable
Brake System Type: Conventional w/ optional ABS
Front Brakes: Dual 300mm floating rotor with 4-piston calipers
Rear Brakes: 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper
Front Tires: 120/70R21 Dunlop Elite 3 Front
Front Wheel: 21 x 3.5″ Front
Rear Tires: 180/60R16 Dunlop Elite 3
Rear Wheel: 16 x 5.0″
Fuel Capacity (gallons/liters): 5.8 gal / 22 ltr
Oil Capacity: 5.0 qts / 4.73 ltr
Ground Clearance: 5.3 in / 135 mm
Seat Height: 25.7 in / 653 mm
Overall Length (in./cm.): 104.6 in / 2657 mm
Dry Weight: 761 lbs / 345 kg
GCWR: 1310 lbs / 594 kg
MARCH FIELD AIR MUSEUM
22550 Van Buren (I-215 at Van Buren Blvd.)
Riverside, CA 92518