Filling the Gap
Over the past decade Victory Motorcycles have grown from the woods of Minnesota to a genuine world-class motorcycle brand. This ascension is unmatched in the motorcycle world and even more so in the fad-filled and fickle American bike market. A strategic decision was made that Victory would do things differently than the rest, instead of copying the machines of their competitors. Equally bold was the slogan: The New American Motorcycle Company.
Two years ago Victory unleashed the Vision on the masses. It was a bike that polarized the public due to its unique and bold styling. It's a fabulous motorcycle that eats up the miles, is arguably the most comfortable American touring bike with power and handling to match. For some it was just too far out of the norm of what people expected from a homegrown motorcycle.
Through extensive research from the riding public as well as lessons learned from the Vision platform Victory is back at it again with two new models: the Cross Country and Cross Roads. The Cross Country features a fork mounted fixed fairing while the Cross Roads is a windshield-equipped version. Although features of these bikes are reminiscent of other offerings in the market Victory again did it their way. These new machines fit in between the more traditional Kingpin Tour and the flagship Vision models.
The chassis is similar to the Vision's yet new and was designed and engineered to optimize the performance of the new models. The two-piece frame is fabricated from sand-cast aluminum and doubles as the airbox. This frame design adds rigidity while being light and offers a handling friendly low center of gravity. Out back a single shock working through a patent pending suspension linkage and traditional swingarm handles the bumps. A very stout 43mm inverted cartridge fork setup resides on the front that also holds two four-piston brake calipers that clamp floating rotors. To attain the lightest bikes in their class the Cross models roll on new, hollow spoke Roulette wheels wrapped in radial tires.
Returning is the impressive Freedom 106 engine that spins a true overdrive six-speed transmission. The 50 degree air/oil cooled twin features four-valve heads with an overhead cam atop each cylinder. The Freedom motors are incredibly torquey and bulletproof producing over 90 hp and 109 lb-ft. Two throttle bodies get the gas and air into the motor while a new split dual exhaust system expels the combustion byproducts.
Each of the new Cross bikes have 5.8 gallon fuel tanks that should serve the touring rider well in terms of distance between stops. The top-opening hard saddlebags are rated to hold 25 pounds of gear and are claimed to be 25 percent larger than H-D's hard bags. Each of the lockable bags can be operated with one hand and are easily removable for cleaning or service. Exterior mounted hinges and hardware mean the inside of the bags are easily accessible without any obstructions.
Victory put its engineering prowess to work on designing the new Cross Country fairing. In addition to blocking wind and rain it's home to all of the instrumentation and audio system. Computer modeling and windtunnel testing were used to optimize the size and shape of the Cross Country fairing. A ridge on the fairing deflects rain to the sides of the rider's hands while a small channel at its base allows air to reach the rider. The multi-function display includes speedometer, tach, fuel gauge, and battery voltage. An LCD screen displays a clock, gear indicator, odometer, trip meters, range, and miles per gallon data. An AM/FM radio is iPod and satellite radio compatible.
On the Cross Roads the Lexan windshield was also tested for optimal riding protection. Its extended lower sections, called Sideburns, improve the aerodynamics while minimizing wind buffeting. Removal of the shield is easily accomplished by removing four fasteners. A single speedometer keeps the cockpit uncluttered and has the usual warning lights as well as trip meter and low fuel light.
We just touched upon some of the features on the new Cross Country and Cross Roads. We are looking forward to throwing a leg over these new bikes and putting them through their paces. Look for complete reviews in an upcoming issue of Baggers. Check out baggersmag.com for additional exclusive photos and more in depth coverage.
Baggers asks Victory talks.
Before getting any technical details on the new bikes we wanted to get inside the engineering and design minds behind the all-new 2010 models, the Cross Country and Cross Roads.
Baggers: What were the goals and objectives in producing these models?
Victory: Victory will always push to create unique and progressive American motorcycles. The Cross Roads and the Cross Country present a type of bagger that is very popular with the touring rider. Our goal was to present a complete line of touring motorcycles, and the addition of these two motorcycles to the Vision series of motorcycles gives Victory buyers more options for the type of machine they want to ride. The intent was to appeal to a broad audience. For those that want pure luxury and modern styling we have the Vision, and for those that prefer only the essentials in a bike with more traditional styling we have the Cross Roads, and for those that land in the middle we have the Cross Country. Each bike was designed with a different person in mind.
Baggers: Was feedback from Vision owners involved?
Victory: Victory has always stayed in touch with current owners, and Vision owners. Through surveys and outreach we confirmed the importance of comfort and ride position. We have had many accolades on the comfort of the Vision, indeed, that was a key area in that motorcycle's design. With the Cross Roads and Cross Country, that same focus was applied. Focus groups were held all across the U.S. when developing these motorcycles. They were involved from the sketch phase all the way through the naming of the bikes.
Baggers: The Cross Country and Cross Roads appear to be based on the Vision chassis, as the wheelbase is the same for the Vision and Cross models as well as the general look. What changes were made to the chassis to make the Cross models?
Victory: Not correct-the new motorcycles come on a 100 percent new frame more appropriate for this touring machine using Victory's CORE Technology. CORE Technology uses an aluminum structural casting as a space frame for the motorcycle plus it acts as an airbox, motor mount, and integrates mounting of various other components. Indeed many aspects from material selection to incorporating the multi-functionality of the frame and considerable reduction in mounting brackets, etc., over a traditional steel frame, was gathered from the Vision project. This allows for reduced parts that have higher performance on the road.
Baggers: What were the design objectives from the art department? How did they differ from the Vision?
Victory: Victory's design department strived to create a modern American motorcycle. The engineering team backs that up with solid design with keystones of reliability and class-leading performance. That combined effort results in unique machines that speaks to many riders. In designing the Cross Roads and the Cross Country, Victory expanded its touring portfolio to fit more individual styles and offer a wider selection in its line of luxury motorcycles. Again-most manufacturers see the variety of customers in the market, and choose to build different types of motorcycles for different styles. The touring segment features a variety of styles that suit different individual desires. Though not designed parallel with the Vision, our significant investment in researching the touring customer in preparation for the Vision led us to considerable insight in all types of touring rider-from the progressive to the more traditional. That same information reinforces the variety needed in a complete line of motorcycles.
Baggers: Who's your target demographic to buy these two models? Why would they choose these over a Vision?
Victory: As many buyers as there are still on the market, there are preferred styles of motorcycles. The Cross Roads and Cross Country represent a type of touring motorcycle that some buyers will be more familiar with. The style of the Vision was designed to be polarizing, and it came as no surprise to us that many riders don't care for it-but more importantly, many riders see what the Vision represents in creating a modern American touring style, that is comfortable, loaded with features, and stylish. The new machines are simply another expression of our desire to create an iconic yet modern American motorcycle. Basically different strokes for different folks!
Baggers: Is the rear shock the same? Is it an air assist?
Victory: The rear shock features a similar "dropped in" position on the swingarm to allow for a lower seat height, and it does indeed feature air assist for pre-load changes, however it is calibrated specifically for these new models.
Baggers: Is the frontend from the Hammer?
Victory: Though the frontend shares the twin disk brake setup of a Hammer, it has unique valving and spring rates more suitable for a touring bike. They are similar but the Cross Roads and Cross Country forks are larger in diameter and are longer than the Hammer forks.
Baggers: What was the evolution of the fuel tank and the decision to move the radio to the fairing?
Victory: The design of the whole motorcycle was taken into consideration, with fuel tanks naturally taking a key role in the style of the bike, besides providing the obvious fuel capacity that a touring rider demands. Doing a new fuel tank is a serious consideration; the shape of its fuel tank can determine an entire brand. Besides providing the technical demands of the Cross Roads and Cross Country Touring bikes we feel it is an evolution of the DNA of Victory Motorcycles. The shape of the fuel tank complements the long lines and the style in the rest of the machine. With the two models sharing fuel tanks, incorporating the radio into the fairing of the Cross Country was a natural fit.
Baggers: The saddlebags appear to be top opening compared to the Vision's side opening bags.
Victory: Correct. Again, the Cross Roads and Cross Country were designed to be different from the Vision. They are meant to appeal to more of a traditionalist. Our research shows that the two bikes will appeal to two different buyers-with Cross Roads buyers choosing a more pure riding experience, and Cross Country riders preferring additional amenities and the style of the fork-mounted fairing.
Baggers: What is the saddlebag capacity? Are they removable? Lockable?
Victory: They are quick release, lockable with the ignition key, and weather proof. They are removable via two, three quarter turn fasteners, however this is only for cleaning and maintenance-the motorcycle is designed to roll with saddlebags attached. Capacity is 21 gallons combined; the largest in the industry.
Baggers: Is there a trunk provision on the Cross models? How about a sissy bar?
Victory: There are a variety of options already designed, and as this is a new model, they will be introduced in time. At this time there is not a trunk available in the accessory catalog, however we do have a quick release passenger backrest available as an accessory.
Baggers: Was there any input or influence, from the Ness camp?
Victory: Arlen and Cory shared their opinion with the design team. They are both very excited about the new models and are already planning custom versions.
Baggers: Up front, fore of the frame, is that a stylized oil cooler and shroud?
Victory: The oil cooler and battery are located in the chin shroud. This is to maintain the design line of the motorcycle, and most importantly maintain the overall balance and positive handling of the motorcycles. It's a structural part of the frame. It's made of aluminum, and painted the same color as our frame and engine. It provides mounting for oil cooler, battery, horn, and some electronic components, along with routing wires, brake lines, and oil cooler lines. It also provides structural support for the driver floorboards and lower ends of the highway bars.
Baggers: Do the chrome engine/crash bars up front on the Cross Country replace the tip over extensions present on the Vision? It looks beefy; is it steel? Any other function besides an engine guard?
Victory: Again - this is a unique machine from the Vision. However, cast aluminum and chromed guards do serve to not only protect the motorcycle in the event of a tip-over, but also as mounts for additional accessories such as highway pegs and driving lights. The Cross Country has forged aluminum highway bars that do provide some measure of low-speed tip-over protection, though not at the same level as Vision. It is extremely strong. They are extremely strong when compared to tubular bars. Again, Vision, Cross Roads, and Cross Country offer different levels of lower wind protection and tip over protection to appeal to different riders.
Baggers: On the rear, is there a tip over mechanism? Is there something else that prevents damage from tip-overs, a la the Vision?
Victory: We have an optional rear tip-over assist that will reduce damage in the event the bike falls at parking lot speeds. The Cross Roads and Cross Country have amazingly low centers of gravity and lower seat heights than anyone in their class so the occasional parking lot drop should be less frequent than their competitors.
Baggers: How did the shape of the fairing come to be? Was windtunnel testing involved? Is there an electric windshield provision like Vision?
Victory: There is not an electric windshield like on Vision to differentiate these bikes-however a variety of shield heights are planned through the accessory book. The latest Computational Flow Dynamics helped verify that the designed shape would provide protection for the rider. Wind tunnel tests were also performed to verify the performance of the design.
Baggers: Nice job on the turn signals, any backstory on their development?
Victory: Signature Victory style. Credit Michael Song and the design department for pushing the limits of design within the considerable constraints of governmental regulation. Wait until you see them up close with the super bitchin' LED taillight-best looking backside in the business.
Baggers: Is the fuel tank and front fender metal? What about the rest of the bodywork?
Victory: The fuel tank and fenders are steel, the bodywork is a molded material designed to be compatible with high-quality paint processes, impact resistant, and as lightweight as possible to aid in handling.
Baggers: Is the windscreen removable on the Cross Roads?
Victory: The windscreen is held on by four bolts easily accessed and designed into the triple trees using the tool provided with the bike. It can be removed easily if the rider desires. There are no traditional mounting brackets to clutter the styling.
Baggers: Are the brake calipers linked? We see there are two four-piston units up front compared to Vision's three-piston units. Can you comment on the change and why the decision was made?
Victory: The brakes are not a linked system on the new models. Our research indicated that this feature was not as desirable on this type of motorcycle as it was on the larger touring machines. The split system is lighter, simpler, and more appealing to the more traditional touring rider who wants more control. This is different than luxury touring riders who want more assistance and technology.
Baggers: Is ABS available?
Victory: Not at this time.
Baggers: Does air go under the fairing to get into the frame/airbox?
Victory: The air intake is cast into the frame under the fuel tank so that it can breathe cool air from the front of the bike without directing intake noise back at the rider.
|2010 VICTORY CROSS COUNTRY (CROSS ROADS]|
|ENGINE||50 degree V-Twin air/oil cooled|
|BORE X STROKE||101x108mm|
|VALVETRAIN||Single overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder|
|INDUCTION||Electronic Fuel Injection/dual 45mm throttle bodies|
|FUEL CAPACITY||5.8 gal./1.0 gal reserve|
|EXHAUST||Split dual exhaust with crossover|
|PRIMARY DRIVE||Gear drive with torque compensator|
|TRANSMISSION||Six-speed constant mesh|
|FINAL DRIVE||Carbon fiber reinforced belt|
|SEAT HEIGHT||26.7 inches|
|RAKE/TRAIL||29 degrees/5.6 inches|
|DRY WEIGHT||765 lbs (745 lbs)|
|FRONT||43mm, inverted cartridge|
|REAR||Single, mono-tube, air adjustable shock|
|FRONT||Dual 300mm floating rotor/four-piston calipers|
|REAR||300mm floating rotor/ two-piston caliper|
|WHEELS & TIRES|
|FRONT||18 x 3.0|
|TIRE/SIZE||Dunlop Elite 3 130/70R18|
|REAR||16 x 5.0|
|TIRE/SIZE||Dunlop Elite 3 180/60R16|
|COLORS||Solid Black, Solid Midnight Cherry, Solid Pearl White, Black and Graphite w/ Extreme Skulls (As shown, Cross Country only).|